Here's what you might want to know about microneedling for acne scars

Does it work? Does it hurt? We looked into it for you

woman with clear skin
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I know, I know: you've figured out the best acne treatments and tweaked your skincare routine for acne—but now there's still acne admin to do to get rid of the scars. I feel your frustration. I've suffered from acne for years and dealing with it is tiring and stressful—which is precisely why we at Marie Claire have done loads of research to answer all your pressing acne questions.

In my experience, getting it under control took a while with lots of guidance from Clinical Aesthetician Pam Marshall, who schooled me on how skin should be patiently nudged in a direction. I have combined lifestyle choices with the best spot treatments and plenty of healing procedures to help my skin to recover.

Which brings me to microneedling—a treatment widely considered to be beneficial for reducing the appearance of acne scarring. Finding the best acne scar treatments isn't easy business (and laser treatment for acne is expensive). After giving microneedling a go, however, I can safely say I found it helpful, speeding the retreat of scars. But I didn't go at it intensely, instead heeding Pam's advice to NEVER microneedle at home (too much risk of getting it wrong, or of contaminating skin by introducing microbes), and to tread carefully. "Microneedling causes a wound, which is great —as long as it has time to heal, so patience is really important," she says.

That said, here's what else you need to know before you go ahead...

How does microneedling for acne scars work?

In a nutshell, microneedling uses, as the name suggests, tiny needles to help promote collagen production and cell turnover. Effectively the wound triggers a healing process, aiding regeneration which will, in all likelihood, reduce acne scars.

Is microneedling for acne scars painful?

Top facialist Sarah Chapman says of it that, "Microneedling is a relatively gentle, painless treatment that has no downtime and is a brilliant maintenance treatment." So clearly, on the most part, people don't complain about the pain.

I found it comparable to a bikini wax: the odd 'ouch' moment, but manageable. You can always ask for numbing cream prior if you're worried about the pain.

How many times will I need microneedling to get rid of my acne scars?

This one depends on your level of scars and how your skin recovers. Most experts said 4-6 sessions would be enough to see a difference, but it's entirely dependent on you and your skin, so it's hard to make sweeping statements.

Madeleine Spencer

Madeleine Spencer is a journalist and broadcaster who has contributed to titles including Grazia, Glamour, InStyle, The Independent, The Evening Standard, and Stylist, as well as offering commentary for the BBC, Sky News, and ITV.

She is keen on exploring the significance beauty rituals, products, and memories have on people from different walks of life, and enters into conversation on the topic with guests on her podcast, Beauty Full Lives.