There’s always a new treatment that promises younger looking skin. For years, Botox ruled this sector of anti-aging and 2019 marks 16 years since the injectable received its approval from the FDA. Since then fillers and laser treatments have filtered in for plumper, fresher looking skin. Even more recently, micro-needling has been heralded as a non-invasive way to achieve youthful, dewy looking skin. But what is it and does it really deliver results?
What is micro-needling? It's a treatment whereby a device with small needles is pushed or rolled over your face and neck area to create controlled punctures, which force your skin into repair mode. Those with a fear of needles shouldn't discard this technique straight away as, depending on the device used, the microneedle length can vary from 0.5 to 2.0 mm, which is incredibly tiny compared to a traditional needle. And, these devices are gentle enough to be used around the delicate eye area. What are the benefits of micro-needling? The benefits are remarkably far-reaching. For one, the tiny puncture wounds produced by the head of the tools greatly improve your skin's ability to absorb topical skincare products and helps them work better. When your skin starts repairing itself it turbocharges your body's natural ability to produce collagen and elastin, which provides that firm plumpness. “It also helps improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks and creates a more youthful skin tone,” explains leading Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor Maryam Zamani Additionally, unlike some other treatments, microneedling works well on all skin types and can be used to treat the body, face, around the eyes, mouth, neck and even the scalp. Microneedling has been proven to significantly improve the following skin problems:
Rough skin texture
Chicken pox scars
Sun damaged skin
What's the difference between a chemical peel and microneedling? The simple fact is that these two treatments are about as different as two skincare treatments can get, while providing similar results. Yes, both are non-surgical and designed to improve your complexion, but that’s where the similarities end. A chemical peel acts as an exfoliant, physically removing the outermost layer of skin. This in turn encourages the lower layer to come to the surface, resulting in smoother, more evenly toned and all around better looking skin. Chemical peels come in a variety of strengths, the strongest of which can penetrate remarkably deep into the lower layers of skin. While this treatment can also promote an increase in collagen production, just like microneedling, certain deeper chemical peels can be quite invasive, irritating the skin, and have a much longer recovery time. On the other hand, there's virtually no downtime after even the deepest of microneedling treatments. Microneedling merely pierces through the outermost layer of skin, rather than remove it entirely. This means microneedling carries a significantly lower risk of infection. Both treatments are highly effective. A quick discussion with your Esthetician will help you to decide the best approach for your specific goals. Should I use a chemical peel or microneedling for my large pores? There are a number of different strength chemical peels that are quite effective at exfoliating the skin. Salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and medical grade peels like a TCA peel all help to unclog pores and remove extra oil, dirt, and other debris. What's more, the increase in collagen that deeper peels offer can help plump up and thicken the skin, further helping to reduce the appearance of large pores. Of course, the downside to using a chemical peel to treat your pores is the sometimes lengthy downtime and recovery period that can come with deeper peels. Microneedling, on the other hand, is also an effective treatment to improve skin texture and pore size, without any real downtime to speak of. Without needing to remove entire layers of it, microneedling will also stimulate your skin so it starts producing more collagen. This in turn gives your skin more structure and elasticity, helping large pores look much smaller and less apparent. Each of these treatments are very different and come with their own benefits and side effects. The procedure best suited to your needs can really only be determined by speaking to your Esthetician or dermatologist. Which is better, microneedling or laser resurfacing? Again, each of these non-surgical treatments increases your skin's natural production of collagen by creating micro-injuries to the skin. Both procedures work well to treat acne scars, open pores, pigmentation problems, or simply reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Of course, they treat these respective issues in very distinctive ways. The most apparent difference is how the micro-injuries are created. Laser resurfacing uses light energy to create these injuries while microneedling employs a much more mechanical approach, literally piercing the skin. The laser burns the outer layer of skin, creating small pits which vary in size and depth depending on the type of laser used. On the other hand, most microneedling uses no heat at all. This means it has a much shorter downtime, less pain, reduced redness post-treatment, and a much smaller risk of scarring, infection, and post-inflammation skin darkening. Another major difference between these two treatments is that while almost anyone can undergo a microneedling procedure, laser and other light-based treatments are not appropriate for all skin types. In fact, there are rather strict limits on laser treatments for darker shades of skin. Overall, microneedling is by far the more accessible of the two treatments, with far fewer risks involved. Be sure, however, to talk to your doctor to find out if it's the right procedure for you. What should you expect from a professional micro-needling treatment? The idea of rolling small needles over your skin might sound like torture, but the procedure starts with your face being anesthetised with topical cream and has minimal downtime. “The treatment can be tailored to the specific needs of the patient and can result in just a few hours of redness, mild swelling and erythema (red patches),” says Dr Zamani. However, depending on your tolerance levels, these symptoms can last for one to two days and you can also experience pinpoint bleeding,peeling, and bruising. How many and how often will you need to have a treatment? “The number of sessions depends on the skin condition, but typically you're looking at 3-5 treatments in 4-6 week intervals with maintenance treatments every 6-9 months,” says Dr Zamani. What will I look like after the treatment? The average person will see some redness and mild swelling in their face right after treatment. This can even resemble a sunburn and last for 2-3 days. It’s important to keep your skin protected from the sun while you recover. There might also be some slight pinpoint bleeding or bruising if your treatment involved needles that were on the longer end of the scale. These symptoms should all fade quickly, and you should notice smoother, more radiant skin within a week or two. Your skin will continue to experience the effects of a treatment for the entire time your skin remodels itself. When can you expect to see results from micro-needling? With in salon treatments the final results might not be noticeable until you hit the three to twelve months mark as boosting collagen and elastin within the dermis takes time. However, as with most treatments it depends on the individual. Some experience improvements immediately. Much depends on your overall goals and treatment plan you and your Esthetician came up with. . When should you avoid micro-needling? "It can be used on all skin colors and skin types, however it should be avoided if one has an active infection on the skin such as impetigo, active and inflamed acne or rosacea,” says Dr Suchitra Badvey. Those with hypersensitive skin, acute eczema or sun burnt skin should also avoid the technique. As well as women who are pregnant. Can microneedling be combined with other procedures? Absolutely! Microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment combinable with any number of cosmetic procedures, among them botox, injectable fillers, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and other traditional cosmetic procedures. These procedures can often even be combined into a single treatment session. For example, laser resurfacing with a carbon dioxide laser can be combined in the same sitting with microneedling for the treatment of acne scars. However, not all practitioners recommend that they be done on the same day. Your practitioner will let you know if it’s possible. On the other hand, combining and alternating between microneedling treatments and a 35% glycolic acid chemical peel every three weeks has been shown to be an incredible regimen for treating both superficial and moderately deep scars. This combination has also shown an improvement to skin texture and helps fade post-acne discolorations.
Have any more questions? Ready to book a consult? Feel free to reach out to me via text or call (503) 396-2954. I am offering free consults prior to your microneedling treatment so set yours up today!