Vyvian (XueQing) Jiang, BSc Pharm Student
Acne scarring is a common problem for a lot of adults as a result of puberty, and the majority of us don’t know what to do about this. Having explored exfoliating agents and laser surgeries, let’s talk about another method to help with acne scars called microneedling.
What Is Microneedling?1
Microneedling also goes by the name percutaneous collagen induction or collagen induction therapy. As the names suggests, microneedling mainly involves the use of tiny needles that create small wounds on the skin surface. The result of this is the release of a bunch of chemicals such as growth hormones that leads to increased collagen in the skin. This action of increasing collagen can last for many months after initial treatment and result in more even skin production. An added effect of microneedling is that by inducing wounds, it increases absorption of drugs to be used on top of the skin. What does this mean for you? If you’re using products for acne or acne scars or anything else for your skin, they’ll likely be absorbed better and work more efficiently.
The device to be used for microneedling is usually a roller device that has varying needle depth depending on the patient’s skin. The depth of needle could range from 1.0 mm to 2.0 mm. Usually, a 1.0mm needle is used for fairer skin with less oil production.
Is it Safe?1
Yes, and just like any other treatment methods, it does come with some side effects. The common side effects have been noted as the following:
- Pain (because you’re still poking your skin with needles)
- Redness and swelling that will eventually go away (general inflammation due to damage)
There are also a few rare side effects such as infection and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (changes to skin tone). However, these are on the rarer side and something to be discussed more specifically with a dermatologist prior to the procedure.
What would the Treatment Regimen Look Like?1
Like exfoliating agents, microneedling needs more than one treatment to show the best results. It’s usually spaced out by four-six weeks to allow the skin time to recover. Keep in mind that the stimulation of collagen as a result of this treatment will last for several months after. Therefore, you can expect to see optimal results within a few months (about three-six months post-treatment).
How Much does it Cost?2
The cost of the treatment can vary from $550 to $1000 per treatment depending on the area. However, if more than one treatment is needed, the prices can quickly increase to a few thousand.
Microneedling With Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)1
This is the same as microneedling with the addition of platelet-rich plasma that has additional growth factors to increase the outcome of acne scar treatment and help the skin heal. The PRP is applied on the skin either topically like a cream or injected right underneath the skin. Though this additional step isn’t necessary, it’s more effective than just regular microneedling or microneedling with vitamin C. Another advantage is that this treatment has a longer lasting interval of up to eight weeks, which is lengthier than regular microneedling at four-six weeks.
The Bottom Line
Aside from exfoliating agents and fractional laser therapy, microneedling is another good treatment for acne scars that may be more cost effective than laser therapy. Essentially, how this works is by using small needles to causes minor injuries in the skin and the healing process after treatment will be even and thereby helps with the scarring. This procedure is relatively harmless except for the pain and irritation post treatment. One treatment may do the trick but usually more is needed at intervals of approximately one month apart. Microneedling with platelet-rich plasma is the same procedure but with an additional step of using PRP to achieve better outcomes.
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- Soliman, Y., Horowitz, R., Hashim, P., Nia, J., Farberg, A., & Goldenberg, G. (2018). Update On Acne Scar Treatment. Cosmetic Dermatology, 102(1), 21-48. Retrieved from https://www.mdedge.com/sites/default/files/Document/July-2018/CT102001021.PDF
- Endymed Pro Microneedling – Edmonton Dermatology. (2018). Retrieved from http://edmontonderm.ca/cosmetic-dermatology/endymed-pro-3deep-rf-intensif-microneedling/