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Acne affects millions of people across the world. Although most common in teenagers, it can continue into adulthood or even occur in adults when they hadn’t suffered from it during puberty. 

Anybody with active acne understands just how damaging it can be not only to your self-confidence and the way that you enjoy your appearance but also on a physical level with the threat of acne scarring.

Post-acne scars are side effects left behind once the actual condition has subsided and even those with moderate acne scars are often left self-conscious and unhappy with what they see when they look in the mirror.

Types of Acne Scars

microneedling for acne scars

Atrophic acne scars – form just below the top layer of the skin and appear as shallow, flat depressions (hence this type of scar is also known as a depressed acne scar). Most commonly caused by cystic acne,  there are three types of atrophic acne scars – boxcar. ice pick and rolling, named for their general shape and appearance. 

Hypertrophic acne scars and keloid scars – these are raised lumps of tissue in places where acne occurred. The scar tissue builds up becoming visible. In the case of hypertrophic scars, the size is equal to the size of the acne that caused them. Keloid scars grow beyond the size of the original acne. Both these types of acne scars are more common in people with darker skin tones. 

Post-inflammatory acne scars

This type of acne scar is self-healing unlike atrophic acne scars and hypertrophic acne scars. Post-inflammatory scars are patches of darker or discolored skin. If you avoid excessive sun exposure and use sunscreen, skin rejuvenation will occur naturally. 

If your acne was severe or you picked at the spots, you may see hyperpigmentation. Again, your skin will return to its natural color over time with a good skincare and sun protection regime. 

Treatments Available

Acne scar treatments have evolved massively in the last few years and many people can achieve a great improvement in the appearance of acne scars, even severe cases, and deeper scars. 

Dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, and aesthetic practitioners can offer a wide range of acne scar treatment methods. 

A popular cosmetic procedure is skin micro-needling therapy. 

What Is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a type of minimally invasive skin resurfacing procedure that involves using several very tiny needles to create small punctures on the surface of the skin. The punctures are actually tiny wounds and these trigger a healing response in the skin.

Because the main response is to stimulate collagen production, microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy. 

Microneedling is safe for all skin colors and skin types, including sensitive skin. There are various applications of microneedling. It is an effective treatment for several skin concerns including fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, skin laxity, large pores, stretch marks, sun damage, and acne scars. 

How Does Microneedling Help Acne Scars?

The body’s main response to the micro-wounds produced by the needles is an increase in collagen deposition.  This boosted collagen stimulation in the targeted areas leads to the improvement of acne scars, because excess collagen means extra healing power.

After the microneedling procedure, the production of collagen makes skin tissue much tighter and much smoother, with a reduced appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, stretch marks, or scarring that might be present.

This tightening effect of a microneedling treatment works very well to smooth out all types of scars. Collagen plumps up all the layers of skin, essentially filling in depressed scars and deep scars like boxcar scars and icepick scars and reducing the pronounced nature of keloid scars.

There will also be a noted improvement in skin texture and skin tone, which also helps to reduce the appearance of acne scarring. This improvement in the skin’s uppermost layer and increased collagen content which also helps to stimulate elastin deposition leads to overall skin rejuvenation and brighter skin overall. 

Is Microneedling Safe?

woman doing liposuction on her face microneedling for acne scars

Microneedling is a safe cosmetic treatment  – an aesthetic procedure rather than cosmetic surgery.  

It is a non-invasive procedure that doesn’t require general anesthetic, needles are completely sterilized, treatment sessions are short and the healing process is very quick. Downtime is minimal, so you don’t need to change any of your daily activities to receive treatment for your scars.

Skin microneedling treatment does produce redness and swelling in the treated areas, but you can expect them to fade after a couple of days. Clinical studies reveal that severe side effects are very rare.

There is a very minor risk of infection. After all, the procedure is making holes in the skin which germs may enter but the cleansing routine and sterilized application are enough to prevent this. 

Good aftercare is also important in making sure the procedure is safe. You need to keep your rejuvenated skin clean and avoid sun exposure as well as places that could have lots of germs, like swimming pools and open water sources. Your skincare routine should also not include abrasive, irritating, or harsh lotions.

Are Skin Microneedling Therapy Results Permanent?

While acne scars have a good response to skin microneedling, the effects are not permanent. This is the same for all skin conditions for which skin microneedling therapy is suitable. It is also not dissimilar to other aesthetic and cosmetic treatments such as Botox, fillers, and laser therapy.  

The results of microneedling will vary from patient to patient. How long the effects last is very individual because every individual will have unique scarring in terms of the extent of scarring and depth of scars. Most people require three to six sessions to see results. 

The effects will start to fade over time and acne scarring will become more prominent once again.

Microneedling sessions need to be repeated for the continued reduced appearance of acne scars. How often you need to schedule microneedling appointments is again down to the individual. 

What Should You Expect Before and After Microneedling?

The procedure begins with a thorough cleansing of the skin. A numbing cream (a form of topical anesthetic) is then applied. A mild tingling sensation might be experienced at this point. 

The clinician will move a rolling tool, stamping device, or pen-shaped device containing the needles over the skin. Tiny punctures are made by the needles and this causes a little bit of bleeding. This will be treated accordingly.

Discomfort levels during the treatment will vary based on its intensity. There will be no pain after the treatment.

One session of skin microneedling lasts for 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the extent of treatment.  After the treatment, you can expect some redness and swelling but these will subside within a few days. 

Side effects can be reduced and eased by avoiding direct sun exposure for a week, and consuming plenty of water both before and after your treatment.

Who Should Not Get Microneedling?

A dermatologist or qualified aesthetician will determine if you are a good candidate for microneedling. If suitable, your treatment will take place in a medical aesthetic setting or dermatologist’s office.

Microneedling is probably not the best option for you if you are prone to easy scarring. It is also not suitable if you are pregnant or if you suffer from other skin conditions such as rosacea or eczema. 

What Is The Cost Of Microneedling?

Microneedling is not generally covered by health insurance because it is considered to be an aesthetic treatment rather than a medical necessity.

The exact amount that you can expect to pay for microneedling sessions will depend on your location and your provider, but the average cost is around $750-$1000 for a single treatment. 

Enhanced Microneedling Treatment?

microneedling for acne scars

Though microneedling can produce excellent results on acne scars, an even better treatment is combined radiofrequency with microneedling. 

The addition of radiofrequency to the collagen induction therapy treatment means that deeper layers of skin can be heated, boosting collagen production more than by microneedling alone. 

Additional heat from the radio waves also helps to tighten skin reducing the appearance of scars.

Where to Get Microneedling Treatment

If you are interested and impressed by the proven efficacy of skin microneedling and would like to explore treatment options for your atrophic scarring, contact the Z Center For Cosmetic Health

Under the supervision of a board-certified general surgeon, the center boasts a team of medical professionals experienced in various techniques to reduce the appearance of scars on the face and body. Book a consultation to find out how they may help with the improvement of scar appearance and if the skin microneedling or Genius RF (microneedling with radiofrequency) technique is a suitable solution for you.