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At Home Skincare: Microneedling

Microneedling is the unsung hero of the skincare routines of many a fresh-faced celeb.

If you're looking to plump up your skin, kickstart collagen production and improve the efficacy of any active skincare products you use, this article has got you covered!

So, what is microneedling?

Well, microneedling, as the name suggests, uses tools with tiny titanium needles, to make microscopic holes in the skin. There are two ways of doing this: cosmetic microneedling, which can be carried out at home and and medical needling, which is an in clinic treatment.

What's the difference?

Cosmetic microneedling

Cosmetic microneedling uses needles with a length of LESS THAN 0.5mm. These needles create channels in the epidermis. This enables skincare products to be more readily absorbed into the epidermis, boosting the efficacy of active ingredients. Cosmetic needling can be done safely, weekly.

Medical microneedling

Medical microneedling uses needles with a length of 0.5mm – 1.5mm on the face, neck and chest, or 1.5mm – 2.5mm on the body.

As these needles are longer, they penetrate the epidermis and varying depths of the dermis (dependant on the length of the needles). This creates controlled trauma in the dermis, resulting in a skin healing process being triggered. During this process, the production of collagen and elastin is stimulated in the dermis.

Any treatment carried out with needles longer than 0.5mm is likely to be uncomfortable, will need numbing cream, will result in pinprick bleeding and an increased risk of infection. They are often carried out with specific, medical grade devices.

Therefore, microneedling with needles of greater than 0.5mm length SHOULD NOT BE DONE AT HOME. Treatments with needles longer than 0.5mm should be carried out in a clinic, by a medically qualified practitioner.

What is microneedling used for?

Microneedling is used to:

  • improve skin texture
  • reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • reduce sun damage
  • reduce hyperpigmentation
  • improve the appearance of acne scarring
  • improve the appearance of stretch marks

How do you prepare for an ‘at home’ dermarolling treatment?

Choose a dermaroller with titanium needles of 0.5mm or less. Make sure you store it appropriately, so that the needles do not get damaged.

Prior to using your dermaroller, each time, you should inspect it closely. You are looking for bent or blunt needles. Discard your dermaroller if you see it is damaged.

Clean your hands and face thoroughly.

Clean your dermaroller with isopropanol alcohol. It is easier to either put the alcohol in a shallow dish and roll the roller through it or spray the alcohol over the roller. Allow the roller to dry before you use it.

Just before you begin, cleanse your hands with isopropanol.

DO NOT EVER dermaroll over active acne. You will spread the bacteria that is responsible for your acne all over your face.

DO NOT EVER dermaroll over keloid scars.

What does dermarolling feel like?

As you should be using a roller with needles of 0.5mm or less, this at home treatment should not be painful and it should not draw blood.

You may experience the sensation of mild sunburn:

  • Slight swelling
  • Redness
  • Slight tenderness
  • Dry skin

One rare side effect is hives. If you experience these, stop immediately and seek medical attention.

If, whilst carrying out dermarolling, you're experiencing tenderness and discomfort, then you are likely over-rolling the area and should stop.

How much is too much?

With microneedling, the saying "too much of a good thing" is true.

The key to dermarolling is to not treat the same area too much. The reason is that over treating has the opposite effect to the outcome we want. Over-rolling stimulates the production of an enzyme called collagenase. This breaks down the collagen in your skin, when what we want is to build collagen.

So, don’t think that by excessively rolling your skin you will get better results. The opposite is more likely.

How do I use a dermaroller?

Follow these steps to get the best out of your at home microneedling:

What do I do after my at home dermaroller treatment?

You need to apply a gentle, non-perfumed, non-comedogenic moisturiser or serum. Ones containing hyaluronic acid, squalane and ceramides are good choices.

For 2-3 days after your at home treatment, avoid skincare products containing:

  • Alcohol
  • AHAs
  • BHAs
  • Retinoids
  • Vitamin C
  • Perfume

You should also avoid direct sunlight for 2-3 days.

Clean your dermaroller with isopropanol.

There are loads of medical professionals on Glowday who offer medical microneedling. Simply search "microneedling" in your area on Glowday to find a pro!

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