Efficacy of a Needling Device for the Treatment of Acne Scars

M Alam, S Han, M Pongprutthipan, W Disphanurat, R Kakar, M Nodzenski, N Pace, N Kim, S Yoo, E Veledar, E Poon, DP West

acneABSTRACT

IMPORTANCE
Neocollagenesis can be achieved using a dermal rolling needle device, thereby reducing the appearance of acne scars.

OBJECTIVE
To determine the efficacy of a needling device for treatment of acne scars.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS
We performed a single-center, rater-blinded, balanced (1:1), split-face, placebo-controlled, parallel-group randomized clinical trial at an urban academic institution. The study took place from November 30, 2009, through July 27, 2010. Twenty healthy adults (age range, 20-65 years) with acne scars on both sides of the face were enrolled. Fifteen individuals completed the study, and no enrolled participants were withdrawn for adverse effects.

INTERVENTIONS
For each participant, one side of the face was randomized for needling. Three needling treatments were performed at 2-week intervals.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES
Two blinded dermatologists separately rated participants' acne scars based on standard digital photographs obtained at baseline and at the 3-month and 6-month follow-up visits on the quantitative global scarring grading system.

RESULTS
Mean scar scores were significantly lower in the treatment group compared with baseline at 6 months (mean difference, 3.4; 95% CI, 0.2-6.5; P = .03) and nominally but not significantly lower compared with baseline at 3 months (mean difference, 2.4; 95% CI, -0.01 to 4.8; P = .052). In the control group, mean scar scores did not vary significantly from baseline at 3 months (mean difference, 1.0; 95% CI, -1.4 to 3.4; P = .96) and at 6 months (mean difference, 0.4; 95% CI, -2.3 to 3.5; P > .99). The needling procedure was not particularly painful, with a mean pain rating of 1.08 of 10. Participants perceived a 41% mean improvement in overall scar appearance on the treated side. No adverse events were reported.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE
After 3 needling treatments, there was improvement in the appearance of acne scars over time compared with the control group, with minimal pain reported.

M Alam, S Han, M Pongprutthipan, W Disphanurat, R Kakar, M Nodzenski, N Pace, N Kim, S Yoo, E Veledar, E Poon, DP WestEfficacy of a Needling Device for the Treatment of Acne Scars: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
JAMA Dermatol 2014 Jun 11;[EPub Ahead of Print].