Microneedling is a very simple, yet effective concept for skin rejuvenation. Puncturing the skin with hundreds of tiny holes using a device may not sound like a good idea, but it is done by millions of people around the world to achieve younger-looking skin.
The practice of using microneedles, which dates back to 1995, fundamentally damages the superficial layer of the skin to induce collagen growth and increase blood flow in the treated area.
What is microneedling?
Simply put, micro needling is a treatment that involves using a handheld device that is attached to a roller drum lined with tiny needles. These needles are used to puncture the superficial layer of the skin. The skin is repeatedly punctured with tiny, sterile needles by rolling over the skin gently.
Is microneedling effective?
One session of micro needling typically takes about 20 minutes. During the process, the therapist gently rolls the device on the skin to induce physical trauma to the skin. Over time during the healing process, the skin rebuilds and grows new skin.
Microneedling can treat several skin-related issues, such as depressed acne scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, hair loss, and even loose skin. Subtle skin tightening and overall skin rejuvenation can also be achieved with regular treatments.
In some clinics, doctors administers microneedling treatment before applying skincare products to promote deeper penetration and better absorption.
One of the biggest benefits of microneedling lies in its versatility. This simple procedure can even be used to improve the results of hair treatment by stimulating blood circulation in the scalp.
Some studies were conducted to compare the results between the topical application of Minoxidil and combining it with microneedling. Results indicated that the latter showed thicker hair growth and reduced hair loss as compared to just using Minoxidil alone.
In countries where microneedling is approved, doctors may even use the procedure to administer topical creams such as vitamin C and tretinoin, deeper into the skin for better absorption.
Is microneedling painful?
There are hundreds of tiny needles up to 1.5mm in length protruding from the roller barrel. Rolling them on the face repeatedly will definitely cause some discomfort.
Fortunately, the pain can be easily managed by apply topical numbing cream to the face before the treatment. It should not hurt after the effects of the numbing cream kick in.
What are the risks of microneedling?
Although microneedling is generally accepted as a safe and effective treatment, there are still risks associated with it.
The main concern is skin irritation immediately after the treatment. You can also expect to experience other side effects such as swelling, discomfort, bleeding, bruising, and redness. With proper care, the inflammation should subside after 3 days.
If not done by a professional, you may also experience serious side effects such as infection or darkening of the pigments. Severe skin irritation may also occur if you are sensitive to the topical medication applied after the treatment.
How useful are microneedling home devices?
As microneedling is a very simple concept, it is no surprise that home devices are sold on the internet. While these home devices are much cheaper than a session with a doctor, there are some key differences you should note.
Home devices are often not as effective as those used by doctors because they are more blunt, rendering the results ineffective. Home devices are often not meant for addressing serious skin concerns such as pigmentation or depressed acne scars. They are, however, good for overall skin rejuvenation and improve absorption of skincare products.
If the home devices are not cleaned properly after every use, it may cause serious skin infection or injury, especially if the needles break the skin surface.
Alternative treatments to microneedling
Not many aesthetic clinics offer microneedling treatment anymore because there are similar treatments that are more effective with better safety profile.
For example, CO2 laser creates precise, micro-ablative columns in the skin to allow collagen to grow. The precision of the laser increases the efficacy and safety of the treatment, allowing the skin to heal more evenly and providing better results than microneedling.
Another popular treatment that involves microneedling is INFINI. It involves administering radiofrequency energy into the dermis with an adjustable depth of 0.5mm to 3.5mm for the purpose of treating depressed acne scars and inducing collagen growth. The radiofrequency waves administered by the microneedles have an added effect to encourage collagen production and tissue tightening, which yields much better results than microneedling.
Do doctors recommend microneedling for skin rejuvenation?
Microneedling is a primitive, yet effective way to treat various skin issues. However, some countries such as Singapore prohibit medical clinics from offering microneedling as an anti-aging treatment. However, these treatments are offered by beauty salons. People can also purchase them over the internet for home use.
With newer, safer technology, doctors are able to use other energy-based devices such as INFINI and CO2 laser to precisely treat acne scars.
Always consult an experienced aesthetic doctor before you start any treatment.