Novel device-based acne treatments: comparison of a 1450-nm diode laser and microneedling radiofrequency on mild-to-moderate acne vulgaris and seborrhoea in Korean patients through a 20-week prospective, randomized, split-face study

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Apr;32(4):639-644. doi: 10.1111/jdv.14714. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


Background: While device-based acne treatments are widely applied for patients not tolerating conventional medications, related controlled studies have been still limited. Recently, non-ablative 1450-nm diode laser (DL) and fractional microneedling radiofrequency (FMR) have been effectively used for acne, in addition to well-recognized dermal remodelling effects.

Objective: To compare the clinical course of acne treatment between DL and FMR.

Methods: Twenty-five Korean patients with mild-to-moderate facial acne completed treatments with DL and FMR through a 20-week, randomized split-face study. One randomly assigned half side of each patient's face received DL and the other side by FMR. Treatments were scheduled to receive three consecutive sessions at 4-week intervals. Objective assessments including revised Leeds grades, lesion counts, sebum output measurements, and patients' subjective satisfaction were investigated.

Results: Both DL and FMR demonstrated steady improvement of acne and seborrhoea during treatment sessions. While results between two devices were similar during treatment sessions, FMR was superior to DL in the 12-week follow-up. Patients' subjective assessments for seborrhoea improvement were similar between two devices, while those for acne, skin texture, and acne scars were more satisfactory for FMR. For safety profile, no significant difference was observed between two regimens, while mild postinflammatory hyperpigmentation was observed only in DL side.

Conclusion: Both DL and FMR demonstrated efficacies for acne and seborrhoea, with reasonable safety profile. FMR was more effective than DL for the long-term maintenance, and subjective assessments for texture and scar improvements. Therefore, a few sessions of these devices would be a viable option for acne treatments.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / pathology
  • Acne Vulgaris / radiotherapy
  • Acne Vulgaris / therapy*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / pathology
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / radiotherapy
  • Dermatitis, Seborrheic / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / adverse effects
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Male
  • Needles* / adverse effects
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Republic of Korea
  • Sebum / metabolism
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult