Microneedling for Acne Scar Treatment: What Is Microneedling?
Microneedle is a type of small needle used to treat skin conditions such as acne scars, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin problems. Microneedles are usually made from stainless steel or titanium. They have been clinically proven effective in treating various types of skin disorders including acne scarring (1). Microneedling is a safe procedure that does not require any medical supervision. However, it requires some time and patience to get results.
What Are Acne Scars?
Acne scars are patches of redness or swelling caused by inflammation of the sebaceous glands (2). These are mostly found on the face, neck, chest, back and arms. They may appear anywhere on your body but they tend to occur most often around the nose area. Acne scars are very common and they affect up to 10% of the population (3).
How Do You Get Acne Scars?
The main cause of acne scars is hormonal changes during puberty. During puberty, hormones like testosterone and estrogen increase. These hormones stimulate the growth of new hair follicles which leads to increased oil production in the sebaceous glands. This causes the formation of pimples on your face, neck, chest and elsewhere (4).
Excessive scratching or squeezing of pimples can lead to permanent scarring. The most common cause of scarring is picking at your pimples until they grow too large and then bursting. You’ll often only notice these scars once the skin starts to heal. Picking at your skin can also lead to discoloration and surface cracks on the skin (5).
How Does Acne Scarring Form?
When you squeeze or pick at a pimple, it grows much larger than it should. Most people think it will get better but this is rarely the case. When you over-pop a pimple, it can lead to a large and unsightly whitehead which may take weeks to disappear. As it heals, the top layers of skin begin to peel off and the area turns red or dark. This causes permanent damage to the skin (6).
In most cases, the damage causes small depressions in the skin called pits. These are quite common among people who have bad acne. In some cases, the pits can join together to form larger depressions called scars. These scars are much harder to get rid of and they can last for many years.
Scars can also cause discoloration of the skin. The skin will often turn red or turn dark (7).
What Are The Types Of Acne Scars?
Acne scars can form in different ways and they are often classified by their shape, size and depth.
Ice Pick Scars: Ice pick scars are deep holes that are close together. They are quite large and can be compared to the puncture wounds left by an ice pick.
Boxcar Scars: Boxcar scars are wider than ice pick scars but not quite as wide as a normal scar. They have a steep slope on each side and resemble a box car.
Rolling Scars: Rolling scars are wide but much shallower than other types of scars. They have a wave like appearance and have a smooth edge.
Atrophic Scars: Atrophic scars are the smallest and least noticeable types of scars. These are also known as thread veins because of their thin and hair like appearance. Atrophic scars are most common on the face but can be found anywhere on the body (8).
How Do You Treat Acne Scars?
There are many treatments for acne scars but not all of them are effective. It’s important to pick a treatment that works for you and your lifestyle. The most common types of treatment include:
Prescription Medications: Your doctor may prescribe tretinoin, alpha hydroxyl acids, Benzoyl Peroxide or antibiotics to help with the scarring.
Sources & references used in this article:
Microneedling with dermaroller by S Doddaballapur – Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery, 2009 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Combination of microneedling and glycolic acid peels for the treatment of acne scars in dark skin by J Sharad – Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Combined autologous platelet‐rich plasma with microneedling verses microneedling with distilled water in the treatment of atrophic acne scars: a concurrent split‐face … by M Asif, S Kanodia, K Singh – Journal of cosmetic dermatology, 2016 – Wiley Online Library
Microneedling therapy for atrophic acne scars: an objective evaluation by M El-Domyati, M Barakat, S Awad… – The Journal of clinical …, 2015 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov