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Close-up of a woman receiving a microneedling treatment on her forehead

Chemical peels and laser and light-based therapies are among the most recognized acne treatments, but is microneedling for acne on your radar? This safe, minimally invasive technique was introduced in the mid-90s for facial rejuvenation. However, it's now touted as an effective treatment for several skin concerns, including acne and associated scarring.

Even if you're not dealing with adult acne, you may have residual scars from your teenage years that are too stubborn for topical products to tackle. That's where microneedling comes in.

While the word "needle" may cause some trepidation, understanding how this technique works and how to incorporate microneedling for acne in your treatment plan can help put you at ease.


What Is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure physicians and Dermatologists—and sometimes Estheticians and nurses, depending on your state—perform to stimulate collagen production. The treatment is also known as collagen induction therapy.

Here's how it works: Your Derm rolls a dermaroller, a device embedded with tiny sharp needles, over the treatment area to create microscopic openings. When the needles prick the skin, your body receives an alert that damage is present. This kicks it into repair mode, which stimulates collagen production. In other words, microneedling activates a controlled damage response to achieve smoother, firmer skin.


Close up of man receiving microneedle procedure.


Can You Use Microneedling for Acne?

While microneedling can be an effective strategy for managing acne-prone skin, it's not appropriate for skin with active inflammation, pimples, and pustules. So, you'll need to wait until any active breakouts clear before treating the skin. Microneedling irritated or broken skin can exacerbate scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It can also spread bacteria, which can make breakouts worse.


Does Microneedling Help Acne Scars?

Acne scars result from inflammation associated with popping, picking at, or scratching blemishes. Acne scars take on one of two forms: atrophic (depressed) scars and raised scars. Depressed scars have a sunken, pit-like appearance due to a lack of collagen production during the healing process. Raised scars, on the other hand, occur when your body produces too much collagen as it heals the skin tissue.

So, does microneedling help acne scars? Yes—but only depressed scars since raised scars already have an overabundance of collagen. Fortunately, depressed acne scars are more common. Microneedling can reduce these scars' sunken appearance by stimulating collagen production and replacing damaged skin with new, healthy cells.


How Long Does It Take to See Results?

Microneedling results largely depend on your skin type, how well the skin heals (influenced by your genes), and the scar depth. Picking or popping pimples and smoking can impact scarring severity.

Some people notice results with one treatment, while others require several rounds to see noticeable results. A licensed skin care professional can work with you to develop a regimen that sets you up for success.


Microneedling for Acne: Best Practices


Seek Out a Licensed Professional

Many at-home microneedling devices are available, especially as the technique has improved and garnered more exposure over the years. But rather than taking matters into your own hands, you should opt for a professional treatment for several reasons:

  • Derms have access to more advanced devices and can adjust the needle depth according to the treatment area (e.g., shorter needles for the forehead, eyes, and nose).
  • Home microneedling tools only prick the skin superficially—about 0.25 mm deep—whereas pro models penetrate 2 to 3 mm.
  • At-home tools are manual, while professional devices harness electricity to ensure the microneedles penetrate evenly into the skin.


Seeing a board-certified Derm ensures your skin's safety and health. It also gives you the advantages of a pre-treatment consultation, a skilled and customized technique, and an aftercare plan, including the recommended number of treatments to achieve your goals. All of these factors lead to safer, more significant, and longer-lasting results.


Support Results with Your Skin Care Routine

Professional treatments and at-home care go hand in hand. Adopt a skin care routine that effectively targets breakouts and excessive oiliness while keeping the skin hydrated and balanced.

Opt for products formulated to treat and control oily, inflamed, congested skin. If you're unsure where to start, you can't go wrong with PCA SKIN Acne Control Regimen, a two-month supply featuring the following best-selling breakout-banishing formulas:


When used together, you can see a dramatic improvement in as little as one week. In addition you can also consider treating the area under your eyes with the PCA SKIN Hyaluronic Acid Microneedle Eye Patches. These eye patches feature over 1,200 self-dissolving microneedles that enhance delivery of hydrating and anti-aging ingredients directly to the skin.

Of course, no skin care routine is complete without sun protection. Along with warding off harmful ultraviolet A (UVA) and UVB rays, sunscreen can prevent acne scars from worsening. Try a formula suitable for acne-prone skin like PCA SKIN Weightless Protection Broad Spectrum SPF 45.


Team Up with a Pro

Acne management can be challenging, but you don't have to do it alone. If you're ready to tackle your acne and associated scarring with microneedling or another professional treatment, such as a professional chemical peel, find a PCA SKIN professional near you and take one step closer to your skin transformation.


Rebecca Taras
A Chicagoland native, Rebecca began her career catering to celebrity clientele as a licensed esthetician at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel. Her passion for skin care ingredients, formulations, and skin histology led her to create custom in-room skin, bath, and body amenities for the Sofitel Hotel Chicago. The Chicago Fashion Foundation recognized her efforts with the Style Maker, Rule Breaker award in the Beauty category. She later went on to co-found Terminal Getaway airport spas. Rebecca’s experience also includes serving as an editor for digital outlets such as Refinery29, PopSugar, Forbes Travel Guides, and Bustle. She continues to refine her skin care knowledge while spending time traveling the world with her husband.