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Microneedling superior to glycolic acid peel for atrophic acne scars in darker skin

Photo by Ron Lach via Pexels

New research suggests that microneedling is significantly more effective than chemical peels at improving acne scars in patients with darker skin types.

In the study, published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 60 patients with atrophic acne scars and Fitzpatrick skin types IV to VI were randomly assigned to treatment with either a 35% glycolic acid peel or microneedling, each administered every two weeks for 12 weeks.

After treatment, 33% of patients who received the peel treatment and 73% of patients who received the microneedling experienced an improvement of two or more points on the Goodman and Baron Scarring Grading System. Scar improvement was measured two weeks after the last treatment session.

“Based on the results of this study, patients whose darker skin precludes the use of stronger chemical peels, which can permanently discolour darker skin, should treat acne scars with microneedling,” said the study’s senior author Dr. Babar Rao, in a press release. “For patients with lighter skin who can use stronger peels without risk of discolouration, chemical peels might still be the best option for some.”

Dr. Rao is a professor of dermatology and pathology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University, in New Brunswick, N.J.

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