What is Microneedling? Does it hurt? Does it even work? We asked advanced aesthetics nurse and nurse prescriber Lauren Taylor to give us the lowdown on whether this treatment is worth parting with your cash for!
Does Microneedling Work?
What is microneedling?
Microneedling is a full-face skin rejuvenation treatment. It can also be classed under the term collagen induction therapy (CIT) and, ultimately, stimulates both the body and the skin’s natural ability to repair and regenerate itself with the target tissues, the dermis and epidermis. It can be used as a very successful non-invasive, anti-ageing treatment. With many benefits available, microneedling can help reduce pore size and minimise fine lines and wrinkles and uneven texture. It is also robust in treating dyschromia (discoloured patches of skin), which includes areas of melasma and hyperpigmentation. However, one of the main indications for use is long-term acne scarring, thus improving overall skin texture for those that have previously suffered from acne. Recent advancements and increased evidence-base and research has also meant that microneedling can be used on other parts of the body, such as those areas with scars or burns, including the neck, décolletage area and also the abdomen, as it can help with stretch marks.
How does microneedling work? And what are the main microneedling benefits?
It sounds scary! But, believe it or not, it is very well tolerated. First, the face is cleansed using a medical grade antiseptic to kill any viral particles or bacteria on the skin. Topical local anaesthetic is then applied all over the face to minimise discomfort and numb the area to be treated. The microneedling pen is passed over the skin in both a vertical and diagonal direction, up to four times. This creates thousands of micro injuries to the skin, which produces an immune response, and results in the release of various growth factors and chemicals called cytokines within the wound healing cascade. The wound healing process is triggered by this mechanical stimulation of the microneedling device. This supports the production of collagen to resurface the skin, resulting in a more even texture and reduced presence of scarring. This is known as tissue remodelling, which enables tightening of the skin and collagen formation. Eventually, this produces cellular renewal, skin thickening and increased elastin.
Microneedling before and after by Lauren Turner Aesthetics
Collagen production: Why do we need to replace collagen?
Collagen depletes over time as we age. It is the building block of many vital tissues. In the skin, collagen binds cells together, which enables them to maintain their shape and elasticity. Most of the collagen in your body is found within the dermis.
Microneedling at home vs microneedling in clinic
So, if I go for microneedling in a clinic, does this replace my dermaroller at home? For those that typically use a dermaroller at home, this in-clinic treatment is preferable. There are a larger number of micro-channels produced with the mechanical device than with a manual dermal roller. This can cause more trauma to the skin, can be cheap and give poor quality results. Furthermore, dermarollers carry an increased risk of infection, as the sterility of the reusable needles come into question.
Each treatment takes on average anywhere between 30-60 minutes. Maximum results will be visible after a course of between 3-6 treatments. During the multiple sessions, once the dermis is thickened and can tolerate the microneedling, the depth of the needles can be adjusted to enable deeper penetration and further increased results. However, this is based upon individual clients’ goals. Needle depth varies from 0-2.5mm. Needle depth would need to be slightly deeper in the area where there is scarring in order to really improve these and see positive results.
What are the benefits of microneedling?
So, what are the benefits of microneedling compared to some other invasive, non-surgical treatments? Importantly, there is minimal downtime of 24-48 hours. The micro channels typically close after 24 hours and, at this time, normal daily activities can resume. Additionally, it is painless due to the application of topical anaesthetic. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that it is safe to use in all Fitzpatrick skin types. This is specifically important to those with darker skin types, as some procedures which disturb the epidermis can cause post inflammatory pigmentation (PIH). Microneedling is really affordable (treatment is every 4-6 weeks), with minimal upkeep, which appeals to nearly everyone!
The benefits or microneedling are clear to see. Before and after photo of microneedling by Lauren Turner Aesthetics
Are there any microneedling side effects?
Microneedling side effects include feeling ‘sunburnt’, with redness and tightness to the skin which will alleviate after approximately 24 hours. Skin may also be dry and slightly flaky over the next few days, which can make it difficult to apply makeup. No speciality skincare products must be used with any active ingredients (hydroquinone, tretinoin, vitamin C) for 24-72 hours, as these can penetrate deeper into the skin. Post procedure the skin needs to also be protected from any possible source of infection with a hydrating, non-damaging product. It is important to note that this procedure is not for active acne patients. Microneedling can spread acne bacteria to other areas of the face, so these lesions must be treated and cleared first with topical products. It can also cause some minor bleeding and bruising.
Microneedling is definitely an underrated non surgical procedure, which offers the chance to reverse sun damage and improve texture and it is natural, safe and effective. Always remember to see a medical professional for this treatment as there are still complications that can occur in untrained hands. An initial in depth skin consultation is essential to assess suitability for treatment and to manage expectations and goals of treatment. In the initial study with SkinPen Precision, 90% of those who participated would recommend this treatment and experienced excellent results. Microneedling is undergoing constant research, and some advanced practitioners are using this in conjunction with chemical peels and radio frequency devices. Starting a series of microneedling and using SPF 50, along with a good medical grade home skincare regime can eventually produce that fresher, glowing skin that we are ALL in pursuit of!
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