What Is Microneedling?

Microneedling uses tiny needles to penetrate the skin to stimulate collagen growth. This procedure can help with many skin conditions, including:

  •  Fine lines and wrinkles
  •  Skin laxity and sagging
  •  Discoloration, pigment issues and dullness (even melasma)
  •  Skin texture issues
  •  Collagen production (for more firm, youthful plumpness)
  •  Large pores
  •  Acne scars

This method for dealing with skin issues was first introduced in 1995 and has since been gaining in popularity for its effectiveness and short downtimes. Your first appointment for the procedure might look something like this:

  •  The treatment area is numbed with a topical cream and then a small pen type device with tiny micro-needles is passed over your skin, creating fine micro-injury channels in the skin.
  •  The natural healing process is what improves the skin and produces collagen and elastin. The treatment takes about 30 minutes and there is virtually no downtime with this procedure.
  •  The results are great but it requires a series of treatments (3-6) to obtain the desired results.
  •  The results can last for months with proper sun protection and regular exfoliation but it is recommended to have a touch up treatment annually.

Here is a firsthand account from someone who has had the procedure done:

“The day of my first session, I was excited, but I was still nervous about the aftereffects. I'd heard that it would look like intense sunburn with raccoon eyes. The physician assistant, applied a topical lidocaine, which numbs your skin. She left it on for about 20 to 30 minutes, which is a little longer than usual, since I was so nervous. The actual microneedling feels like more of a tickling. The only time I could feel any poking is when it was on active acne. So the most recent session I had, she went a little bit deeper with the needles where I have intense scarring, like a chicken pox scar on my temple. It still didn’t hurt, but it felt like I was being poked. It’s bearable for sure. The benefits definitely outweigh any discomfort felt.”

Initially, minor side effects are to be expected from this procedure. These include redness, bruising, and inflammation. However, these should clear up within a few days.

During the first few days after your microneedling procedure, you’ll want to avoid direct sun exposure and rigorous exercise. Exfoliants and alcohol-based skin products can also make side effects worse, so you should avoid these.

It’s also possible to experience acne breakouts after skin needling. However, these should be mild and clear up on their own. Avoid picking at your skin, as this can lead to further scarring.
The severity of microneedling side effects also depends on how you prepare for the procedure. Tanning or direct sun exposure can irritate your skin, making inflammation worse. Drinking plenty of water the day before and during the hours leading up your treatment can also reduce the chances of bruising and inflammation. You’ll also want to come to your appointment without any makeup on.

Unlike more invasive skin therapies, microneedling is considered quick. Many people choose to go back to work the day after their treatment, depending on their side effects. You can apply a lightweight powder if you want to camouflage any bruising or redness 24 hours after the procedure.

A master esthetician may not recommend microneedling for your acne scars if your acne has not been clear for at least 6 months to a year. It’s also not recommended if you have rosacea or eczema, as the procedure can worsen your symptoms.

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