Microneedling (also known as collagen induction therapy) is a device that eliminates fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, pigmentation, and even stretch marks (before and after pictures at the end of the article). Microneedling can replace certain laser or surgical treatments, providing minimal downtime and a virtually painless treatment.
This device is a powerful tool that is becoming more popular in the skin care industry. Today let’s talk about microneedling – what it is, the benefits you’ll get from it, if it’s safe or not, treatment alternatives, and more.
What is microneedling and how does it work?
Microneedling involves using micro-sized needles to puncture your skin. While that idea may sound intimidating, it’s actually a painless procedure so let’s first understand the process of how microneedling works.
At Essential Life Skin Care Clinic, we use SkinPen, a microneedling pen device that is both FDA and Health Canada approved. SkinPen features a reciprocating head attached to a sterile disposable needle cartridge to create many microscopic punctures to the skin. These punctures cause the healing and repair process of your body to activate, which in turn creates more collagen. Collagen makes up 90% of the protein in your skin, and new collagen production can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, plump your skin, as well as remodel scar tissues back to normal. Moreover, this collagen production evens out the texture caused by atrophic acne scars (icepick, rolling, and boxcar acne scars).
Pigmentation such as hyperpigmentation, melasma, or pigmented acne scars after microneedling are replaced by healthy new cells during cellular turnover. Results are enhanced with safe brightening ingredients since transdermal penetration of skin care products are improved after microneedling.
Needles can puncture between 0.5 to 2.5mm in depth depending on the area of your face or body being treated. SkinPen uses 14 micro-needles that are moving at 7000 RPM and creates 98000 microchannels per minute on your skin.
SkinPen microneedling is FDA and Health Canada safe and can be done anywhere on the face and body.
- Little Downtime: Post-microneedling requires minimal downtime (or none at all) meaning that you may resume your normal activities quickly.
- Safe: Not all microneedling devices are the same – SkinPen is the only FDA and Health Canada approved microneedling device on the market.
- Natural Solution: The healing process is all natural so there’s no surgery involved, and is a fantastic solution for all skin types.
- Recommended: Many clients would recommend the treatment to their friends and family, proving how much they trust the procedure.
- Low-risk: There has been no case of device-related adverse events in clinical trials and remains a safer choice than lasers for darker skin tones.
- Comfortable treatment: The use of numbing cream makes the procedure virtually painless and patients feel comfortable throughout the treatment.
Is Microneedling safe?
Microneedling devices are generally safe and suitable for both men and women of all Fitzpatrick skin types. Microneedling should not be used if you have active skin cancer in the area, pregnant or nursing, taking drugs with isotretinoin (such as Accutane), or have any type of hemorrhagic disorder.
Instances where you should be careful about microneedling is when determining which device is being used. SkinPen is both FDA and Health Canada approved whereas many other microneedling devices are approved by neither one. It is also not easy to properly sterilize some devices based on their particular design. SkinPen uses a new set of needles for each client and uses special patent-pending safety design to make sure that there no cross-contamination.
Many needles on the market are not regulated for safety and design efficacy. Though we cannot precisely see the needle tips with our naked human eye, some needles might not smooth or possibly bend during the treatment, causing micro-tears to your skin. SkinPen uses sterile needles that are proven to not dull even after hours of use and creates very controlled punctures to your skin. However, with any devices or procedures, the treatment should be performed by a trained clinician.
What to expect during and after the treatment
A safe topical numbing cream is applied for about 10 to 20 minutes. Your skin is then cleaned with an antiseptic before the treatment begins. A layer of gel is applied to your skin to reduce friction during the treatment. The clinician will adjust the depth of the needle depending on the area being treated, and glide the device over your skin which will feel like a slight vibration. There might be minor discomfort but tolerable.
Your skin may appear slightly pink or red after the treatment. You may also experience some irritation, peeling, or burning sensation but these are normal responses and resolve naturally over time. Most clients require minimal downtime or none at all, and can resume their normal activities within 24 hours. A proper after-care should be instructed to you to ensure a smooth and quick recovery.
How many treatments do I need?
Though some clients may see results only after 1 treatment, optimal results are usually seen after 3 treatments spaced around 30 days apart. For severe cases such as deeper scars and wrinkles or severe pigmentation, more sessions may be required. To maintain your results, we recommend regular touch-up sessions.
Individual results may vary but clinical studies showed that results were maintained 6 months after the third treatment with SkinPen.
Can I do my own microneedling at home?
Microneedling devices at home are usually not approved by FDA and/or Health Canada. Microneedling on your own increases the risk of infection, pigmentation, and injury to your skin. At-home microneedling devices don’t use high quality needles which may bend and deform as it’s being used, causing unwanted micro-injuries to your skin.
In addition, the depth at which the needles penetrate your skin should be adjustable to optimize safe results. For example, the skin around your nose is thinner so a shorter needle depth is needed but most non-clinical microneedling devices are one consistent needle length that may be too deep for that area. Microneedling at home also requires you to properly sterilize before and after each use. Steilization of home devices can be difficult to do, thus increasing the risk of infection.
Before and After Treatment Pictures
And in closing…
Microneedling is an excellent choice of treatment for a variety of skin concerns, and is safe for all skin types. Its almost pain-free treatment, affordable price, and low recovery time is making microneedling a highly desirable treatment over other procedures but should not be a replacement for other types of skin care treatments. Make sure that the device is safe and in the hands of a highly-trained clinician for optimal results.