If you’re looking to improve the appearance of damaged skin due to scarring, aging, hyperpigmentation, or a dull-looking texture… microneedling might be the right choice for you.
Yes, the concept of using a roller full of tiny little needles on your face is probably not a favorable image. But stay put for a moment – there’s much more to microneedling than meets the eye.
What is Microneedling?
In simple terms, microneedling involves the insertion of very fine, short needles into the skin – not in an acupuncture way, but through the use of a device called a “derma roller” (or dermaroller.) This is sometimes referred to as collagen induction therapy or a needle facial.
A derma roller looks a little like a miniature paint roller. It’s gently rolled across your skin, creating tiny pin-prick punctures along its route.
The resulting (tiny) puncture holes are basically small injuries to your skin. When your body recognizes this, it jumps into healing mode and starts producing collagen and elastin.1
This works to plump the skin and improve the appearance of scarring, wrinkles, and fine lines.
Note: These little pin-pricks also allow potent skincare products to better get down into those deeper layers of skin.
Does a Microneedle Roller Hurt?
Paying to have someone roll your face with a device full of needles may not sound appealing. But many people agree that a derma roller is not a painful experience. It may not be the most relaxing experience of your life, but it’s easily tolerated.
Your dermatologist or skin specialist will also apply a numbing cream to your face before they get started to further ensure your comfort.
Ultimately, the results seem to far outweigh any anxiety about the needles.
How does the Microneedling Process Work?
This is what you can typically expect if you opt to try microneedling:
The professional will begin by applying a light numbing cream to your face.
The microneedle roller is then gently rolled across your face in various directions. Sometimes, a device known as a dermapen is used instead. It doesn’t roll, but the process is pretty much the same.
The process usually takes around 20 minutes, and you can expect to look a little red afterward. Your specialist will usually apply a soothing serum to finish.
Occasionally, you may experience a little superficial pinpoint bleeding, but there really is no major “down time” after this procedure. Over the following days, your skin may actually feel extra soft and appear more radiant.
The Facts: Does It Really Work?
So, does microneedling really work? It does sound a little too good to be true – the simple act of pin-pricks being able to kickstart your collagen and elastin, softening scars and fine lines. Well, there’s some pretty impressive evidence behind the benefits of microneedling.
One study of nearly 500 volunteers looked at patients who had at least one, but up to four microneedling treatments (spaced over four months). Results indicated a 60-80 percent improvement of fine wrinkles, lax skin, scarring, and stretch marks, with a considerable increase in collagen and elastin after six months.2
Another study looked at patients with atrophic facial scarring – indented scars that can result from chicken pox or acne. The results showed that 34 out of 36 patients had a reduction in scar severity, while 80 percent of the patients rated their results as “excellent.” 3
So, Who Might Benefit From Microneedling?
Well, microneedling can potentially benefit anyone looking to improve their skin tone – those with scars, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, fine lines, or just lackluster skin.
Microneedling isn’t a one-time affair for most people, and you may need up to six sessions for optimal results, depending on what you’re trying to improve. Sessions should always be at least one month apart.
Though results will always vary, the best way to find out is to give it a go!
Who Should Avoid Microneedling?
Now, there are some people who should avoid microneedling, however. They include:
- Those with active acne – a derma roller can irritate acne. Inactive acne scars are fine however.
- Those with rosacea, eczema, or dermatitis – inflamed, irritated skin does not react well to a derma roller, and it may further irritate the skin.
It’s also important to note that while it’s an asset that microneedling allows skincare products to more deeply penetrate the skin, this has been known to cause irritation and allergic reaction in some people – even with products as simple as vitamin C.4
To counter this, make sure that your dermatologist uses a post-treatment serum that is specifically tested to be used with microneedling. If your skin is sensitive, you should ask to patch test a small area beforehand.
DIY vs. Salon Microneedling
It’s the big question when it comes to microneedling – “Can I buy a derma roller and do this myself at home?” It’s a sensible question, as the market has been flooded with DIY derma roller kits.
Here are a few facts:
1. When microneedling is performed by a dermatologist, the needles used are often are slightly longer – over 1 mm. This means they can get down deeper into the skin and more effectively address troublesome conditions, like scarring.
2. At-home kits will never contain needles more than 1mm. This may sound friendlier, and they are – you won’t need a numbing cream. You will, however, lose some effectiveness, so the results probably won’t be as dramatic.
3. At home, you will need to be hyper-aware of cleanliness and upkeep. If your needles become bent, dull, or dirty, you could create scarring or serious irritation.
The Benefits of Microneedling
The benefits of microneedling have certainly been researched, and more and more people are turning to this procedure to discover their very best skin.
It’s entirely up to you whether you seek out a qualified dermatologist, or do this at home – but honestly, this may be one beauty trick that’s best left to the experts.