Microneedling also known as Collagen Induction Therapy is fast becoming a popular facial treatment for fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and acne scaring. It’s a skin rejuvenation treatment that uses very fine needles to cause a micro trauma to the skin by puncturing the top layers with either a roller or automatic pen device. This action stimulates the skin to release growth factors which in turn stimulate the production of collagen and elastin to start healing the skin from the trauma it thinks is happening. By causing this reaction within the skin you can start to heal scar tissue and plump out fine lines. It’s not an instant process because it’s naturally stimulating your skin to heal itself so a number of treatments spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart is recommended. Once you have achieved your results you can stop the treatment and either return if needed after a couple of years or do a maintenance treatment every six months. It’s not like injecting a filler into the skin that will eventually be broken down, it’s your own collagen and elastin so it should stay in the skin where it belongs.
Roller vs Pen
There are two different types of microneedling devices – the roller and the pen. The advantage to using a roller is that it’s quicker for larger areas of the body such as stretchmarks on the stomach and acne scars on the back. The rollers are moved back and forth in a vertical and then horizontal direction to ensure all areas of the skin have been reached. The pen is what most professional aestheticians prefer to use because the up and down motion moves the needles in a straight line which is better than puncturing the skin at an angle which is what the roller does and it also makes the treatment more painful. The pen moves at a very fast speed which means you can create more channels than a roller in the skin which creates a greater response. The pen allows you to adjust the depth of the needle as well as the speed so you can keep adjusting this when working on different parts of the face. The rollers comes in different needle lengths but you can’t adjust this on the same roller so you have to buy the different sized rollers if you want to use different needle lengths.
Concentrated serums are applied to your skin before the needling is performed, the serums are usually hyalauronic acid based as this is a humectant and is responsible for plumping up the skin. Hyaluronic acid is found naturally in the skin and just like collagen and elastin it starts to decline with age. Serums can also be applied to aid with any specific skin problems such as pigmentation and scar tissue that needs healing. Theses serums can penetrate much deeper into the skin by travelling down the micro channels that are created with the needles making the treatment much more effective.
My microneedling facial
Hexagonal shaped needles are used in the microneedling pen that I use so the treatment is less painful, therefore there’s no need for numbing cream which is better for the skin (I’d rather not have numbing cream in the skin). Before needling the skin I will assess your skins needs and apply an appropriate serum (or mixture of serums) which will penetrate deep into the micro channels made in the skin during the treatment. No blood is drawn as the needles go deep enough to stimulate the healing process without drawing blood, sometimes a little blood spotting can occur and the skin can appear a little red but these are all normal reactions. In my opinion you want to create enough stimulation without creating too much inflammation.
The treatment serums can be mixed together if needed, they range from anti wrinkle (for general anti ageing of the skin), depigmenting (for pigmentation problems), oil control (for oily and acnaeic skin), volume enhancing (for hydrating and firming) and wound healing (for tissue remodelling with scarred skin).
Most aestheticians glide the pen across the face with the serums helping to add slip to the skin, this makes the process quick. But I prefer to take longer to do the treatment and hold the pen still, lifting it up and placing down with each movement (stamping) because I believe that is the best way to protect your skin from being scratched. When gliding the pen across the face the needles are moving so fast that you cannot be sure that as you slide the needles are not still within the skin. With stamping you can be sure that you will never micro tear the skin.
The skin is then soothed and calmed with a facemask infused with collagen, aloe vera, chamomile, hyaluronic acid, extracts of rose and other vitamins and moisturising ingredients. Then to finish an intensive soothing and regenerating cream is applied followed by a mineral SPF if the treatment is done during the day. Treatments can take from 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours depending on the areas being treated.
Homecare is important to encourage healing and during the day it’s important to wear an SPF (preferably a mineral one that’s gentle for sensitive skin) because the skin is vulnerable after microneedling to the damaging effects of UV light and it’s also slightly sensitive for the next couple of days.
Results can start to show after approximately 3 weeks as the skin starts to go through the healing and remodelling stages. A minimum course of 3 treatments is recommended every 4-6 weeks although some skin conditions may need an average of 6-10 treatments. The effects should last up to 2 years (it can take up to 2 years for collagen to remodel and realign within the skin) but maintenance can be done periodically to keep the skin actively rejuvenating. You can view my price list here for more info along with the other treatments that I offer. Glycolic peels are also popular, done a week or two before microneedling they help to lift off the dead skin cells which prepares the skin for maximum absorption of the power serums used.
With time you will see results, they are not always instant but with regular treatments there will be incremental improvements. Many of the benefits may not be initially visible on the surface but within the deeper layers of the skin cell to cell communication is improved, epidermal growth factors and collagen are stimulated, old scar tissue is broken down and remodelled and the epidermis starts to thicken leading to stronger, healthier skin. Microneedling is a long term investment in your skin health, just like a healthy diet – you’re goals are for long term health and you stick with it to maintain the good work you initally put in. Be patient because slow and steady wins the race!