Microneedling: The Healing Injury
Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty — Coco Chanel
Microneedling (also known as collagen induction therapy) is a cosmetic procedure of using fine needles to create hundreds of tiny, invisible puncture wounds in the top layer of skin. It’s one of the most common ways used to treat various skin conditions, including acne, pimples and a lot more skin conditions.
Let’s look at some of the skin conditions it treats
● Acne scars
● Fine lines and wrinkles
● Hair loss
● Enlarged pores
● Hyperpigmentation and sunspots
● Lost elasticity
● Uneven skin textures and stretch marks
● Uneven skin tones
Micro Punctures are created using microneedles which produce a controlled skin injury without actually damaging the epidermis. These micro-injuries lead to minimal superficial bleeding and set up a wound healing cascade with the release of various growth factors. The needles also breakdown the old hardened scar strands and allow it to revascularize.
The tool used for microneedling is called a “dermaroller” which consists of many fine microneedles, usually 0.5–3 mm in length and 0.1–0.25 mm in diameter, made of stainless steel or titanium.
The primary goal is for the damage caused by the needles to stimulate your body to send healing agents in the form of elastin and collagen to the area of treatment to repair the skin. The procedure usually takes 10 to 20 minutes. It may require multiple sessions which vary according to the type of condition being treated as well as the extent of the condition.
The healing response triggered by the treatment can also improve scarring, including acne scars, and help reverse skin damage from the sun. Most people get micro-needling on the face, but it can also be done on other parts of the body, such as your stomach or thighs.
● Makes skincare products work better
One of the benefits of microneedling is that it improves product absorption. This helps your skin products to work better as penetrations happen better, allowing you to reap the benefits of any product. As the tiny punctures actually act like little channels that allow topical products to penetrate better and work more effectively.
● Helps Aging Skin
As microneedling increases the amounts of collagen in your body, it helps in maintaining skin age. This is because we produce a lot less collagen as we grow old. Microneedling has applications in skin rejuvenation, tightening, and scar remodelling, and it offers a simple yet effective treatment for photo-aged skin as cited by a research paper.
● Reverses skin damage and pigmentation
Stimulating collagen growth with microneedling can also reverse sun damage and discolouration, including the hyperpigmentation that comes with melasma. A research paper also found out that microneedling might be a promising treatment for the blotchy, brownish facial pigmentation that comes with this chronic condition.
It is also important to note that to improve extra pigmentation from sun-damaged skin, dermaroller needles should range from 1.0 mm to 1.5 mm in length.
● Shrinks Pores
It sounds the opposite of what we kept saying until now, but microneedling doesn’t actually enlarge pores as you might think as you are piercing your skin hundreds of times. Instead, the procedure helps pores appear much smaller. Microneedling stimulates collagen in and around your pores, which causes them to plump and appear shrunken, if not closed.
● Reduces Wrinkles and Fine Lines
One of the main benefits of microneedling is its ability to stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin, which is the key to new, youthful-looking skin. Because of its ability to trigger the generation of new skin cells, dermatologists have found that a few sessions will noticeably reduce fine lines, crow’s feet, and deep wrinkles on the forehead.
● Repairs Scars
With at-home microneedling, a 1.5-mm handheld roller is long enough to enhance the looks of acne scars. For severe acne scars, however, you’ll need longer needles for max results. Professional grade microneedling devices (used during a dermatologist’s or facialist’s office) are often as long as 3 mm, which may treat deep acne scars that occur beneath the surface of the skin.
Different methods of Microneedling
The Original Microneedling
This is the typical method wherein, multiple tiny sterile needles that are pushed in and out of the skin causing small punctures. The body then repairs these tiny punctures by producing new collagen.
The Vampire Facelift
Many sessions are performed over several months. The needles are inserted deeper at each subsequent session, as the skin becomes thicker and can tolerate it.
This “vampire” treatment combines microneedling with platelet-rich plasma (aka PRP). During PRP, blood is drawn and then centrifuged to retrieve plasma-rich protein (full of growth factors), which releases growth factors and quickens the healing process, which is then incorporated into the microneedling treatment.
Injecting PRP is suitable for people who want a similar effect to filler, with more profound collagen production. Also, it has more bruising and downtime and works better for older patients or those who are looking to correct acne scars.
Fractora is an FDA-approved, non-invasive rejuvenating and resurfacing device that uses a matrix of tiny needles to deliver a burst of radiofrequency energy down the tiny pins into the skin. It is done with the help of radio frequencies which keeps the skin tight.
Is this the ‘One’ for you?
While it is safe and useful for the majority of the folks out there, one should keep realistic expectations as well as an understanding of the process to understand the scope of utility one can derive from microneedling sessions. One primary consideration before you choose microneedling is to make sure that you don’t have overly sensitive skin and that there aren’t complex pre-existing skin conditions that might worsen due to microneedling. It’s best to consult a dermatologist if you have any similar doubts about your skin. It is also important to note that microneedling is not a quick fix.
Changes with microneedling take time because your body is actually repairing itself and growing new tissue. Most people will also need a series of treatments — typically at least two or three, but potentially as many as six, spaced four to six weeks apart — to get the desired result. And microneedling won’t likely produce dramatic results, but rather mild to moderate improvements.