What is Microneedling?: Microneedling Procedure & Benefits
By Chelsea Campbell
Among the varied ways to treat stubborn acne, hyperpigmentation, and scarring, many doctors choose to use what is called a pulsed laser dye. This machine delivers pulsed laser energy through the first two layers of the skin. While this treatment is effective, it can be painful, causing bruising, swelling and redness that can last for over a week. What's more, because the laser causes damage to the epidermis, extreme care must be taken to prevent prolonged or frequent sun exposure, as this can cause even more discoloration and sun damage, rendering the treatment useless. Thankfully there is a safer and more cost-effective way to treat common skin concerns with a minimally invasive technique called microneedling.
What is Microneedling?
Microneedling is a ten to twenty-minute office procedure wherein an instrument with tiny protruding needles is carefully rolled over the surface of the skin to produce very small, superficial punctures. As frightening as this may initially sound, it is a virtually painless process with a host of advantages. The instrument used is known as a dermaroller, which has a drum-shaped cylinder with rows of needles and is attached to a handle. The instrument is conscientiously rolled over the skin's surface, creating micropunctures that produce surface damage without injuring the epidermis.
Originally, microneedling was used as a rejuvenation treatment known for its abilities to stimulate collagen and elastin production, resulting in tighter, thicker skin that resists fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps boost the absorption of topical anti-aging products as it allows for faster and deeper absorption.
Doctors discovered that it also has a host of other benefits and is now used to treat a variety of skin concerns. Because it can break up old scar tissue and stimulate new collagen, it is known to be an effective way to minimize scarring from acne, injuries, surgeries, and even helps fade stretch marks with prolonged treatment. Acne scars are impressively reduced, although doctors should avoid microneedling over active acne and instead either wait until acne subsides or treat the areas around the blemishes. Like the way it helps with topical anti-aging product absorption, it also allows topical acne medication to penetrate more deeply and efficiently.
Impressively, microneedling also helps greatly with age spots and hyperpigmentation, especially for those with a darker complexion. Lasers and chemical peels are often counterintuitive for darker skin, as there is a greater risk for discoloration to come back worse than before. Microneedling, however, is very effective for darker complexions as it breaks up the top layer of the skin and stimulates normal melanin production, without risk of discoloration coming back with a particularly strong vengeance.
And finally, microneedling can also help the appearance of rosacea, an intense facial redness, by the boosting of collagen production, allowing the skin to be less sensitive to things like the sun and temperature changes.
The Microneedling Process
Microneedling is a quick and safe procedure. After meeting with your doctor about your skin concerns, you may be given a topical vitamin A and vitamin C treatment for the month before your dermarolling appointment. This will prep the skin and prepare it to produce more collagen when micropuncture. On the day of the treatment, you may be given a topical anesthetic if you choose. The doctor will then prep the skin with antiseptic, and then stretch the skin flat with one hand while he or she rolls the dermaroller over the area up to sixteen times. This is done anywhere on the face where benefits are desired. The patient will experience some pin-point bleeding, but this should not cause alarm. Although there will be little to no pain felt, an ice pack or saline to provide extra comfort may be offered.
One of the great benefits of this treatment is the lack of downtime! Patients are able to resume normal activity the very next day but should continue to use sun protection as usual. The pinpoint marks may be slightly visible for a day or two afterward but are hardly noticeable.
Multiple treatments for stubborn areas may be necessary, in which case you would return to the doctor's office again in three to eight weeks. Results will be visible after three to six months, as this is the length of time it takes to see the full effects of the collagen production.
This safe, fast, cost-effective, and highly effective alternative to traditional laser treatments might be just what your skin needs! Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options and to see if microneedling can be the answer to your skin concerns.
It's worth noting that there are other advanced treatment options available. One of the most popular is known as Radio Frequency Microneedling, or RF Microneedling. There are numerous branded treatments in this category including Infini RF, Intensif, Intracel and Fractora. Stay tuned for more on microneedling and RF microneedling, we have more articles coming up in the weeks and months ahead.
Keywords: microneedling, dermarolling, dermaroller, collagen, acne scar treatment, stretch mark treatment, scar treatment, rosacea treatment, anti-aging treatment, non-invasive anti-aging treatment