Dermabrasion for acne scars during treatment with oral isotretinoin

Dermatol Surg. 2010 Apr;36(4):483-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2010.01474.x. Epub 2010 Feb 17.


Background: Oral isotretinoin is the criterion standard treatment for severe inflammatory acne associated with scar development. Atypical or exaggerated cicatrization related to oral isotretinoin was reported throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Dermabrasion for atrophic acne scar revision is not recommended 6 to 12 months from the end of oral isotretinoin treatment.

Objective: To evaluate wound healing after localized dermabrasion in patients receiving oral isotretinoin.

Materials & methods: Interventional, prospective study involving seven patients taking oral isotretinoin to treat acne and with atrophic acne scars on the face. Manual dermabrasion was performed on all patients in an area of approximately 1 cm(2), and a 6-month reepithelization follow-up by clinical evaluation was conducted.

Results: All patients presented normal cicatrization evolution; hypertrophic scarring or keloid as a result of localized abrasion was not observed, and atrophic acne scar revision result was excellent.

Conclusion: The current recommendation to wait 6 to 12 months after treatment with oral isotretinoin for acne scar revision using dermabrasion should be re-evaluated. Abrasion of a small test area may be a useful predictor of wound healing, enabling earlier acne scar treatment using this procedure.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acne Keloid / etiology
  • Acne Keloid / surgery
  • Acne Vulgaris / complications*
  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / etiology
  • Cicatrix, Hypertrophic / surgery*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dermabrasion / methods*
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Face
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isotretinoin / administration & dosage*
  • Isotretinoin / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing
  • Young Adult


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Isotretinoin