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Microneedling | The Basics

Microneedling also referred to as collagen induction therapy, can have really impressive results... Read more...

 

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What is microneedling?


Microneedling, also referred to as collagen induction therapy, can have really impressive results to improve acne scars, tissue paper-like wrinkling of the skin, and persistent fine lines.

What exactly is happening to the skin with microneedling?



Essentially, multiple pin pricks are introduced to the skin to trigger collagen production below the surface. Small ‘microchannels’ are introduced into the skin to both create collagen changes through traumatic injury to tighten the skin as well as allow for the delivery of skin care products as well such as Hyaluronic acid and alpha hydroxy acids and platelet rich peptide (PRP also known as the vampire facial).



I see microneedling devices at beauty stores and at the Dermatologist's office. Are they all the same?



There is a range of definitions for microneedling and devices used to accomplish its effect. The key to real results is how deep the needles penetrate the skin to really stimulate collagen. Collagen-producing cells are in the dermis- this is the layer of the skin that is vascular.


When microneedling is performed in the office we use needles that actually go 1.5 to 2.5 or 3 mm deep. We use a power device to really get the same depth each time we puncture the skin. In spite of topical numbing, it can be very uncomfortable. It’s also a little messy as we do puncture the skin to the depth of the vascular dermis to see pinpoint bleeding during the procedure. There is shockingly little downtime, however. The results are amazing.


 


 


What about at-home microneedling devices or by an aesthetician?



Microneedling performed outside of the dermatologist's office may only puncture the skin maybe 0.5 mm deep. This simply is not deep enough to get impressive results. I have seen ads for places that show before and after photos from medical studies that use needles that penetrate 2-3 mm deep to draw in customers however those spas only use shallow needles that could not achieve the same results. Technically if there is no bleeding then your treatment may not have good results.

What is a Dermaroller?



Dermarollers are an attempt to bring microneedling home but are also used in spas. Again, these use shallow needles. The only other issue when it comes to needling devices that roll across the skin is the ‘drag’ of the needle rolling across can tear the skin easily, especially older skin. It is important to recognize that the benefits of over-the-counter Dermarollers may be limited to skin hydration as opposed to true collagen production.





What are the risks of home microneedling?


At home microneedling devices tend to have shallow penetration into the skin, usually less than 0.5 mm deep. The risk of infection is relatively low but still possible with at-home microneedling devices given the shallow depth of needle penetration. Bacteria can be introduced into the skin with these micropunctures of the skin. If you have an active fever blister or a tendency towards them, taking antivirals either prophylactically or after treatment should help decrease the risk of a flare. Also, remember that the "drag" of the needle rolling across the skin can result in easy tears. These tears that can result can potentially bruise the skin and risk scarring if not treated appropriately.


Are there any precautions to take with microneedling?

It is important to note that only lightweight products should be used for the first 12 to 24 hours after microneedling. Avoiding sunscreen and excess sun exposure for the first 24 hours will avoid the risk of the product settling in the “microchannels” formed by microneedling. There are reports of acne and milia developing after treatment.




Is microneedling considered a safe procedure?


Overall dermarolling and microneedling are considered safe procedures.





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