Percutaneous collagen induction: an effective and safe treatment for post-acne scarring in different skin phototypes

J Dermatolog Treat. 2014 Apr;25(2):147-52. doi: 10.3109/09546634.2012.742949. Epub 2012 Dec 8.


Background: Atrophic scars can complicate moderate and severe acne. There are, at present, several modalities of treatment with different results. Percutaneous collagen induction (PCI) has recently been proposed as a simple and effective therapeutic option for the management of atrophic scars.

Objective: The aim of our study was to analyze the efficacy and safety of percutaneous collagen induction for the treatment of acne scarring in different skin phototypes.

Methods & materials: A total of 60 patients of skin types phototype I to VI were included in the study. They were divided into three groups before beginning treatment: Group A (phototypes I to II), Group B (phototypes III to V), and Group C (phototypes VI). Each patient had three treatments at monthly intervals. The aesthetic improvement was evaluated by using a Global Aesthetic Improvement Scale (GAIS), and analyzed statistically by computerized image analysis of the patients' photographs. The differences in the GAIS scores in the different time-points of each group were found using the Wilcoxon's test for nonparametric-dependent continuous variables. Computerized image analysis of silicone replicas was used to quantify the irregularity of the surface micro-relief with Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT); average values of gray were obtained along the x- and y-axes. The calculated indexes were the integrals of areas arising from the distribution of pixels along the axes.

Results: All patients completed the study. The Wilcoxon's test for nonparametric-dependent continuous variables showed a statistically significant (p < 0.05) reduction in severity grade of acne scars at T5 compared to baseline (T1). The analysis of the surface micro-relief performed on skin replicas showed a decrease in the degree of irregularity of skin texture in all three groups of patients, with an average reduction of 31% in both axes after three sessions. No short- or long-term dyschromia was observed.

Conclusion: PCI offers a simple and safe modality to improve the appearance of acne scars without risk of dyspigmentation in patient of all skin types.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy*
  • Adult
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • Cosmetic Techniques / adverse effects
  • Cosmetic Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Needles / adverse effects
  • Pigmentation Disorders / etiology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin Pigmentation


  • Collagen