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Microneedling for Acne Scars: Should You Try It?
If you struggle with clearing acne scars, you’ve probably tried almost every fix in the book: scar creams, anti-aging serums, lasers, and more. The truth is, acne scarring can happen to anyone, but it is incredibly challenging to treat. Some people have gone for procedures such as microneedling.
Microneedling involves using a device with very fine needles to prick the skin. The idea behind this is that the pricks will stimulate new collagen production, which will eventually lead to the repair of the skin, removing acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles, as well as even out skin texture and removing uneven skin tone.
Is Microneedling good for acne scarring?
Microneedling works for a host of skin problems, including uneven texture, fine lines, or simply treating acne. Because microneedling goes over collagen bundles and makes tiny scars, the skin will automatically try to repair it and produce more collagen. The full procedure is usually done using a drum-shaped device and takes about three to four treatments for the best results.
Often, those who seek out this procedure are trying to treat what are called atrophic scars. Atrophic scarring occurs when an indented scar heals below the regular layer of skin tissue, resulting in an unbalanced skin texture.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, a microneedling treatment is better for depressed scars or atrophic acne scars rather than raised acne scars. This is because bumpy acne scars often have an excess level of collagen.
There are different types of depressed post-acne scars, classified according to their shape and size. These are boxcar scars, pitted scars, and ice pick scars. Boxcar acne scars are craters that usually look rounder than other types. One study done on the efficacy of microneedling showed that those who had boxcar scarring benefited more from the procedure.
Speaking of efficacy, almost 95% of participants from the same study reported clinical improvement three months after their final treatment session, as the procedure involves multiple treatments. However, the report also states that more studies need to be done comparing the results of microneedling and other minimally invasive treatments.
Can Microneedling worsen acne scars?
Microneedling for acne scars can be an effective treatment method, especially for instances with severe scarring. Some people even get yearly treatments for cosmetic purposes, or to treat other skin problems apart from acne scarring, such as melasma, fine lines, and dull skin, as the collagen remodeling that happens after the procedure is great for improving the skin’s appearance.
However, there are certain skin conditions that may prevent someone from achieving the same results. While a microneedling device does stimulate collagen, the way the needles penetrate the skin and cause micro-injuries can be more harmful than helpful in the case of someone with rosacea or eczema.
Also note that you should never get a procedure done on you if you have active acne, as this will irritate your skin further and potentially cause other types of acne scarring.
How often should you microneedle for acne scars?
As a rule of thumb, microneedling sessions should be done at around four to six weeks apart. The frequency of your sessions will depend on your skincare professional.
If you’re using a home microneedling device, you are probably using much shorter needles and can go by every other day. However, longer needles require the four to six weeks length in between sessions.
While acne scars are a pain in the butt to treat, one upside is the multitude of treatment options you have at your disposal. One of them is lasering.
Lasering and microneedling for acne scars both serve the purpose of skin resurfacing, but have vastly different procedures. Lasers are great at giving more dramatic and pronounced effects on the skin that can even last longer. They use heat technology in order to get rid of dark spots, wrinkles, acne scars — almost all of the same things that microneedling aims to do.
However, since lasers use heat technology to achieve these aims, the healing process takes much longer. Those with darker skin tones may also experience discoloration.
Microneedling, on the other hand, is compatible with any skin tone and takes quicker to heal. Peer-reviewed studies and literature on microneedling have shown that many people do prefer it over other methods because it has fewer side effects and a faster downtime.
At the end of the day, it really depends on your preference. But if you want a quicker solution with a lower potential of harmful side effects, then microneedling might be the way to go.
Do you think microneedling is the right procedure for your acne scars? Perhaps you have some experiences you want to share? Sound off in the comments below!
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Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.