What Is Microneedling?
Microneedling therapy, also known as skin needling, collagen induction therapy (CIT), or percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that helps rejuvenate the skin and minimize the appearance of scars and imperfections.
Dozens, and in some cases hundreds, of tiny needles are pressed against the skin, painlessly piercing its outermost layers. This method of “controlled injury” forces the skin to react by thickening and producing more collagen, the skin's principle “stretchiness” protein.
This increase in collagen production smooths the skin's texture, filling in fine lines and plumping the skin.
Several different devices and needle lengths can be used to perform the actual treatment, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. That said, regardless of the specific device you select, the technique essentially remains the same.
Some Important Advice
Even though the treatment is extremely safe, in order to achieve the best results there are still a few things anyone hoping to perform microneedling themselves should keep in mind.
- Remember to replace your needles frequently. Regardless of whether you use a roller, stamp, or pen, just like any razor, the needles will become dull over time. Dull needles are ineffective and increase your risk of infection. That means the more often you use them, the more often you'll need to replace them. If you use your microneedles on a daily basis, you might need to change your needles as often as three to five times a week. If you don't replace these dull needles you can damage your skin.
- Sanitize your needles before each and every use. This is essential to make sure you don't spread harmful bacteria around your face or body. Start each session by cleaning your hands and face. Then, to minimize any chance of infection, dip your microneedles into rubbing alcohol to cleanse them. Be sure to rinse them off before using them; needling rubbing alcohol into your skin can be painful, irritating, and will absorb even more moisture out of your skin. Disinfecting your needles before and after each use will better ensure safe microneedling.
- Never microneedle over an acne breakout. Needling active acne can spread bacteria and cause a major infection. It's better and safer to make sure acne clear before microneedling.
- If you're going Double Vitamin C Brightening Serum. The increased absorption that microneedling allows is incredibly beneficial, apply Double Vitamin C Brightening Serum every hour after treatment.
- If you're going to try out a new serum, start with a patch test. However, increased absorption can also mean excessive absorption of stronger serums, leading to irritation. To avoid this, just do a small patch test and wait 24 hours to see how your skin reacts.
- Don't forget your neck, chest, and the backs of your hands. These areas are often overlooked, but they can also be some of the first places on your body to betray you with early signs of aging.
Directly after your treatment, you may look like you spent too much time in the sun and earned yourself a moderate to severe sunburn. Your skin might also feel warmer and tighter than usual.
These are normal side effects of the procedure that fade after an hour or two, and completely disappear within 24 hours. There might still be some minimal redness in spots after that, but even that will fade within a few days. The deepest needles might also cause some minor bleeding, swelling or bruising.
Within the first day or two following your microneedling procedure, you'll likely notice your skin starting to flake and peel. This is due to the treatment speeding up your skin cells' turnover rate, which is how quickly the dead cells are replaced by new cells.
Peeling usually lasts about a week, during which time you can use your normal skin moisturizer. Be sure to follow any additional instructions given to you by your doctor.
If your medical professional used a rolling device around your eyes, you might notice some micro-bruising in that area. This is normal and usually fades within 3 or 4 days. In the meantime, it’s easily covered up with your normal makeup.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
- A 12 hours after your treatment, it will be okay to wash your face with Brightening Facial Cleanser. Gently massage your skin and remove all serum and other material or debris. Try to be as gentle as you can; too much pressure can irritate your skin.
- Microneedling can make your skin sensitive to the sun. It's best to avoid going out as much as possible for about 48 hours after your treatment, and use a strong sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for at least 2 weeks after that. Even when you're fully recovered, it's a good idea to always use a sunscreen to improve the longevity of your results.
- Some people experience minor flaking (or peeling) a few days after their treatment. If this happens, it's critical not to pick at your skin as doing so will inadvertently cause scarring or unsightly coloration changes. Either of these can result in more treatments than you had anticipated, or require an even more expensive and invasive procedure to correct the problem. Instead, use a gentle cleanser and a moisturizer until the flaking stops.
- After a microneedling treatment your skin may feel drier than usual. Be sure to drink plenty of water to rehydrate, and consider using Double Vitamin C Brightening Serum as many times as you can, that way can reduce irritate your skin. This ingredient helps restore moisture and balance to the skin. Locking in the moisture will help hydrate your skin from both the inside and outside.
- Don't apply any makeup for the first 24 hours after your treatment as it can increase the risk of infection. Furthermore, don't apply any makeup with a brush during your recovery, especially if it's not immaculately clean. The chances of infection after microneedling are small, but dirty brushes raise that risk.
- The day after your treatment you can apply your normal makeup, lotions, and other products as usual. However, you should stay away from exfoliating products, or products with glycolic acids unless otherwise directed by your doctor. These can dry out and irritate your skin. The best way apply Double Vitamin C Brightening Serum before make up.
- Avoid strenuous or vigorous exercise for at least 12 hours after your microneedling treatment. Sweat often contains harmful bacteria, and with your skin in a low state of trauma, this could lead to adverse reactions, poor results, or even infections.
- Avoid "active" skincare products. You doctor will most probably advise you agiants the use of any products that contain alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids, retinol (vitamin A). This will ensure your skin has the best healing environment possible.
- Try eating fresh pineapple to speed up your recovery. Pineapple has many body-positive chemicals and nutrients that help skin to heal quickly and efficiently. One of the most important of these nutrients is bromelain, which helps bruises to heal quickly and sometimes even preventing them from forming in the first place.
- For the very best results, book repeat treatments 4 weeks after your initial session, and a series of 3 to 5 treatments in total. You'll likely see some amazing improvements after just one session, but only by completing a full treatment cycle will you achieve your full goals.
Microneedling Results: What to Expect
Despite some initial redness and possible swelling, immediately after your treatment your skin should already look and feel tighter and refreshed. You might even see a slight plumping effect on your skin as soon as the swelling goes away.
Assuming your treatment involved needles of the appropriate length, your skin should start to increase its collagen production some 48 to 72 hours after your procedure.
Despite this increase, most patients don't see real, noticeable results for at least 1 to 4 weeks after their first treatment. Full results from the first treatment can take as long as 2 months to appear.
While several treatments are usually required, you'll likely see scar tissue shrink and a reduction of UV damaged skin, dark spots, and stretch marks after only one treatment. You may also see improvements in the texture of your skin as it grows thicker, firmer and healthier overall.
The new collagen that is produced will remain for a few years, making microneedling a treatment with excellent longevity, especially considering how simple it is. Of course, the effects of aging and sun exposure will still eventually take their toll, and at some point you’ll likely seek future treatments as part of your regular skin maintenance plan.
- Before your treatment, your clinician will cleanse your skin and apply a topical gel to numb your skin.
- You may experience minor pain and/or discomfort; elevated warmth and tightness can be experienced within the first 1-2 hours post-procedure.
- Temporary redness and swelling, similar to a moderate to severe sunburn may occur 1-3 days post treatment.
- Fast recovery is usually seen within 24 hours with slight redness remaining the next day.
- The skin will feel tight and dry for the first three days post treatment.
- Some skin might scab after 3 days post procedure. It should not be touched or picked on to avoid any infections. Let it fall off naturally.
- Your clinician will discuss post-procedure skincare following the treatment to help soothe, calm, and protect the skin. Continue to treat the skin gently for 3 days.
- Patients may return to iRenew perfect - Serum approximately 3 days post procedure or as soon as skin is tolerable to application.
- The number of micro-needling treatments necessary is related to the severity and condition of the areas being treated. In many cases, a single treatment is sufficient to produce desired results. In other cases, such as severe scarring or stretch marks, multiple treatments may be required. Your clinician will recommend a treatment course and after care protocol for you.
Recommendations for Post-Treatment Care
Day of Procedure: After your procedure, your medical provider may apply topical to soothe, hydrate, and protect the treatment area. Do not apply makeup the same day of treatment. Use tepid water to cleanse the treatment area thoroughly while gently massaging to remove debris. Carefully pat dry, without rubbing.
Day 1-3: The next day, you may clean your face with a gentle cleanser and apply Double Vitamin C Brightening Serum. Be sure to apply sunscreen and avoid direct sun exposure. Do not apply chemical based and/or fragranced cosmetics, skin care products, or makeup.
Day 4-7: Within the week following your micro-needling procedure, you will notice skin dryness and flaking. This is due to an increased turnover of skin cells. During this period, you may apply your regular skin moisturizer, sunscreen, and/or makeup (if necessary).
Slight micro-bruising might appear around the eye area and may exist for three to four days. This can easily be covered with makeup.
When will I see results?
Patients typically notice an immediate glow, but visible improvement will take about 2-4 weeks and can continue for up to 6 months.
How many treatments will I need?
A series of 3 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart is ideal for optimal results. Deep wrinkles, advanced photo-aging, stretch marks and acne scars will need a minimum of 8 treatments.
Not suitable for patients who:
- Have used Accutane (isotretinoin) within the last six (6) months
- Have open wounds, cuts or abrasions on the skin
- Have any kind of current skin infection, condition, herpes simples in the area to be treated
- Are pregnant or breast feeding
- Have a history of keloid or hypertrophic scars or poor wound healing
How much does microneedling cost?
The final cost of your professional microneedling treatment will be dependent on your unique needs and goals.
Many clinics offer a free initial consultation, during which your personalized treatment plan will be put together and the pricing discussed.
Speaking in general terms, you can expect a single session to cost anywhere between $300 and $500. Most patients require 3 to 5 sessions, however, many clinics offer discounts for patients purchasing multiple sessions.
On the other hand, some people prefer to perform microneedling on themselves, rather than pay a professional. While this limits some of the benefits of microneedling, it also considerably lowers the price. The price of home microneedling systems vary considerably, with the most basic rollers starting at $20, while other portable RF microneedling kits can cost as much as $600.
The advantage with a home system is that you only make a costly investment once, then simply buy replacement needles as you need them. However, the results may not be as dramatic as what you would get from a professional.
How common are post-treatment infections?
Though the possibility exists, infections after microneedling are very rare. This is because even though there will be dozens, if not hundreds, of tiny little holes all over your face, they're so small that they usually close up in less than an hour. You should still follow hygienic practices after your treatment, though.
What's the difference between a chemical peel and microneedling?
The simple fact is that these two treatments are about as different as two skincare treatments can get, while providing similar results. Yes, both are non-surgical and designed to improve your complexion, but that’s where the similarities end.
A chemical peel acts as an exfoliant, physically removing the outermost layer of skin. This in turn encourages the lower layer to come to the surface, resulting in smoother, more evenly toned and all around better looking skin.
Chemical peels come in a variety of strenghts, the strongest of which can penetrate remarkably deep into the lower layers of skin. While this treatment can also promote an increase in collagen production, just like microneedling, certain deeper chemical peels can be quite invasive, irritating the skin, and have a much longer recovery time.
On the other hand, there's virtually no downtime after even the deepest of microneedling treatments. Microneedling merely pierces through the outermost layer of skin, rather than remove it entirely. This means microneedling carries a significantly lower risk of infection.
Both treatments are highly effective. A candid discussion with a board-certified medical professional will help you to decide the best approach for your specific cosmetic goals.
Should I use a chemical peel or microneedling for my large pores?
There are a number of different strength chemical peels that are quite effective at exfoliating the skin. Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and medical grade peels like a TCA peel all help to unclog pores and remove extra oil, dirt, and other debris.
What's more, the increase in collagen that deeper peels offer can help plump up and thicken the skin, further helping to reduce the appearance of large pores.
Of course, the downside to using a chemical peel to treat your pores is the sometimes lengthy downtime and recovery period that can come with deeper peels.
Microneedling, on the other hand, is also an effective treatment to improve skin texture and pore size, without any real downtime to speak of. Without needing to remove entire layers of it, microneedling will also stimulate your skin so it starts producing more collagen. This in turn gives your skin more structure and elasticity, helping large pores look much smaller and less apparent.
Which is better, microneedling or laser resurfacing?
Again, each of these non-surgical treatments increases your skin's natural production of collagen by creating micro-injuries to the skin. Both procedures work well to treats acne scars, open pores, pigmentation problems, or simply reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Of course, they treat these respective issues in very distinctive ways.
On the other hand, most microneedling uses no heat at all. This means it has a much shorter downtime, less pain, reduced redness post-treatment, and a much smaller risk of scarring, infection, and post-inflammation skin darkening.
Another major difference between these two treatments is that while almost anyone can undergo a microneedling procedure, laser and other light-based treatments are not appropriate for all skin types. In fact, there are rather strict limits on laser treatments for darker skinned people.
Overall, microneedling is by far the more accessible of the two treatments, with far fewer risks involved. Be sure, however, to talk to your doctor to find out if it's the right procedure for you.
Does microneedling hurt?
The shortest needle lengths shouldn't produce any pain at all, and for deeper needles most practitioners provide their patients with a numbing agent. This allows them to go as deep as they need to with the needles.
Afterwards you can expect your skin to be a little pink, and in a worst case scenario you could be left with a few tiny puncture scabs that will fade over a few days. Pain following the treatment is rare, but easily controlled with over-the-counter medications.
What does a professional procedure involve?
When performed by a professional, microneedling begins with cleaning and possibly numbing the skin with a topical anesthetic. Numbing is only done if you have a low pain tolerance. Generally, it’s not necessary.
Often a collagen-stimulating product, DOUBLE vitamin C Brightening Serum is applied to the skin's surface. Then, using the microneedling device of their choice, the skin is punctured with tiny wounds, created in the uppermost surface of the skin. The speed and adjustability of the needles makes piercing the skin easier and increases your skin's ability to absorb any serum that was put on your face. A vitamin C serum or hyaluronic acid is usually used after the procedure to re-hydrate, heal, and protect the skin. Perfect Skin Moisturizer is apply athin layer on the surface, reduce itchy and redness.
What will I look like after the treatment?
The average person will see some redness and mild swelling in their face right after treatment. This can even resemble a sunburn and last for 24 to 48 hours. It’s important to keep your skin protected from the sun while you recover. There might also be some slight pinpoint bleeding or bruising if your treatment involved needles that were on the longer end of the scale.
These symptoms should all fade quickly, and you should notice smoother, more radiant skin within a week or two. Your skin will continue to experience the effects of a treatment for the entire time your skin remodels itself.
What are the benefits of microneedling?
The benefits are remarkably far-reaching. For one, the tiny puncture wounds produced by the head of the tools greatly improve your skin's ability to absorb topical skincare products and helps them work better.
Microneedling also stimulates blood circulation and collagen production in the treated area by over 1,000%, according to some estimates. And when compared to many harsher, more invasive and expensive treatments like chemical peels, laser resurfacing or dermabrasion, microneedling is incredibly cost effective.
Additionally, unlike some other treatments, microneedling works well on all skin types and can be used to treat the body, face, around the eyes, mouth, neck and even the scalp.
Microneedling has been proven to significantly improve the following skin problems:
+ Rough skin texture
+ Fine lines
+ Crow's feet
+ Laugh lines
+ Surgical scars
+ Acne scars
+ Chicken pox scars
+ Large pores
+ Sun damaged skin
+ Aging skin
+ Stretch mark