What is Micro-needling?
Micro-needling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is an innovative beauty treatment growing in popularity. True to its name, micro-needling involves fine needles that create tiny perforations in your skin.
Micro-needling is a minimally invasive treatment because there is a needle entering your skin but there is not much downtime. It’s a relatively comfortable procedure and it can be done as a “lunchtime procedure,” with an overall low-risk procedure.
The skin (epidermis) is punctured using a roller device.
What is the science behind it?
The body’s natural response when you get a wound is to send fibroblasts and jumpstart your body’s own natural collagen production. This procedure creates tiny “controlled” wounds that basically trick your body to send fibroblast to all the tiny perforations and create more collagen.
Maintenance treatment to promote collagen production
What to avoid before coming in for your procedure?
Accutane, 6 months prior.
Harsh topical creams such as retinols, topical antibiotics, exfoliants, or hydroquinone 5 days prior to procedure.
Compromised skin. Reschedule if you have a sun burn, an acne outbreak, open sore areas, or a cold sore.
Laser procedures for 7 days prior.
Waxing or electrolysis 7 days prior.
Avoid ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin, Aspirin, Vitamin E, or Ginkgo biloba for 7 days prior as these can thin your blood and increases bleeding during the procedure.
Shaving the day of the procedure
Prophylactic antiviral medications may be prescribed if you have a history of cold sores for 2 days prior till the day of treatment.
Contraindications include: excessively sensitive skin, dermatitis or inflammatory rosacea or if you are pregnant.
What is the day of the procedure like?
Have no fear, micro-needling is not a painful procedure. A typical procedure day will involve answering questions you have and signing a consent form. Photos are taken. A topical numbing agent will be applied for about 30-45 minutes which will further increase your comfort. The treatment begins by cleansing the face with a gentle cleanser, and then using different patterns based on what the patient goal is. The procedure takes about 40 minutes for full face and up to 60 minutes for full face, neck, and décolletage. At the end, a cooling peel off mask will be applied so that there is little downtime.
After the procedure.
You will leave the office looking a bit red and a bit swollen, like a mild sunburn. Do not worry, this is a normal and temporary reaction. The inflammation will kick-start the fibroblasts. The redness subsides but I suggest you plan to stay in the rest of the day.
For the remainder of the day: Use the kit you go home with and NOTHING else. (If you were not given a kit, you will need to use a very gentle moisturizer with no active ingredients).
The next day: Use the kit products as well as a post procedure tinted sunscreen. Try to avoid makeup foundation for at least 24 hours.
The following days: After 1 week patients can return to their regular skin care routine.
How often should you get it done?
This will depend on your skin and your end goals. If you come in and your skin is in good condition, then one treatment every 3-6 months is about right. You can also just take the approach of coming whenever your skin needs a refresh/reboot.
On the other hand, if you are coming in to correct something (i.e. acne scars, fine lines/wrinkles) then 3-4 treatments every 4-6 weeks is recommended, following by the every 3-6 months for maintenance.
What age should you start?
This is one of those treatments you can start at any age. In your 20s/30s you may do this treatment for acne scars, pore size, tiny bumps, texture/tone and you probably just need to do it every 6 months. The older you may be the more treatments you may be, if you’re in your 40s/50s/60s and you have fine lines/wrinkles, texture/tone problems, than you will probably need to start with a series of treatments every 4-6 weeks followed by the maintenance every 3-6 months. Regardless, this is a treatment that can help anyone at any age and can be tailored by settings and by the amount of treatments based on skin condition.
What areas can you treat with micro-needling?
What you will notice after your treatment?
You will notice in a few days your skin will be tighter and brighter and everyone will tell you it looks great. Your skin care products will be able to penetrate better into your skin (and not just sit on the surface of your skin.) Your foundation will go on smoothly, and overall your skin will look and actually be healthier. On a short term basis, your skin will be more plump, more radiant, and your pores will appear smaller. Long term your skin will build collagen resulting in thicker more even skin. This study done in 2008 showed that collagen was 40% thicker in the epidermis 1 year after the treatment, and patients reported 60-80% noticeable improvement in their skin.