What Is It?
A variety of different topical over-the-counter and prescription treatments are offered as a possible treatment for very shallow acne scars. These include Mederma®, vitamin E, retinoids, and human synthetic EGF.
Good or Excellent Response
Strength of Evidence
12% of patients achieved a good (>50%) or excellent (>75%) improvement in scarring after 12 sessions
Strength of Evidence
49% of patients achieved at least a moderate (>25%) improvement in scarring after 12 sessions
- Dréno, B. et al. Long-term effectiveness and safety of up to 48 weeks’ treatment with topical adapalene 0.3%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel in the prevention and reduction of atrophic acne scars in moderate and severe facial acne. Am J Clin Dermatol 20, 725–732 (2019).
- Afra, T. P., Razmi T, M., Narang, T., Dogra, S. & Kumar, A. Topical tazarotene gel, 0.1%, as a novel treatment approach for atrophic postacne scars. JAMA Facial Plast Surg 21, 125–132 (2019).
- Loss, M. J. et al. Adapalene 0.3% gel shows efficacy for the treatment of atrophic acne scars. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 8, 245–257 (2018).
- Dréno, B. et al. Prevention and reduction of atrophic acne scars with adapalene 0.3%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel in subjects with moderate or severe facial acne: results of a 6-month randomized, vehicle-controlled trial using intra-individual comparison. Am J Clin Dermatol 19, 275–286 (2018).
- Stoddard, M. A., Herrmann, J., Moy, L. & Moy, R. Improvement of atrophic acne scars in skin of color using topical synthetic epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum: a pilot study. J Drugs Dermatol 16, 322–326 (2017).
- Dreno, B., Tan, J., Rivier, M., Martel, P. & Bissonnette, R. Adapalene 0.1%/benzoyl peroxide 2.5% gel reduces the risk of atrophic scar formation in moderate inflammatory acne: a split-face randomized controlled trial. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 31, 737–742 (2017).
- Seidel, R. & Moy, R. L. Improvement in atrophic acne scars using topical synthetic epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum: a pilot study. J Drugs Dermatol 14, 1005–1010 (2015).
- Chandrashekar, B. S., Ashwini, K. R., Vasanth, V. & Navale, S. Retinoic acid and glycolic acid combination in the treatment of acne scars. Indian Dermatol Online J 6, 84–88 (2015).
- Dreno, B. et al. Combined 0.1% retinaldehyde/ 6% glycolic acid cream in prophylaxis and treatment of acne scarring. Dermatology 214, 260–267 (2007).
- Chung, V. Q., Kelley, L., Marra, D. & Jiang, S. B. Onion extract gel versus petrolatum emollient on new surgical scars: prospective double-blinded study. Dermatol Surg 32, 193–197 (2006).
- Erbağci, Z. & Akçali, C. Biweekly serial glycolic acid peels vs. long-term daily use of topical low-strength glycolic acid in the treatment of atrophic acne scars. Int J Dermatol 39, 789–794 (2000).
- Jackson, B. A. & Shelton, A. J. Pilot study evaluating topical onion extract as treatment for postsurgical scars. Dermatol Surg 25, 267–269 (1999).
- Baumann, L. S. & Spencer, J. The effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars. Dermatol Surg 25, 311–315 (1999).
- Phillips, T. J., Gerstein, A. D. & Lordan, V. A randomized controlled trial of hydrocolloid dressing in the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Dermatol Surg 22, 775–778 (1996).
- Harris, D. W., Buckley, C. C., Ostlere, L. S. & Rustin, M. H. Topical retinoic acid in the treatment of fine acne scarring. Br J Dermatol 125, 81–82 (1991).
- Janssen de Limpens, A. M. The local treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids with topical retinoic acid. Br J Dermatol 103, 319–323 (1980).
Low side effects and adverse reactions