Efficacy of microneedling with 70% glycolic acid peel vs microneedling alone in treatment of atrophic acne scars-A randomized controlled trial

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2017 Dec;16(4):454-459. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12377. Epub 2017 Oct 26.


Background: Microneedling with dermaroller and glycolic acid peels is commonly used for treatment of acne scars.

Objective: To compare efficacy of microneedling alone versus combination of microneedling with serial 70% glycolic acid peel in management of atrophic acne scars.

Methods & materials: Sixty patients with atrophic acne scars were randomized into group 1 receiving microneedling at 0, 6, and 12 weeks and group 2 receiving microneedling at 0, 6, and 12 weeks along with 70% glycolic acid peel at 3, 9, and 15 weeks. Acne scar scoring was performed by a blinded observer using ECCA (Echelle d'evaluation clinique des cicatrices d'acne) scoring at baseline and after 22 weeks. Additionally, patients were asked to grade the improvement in acne scars and skin texture on visual analogue scale (VAS).

Results: Of 60 patients, 52 completed the 22-week study period. The decrement from baseline in mean ECCA score was more in group 2 as compared to group 1 (39.65±2.50 vs 29.58±0.18; P<.001). Group 2 also showed more improvement in skin texture as compared to group 1 on VAS.

Conclusion: Addition of sequential 70% glycolic acid peel to microneedling gives better scar improvement as compared to microneedling alone. In addition to this, it also improves skin texture.

Keywords: acne scars; glycolic acid peel; microneedling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / complications
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Atrophy / therapy
  • Chemexfoliation*
  • Cicatrix / pathology*
  • Cicatrix / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Glycolates / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Keratolytic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Needles*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Young Adult


  • Glycolates
  • Keratolytic Agents
  • glycolic acid