dermaroller verses chemical peels

Derma roller as Effective as full strength Chemical Peels for acne scars.



Research shows Microneedling, derma rolling or skin needling as it is called is as Effective as full-concentration trichloroacetic acid (Chemical Peels) in the treatment of atrophic acne scars without the risks or side effects of chemical peels.


We are often asked how derma rolling compares to other cosmetic treatments. Where possible we try to bring you high quality research on the subject so you can make informed decisions about your appearance. We have previously published a study showing the micro needling was more effective than IPL in inducting collagen on the face (1).


Today we are going to refer to study directly comparing the results of derma rolling on acne scars compared to those produced by chemical peels (2). The particular peel used was the full concentration trichloroacetic acid peel, a very strong peel. Results from these stronger peels will be expected to be better than weaker peels but of course with enhanced risks. Chemical peels have been associated with pigmentation issues for some individuals and so are now not recommended for all skin types.


Both chemical peels and derma rolling work by inducing the wound healing cascade. By doing so they stimulate the dermis below the epidermis to create new collagen. As part of the wound healing cascade a group of enzymes are produced called collegeanease. These enzymes specifically break down old damaged collagen in the area. It is because of these Enzymes as much as inducing collagen that micro needling is so effective on acne scars.



The big difference between skin needling and chemical peels is in how they pass through the epidermis to reach the dermis. Chemical peels do this be actually removing the epidermis. This increases the risks of infection and can also damage the melanin in the skin leading to pigmentation issues in some individuals. In comparison derma rolling creates small punctures through the epidermis to reach the dermis below.


These holes close in an average of 8 hours without the same risks of infection and without any risks to pigmentation. For this reason skin needling is now recommended as the preferred treatment for darker and pigmentation problem prone skin. For the reasons above derma rolling also has much quicker recovery times.


Study Method

30 individual were randomly divided into 2 groups. Half had 4 sessions of micro needling and half had 4 sessions of the chemical peel. 


The results. 

100% of patients recorded improvements in their acne scars with most recording and average of between 68% and 75%. There was no statistical difference in the results for the micro needling group and the full-concentration trichloroacetic acid group.



This study shows 2 important things. Firstly and most importantly derma rolling is effective in assisting atrophic acne scars. Secondly it can achieve comparable results to much more invasive 

treatments such as full-concentration trichloroacetic acid peels. It does this without the same risks of infection pigmentation issues or increased recovery times of chemical peels.


Based on this evidence derma rollers would appear to be a better option to assist atrophic acne scars than chemical peels.


If you would like to learn more about assisting acne scars safely and affordably with micro needling please follow this link - Scar Reduction Pack.


  1. Kim, S. E., Lee, J. H., Kwon, H. B., Ahn, B. J. & Lee, A. Y. (2011). Greater collagen deposition with the micro needle therapy system than with intense pulsed light. Dermatol Surg. Mar 37(3), 336-341
  2. Leheta T1, El Tawdy A, Abdel Hay R, Farid S. (2011). Percutaneous collagen induction versus full-concentration trichloroacetic acid in the treatment of atrophic acne scars. Dermatol Surg. 2011 Feb;37(2):207-16


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