Will derma pen cause scaring or damage my skin?! (photo)

I have shallow acne scars. I have like 5 main ones. Will it help plump them up? And will this procedure make me break out?

Doctor Answers 7


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Micro-needling is an effective treatment for acne scarring. It should greatly improve the look of the scars with very little down time. It does require at least 3 to 6 treatments spaced about one month apart to get optimal results. It can cause things to surface during the healing process but being placed on a good skin care regimen should help between treatments. Thanks for the question and good luck.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Micro-needling for acne scars

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Medical micro-needling is an excellent treatment to improve acne scarring and can give as good or better results than fractionated laser treatments and at a fraction of the cost! However, micro-needling is much more effective when it is combined with the application of human growth factor serums at the time of the treatment. It works by stimulating the skin to trigger the release of growth factors to create more collagen and elastic fibers, resulting in thicker, healthier looking skin and improvement in the appearance of the acne scars. Shallow acne scars such as yours respond the best to these treatments. It is unlikely that it will make you break out.
In my office, we use the ProCell Therapies system which combines motorized micro-needling with concentrated human growth factor serums made from human stem cells and are seeing excellent results in the treatment of acne scars. The larger sized treatment tips make for faster treatment times with less discomfort. Our patients also use growth factor serums at home after their office treatment.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Great for Acne Overall

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Microneedling with PRP is one of the most effective treatments I have come across in my 10 years in aesthetic medicine.  For acne and acne scars especially.  I became a believer with my first male patient who did not have a single breakout for 4 months after one session.  And another patient of mine, like you with scarring, redness and inflammation as a result of acne.  One session did wonders.  You will not regret doing it.  

Nasimeh Yazdani, MD
Santa Monica Internist

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Microneedling for Acne Scars

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Thanks for the question and the attached photo! Acne scarring is actually one of the skin issues that microneedling can do. Microneedling sessions can be used to improve your scars’ appearance with very little risk for side effects. That said, microneedling would not give you instantaneous result just after one session. Depending on the actual appearance of your acne scars, you may require three or more treatment sessions with one session given one month after another. Healing process for this is also going to be speedy if coupled with proper skin care management. Breakouts could happen if you have active acne condition since microneedling may spread out bacteria on your face, but even if that is the case, this could be avoided if your doctor will be able to evaluate your skin condition prior to scheduling the microneedling sessions. Your doctor might even discuss a solution to your active acne condition before actually proceeding to doing microneedling treatment sessions. Do not be afraid to inform your doctor if you have active acne so he or she would be able to give you fitting treatment plan. Best of luck to you!

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

I use dermapen all the time

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I DO NOT recommend microneedling at home. Understanding depth and depth signs are something that only dermatologists learn. Microneedling at home can cause scarring, infection, damage to the skin, pigmentation, and a host of other problems. 

Sameer Bashey, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Microneedling could be the Answer!

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Microneedling or a dermapen can help with pitted scars on the face. It works by creating calculated depth incisions on the skin which in turn stimulates elastin and collagen which fill in the scars over time.

Joshua L. Fox, MD
Long Island Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Dermapen Risks and Benefits

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Dermapen is an automated mechanical microneedle device which allows the user to control the depth of penetration.  Depending on the number of passes and depth of penetration into the skin the Dermapen can be used as a superficial treatment or can be quite aggressive.  Discussing the desired results and expected downtime before each procedure is necessary to meet expectations.
Dermapen is a medical procedure but can be done by physician extenders such as nurses, physician assistants, or aestheticians.  Medical laws will vary from state to state on how these physician extenders are supervised.  Informed consent should by done prior to any Dermapen procedure.
Patients should ask about the experience of their Dermapen provider.  Dermapen does provide certification via hand on training or online courses.  
Avoiding complications in this type of procedure is best done by ensuring that your provider is experienced, adequately supervised, and is willing to listen to your expectations of both result and downtime.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.