A Comparison of Microneedling versus Glycolic Acid Chemical Peel for the Treatment of Acne Scarring

J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2022 Jun;15(6):48-52.


Background: Acne vulgaris is a common skin disease that frequently results in scarring. Scars secondary to acne can lead to physical disfigurements and a profound psychological impact. Early and effective treatment is the best means to minimize and prevent acne scarring. In patients with darker skin tones, current acne scar treatments pose complications, including dyspigmentation, further scarring, and overall unsatisfactory clinical outcomes.

Objective: We sought to compare the efficacy of microneedling versus 35% glycolic acid chemical peels for the treatment of acne scars.

Methods: Sixty patients with Fitzpatrick Skin Phototype IV to VI with atrophic acne scars were randomized into two groups: Group A underwent microneedling every two weeks for a total of 12 weeks and Group B received chemical peels every two weeks for a total of 12 weeks. Acne scar treatment efficacy was represented by an improvement greater than one grade from baseline according to the Goodman and Baron Scarring Grading System, measured two weeks after the completion of the last treatment session.

Results: Group A demonstrated more improved outcomes in acne scar treatment compared to Group B; 73.33% (n=22) of patients in Group A achieved treatment efficacy while 33.33% (n=10) in Group B did the same. Additionally, 26.67% (n=8) in Group A showed no efficacy after treatment compared to 66.67% (n=20) in Group B.

Conclusion: Microneedling provided better treatment outcomes compared to 35% glycolic acid peels for acne scar treatment in our patient population with Fitzpatrick Skin Phototypes IV to VI.

Keywords: Microneedling; acne; acne vulgaris; chemical peel; scar.