Comparison of fractional microneedling radiofrequency and bipolar radiofrequency on acne and acne scar and investigation of mechanism: comparative randomized controlled clinical trial

Seonguk Min, Seon Yong Park, Ji Young Yoon, Dae Hun Suh
Archives of Dermatological Research 2015, 307 (10): 897-904
Fractional microneedling radiofrequency (FMR) is one of the promising methods in acne treatment. Moreover, bipolar radiofrequency (BR) generates heat thereby which induces neocollagenosis. FMR may have the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for the patients both with acne and acne scar. This study was performed to compare the efficacy and safety of FMR and BR in acne and acne scar treatment. Furthermore, mechanism of the FMR treatment was investigated through skin tissues obtained from subjects. Twenty subjects with mild-to-moderate acne and acne scars were treated in a split-face manner with FMR and BR. Two sessions of treatment was done 4 weeks apart in a total 12-week prospective single-blind, randomized clinical trial. Clinical assessment and sebum measurement were carried out for the evaluation of efficacy and safety. Skin tissues were acquired for investigation of molecular changes. FMR was more effective for acne scar especially in icepick and boxcar scar compared to BR. Both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions decreased by 80 and 65 % in the FMR-treated side at the final visit of 12 weeks, respectively. FMR treatment resulted in significant reduction of sebum excretion. Both treatments showed no severe adverse effects other than erythema. The FMR showed superior efficacy in acne and acne scar compared with BR. Increased expression of TGFβ and collagen I and decreased expression of NF-κB, IL-8 are suggested to involve in the improvement of acne scar and acne lesion by FMR.

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