Avid readers of the blog will recall that when I examined facial rollers and asked if they are really a thing, I referenced something called “microneedling” and said it definitely was a thing, but I didn’t really explain more about it. It is time to end the suspense!
Just what is microneedling?
Microneedling is a relatively new skin treatment where the very top layers of the skin are partially pierced with many tiny needles. There are a lot of different systems available. The first microneedling devices were facial rollers with little needles on them. Here at WEFPS, we just brought in the first microneedling device approved by the FDA for improving acne scars. It’s called the SkinPen®.
How does it work?
The business end contains many tiny sterile needles that prick the top layer of your skin to a controlled depth that can be tailored to your skin’s particular needs. As the needles go into the skin, they cause a very superficial injury, kind of like aerating your lawn. Just as lawn aeration stimulates root growth and healthy grass, microneedling stimulates new collagen formation and healthy skin. This takes time, however. We recommend a series of three treatments spaced about a month apart, but some people need more than three to get the best effect.
So what can it do?
The SkinPen® is FDA approved to help acne scarring because it stimulates new collagen production in the damaged skin, but it can do a lot more than that!
Recent articles in the journal of Dermatologic Surgery reviewed all of the things that microneedling can do for you. Given that it helps with acne scars, we have used it here at WEFPS to help scars from facial trauma and reconstructive surgery. It may help with active acne outbreaks by decreasing oil production. It can help lighten the skin if it is combined with lightening products. The thought is that microneedling helps the products to penetrate the skin more deeply. Finally, people have been using it for years to help with aging. It can help to erase fine lines and wrinkles by filling them in with new collagen.
What are the treatments like?
When you come to the office for a microneedling treatment, try to minimize the amount of make up on your skin. Your skin needs to be very clean for the procedure. We put numbing cream on you and let it work for about twenty minutes. Next, we remove the numbing cream and apply a serum that helps the needles to glide without friction but it’s also good for your skin. As the treatment proceeds, your skin will get red and you may have a little bit of bleeding. Afterwards, you will be quite red (like a sunburn) so plan on a quiet evening.
What is the recovery like?
As you have seen, your face will be red and sensitive for about a day. You will want to moisturize well. For the first day after the treatment, you’ll want to use Aquaphor or some other nourishing serum that we will give you. You can start wearing sunscreen again the day after microneedling, but you should try to stay out of the sun for a week because your skin will be quite sensitive. You can wear makeup twenty-four hours after the treatment. As with any change in your skin care routine, your skin may freak out a bit and you may get little acne like bumps in the treated areas. These will go away if you leave them alone. Make sure to tell us if you are prone to cold sores because any kind of resurfacing treatment can bring on an outbreak.
Microneedling is great, but it’s not for everybody. Call us or fill out the contact form to schedule a time so we can determine if microneedling is right for you!
Alster TS and Graham PM. Microneedling: A Review and Practical Guide. Dermatol Surg. 2018 Mar;44(3):397-404
Hou A, et al. Microneedling: A Comprehensive Review. Dermatol Surg 2017;43:321–339