What Is The Science Of Microneedling and How Does It Work?
In brief summary, microneedling causes ‘micro’ trauma to the skin, using a cluster of several needles set at varying depths (depending on conditions being treated), which causes stimulation of the body’s natural healing process to create a network of collagen and elastin which restores the skin’s healthy and youthful appearance. The beauty of microneedling is that it is a relatively natural way to get the body to heal itself.
What Results Can You Expect To See?
Microneedling can be used to treat a multitude of conditions, including the signs of aging and sun damage (deep and fine wrinkles/lines, sagging, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, enlarged pores, dullness, uneven texture, etc), as well minimize scar tissue (whether caused by trauma, infection, surgery, illness or burns). Minimizing cellulite, stretch marks and acne and stimulating hair growth are other conditions which microneedling has proven benefit for.
With a single treatment you aren’t likely to see much difference; microneedling works best with several treatments (3-6 would be more noticeable) and for some, 6-12 treatments might be needed for maximum benefit. While a complete reduction of the condition may not occur, minimization or improvement is often substantial; results vary by individual, however.
Photo Source: https://beautyblackbook.com/micro-needling/
How Often Should I Be Getting Treatments?
That depends on the condition you are treating and what needle depth is being used. The more aggressive the treatment (ie – for scars or stretch marks), the further time between treatments are recommended to allow the skin time to properly heal (6-8 weeks in between). Treatment for anti-aging therapies can generally be done in less time (every 2-4 weeks), as needle depths tend to be less.
For a variety of conditions, 0.5 mm depth gets to the dermal layer of the skin to induct collagen with minimal pain and less unnecessary trauma. No need to use longer needles that cause more structural damage if you are not achieving better results.
Do You Recommend Clients Microneedle At Home, In Between Treatments? Do You Have a Protocol for Safety and Hygiene?
Clients can microneedle at home however, they may not reap the benefits of having it professionally done, such as improved results and new, clean, sharp needles, which means less risk of infection, less damage to the skin and less pain. I’ve learned that less is more. Overworking and over traumatizing the skin by doing treatments too frequently or using the wrong needle depth for what you are trying to treat can be detrimental to the process we are trying to stimulate.
I personally do not recommend microneedling in between treatments, if you are dong a series already; it’s unnecessary and skin does need that time to heal. Perhaps for long term maintenance, after a series of treatments, it may be beneficial, but one needs to consider other factors. The illustration below demonstrates how an automated machine is going to penetrate the skin precisely, without undue damage to the skin, whereas a roller purchased for home use punctures the skin at angles, which do not get to even depths in the dermis.
Regarding safety, many people are unaware of other factors which may affect healing, including medications used, skin conditions and applying abrasive, irritant or toxic topical products following. The benefits of having a knowledgeable, trained professional, using an automated machine with fresh needles every time to obtain the best possible outcome will far outweigh the cost savings and time put in doing it yourself.
What Other Suggestions, Products and Treatments Do You Suggest for Great Skin?
Following a treatment, I recommend a regimen of applying Hyaluronic Acid and/or Camellia seed oil (green tea oil) to hydrate the skin and reduce inflammation. There are other preparations that could be utilized, but these are my ‘go-tos’ – simple, natural, limited ingredient products. After 3-5 days when those micro channels in the skin start to close up, clients can choose to return to their usual skin regimen however, I encourage that they include products containing Vitamin C and E and the use of Retinols at night. Being mindful of product preservatives post microneedling treatment is very important, as the skin becomes extra permeable to anything you put on it (this includes makeup and sunscreen). Mineral makeups are recommended going forward, over typical foundations or concealers full of chemicals. I also like to recommend daily supplementation with Omega fish oils to treat the skin from the inside out.
What Type of Long Term Result Can You Expect from Regular Microneedling? Will It Successfully Offset the Development of Wrinkles into Later Life?
The amazing thing about microneedling for anti-aging purposes is that you can reap the benefits of treatment for 5-7 years following. That being said, the skin is always aging, so eventually some of the things you may have treated with a series of microneedling sessions will show up again with time. Treating scars and other damaged skin should reap the benefits longer, if not permanently, because the scar tissue has been replaced by healthy skin again. Like anything however, regular maintenance will maximize the benefits in the future.
Is it True that Microneedling Thickens the Skin, Whereas Lasers Thin the Skin?
Lasers use heat/light which removes layers of the skin and has the potential to make it fragile, sensitive or “thin”. Frequent and aggressive ablative treatments will contribute to how thick the surface layers of skin are. The effects of microneedling are the new formation of collagen, which does make it fuller and supple again, so “thick”.
What is the Downtime and Maintenance In Between Treatments?
There is little to no downtime with microneedling, especially for an anti-aging regimen to the face, neck, décolletage or hands where a smaller needle depth should/is often used. It is normal to experience some redness to the area, like a mild to moderate sunburn that minimizes over 24-48 hours. The skin may feel tight and dry and flake in some areas and as a result, be itchy following. You may see signs of ‘pinpoint’ bleeding in certain areas immediately afterwards or even some bruising. Most people resume normal activities following their treatment. My personal beef with microneedling is not being able to put make-up on for a day or two after treatment, but the results far outweigh this inconvenience.
When treating scars, due to treating the skin at a deeper level, clients can expect redness or pinkness to persist over several days to weeks; the skin will undergo several changes.
Treatments for anti-aging (face) and thick scars (wrist) done on same day.
Photo taken the next day shows that the redness has subsided on the face, but persists on the wrists due to the required needle depth to treat the area. Face treatment shows the little downtime that microneedling has, comparatively, to the scar treatment.
The important thing is to hydrate the skin and feed it serums or products that are going to support the rebuilding of collagen in between and after treatments.
Who Do You Recommend Gets Microneedling?
The benefits of microneedling could be recommended to just about anyone. There are certainly contraindications, however. Contagious skin conditions or infections in the area should not be treated; bruises, raised moles or warts in the treatment area should be avoided, as well as broken skin (wounds, rashes, blisters, cold sores, active acne, pustule rosacea, eczema or psoriasis). Individuals with a history of keloid or hyper-tropic scarring may not be suitable candidates.
Copyright – Candid Cosmedics 2017
Written by: Kersten Gruber (RN, BN, CAE)