After having facial acne for nine years, several types of scars developed on my skin. While some of those scars healed with over-the-counter topical solutions, some did not even fade slightly. I underwent four microneedling treatments, two of which delivered exceptional results. Below I discuss my experience with microneedling acne scars and the process I underwent.
Table of Contents
- What Is Microneedling For Acne Scars?
- Does Microneedling Work For Acne Scars?
- Microneedling Acne Scars Before and After Treatments
- My Side Effects
- How Much Does Microneedling For Acne Scars Cost?
What Is Microneedling For Acne Scars?
Microneedling or collagen-induction therapy is a cosmetic procedure that uses sterile tiny needles to repeatedly puncture the skin. These punctures trigger an immune response to heal those punctures, generally causing the skin’s surface to even out.
The primary purpose of microneedling is to stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that plays a major role in skin elasticity, strength, and hydration. The functionality behind microneedling is to injure your skin so new collagen can form in those injured areas and fills the scars with fresh, new skin, making it look smoother.
Does Microneedling Work For Acne Scars?
Yes, microneedling is effective at treating acne scars as it helps initiate the bodys repair processes, generally resulting in increased collagen production. The newly-formed collagen fills the indentations or depressions in the skins’ surface to smoothen out the skin and improve overall skin texture.
Like many other cosmetic procedures, the results of microneedling vary between patients. My first standard microneedling treatment and my treatment combined with fractional lasering worked incredibly well at reducing the appearance of my acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.
My PRP treatments did not respond well to my skin, possibly because I did not wait long enough between treatments for my skin to heal. Research has shown that skin needling can treat acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles exceptionally well.
The effectiveness of microneedling also varies depending on the types of scars. Indented acne scars, for example, occur in areas where your skin lacks collagen. Raised acne scars, on the other hand, occur in areas where there is an excess of collagen and therefore, more collagen production through microneedling will only make them worse.
Microneedling Acne Scars Before and After Treatments
After completing a three-month course of Accutane and trying collagen-boosting and anti-pigmentary products with no significant results to my appearance, my dermatologist recommended microneedling for acne scar treatment.
I underwent four microneedling treatments over a period of 5 months. The types of atrophic scars I was dealing with were boxcar scars and rolling scars (indentations of varying lengths). I also had minor hyperpigmentation, which appeared in red, purple, or black marks.
First Session: Microneedling
Process: During my first microneedling treatment, the dermatologist applied a topical numbing cream and microneedled my skin for about 15 minutes. I felt no pain at all during the procedure and after I received a soothing hyaluronic acid cream and light therapy which helped reduce inflammation.
Side Effects: Though it’s not very common, a brown sunburn-like patch developed on my skin which itself went away after 72 hours. I refrained from wearing make-up and wore sunscreen at all times, as advised by my dermatologist.
Results: After my first microneedling session, I could see a noticeable reduction in both indentations of my post acne scars and hyperpigmentation on my face. I was very happy with my appearance, so this prompted me to try Microneedling with PRP for acne scars 4 weeks later.
2nd Session: Microneedling With PRP
Process: I had to give my blood before the procedure, as I was that the combination of these two therapies is more effective in boosting collagen and elastin production. My dermatologist applied platelet-rich plasma on my scars and micro-needled my skin for about 10 minutes. I underwent light therapy after this procedure too.
Side Effects: My skin, again, took 72 hours for my red appearance to heal completely.
Results: I was disappointed with my PRP treatment, as it didn’t make my scarring any worse but I didn’t notice any noticeable improvements.
Third Session: Microneedling with PRP
Process: Two months later I decided to give PRP another shot. PRP was applied before and after treatment.
Side Effects: Redness and some inflammation. It took two to three days for my side effects to subside.
Results: This PRP treatment made my scars more visible. My dermatologist realized that PRP therapy did not suit my skin and recommended microneedling in combination with fractional lasering.
Fourth Session: Microneedling with Fractional CO2 Laser
Cost: $1500 (I received a discount due to the poor results of my previous treatments)
Process: This time, my dermatologist combined microneedling with a fractional CO2 laser and it worked extremely well for my skin.
Side Effects: Post inflammation and redness. My face felt very hot after treatment and these effects subsided after one week.
Results: This procedure worked extremely well for my skin. It took about 6 months to produce noticeable results and worked very well for my pigmented spots. I’ve also started using azelaic acid for three months.
My Side Effects
While most people say that microneedling has no downtime, I had to wait on average for 72 hours before the appearance of my skin healed completely. I could feel a sunburn sensation and a mild tightness on my skin during the first 24 hours.
Soreness, sensitivity, and redness are common a few hours after the procedure. Some areas of my face were more sensitive than the others, such as the hairline, jawline, upper lips, and forehead.
As PRP-microneedling involves healing scars with your blood, there’s a chance of infection or cross-contamination. This may explain the worsening of acne scars after my second PRP-microneedling session.
The treatment is also unlikely to work for those with active breakouts or other skin conditions like eczema.
How Much Does Microneedling For Acne Scars Cost?
Cost of treatments will be affected by the depth and size of the issue treated, location, the required number of treatments, and the skin care professional chosen. For reference, I live in a very small and remote town in the midwest United States. I imagine if I traveled to my closest major city hub, my cost of treatments would have increased. I spent around $3000 for four treatments.
As my scars were not very deep, my doctor recommended only four sessions. Though I still don’t have a skin texture as smooth as I want, my scars are barely visible! My discoloration is minimal and overall I’m very happy with my results.
Though microneedling is not considered a permanent treatment for acne scars, it can reduce their appearance significantly. I find it beneficial that there are no serious side effects and that the treatment doesn’t require me to step away from my daily routine for too long.
How Often Should You Microneedle for Acne Scars?
Three to six sessions spaced out between four to six weeks are generally recommended for acne scar removal. Treatment requirements will be based upon the severity and depth of the injury or skin concern. It can take up to six weeks for the skin cells to turn over and months to build collagen and elastin.
Is Microneedling for Acne Scars Permanent?
Microneedling is not considered a permanent treatment for any type of acne scars. However, a significant number of people have reported complete removal of acne scars after a few sessions.
What Is The Recommended Microneedling Depth for Acne Scars?
.2mm is recommended for the medical needling depth of acne scars.