Micro-Needling for Acne Scars: What to Know About the Procedure

Augusta Falletta
young woman clear skin

Image via Getty Images

When you’re dealing with acne scars, finding anything that works even remotely to remove them is like finding the Holy Grail. But, when your scars are deeper than most and over the counter creams and medications won’t work, sometimes it’s a good idea to explore the option of a procedure in a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office.

We recently caught up with Dr. Haideh Hirmand, M.D. at her aesthetic plastic surgery office in New York learning about the SkinLabRx products she offers, we heard about Fractora (or micro-needling) and wanted to learn more. So, we spoke with Libby Vicenzino, Dr. Hirmand’s aesthetic consultant, to get the inside scoop on micro-needling and what it can do for the treatment of acne scars. Intended for clients with deep acne scars, wrinkles, or sun damage, and the treatment is done in a doctor’s office. The micro-needles puncture the skin and deliver bipolar RF energy to the skin cells, gently heating the tissue in the skin and promotes collagen production for a deep stimulation effect that helps to heal scars, wrinkles, and sun damage. Read on below for Libby Vicenzino’s expertise on micro-needling!

MORE: How to Get Rid of Acne

Beauty High: What exactly does micro-needling do? 

Libby VicenzinoMicro-needling has been around for a little while, but what we are doing is the next level of micro needling, which is using the radio frequency. It’s fantastic at penetrating the dermis, to create the growth of elastin and collagen. It really uses the body’s own natural healing. The mechanism is to stimulate your own body’s healing to do that. And at the same time it treats tone, it treats texture. You can go as deep as very, very deep wrinkles and acne scars. It’s fantastic, and one of the other things is that one of the hand pieces incorporates a collagen like structure, so that it has minimal tissue damage. It’s ultrasound and it’s actually invasive, it’s needling into the skin. It does sound terrifying but it’s not bad. If you want to shrink your pore size, fix tone and texture, lift and tighten, this crosses off many other categories because it’s invasive.

MORE: How to Get Rid of Acne Overnight

What’s the downtime like for micro-needling? 

You would think that this would be downtime, but I’ve seen it done and it looks pretty crazy, but after their done the downtime is actually pretty minimal. So it’s a pretty nice procedure and you can technically do it once a year, and you get really great results. But what I like about it is that you can do the different levels.
It’s ultrasound and it’s actually invasive, it’s needling into the skin. It does sound terrifying but it’s not bad.

How often can you get the procedure? 

I would say once a year, you don’t want to overdo it with this one. You don’t even have to do it once a year, you can do it once every two years. If you wanted to you could schedule two treatments and see, because you never know. This is the fun thing about this procedure, you can go light the first time to see how you do and how you recover, because your body is trying to heal itself, and when your body tries to heal itself that’s when you know what’s working. It’s rushing in to heal so what you can do is, after the first treatment you can say “Do I need to go deeper the next time?” You can do one more treatment and even a third depending on how light you start, and once that’s done and you’ve reached the results; ten days between each one, then you can just take a break.

MORE: Acne Scars and Dark Spots: What You Need to Know For Clear Skin

Considering this works well on scars and wrinkles, does it treat the entire face, or just the area of the scars? 

You can do just the scar or the entire face — either one. The only procedure that you don’t need to worry about staying out of the sun is ultherapy, because remember this is totally heating the dermis of your skin, it’s ultrasound. I always tell people to stay out of the sun anyway, because as an aesthetician, but I can’t tell them “You’re not going in the sun”

Once you have the procedure done, do you need to take extra precaution to not be in the sun? 

This is something that you want to stay in for, yes. You just tenderized and sort of disrupted your natural skin cells, so you want to be careful of the sun. I always tell people to stay out of the sun anyway, because as an aesthetician, I know that makes a difference, but I can’t tell them “You’re not going in the sun” period.