Good topical acne treatment reduces scarring

A recent small study published in The Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology confirms what we know of the benefits of good treatment early in acne using topical retinoids (vitamin A analogues). 31 adults with moderate acne and atrophic (sunken) facial acne scars were treated on one side of the face with a combination cream (adapalene and benzoyl peroxide) and the other side treated with a placebo cream. The duration of the study was six months.

Scarring increased over the study period on the placebo side, but did not on the active side. There was also a significant reduction in the severity of existing scarring on the treatment side, but not on the placebo side.

Dermatologists have long understood the value of early topical retinoid use in acne for improving control without contributing to antibiotic resistance. Prevention of acne scarring is far preferable to treatment. Topical retinoids also have a significant role in improving existing scarring.