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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2018 (2018), Article ID 4806734, 12 pages
Review Article

Acupuncture for Acne Vulgaris: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

1China-Australia International Research Centre for Chinese Medicine, School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, P.O. Box 71, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia
2Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Guangdong Provincial Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences and The Second Clinical College, Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Chuanjian Lu and Charlie C. L. Xue

Received 15 September 2017; Accepted 21 January 2018; Published 12 March 2018

Academic Editor: Dawn M. Bellanti

Copyright © 2018 Suzi S. Y. Mansu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Purpose. To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the current best available evidence of the efficacy and safety of acupuncture and related therapies for acne vulgaris. Methods. Eleven English and Chinese databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of acne vulgaris compared to pharmacotherapies, no treatment, and sham or placebo acupuncture. Methodological quality was assessed using Cochrane Collaboration’s risk of bias tool. Meta-analysis was conducted using RevMan software. Results. Twelve RCTs were included in the qualitative review and 10 RCTs were included in meta-analysis. Methodological quality of trials was generally low. The chance of achieving ≥30% change in lesion count in the acupuncture group was no different to the pharmacotherapy group (RR: 1.07 95% CI 0.98, 1.17; %) and ≥50% change in lesion count in the acupuncture group was not statistically different to the pharmacotherapy group (RR: 1.07 95% CI 0.98, 1.17; %). Conclusions. While caution should be exercised due to quality of the included studies, acupuncture and auricular acupressure were not statistically different to guideline recommended treatments but were with fewer side effects and may be a treatment option. Future trials should address the methodological weaknesses and meet standard reporting requirements stipulated in STRICTA.