Acne and Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation Resolve With Microneedle Patch

woman with acne on her chin
woman with acne on her chin
The efficacy and safety of dissolving microneedles containing anti-acne ingredients pionin, salicylic acid, asiaticoside, and hyaluronic acid is evaluated.

Acne and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation are reduced without adverse skin reactions with the novel anti-acne microneedle (AA-DMN) patch application, according to clinical trial findings published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

Most treatments for acne are topically applied, limiting efficacy. However, medication can be delivered into the body with dissolving microneedles. Researchers in China sought to test the efficacy and safety of dissolving microneedles containing anti-acne ingredients that included 0.002% pionin (Sethic International, France), 3.00% salicylic acid (BASF SE, Germany), 2% asiaticoside (MeyFull Trading Company, Guangzhou, China), and hyaluronic acid (HA-TLM-20-40, Bloomage Biotechnology, China) dissolved in distilled water to prepare a base solution.

They conducted a 28-day clinical trial that included 30 healthy Chinese adults (23-34 years of age; 13 women) with moderate to severe facial acne. Pillsbury classification was used to grade acne and predominant lesions; participants with greater than grade 2 symptoms were recruited. Exclusion criteria included facial skin diseases that would influence results and the use of drugs with pro- or anti-acne effects in the previous 2 weeks. Participants applied AA-DMN patches to designated skin daily for 28 consecutive days. A Courage + Khazaka skin melanin and hemoglobin test probe Mexameter MX18 were used to measure skin pigmentation. A skin rapid optical imaging system, PRIMOS, was used to measure acne volume. Self-report and dermatologist’s examination were used to evaluate skin irritation.

Researchers found that skin melanin decreased 5.88% and heme decreased 7.83% following 28 days of treatment. They observed acne volume reduced by 12.34% following 3 days of treatment and reduced another 10.01% after 7 days of continuous use. There were no adverse reactions reported in any of the participants.

Trial limitations include unconsidered factors in the selection criteria, underpowered sample size, and safety and efficacy judged on short-term effects only.

Researchers stated, “The excellent transdermal drug-transport ability of the dissolving microneedle system combined with the anti-acne effects of Pionin and the anti-inflammatory effects of salicylic acid and asiaticoside underlie the effectiveness of the AA-DMN patch.” They concluded that “AA-DMN patches showed an excellent effect in reducing acne and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, without adverse skin reactions.” They added that the novel AA-DMN patch “is a safe and effective anti-acne treatment,” and acknowledged the need for a larger sample size with a longer-term efficacy and safety evaluation.

Disclosure: Several study author declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures.


Tai M, Zhang C, Ma Y, et al. Acne and its postinflammatory hyperpigmentation treatment by anti-acne dissolving microneedle patches. J Cosmet Dermatol. Published online September 5, 2022. doi:10.1111/jocd.15352