Microneedling: Does this cosmetic procedure live up to the hype?


Last Updated October 11th, 2019

Microneedling: Quick facts

  • The first reported use of micro needling was by German dermatologist Ernst Kromayer in 1905.
  • Microneedling, as we know it today, was first used in 1995 by Dr. Desmond Fernandes in Philadelphia. In this attempt, wrinkles and scars were treated with hypodermic needles.
  • Orentreich and Orentreich first described the concept and idea behind dermal micro needling in 1996.
  • A plastic surgeon named Fernandes in 2006 developed a drum-shaped device with fine protruding needles. This was the first ever device for micro needling.
  • Microneedling can cost anywhere from $100 to $700 depending on the surface area that is covered

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure for better skin. The procedure helps in getting rid of scars, acne, and wrinkles. It is also referred to as collagen induction therapy (CIT). It has gained popularity recently for being a clean, safe and simple technique for reducing e blemishes on the skin. A dermatologist or a cosmetologist performs it. It involves pricking of the skin with needles.

Microneedling works in a way by slightly injuring or bruising the skin. When the skin is injured in this manner, it regenerates itself by producing collagen-rich tissue. This process of regeneration with collagen-rich tissue is a natural and continuous process and therefore the procedure has little by way of side effects. It is also used now for the transdermal delivery of drugs and vaccines.

How to prepare for micro needling?

  • In order to achieve better results from micro needling, discuss with your doctor what best you can do to achieve the best possible results.
  • Your doctor may advise you to stop taking medications such as ibuprofen and those for acne treatment.
  • Retinoids are vitamin A derivatives that are some of the most widely researched and used anti-aging ingredients available. He may ask you to stop taking topical retinoids. This will reduce the risk of side effects.

The Procedure

Microneedling involves the use of a tool called a dermapen, which has several tiny needles at its end. Before starting, the doctor may administer a topical anesthetic so that you do not feel any pain during the procedure. The doctor will then make several pricks with the dermapen. The pricks do not leave any visible marks and the injury is very slight.

He will then move the tool evenly over the skin so that the new skin that replaces the old one will be just as even and smooth. Sometimes the doctor may administer some cream or a serum to soothe the skin. The procedure may take up to 2 hours. Ideally, formulations containing vitamin A and vitamin C are also administered to maximize the dermal collagen formation.

The procedure is repeated every 3-8 weeks and multiple sittings are required to achieve the desired results. It might take up to 3-6 months to observe the results because the new collagen is continuously laid down in this period.  Research has proven that four microneedling sessions, each spaced a month apart, lead to a 400% increase in collagen.

What does Microneedling Target?

Microneedling on your face is used to target:

  • Acne Spots
  • Fine lines or wrinkles
  • Age Spots
  • Large Pores
  • Other types of scars

Microneedling might also be used in some parts of the body, particularly the thighs and the buttocks to treat stretch marks. In such a case, it is generally followed by the application of a filler. It can also be used for treating treat scars in other parts of the body.

How much does it cost?

According to leading cosmetology experts, micro needling can cost anywhere from $100 to $700 depending on the surface area that is covered. Being a cosmetic and esthetic repair, it is not covered by insurance.

Discuss the cost with your dermatologist before you go in for the procedure. The procedure can cost quite a bit. Some doctor’s offices even offer financing plans so that you can go in for the procedure and pay back later.

The procedure does not normally require a period of rest and so most people are able to go to work right away.

Complications associated with microneedle

As with other dermal procedures, micro needling is not without its share of complications. There is usually a minor irritation on the skin for a few days after a micro-needling procedure. This is also sometimes associated with redness of the skin. These are normal changes associated with the procedure. However, if you notice any of the following complications, be sure to report the same to your dermatologist immediately. They are:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Peeling
  • Infection

Risk factors that increase the probability of complications

You must not go in for micro needling if you:

  • Are Pregnant
  • Have open wounds
  • Have a history of skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema
  • Recently underwent a radiation therapy

What to expect after microneedle

  • The recovery time in micro-needling is minimal, as it is not invasive like plastic surgery.
  • There will be minor irritation and redness on your skin. This is a natural response by the skin to the injuries it had to bear during the procedure. Most people can go back to work or school the day after the procedure.
  • You can apply camouflaging makeup to the skin to hide the redness until it does go away.
  • You will need to use sunscreen, as the skin will be more sensitive to the sun after the procedure.
  • Because your skin works quickly to rejuvenate itself, you should see the results of the treatment in two to three weeks.
  • You will need multiple sessions as well as other treatments to ensure that you achieve the results you want. Your doctor will help you with advice in this regard.

Homecare Dermarollers

If a person wishes to achieve similar results to microneedling (similar, but not quite as much), then he/she may use a dermaroller. In a dermaroller, the needles are less than 0.15 mm in length and therefore do not cause as deep a dermal injury as in microneedling. It is useful for the treatment of fine lines, spots, and even stretch marks. It can be used twice or thrice a week. It can be used for the treatment of larger surface areas as well, for reducing stretch marks and cellulite in them. Some of these areas are the buttocks and thighs. Dermarolling helps in maximizing the effect of serums and moisturizers when they are used after using a dermaroller.

If you are using a dermaroller at home, you should follow these steps:

  • After removing the dermaroller from its container, sterilize it by spraying it with alcohol solution and washing with warm water.
  • Prepare the skin with a saline or an antiseptic wash.
  • Hold the skin taut and roll over each section with the dermaroller, once up and down, once side to side, and once diagonally.
  • After the skin has reddened, bathe it with saline water.
  • Sterilize the dermaroller again by spraying it with alcohol solution and washing with warm water.
  • Leave the dermaroller in the open to dry.
  • Put the dermaroller back in the storage case.

When using the dermaroller, a person should treat five sections of the face in the following order. These sections are as follows:

  • Top right of forehead and cheek
  • Top left of forehead and cheek
  • Right under eye and lower cheek
  • Left under eye and lower cheek
  • Around the mouth

Tips and best practices for dermarolling

Try the following tips and best practices and you will see how they improve your dermarolling results:

  • For better results, take Vitamin A and vitamin C supplements in the days leading to the treatment.
  • If you experience pain after the treatment, then use ice packs.
  • Apply skin creams or moisturizers after the treatment to leave your skin looking younger and brighter.
  • Use sunscreen in the days following treatment as the skin has a tendency to burn more easily.
  • Repeat treatment two or three times a week.
  • Avoid dermarolling in areas of infected acne.
  • Never share the device with another person.
  • Always purchase the dermaroller from a trusted retailer.

Who should not use a derma roller?

If you have a history of blood clotting problems or are on treatment with Accutane, then you must not use a dermaroller. Dermarollers should not be used on areas of skin that have a sunburn, moles, skin inflammation, cold sores, rosacea, or eczema.  Even if you do not have any cause for concern, it is always better to consult a doctor before using a dermaroller in the convenience of your home.

Microneedling vs. Dermarollers

A dermaroller is a device used at home and has very small needles compared to a dermapen that is used in a doctor’s office. Since microneedle leads to relatively deeper punctures than in dermarolling, the response by the skin is greater. Granted dermarolling may be less painful, but if you are looking for long-term results, you must consider micro needling. Last but not least, it is good to let a pair of experienced and qualified hands do the job. A microneedle procedure is usually performed by a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist will not only be able to carry out the procedure effectively. He will also be able to deal with any problems that may arise.

Microneedling: A no-brainer for fresher, healthier skin

Microneedling is a revelation when it comes to skin care. Most people recover with no side effects. The process is relatively painless, requires less than an hour to complete, and is very rewarding. Maybe you have been postponing that trip to your dermatologist for some time now or sticking to dermarollers for short-term relief. It is time to take that first step towards a brighter and fresher looking skin. Consult a dermatologist to know more about the procedure and how it will benefit you. If you are still undecided about going in for the procedure and want to stick to dermarolling, hope this article helped you with useful tips.

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