Do Dermarollers Work For Acne Scars?

By | October 6, 2014

Acne can result in permanent, disfiguring scars. Acne scarring is challenging to treat, and can cause much distress and low self esteem to the sufferers.

There are 2 types of acne scars:

  • hypertrophic (raised) scars: keloid
  • atrophic (depressed or pitted) scars: icepick, rolling and boxcar


Dermaroller Therapy For Acne Scars

Dermaroller therapy, also known as microneedling, skin needling, needle dermabrasion or percutaneous collagen induction therapy, is a simple, non-surgical and non-ablative treatment for scars (especially acne scars), wrinkles, stretch marks, cellulite and hyper-pigmentation. Dermaroller is a hand held equipment with drum-shaped roller studded with fine needles ranging from 0.2mm to 2.5mm in length.

During treatment, the dermaroller is rolled over the treated area in multiple directions. Needles pierce the stratum corneum and create pin point holes without damaging the epidermis. The microinjury triggers wound healing. Formation of new collagen, elastin and capillaries is stimulated, thereby reducing scars.

It takes about at least 6 week for new collagen to form. Therefore, several dermaroller treatments, at 4 to 6 week intervals, are necessary to achieve the desired results.

Is Dermaroller Therapy Effective For Acne Scars?

The efficacy of dermaroller treatment or collagen induction therapy depends on the grades and types of acne scars. Studies found this treatment reduces severity of atrophic scars and improves overall appearance of the skin.

Majid (2009) conducted a studyto  evaluate the efficacy of dermaroller treatment in atrophic facial scars. Dermarollers with 1.5mm needle length were used. Patients were treated 3-4 times, at monthly intervals.
Results: Dermaroller treatment resulted in an excellent response in 72% of the patients treated. Its effectiveness on the types and grades of scars was:
- good to excellent response in rolling and boxcar scars
- good to excellent response in grade 2 and 3 scars
- poor response in grade 4 scars
- moderate response in pitted scars
- poor response in deep pitted scars and other complicated scars

Fabbrocini (2009) conducted a study2 to determine the usefulness of of skin needling in acne scarring treatment. Patients with acne rolling scars were treated with skin needling.
Results: After only 2 session (interval 8 weeks between treatments), scar depth and severity were significantly reduced.

In another study3  by Fabbrocini (2014), the aim was to analyze the efficacy and safety of percutaneous collagen induction (PCI) for the treatment of acne scarring in different skin phototypes.
Results: PCI significantly reduced the severity grade of acne scars and improved skin texture. It is safe to use in all skin types.

Advantages of Dermaroller Treatment For Acne Scars

  1. Cheaper cost.
  2. Ease of procedure.
  3. Minimal downtime.
  4. Well tolerated by most patients.
  5. Lack of significant side effects. Temporary redness or swelling after treatment usually disappear within 2-3 days.
  6. Can be safely used on all skin colours, skin types and areas not suitable for peeling or laser resurfacing, such as near eyes.
  7. Lower risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation when compared to laser resurfacing, chemical peels, or dermabrasion.



1 Imran Majid. Microneedling Therapy in Atrophic Facial Scars: An Objective Assessment. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2009 Jan-Jun; 2(1): 26–30.

2 Fabbrocini G. Acne scarring treatment using skin needling. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2009 Dec;34(8):874-9.

3 Fabbrocini G. Percutaneous collagen induction: an effective and safe treatment for post-acne scarring in different skin phototypes. J Dermatolog Treat. 2014 Apr;25(2):147-52.

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