Research Spotlight: Can Microneedling Help Acne Scars?

A New Way to Treat Acne Scars: Microneedling?

Research Spotlight: Skin microneedling for acne scars associated with pigmentation in patients with dark skin

Why Does This Matter?

  • Microneedling may be a new, effective way to remove the often long-lasting effects of hyperpigmentation caused by acne
  • This method has shown to be effective on individuals with darker skin

Over 80% of adolescents experience acne at least once, and the far more long-lasting companion of acne, the acne scar, can be even more burdensome than the zit itself.[1] Despite how common acne scars are, not all acne scars are the same. For individuals of darker skin tones especially, acne scars can result in hyperpigmentation, or more pigmented spots on the skin.[2] Fortunately, there are several acne scar treatments, such as microneedling, the process of pricking the skin with microscopic needles to stimulate skin renewal. With this, in their search to find improved acne scar treatments, a team of researchers assessed the effectiveness of microneedling on treating the hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars in a recent study.

Testing Microneedling’s Effectiveness of Treating Acne Scars on Darker Skin

In the study, the researchers selected forty-eight individuals with darker skin and acne scars, performing the microneedle acne scar treatment on every volunteer. After two weeks, the researchers examined the patients’ skin for any redness, side effects, or dryness. After four weeks, the researchers had another check up to look for any signs of improvement for the volunteers’ scars. From these checkups, the researchers found that on average, there was a 23% decrease of hyperpigmentation for the participants, though this significantly varied for each individual. Based on the volunteers’ own evaluations, 78% of the acne scar patients reported that they were satisfied with the microneedling technique in treating their acne scar-related hyperpigmentation. All the patients reported redness and dryness following their treatments.


Acne scars can be a definite burden, with many darker-skinned individuals facing the added issue of hyperpigmentation. Based on the study’s results, the microneedling technique could possibly be a helpful solution to treating acne scars for those with darker skin, though the treatment’s success varies based on the individual. While more research is needed to refine and improve the microneedling technique, the possible success of this acne scar treatment has promising results for the future.

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  1. Lynn DD, Umari T, Dunnick CA, et al. The epidemiology of acne vulgaris in late adolescence. Adolesc Health Med Ther.2016;7:13-25; PMID: 26955297 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26955297.
  2. Abad-Casintahan F, Chow SK, Goh CL, et al. Frequency and characteristics of acne-related post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. J Dermatol.2016;43(7):826-828; PMID: 26813513 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26813513.