Combination of microneedling and glycolic acid peels for the treatment of acne scars in dark skin

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2011 Dec;10(4):317-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1473-2165.2011.00583.x.


Introduction: Acne scars can cause emotional and psychosocial disturbance to the patient. Various modalities have been used for the treatment of acne scars like punch excision, subcision, peels, microdermabrasion, unfractionated and fractioned lasers. The latest in the treatment armamentarium is microneedling. Acne scars commonly coexist with postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. A combination of microneedling and glycolic acid (GA) peels was found to give excellent results in the treatment of such scars. The aim was to study the efficacy of a combination of microneedling with glycolic peel for the treatment of acne scars in pigmented skin.

Method: Thirty patients in the age group of 20-40 years with atrophic box type or rolling scars with postinflammatory hyperpigmentation were chosen for the study. Two groups were made. The first group comprised of 30 patients in whom only microneedling was performed once in 6 weeks for five sessions. In the second group of 30 patients, a combination of microneedling and 35% GA peels was carried out. Patients from both groups were evaluated on the basis of Echelle d'Evaluation clinique des Cicatrices d'acné classification.

Results: Based on the objective scoring and its statistical analysis, there was significant improvement in superficial and moderately deep scars (grade 1-3). There was also improvement in skin texture, reduction in postacne pigmentation in the second group.

Conclusion: Microneedling is a simple, inexpensive office procedure with no downtime. It is safe in Indian skin (skin types III-IV). The combined sequential treatment with GA peel caused a significant improvement in the acne scars without increasing morbidity.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Adult
  • Chemexfoliation*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Glycolates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Skin Pigmentation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Glycolates
  • Keratolytic Agents
  • glycolic acid