Glycolic Acid for Acne Scars

Sebastiano Accaputo
February 5, 2018


The combination of sequential 70% glycolic acid for acne scars and microneedling results in better acne scars improvement than microneedling alone, according to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Shiwangi Rana, MD, from Lady Hardinge Medical College in India, and colleagues examined the efficacy of microneedling with dermaroller alone vs a combination of microneedling and serial 70% glycolic acid peel for the management of atrophic acne scars among 60 patients. The participants were randomized to receive microneedling at 0, 6, and 12 weeks or microneedling at 0, 6, and 12 weeks along with 70% glycolic acid peel at 3, 9, and 15 weeks. A blinded observer used Echelle d'evaluation clinique des cicatrices d'acne (ECCA) to perform acne scar scoring at baseline and 22 weeks, and patients used the visual analogue scale (VAS) to grade the improvement in their scars and skin texture.

acne scars

The researchers found that for the 52 patients completing the trial, there was a greater decrease in the mean ECCA score in the combination treatment group compared with the microneedling-only group. In addition, the combination group showed greater improvement in skin texture on the VAS than the microneedling-only group.


Rana S, Mendiratta V, Chander R. Efficacy of microneedling with 70% glycolic acid peel vs microneedling alone in treatment of atrophic acne scars—A randomized controlled trial [published online October 26, 2017]. J Cosmet Dermatol. doi:10.1111/jocd.12377

"To conclude, management of acne scars usually require multiple procedures, and there is no single ideal techniques or number of sessions. Addition of glycolic acid peel to dermaroller gives better scar improvement, decreases post-inflammatory pigmentation, and improves skin texture," concluded the authors.