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J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Sep;14(9):1005-10.

Improvement in Atrophic Acne Scars Using Topical Synthetic Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Serum: A Pilot Study.



Atrophic acne scars are a common and psychologically devastating sequela of acne vulgaris that are refractory to the vast majority of topical treatments.


We evaluated the efficacy of a topically applied synthetic epidermal growth factor (EGF) serum in reducing the appearance of atrophic acne scars.


A single-center clinical trial was performed on nine self-selected male and female patients with Goodman & Baron grade II-IV atrophic acne scars. Subjects followed a standardized treatment regimen, including twice-daily application of EGF serum to scarred areas over 12 weeks. Subject progress was evaluated at baseline and 4-week intervals by clinical photography, Investigator Global Assessment (IGA), Goodman grade and patient self-assessment. Final patient perceptions were shared by written self-assessment at the end of the study. Before and after photographs were also evaluated by a blind investigator.


Eight subjects completed the trial. Compared to baseline, there was an improvement in mean IGA score from 2.875 (SEM= .327) to 2.38 (SEM = .375). Mean Goodman grade was reduced from 3.00 (SEM = .309) to 2.75 (SEM = .25). Of the eight pairs of before and after photographs given to a blind investigator, five were correctly chosen as the post-treatment image. Two were assessed as "excellent" (76-100%) improvement and three were assessed as "good" (50-75%) improvement. A one-tailed paired student t-test (α = .05) using blind investigator ratings of scar severity for each before and after photograph yielded a P-value of .0019, confirming the difference as statistically significant. On final self-assessment, all but one patient reported "good" to "excellent" improvement in their scars compared to baseline. 75% of patients who received alternative treatments in prior years reported EGF serum to be more efficacious.


These results suggest that topical EGF may improve the appearance of atrophic acne scars, though further study and more objective evaluation measures are required for definitive conclusions to be drawn.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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