Microneedling is a form of skin rejuvenation technique that has shown to be effective in treating many skin conditions. The procedure has been around for about 20 years in various forms, initially with a roller and, now, with a pen-like device with vertical needles.
It works by creating thousands of tiny punctures on the surface of your skin, which triggers a healing response from your body. The treatment can help people who want to get rid of acne scars, stretch marks, fine lines, and wrinkles, and many other skin problems.
This article will go over what microneedling is, how it works, the benefits you can get from it, and who this treatment could work best for.
What is microneedling?
Microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that uses a pen-like device with tiny needles (a dermapen) to create hundreds to thousands of microscopic punctures in the skin. The needles usually measure 0.5 to 2.5 millimetres (but depending on the pen, this can go as shallow as 0.1 mm). These punctures act as microchannels to help stimulate your body’s natural healing mechanism in order to improve collagen production and rejuvenate dry, ageing, and sagging skin.
Often referred to as “collagen induction therapy,” it works to restore lost collagen in the skin. While microneedling treatment is popularly used for skin rejuvenation and addressing facial scars, it is also used as a transdermal delivery system for therapeutic drugs and vaccines.
At this point, it is important to emphasize that this type of treatment is not a quick fix because it involves the reproduction of collagen and elastin, and it can take several months for one to achieve its full benefits. However, once the benefits are realized, the wins are also for the long term.
Now, let’s talk about the process itself.
Before and after microneedling
The process lasts 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the area to be treated. It is the preparation that can take a bit of time, which is why you can expect to be at the salon for 45 minutes to an hour. Here’s what you can expect from microneedling before and after.
The microneedling procedure is done under topical anaesthesia that contains lignocaine and prilocaine/tetracaine. Clients are usually given the option to have anaesthesia applied as it can slightly inhibit the treatment. Anaesthetics can contract capillaries so the healing response might be a little different. Clients often need more treatments when they have a numbing cream applied.
After pre-cleaning the area with saline and antiseptic, the clinician then stretches the skin with one hand and perpendicularly applies the pen about five times each in vertical, horizontal, and oblique directions using the other hand until the whole face is covered.
Preferably, the skin is prepared for at least one month prior with vitamin A and vitamin C formulations to maximize the formation of collagen when it’s time for the actual procedure. Vitamin A stimulates the genes that control the proliferation of major cells in the dermis and epidermis, while Vitamin C boosts collagen production.
A consultation with the clinician is essential before undergoing this treatment to explain what will happen, what the professional microneedling devices will be used, the expected outcomes, possibilities of delayed response, and the need for multiple sessions for results to be evident.
After the procedure, the treatment area is wet with saline to clean, and then aftercare creams are applied to ease the discomfort. The patient will then be advised to apply sunscreen at all times and avoid going out in the sun.
Microneedling is typically well-tolerated and there is usually minimal no post-treatment skin irritation, except slight erythema and edema that can last for two to three days — particularly for those with sensitive skin. Depending on the depth of treatment, the client’s skin can get tight and flake after five days or so as the new skin cells come through.
There is almost no downtime, and the patient can get back to work the next day. Typically, microneedling sessions are scheduled at three to eight-week intervals, depending on the clinician’s assessment, and multiple sittings are expected before one can achieve desired results.
You normally won’t be able to see the effects immediately after a session because new collagen synthesis will continue for around three to six months after the treatment has been completed. This depends largely on your skin type. Some clients have noticed an improvement within a couple of weeks. Over time, you will see that the overall texture and appearance of your skin will improve significantly.
Benefits of microneedling
Collagen is a natural and essential protein that keeps the skin looking youthful and vibrant. We lose collagen gradually as we age and whenever the skin is injured from scarring, stretch marks, and other conditions. This procedure is one of the medically approved ways to bring it back. Studies show that regular sessions done by a professional can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, acne scarring, large pores, scars, and stretch marks.
Microneedling is usually performed on the face to target the following:
- sunspots or age spots
- large pores
- acne scarring
- wrinkles and fine lines
- uneven skin tone
- reduced skin elasticity
- stretch marks
- other types of scarring
Your clinician can recommend the best type of skin therapy for your condition. Microneedling might be suggested as a standalone therapy to stimulate collagen production, but it can also be used alongside other types of treatments for optimal results.
Microneedling side effects
As this is a minimally invasive procedure, one can expect some minor side effects immediately after — although these are temporary and can be easily addressed. Major side effects will only happen if it treatment is not performed by expert clinicians who have had many hours of training using the correct professional microneedling devices and pre- and post-care products.
Some of the side effects to expect include:
- skin flaking
This is why a consultation with your clinician is necessary, to rule out any potential risks that might interfere with treatment, and so your therapist can recommend procedures that are a better fit for you.
Professional vs at home microneedling
While there are plenty of home microneedling kits being sold today, it is always best to have yours done by a professional who’s had the right training and years of experience.
Some people opt to purchase home rollers and perform microneedling treatment on themselves as a cost-cutting measure — but this is ill-advised. Home rollers are sometimes okay to a certain depth, and needles should not be longer than 0.25 mm. It’s important to note that only professional-quality products should be rolled into the skin. Products that are not formulated correctly can cause cysts under the skin.
With all that said, when it comes to minimally invasive skincare, always err on the side of caution.
Lovoir Skin Body and Beauty provides microneedling treatments for various skin conditions. Our expert clinicians will evaluate your skin prior to the procedure and help you prepare for the big day so you can get the most out of your treatment. Book an appointment with us today.