When my “in the know” girlfriend, who’s pretty high maintenance (she would cut off her arm before missing her Botox® appointment) said she had never heard of micro-needling I felt like I was sleeping on the job.
How could I not have talked about this already?? So here it is – forgive my lapse – everything you need to know about microneedling.
What is Micro Needling?
Micro needling, also referred to as skin needling, microneedling and micro-needling, is a minimally invasive skin-rejuvenation procedure using hair thin needles to cause superficial punctures in your skin prompting a healing process that corrects inconsistencies in our skin.
Microneedling is used to treat:
- Fine Lines & Small Thin Wrinkles (e.g., on upper lip, around eyes)
- Acne Scars (& General Scarring)
- Skin Laxity
- Under Eye Bags
- Enlarged Pores
- Hair Loss (by stimulating the scalp)
- Uneven Skin Tone
The Science Behind Micro Needling
The theory behind microneedling is that by making these tiny holes spaced apart in a given area of your skin (aka creating a controlled skin injury), your body will respond by sending collagen and elastin to heal the whole area.
In other words the collagen and elastin will not only heal the damaged area but also the areas around it, eventually smoothing out minor scars, flattening out fine lines and wrinkles, as well as promoting elasticity in the skin.
Additionally, if a product is introduced to the skin during micro needling, that product will be more effective since it penetrates deeper layers of the skin.
TIP: It is not advised to use products that normally cause irritation, as the side effects can become more than what you bargained for! You may want to see how a product affects your skin when normally applied before ramping it up with microneedles.
How it Goes Down
You can get microneedling done in varying degrees. You can have it combined with your favorite facial at your aesthetician’s office, you can do it at home yourself with a home derma roller or derma pen device, or you can do a hard core microneedling with rf (radio frequency) treatment with your plastic surgeon.
The difference is depth of the punctures, the downtime, and of course the degree of effectiveness.
When added on to your facial or done at home, microneedling shouldn’t hurt and shouldn’t leave heavy marks. On the other hand if you’re getting it done at a mac daddy microneedling coupled with radiofrequency at your doctor’s office, you can expect some redness and puffiness (and if you’re not numbed it can hurt like hell).
The cost varies depending on the extent of the treatment. It will run you about $35-$45 as a light add-on service to your regular facial. If you’re going in to get a microneedling facial then the whole thing ranges from $65-$125 depending on the unit being used.
I get mine from a beautiful lady called Pam who does it with bovine cells. My face is like a baby’s butt when I leave there.
But, if you’re getting an RF microneedle treatment, that’s a whole other story. This can range from $250 – $1200 or even more depending on the area of treatment and where you live. However, you can always do it at home with a derma roller or derma pen that can cost anywhere from $15 – $130.
Let’s start with the least expensive option.
Micro Needling at Home
I use micro needling when applying serums that I feel need that extra ummmph. I use a derma roller on Mr. BeautyBlackBook when applying hyaluronic acid with vitamin C serum, to compound the effect.
It’s important to make sure your micro needling device is properly cleaned, and applied with a light touch, because if there is bacteria on your device or you push it too hard on your skin, you risk infection and possible scarring.
I’m pretty sure you don’t want that, so even though you can buy these anywhere for less than $20, it’s not a trivial item, but something to be taken very seriously.
Here are a couple of the home units available if you feel like trying this at home.
TIP: If you’re going to attempt this at home, then MAKE SURE NOT TO USE NEEDLES LONGER THAN 0.5MM LONG, to lessen the chance of introducing something nasty inside your face that can cause infection.
Derma Rollers can be bought for as little as $15. You lightly roll it over your skin to cause teeny lesions and promote the healing process. You can find derma rollers a little cheaper or a little more expensive but this is my favorite so far, for home derma rollers, in a cost to value comparison.
This is a nice, cheap, home version however, if your aesthetician sells you a micro needling treatment as a $35 add-on, then whips this thing out, you may want to consider finding a new aesthetician!
Derma Stamp / Derma Pen
Dermapens®, sometimes referred to as derma stamps, usually come battery operated. I chose a battery operated one because it’s not so easy to stamp your face over and over again with a cylinder of ten or more tiny needles.
It has to be done lightning fast so all you have to do is lightly run it against your skin. These units range from $45 to $150.
This unit comes with 9 needles that can be adjusted from 0.25mm to 2.0mm (but don’t get too excited – remember I just told you not to use more than 0.5mm at home!)
I’ve tested a couple at the low, low end of the price scale and have found that they either stopped working within a week or punctured too deep, leaving marks. I’ve used the Koi Beauty® without incident, however it scares me a little and I definitely prefer a professional doing it for me.
Professional Micro-Needling Devices
There are quite a few brands of micro needle machines on the market that professionals use. I’ll talk about a few and show you some before and after pics to give you an idea of what they do.
SkinPen® by Bellus Medical
The SkinPen® by Bellus Medical uses needles that are adjustable from 0.25mm to 2.5mm so you can see why this isn’t considered an ‘at home’ treatment, but you can find this in many doctors’ offices. The long term results are pretty astounding.
For extensive skin damage you may need more than one treatment and won’t see the final result for 3 to 6 months due to the healing process, but see what it does for acne scars:
Depending how aggressive the treatment is, you may have slight swelling and a pink, sunburned look to your face that could last up to three days or so. Nothing too severe. You won’t have to stay in the house or anything, you’ll just look a little rosy.
Check out how well this worked for this lady’s stretch marks!
WOW, right? You can read more about the SkinPen® and physicians that use the SkinPen® here.
The Eclipse MicroPen™ is another favorite in doctors’ offices. Check out the results 4 weeks after one treatment.
You can read more about the Eclipse Micropen™ and find physicians in your area here.
The Collagen P.I.N. is another popular brand of microneedle. P.I.N. stands for Percutaneous Induction Needling, also referred to as PCIT or percutaneous collagen induction therapy (a super fancy name for microneedling).
Here are a couple of before and after photos using this unit:
Ok, I’m gonna have to say I’m a little obsessed with the AquaGold® Fine Touch™. I touched on this device in my article ‘A Comprehensive Guide to Shrink Large Pores (for real!)‘ because when you put fillers in it, like Belotero Balance®, you can use it to fill enlarged pores!
You can also put Botox in it to smooth fine lines, as well as to contract large pores and make them look smaller.
You can use also use the AquaGold® to introduce anti-aging products deep into your skin, as well as to apply lidocaine to numb the skin before a procedure. I’m going to write an in depth article on this soon because this is a game changing device for sure!
Let’s move on to the strongest form of microneedling on the market now, RF Microneedling.
RF Microneedling is basically a microneedle unit that delivers RF (Radio Frequency) technology on the underlayers of the skin, heating the tissue to promote the growth of new collagen.
During RF Microneedling treatment a handpiece will be lightly moved across your skin. Some laser techs will add a product to be introduced to your skin, but that is specific to the place that you go.
This treatment is marketed as painless but I would recommend asking your laser tech to apply a numbing cream to your face first because, if they do it right (meaning strong enough to make a difference), you WILL feel it.
After the procedure you will notice slight reddening of the skin and possibly some swelling. Within the next couple of days you may experience some bruising, which is caused by the pooling of blood in the deeper layers of skin, but those will go away at the same rate as you normally bruise.
Within the next few weeks you’ll notice a tightening of the skin. Unlike microneedling without the RF, immediate results will be harder to notice as you must allow the healing process to occur.
There are several brands of RF Microneedling units that doctors use. The EndyMed™ Intensif and the Infini™ by Lutronic® are the two most common, both delivering similar results. But, the new gold standard would be the Profound by Syneron-Candela®.
Read all about it on: Profound for Skin Tightening: The New Gold Standard.
So there ya have it, everything you need to know about microneedling! I will post a video the next time I have this done at a doctor’s office.