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New study compares microneedling and chemical peels for acne scars

In this study1 of the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatologyboard-certified dermatologist Babar Rao, MD, FAAD, professor of dermatology and pathology at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and colleagues randomly assigned 60 participants with acne scars and darker skin tones into two groups.

They compared two different treatments, one a chemical peel with 35% glycolic acid and the other a microneedling session – both administered every two weeks for 12 weeks.

In case you’re unfamiliar, microneedling involves tiny sterilized needles that pierce the skin and stimulate collagen production, encouraging the skin to heal – in turn, the method helps reduce the appearance and depth of acne scars.

Chemical peels, on the other hand, do exactly what you would expect — chemical peels are used to remove the top layer of skin. The skin that grows back in its place is likely to be smoother and free of discoloration. This also helps minimize the appearance of acne scars.

So what did the researchers find? Microneedling provided better treatment results compared to peels with 35% glycolic acid in patients with darker skin tones.

This study marks a major advance in the world of acne scar treatment: while chemical peels may still be a great option for some (if it works for you, it works!), microneedling may show even better results for acne scars, especially those with melanin-rich skin. As always, try to speak to a dermatologist before booking any of these treatments.


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