In the world of skin care, there is always some new treatment that promises transformative skin rejuvenation and eternal youth. Okay, maybe not eternal youth, but certainly youth that lasts past its usual expiration date. And we all jump on the latest treatments because—let’s face it—we all want to look our best for as long as we can (and there’s nothing wrong with that)! One of the most popular of these anti-aging wonders? Microneedling.
Microneedling is a procedure which promises to fix your skin concerns that cannot be treated by topical creams, serums or even medications - for example, acne. It involves damaging your skin first, in order to stimulate your body to produce collagen and reveal new, baby-soft skin.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at microneedling and why it may be an option for you, as well as important aftercare treatments that can help you recover from the procedure more quickly.
1. What is microneedling?
2. Difference between Cosmetic Microneedling and Medical Microneedling
3. Microneedling benefits and 'before & after' results
4. Microneedling side-effects
5. Aftercare treatments - what you need to do to speed up recovery
What Is Microneedling?
Microneedling actually isn’t as new as it may seem. It dates back to 1995, but has regained major popularity in recent years. On a short-term basis, it helps plump up skin to make it look more youthful. Other benefits include boosting collagen, helping to treat acne and even encouraging hair growth.
Unlike chemical peels that are less invasive, microneedling involves “rolling” tiny needles into the surface of the skin to create minute, microscopic punctures. The main purpose is to refine and rejuvenate skin. The needle does not go too deeply into the skin and only touches upon the surface (in case you have a fear of needles and are wary of any near your face). The punctures are like small pin pricks, but the pain is minimal if at all existent.
As the needle “damages” the skin, it causes your body to produce more collagen to help heal this damage. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. In the skin, it keeps it firm and pliant. As collagen degrades naturally with age, you will begin to notice sagging and wrinkles. Regular microneedling can potentially help prevent or reduce this.
What Does It Do To Your Skin?
Like we said, microneedling essentially rejuvenates skin by promoting collagen synthesis to make it look younger and give it a lovely glow. Skin will appear and feel plumper after a microneedling session. It can also help treat acne scars and signs of aging to clear up your complexion and improve texture and tone overall.
The Difference Between Cosmetic Microneedling and Medical Microneedling
According to the FDA, there are two types of microneedling: cosmetic and medical.
Cosmetic microneedling refers to the microneedling anybody can do at home. The needle depth is usually less than 0.3 mm. It is often used to reduce oiliness, shrink pores, combat fine lines and improve delivery of certain skincare products into the skin. A derma roller (a mini-wheel covered in needles that you run over your skin) or a Skin pen are often the most common at-home tools used.
Medical microneedling, as the name suggests, is performed in a doctor’s office by a professional like a nurse or doctor. It involves microneedling with a needle at a depth of more than 0.3 mm. Medical microneedling can be used on acne scars, large pores, lax skin and fine lines.
What Does Microneedling Do For Your Skin
Heals Acne Scars
The American Academy of Dermatology says that microneedling works best for depressed scars, like ice pick scars, that are basically indentations in the skin. It essentially restores collagen to the area, whereas raised acne scars already have excessive collagen.
Helps With Hair Loss
Microneedling can potentially treat thinning hair and hair loss by stimulating and strengthening hair follicles. In other words, it is believed that microneedling helps promote the health of hair follicles, resulting in more hair growth or thicker hair. It is even better when used in conjunction with other hair loss treatments.
Skin Tightening and Reduces Wrinkles
Microneedling has anti-aging benefits thanks to its ability to increase collagen production. Thus, microneedling can potentially address the issue of fine lines and wrinkles, even sagging. “This is one of the reasons I like microneedling—because it’s able to utilize the body’s own natural healing mechanisms, so the results are very natural,” Dr. Sejal Shah, MD, told Reader’s Digest.
Dark spots occur as a result of sun damage and cause your complexion to look uneven and blotchy. A 2015 study showed that microneedling can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and melasma.
Large pores can make your skin texture look less than ideal. Even from afar, large pores can be visible. By stimulating collagen, microneedling helps pores tighten and look smaller. Remember, pores don’t actually open or close, but rather can be stretched when filled with oil and dead skin cells.
Improves Skincare Penetration
We all obviously want our beauty products (many of which cost hundreds of dollars!) to work to their optimal levels. That’s not always the case, though, especially if you don’t exfoliate. With microneedling, penetration of your skincare products is greatly improved, so that you can reap their full benefits. “The tiny punctures actually act like little channels, allowing topical products to penetrate better and work more effectively,” Dr. Sejal Shah, MD, told Reader’s Digest.
However, before you jump into microneedling procedures or at-home treatments, get ready for the potential risks and side effects, so you won't be disappointed with the results.
Microneedling Side Effects
1. Bleeding, Irritation and Redness
These are common side effects, as you can imagine! With all those needles pricking your skin, it stands to reason that you can experience irritation like redness immediately following treatment. But it usually doesn’t last very long and can be assuaged with a bit of ice and time.
Swollen and bruising may occur in those with sensitive skin, but this is rare.
3. Sun Sensitivity
Your skin has been breached with needles, so it will be more susceptible to sun damage. Make sure you wear sunscreen when going out -- better yet, try to limit exposure to the sun.
Skin might peel after treatment, especially if you have sensitive skin that is prone to peeling when treated with strong products or skin therapies.
5. Infection and other side effects
As your skin gets damaged by the needles and bleeding occurs, risk of infection can happen if it is not properly disinfected and treated after the procedure.
Note: Microneedling is generally discouraged for those who are pregnant, those with open wounds, those on certain acne medications, those with certain skin issues like psoriasis and eczema, those with a history of scarring easily and those who have had recent radiation therapy.
How Long Does It Takes To Heal From Microneedling
Microneedling is a more invasive procedure, as compare to derma rollers. So it does require some recovery time, which varies depending on your skin and length and density of the needles used. Your skin will be pink and red, with minor bleeding within 24-48 hours, sometimes even slightly bruised. After your treatment, your licensed pro will go over after-care instructions.
Microneedling Aftercare to Incorporate So Your Skin Can Heal Faster
Many doctors' office will provide aftercare instructions, which may include
- Staying away from the sun or minimizing direct sun exposure
- Do not use abrasive facial wash and facial scrubs, instead use a gentle cleanser
- Apply soothing Aloe gel
- Keep skin clear and free of makeup, let the skin breath and heal
They also offer medical microneedling post treatments e.g. infusing skin with collagen, skin repair serums and hydrogel.
Whether you decide to try a cosmetic microneedling at-home device, or within hours after your medical microneedling procedure, it will be helpful to incorporate aftercare treatments to accelerate healing and also ease the discomfort you may feel.
Benefits of post treatments include a faster recovery time so you can go back to your regular lifestyle right away, as well as healing of any scarring and reduction of irritation and redness.
Here are some post-treatments you can do at home to help your skin heal faster and shorten the recovery time:
Collagen masks help hydrate, reduce pore size, reduce free radical damage, and, best of all, applying it after treatment will help to accelerate the healing process.
Chose a good quality mask, such as Taut Collagen Mask, that contains a high concentration of premium marine collagen peptides, with a molecular size tiny enough to penetrate your pores and go deep into the dermis layer to help accelerate skin healing.
A hydrogel mask is extremely nourishing. A sheet mask made with gel instead of paper or cloth, a hydrogel mask increases hydration to help reduce irritation like peeling. There are many types of hydrogel masks available on the market. Beware as some are pre-soaked with ingredients that can be irritating to the skin after microneedling. Look for those with ingredients that can help calm and heal skin, or just pure hydrogel with no other additives.
Collagen Peptide Supplement
In addition to applying topical treatments like face masks, you can also use a liquid collagen peptide supplement to help accelerate the healing process from within. Collagen helps with wound healing by attracting specialized cells called fibroblasts and keratinocytes to the wound area. Fibroblasts create new collagen while keratinocytes are the major cellular component of the epidermis (aka skin), and are necessary in helping wounds to heal.
Taut’s Premium Collagen Intense Transformation is a great supplement program to try if you’re interested in accelerating healing after microneedling, or if you simply want to improve the appearance of your skin from within (you don’t have to have done microneedling to use this supplement).
Each tiny bottle contains high potency 13,000mg marine collagen peptides, which helps to super-charge your skin and speed up healing and scars. This rich liquid collagen formula is designed to help restore and visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, dark spots and even give you stronger hair and nails. Other ingredients include hyaluronic acid for hydration, grape seed extract to act as antioxidants to protect against free radicals, and vitamin C (a co-factor of collagen) which helps brighten skin and synthesize collagen in the body.
Use of these post treatments can greatly help reduce downtime, leaving you free to return to everyday life after a microneedling treatment. Moreover, regular use of the collagen peptide supplements from Taut will virtually guarantee visibly brighter, more naturally gorgeous skin whether you have done microneedling or not. It’s the dynamic duo, if you ask us!
Are you ready for microneedling?
Microneedling with a daily dose of collagen may be your answer!