A 2016 study from the journal Dermatologic Surgery found that “both nonablative fractional laser 1,340 nm and microneedling are comparable and effective in the treatment of atrophic acne scars,” with microneedling having fewer side effects and less down time. The patients received three dermaroller microneedling sessions one month apart. Six months post-treatment, investigators saw no difference between results of the two therapies.3
“The main difference was that with lasers, people had two to three days of redness, compared to one day on the microneedling side. Also, after microneedling, there was no PIH,” Dr. Weinstein Velez says.
In a randomized split-face study published in a January issue of Dermatologic Surgery, investigators treated 30 patients with atrophic acne scars (skin types III through V) with fractional erbium:YAG laser on one side and automated microneedling (one session monthly for five months) on the other.
At three months post treatment, the laser treated side averaged approximately 70% improvement as compared to 30% for microneedling (p> 0.001).4 Patients who received laser treatment experienced more side effects, including erythema, swelling and total downtime. One patient with skin type V developed PIH on the laser-treated side.
An article published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology in July 2015 reported “statistically significant” improvements in scarring for 10 patients who received six sessions of microneedling with a dermaroller at two week intervals.5