What is microneedling all about?
Microneedling (or micro-needling) is a process that involves using needles to puncture hundreds of tiny holes in the skin (yes, seriously).
It may seem like the newest trend in beauty/skincare, but it’s actually been around and evolving for over 50 years!
Fans of the microneedle claim it treats everything from wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dull skin to issues such as scars, stretch marks, and cellulite — although results are still dubious on that last one, so don’t get your hopes up.
However, in a 2009 study, 37 patients underwent microneedling procedures to treat atrophic facial scars (those sunken scars that result from acne, chicken pox, etc.).
After several professional treatments, over 80% of the patients saw a reduction in scarring and rated their treatment as “excellent.”
Today, we’re going to explore microneedling and dermarolling to find out exactly what is involved in the processes and what they promise to do for skin.
Let’s get to the point! [ pun intended 😉 ]
Microneedling and Dermarolling
What could possibly be the benefits of microneedling?
Microneedling, also called Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), involves using a tool called a dermapen.
The dermapen has tiny needles at the end that make little holes or needle pricks in the top layers of your skin.
Another method of microneedling uses a dermaroller, which looks like a miniature paint roller with lots of tiny needles.
It is gently rolled in different directions over the surface of your skin to achieve the same effect.
Royal Derma Roller
The purpose of this procedure is twofold:
1. The little holes from the needles create “microchannels” that allow skincare products, such as potent serums, to penetrate and absorb into the deeper layers of skin to deliver more powerful results.
2. These tiny pinpricks act like a bunch of mini injuries that kick skin into healing mode and stimulate collagen and elastin production. This process plumps skin and improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and pores.
I know, you’re probably thinking this is on par with a face tattoo in terms of ouch factor.
But while this seems like just one more discomfort we have to endure for beauty (I’m looking at you, Spanx), the consensus is that is pretty painless.
Kim Kardashian even received a specific form of a microneedling facial dubbed “the vampire facial” on camera for her show.
The procedure involves a professional using a dermapen to inject the patient’s face with her own platelet-rich plasma to supposedly super charge collagen and elastin growth.
Recently, however, this same procedure may have exposed patients to HIV and hepatitis in a New Mexico spa! OMG!!!
Model and actress Bar Refaeli also tried this controversial version of microneedling and posted post-plasma-needling result pics to her Instagram.
Don’t worry, the regular method of microneedling and dermarolling doesn’t involve blood injections and yields less…“vampire-y” results.
How Does the Procedure Go Down?
First, the practitioner applies a numbing cream to the patient’s skin.
Next, the practitioner will either gently roll a dermaroller over the surface of the skin in a few different directions, or use a dermapen to work around areas of the face to create tiny holes in the skin’s surface.
The whole process takes around 20-30 minutes and, while it involves needles in your face (a thought that would normally elicit a full body shudder), the process is apparently pretty painless.
You can expect some redness for up to a couple days afterward as a result of all the skin stimulation, but it subsides quickly as the healing begins and the results of more glowing, supple skin start to show.
To get truly effective results, you’ll need more than one treatment to continually build collagen and elastin.
As certified esthetician, Claire Gross, explains, “Results are cumulative, just like working out. You’re not tearing your skin down, you’re building it up.”
Are There Any Risks to Microneedling or Dermarolling?
The biggest no-no is using the microneedle on active acne because you run the risk of infection.
Avoid blemished areas during microneedling or wait until pimples are gone before undergoing the process.
Experts agree that you should not get the procedure done on skin that is inflamed, irritated, if you have rosacea, or are currently experiencing eczema.
Since microneedling can cause your skin to absorb skincare products more deeply, there’s a chance it could react to ingredients differently and become irritated.
You also want to be careful about using products not formulated for use with microneedling.
In a case study from JAMA Dermatology, University of Utah scientists reported 3 cases of women who experienced itching, rashes, and scarring in reaction to using a vitamin C serum with microneedling.
It’s a good idea to do a patch test of any post-microneedling products by applying to a small area and waiting 24 hours to make sure there’s no reaction before using it on larger areas.
This is a for sure if you have sensitive skin!
I encourage you to read this article about the HIV and hepatitis outbreak that occurred with vampire facials.
I’m not trying to scare you, lovelies!
If you’re not getting a vampire facial, you should be A-OK.
I just want to stress the importance of finding a spa or office that is reputable with licensed professionals and has a clean, sanitary environment and practices.
This will likely involve doing your own research.
Your safety is of utmost importance to me!
In-Office vs. At-Home Microneedling
When microneedling is performed at a dermatologist’s office, the needles they use are slightly longer (over 1 mm) and, therefore, are able to penetrate to deeper layers of skin to treat more complex conditions such as scarring or stretch marks.
Since there’s not a ton of scientific evidence studying the effects of at-home dermarollers, the jury is still out on whether they’re good, safe, or effective.
The version you can use at home includes needles that are smaller than 1mm, so they don’t penetrate skin very deeply.
They’re intended more for stimulating skin to reduce wrinkles, get your complexion all glowy, and allow products to possibly penetrate deeper.
The good news? The smaller needles on at-home dermarollers don’t hurt, so you don’t need any anesthetic cream to use them.
The bad news is the results won’t be as effective as what you’ll get from a professional dermatologist.
Also, if the needles are bent, dull, or not properly maintained, you run the risk of infecting or damaging skin that can lead to scarring.
If the thought of needles in your face makes you feel a little icky, or you’re not ready to take the microneedling plunge, I got your back.
Here are some of my top picks to get skin-changing results without needles!
This set includes everything you need for some amazing anti-aging goodness. The collagen gel provides skin with (you guessed it) collagen and nourishment, while the elastin gel infuses skin with deep moisture. Together, this duo balances skin, reduces inflammation, and plumps skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging. It even helps with sensitive skin concerns such as rosacea and calms irritation!
If you’re looking to diminish fine line and wrinkles, this serum is where it’s at. It includes a powerful combination of peptides and collagen to plump skin and smooth out all those little lines. It also helps protect against UV damage (which can break down collagen and elastin) and hydrate skin for a youthful complexion!
Get those spots out with this lightening serum that battles hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin and gently exfoliating skin to brighten and even out your overall tone. Additional ingredients help strengthen collagen and elastin and support skin’s ability to heal and rebuild. Get brighter complexion and healthy skin!
Reduce hyperpigmentation lightning fast with this serum! This powerful formula lifts away dark areas safely while gently exfoliating without any obvious peeling. It inhibits melanin while providing skin with anti-aging benefits, all without any skin irritation or inflammation.
One of the best ways to fight signs of aging is to make sure your skin has plenty of moisture, and this serum will do just that. It includes hyaluronic acid, an uber-humectant, to bind moisture to skin and boost hydration by 10x! The result is plump, smooth skin with few wrinkles and fine lines, and a healthy, hydrated glow!
This lightweight gel formula penetrates deep into skin’s layers to stimulate cells and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It also provides almost immediate toning and firming results for younger looking skin. This serum’s ingredients also soothe skin and reduce inflammation as well as support skin’s recovery process and collagen production. It promises you’ll see anti-aging results in a matter of weeks!
This kit includes multiple treatment attachments to target different concerns for max results! The Trinity Facial Trainer is a microcurrent attachment that gently stimulates the face to improve circulation. The Trinity Wrinkle Reducer attachment uses FDA-cleared red LED and infrared light to penetrate deep into skin’s layers to effectively reduce wrinkles. Together, this clinically-tested combo can give you smoother, youthful, radiant skin in as little as five minutes a day!
Many trendy beauty procedures will come and go promising miraculous results, but the best thing you can do to treat and beautify skin is to practice a solid, regular skincare routine.
As long as you’re taking the best care of your skin every day (even if it doesn’t involve needles), you can’t go wrong!
Have you tried microneedling? Would you try it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!