What is microneedling?
Microneedling is a simple and easy procedure that can stimulate the body to create new collagen and elastin. The procedure is performed with a handheld device that uses tiny needles to create very small micro injuries to your skin. This triggers the skin’s natural healing process which leads to the development of new collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are two proteins that make your skin look fresher, smoother and younger.
Collagen is a very important protein fiber that gives skin its elasticity and youthful appearance. Your body naturally creates its own collagen, but as early as age 20, the amount of collagen your body creates starts decreasing every year. In fact, your body creates 10% less collagen every decade which contributes to the appearance of aging skin. (To read more about collagen, check out our May blog.)
What are the benefits of microneedling?
Microneedling was originally used in the 1990s to reduce the appearance of surgical scars, and some reports say it was invented as early as 1905 by a German dermatologist to treat acne scars. It is still used to reduce the appearance of scars, but since then it has also been found to be a very good treatment option for a variety of other skin problems like fine lines, acne scars, stretch marks, sun damage, patches of darker or lighter skin, and to improve overall skin texture and integrity.
Microneedling is also a good option for people who want to treat their skin, but don’t want an injection or don’t like needles.
How does microneedling work?
Using a handheld device, micropunctures are created using tiny needles. This creates a controlled skin injury without actually damaging the epidermis. Your body responds with a “wound healing cascade,” sending collagen and elastin to patch up the tiny injuries created by the needles. These new collagen fibers thicken the skin, fill in wrinkles and encourage growth of healthy new skin cells. Six months after treatment, studies show an increase in collagen and elastin of up to 400%.
What happens during a treatment?
- As with any other treatment, we start with a consultation. We talk about what results you can expect, give pre-treatment instructions, and answer any questions you may have. You’ll want to avoid using certain medications as well as skin care treatments like retinol or exfoliants, which can increase skin sensitivity.
- Before the procedure begins, we’ll use a numbing cream on your skin to make you more comfortable.
- During the treatment, we’ll move a handheld device over your skin to create small pricks or micro injuries. We also apply hyaluronic acid, which is a very hydrating ingredient that will sink into those tiny holes.
- Once your treatment is over, we’ll apply a collagen mask. Immediately after the procedure is the perfect time for the skin to soak up beneficial and healing ingredients. The collagen mask begins the healing process and is also very cooling and soothing to the skin.
The procedure itself usually takes 10-20 minutes, depending on how big the treatment area is. Microneedling is not a “one and done” treatment because healing the skin takes time. We recommend starting with 3 treatments, each a month apart, to see a significant difference.
Things to consider before your treatment
It’s not a quick fix. Because you’re stimulating your body’s natural healing process, it can take some time to see a difference. The “wound healing cascade” takes about 4 weeks to complete its cycle, which is why we recommend treatments be spaced about 1 month apart. It takes about 3 treatments before we start to notice a significant improvement in skin quality.
Healing Time. Your skin will be pink for a couple days after your treatment. Most people look and feel like they have a sunburn. You may also have some minor peeling or skin flaking as your skin heals itself, again like a sunburn. During this time the tiny microchannels created by the needles are open and susceptible to infection, so it is VERY IMPORTANT TO NOT TOUCH YOUR FACE, and very important to stay out of direct sunlight for the first 24 hours. We highly recommend that you do not schedule your microneedling appointment before a night out or a special event.
Possible Risks. Microneedling is considered safe, but like any procedure, it’s not right for everyone. If you have keloids, scars that look like large bubbles on the skin, you’ll want to avoid this treatment. You also want to avoid microneedling if you have certain skin conditions, open or active acne, or have had radiation therapy recently. We will talk about this in your consultation to minimize the risks.