Understanding Microneedling and Its Benefits
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive skin rejuvenation procedure that has gained popularity in recent years. The technique involves using a device equipped with fine needles to create tiny punctures in the top layer of the skin. These micro-injuries stimulate the body’s natural healing process, resulting in cell turnover and an increase in collagen and elastin production.
The concept of skin needling isn’t new; it has its roots in ancient acupuncture and mesotherapy practices. However, the modern, clinical version of microneedling we know today was introduced in the 1990s and has since evolved with advancements in technology and dermatological knowledge.
The Science Behind Microneedling
The effectiveness of microneedling lies in its ability to stimulate the body’s natural healing mechanisms. When the skin is punctured, it triggers a wound healing response that involves three key phases: inflammation, proliferation, and remodelling.
During the inflammation phase, the body increases blood flow to the wounded area and starts removing debris. The proliferation phase involves the formation of new tissue, while the remodelling phase is when the newly formed tissue is strengthened and refined.
One of the most crucial elements in this process is the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins that are key to maintaining the skin’s elasticity and firmness. Microneedling boosts the production of these proteins, leading to improved skin texture and firmness and a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks.
Microneedling is also known to enhance the absorption of topical products. By creating micro-channels in the skin, it allows for better penetration of serums and creams, making them more effective.
Benefits of Microneedling
Microneedling offers a multitude of benefits for various skin concerns. Here are some of the key microneedling benefits:
1. Skin rejuvenation and anti-aging
By stimulating collagen production, microneedling can help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, giving the skin a more youthful appearance.
2. Lessens hyperpigmentation
It is extremely effective at lightening hyperpigmentation, dark spots and reversing sun damage. This is again due to collagen production’s ability to repair and restore your skin. It has been suggested that microneedling is the most effective treatment for sun spots.
3. Skin tone
Treatments target uneven skin tone by minimising enlarged pores.
4. Acne scar reduction
Microneedling is particularly effective at reducing the appearance of acne scars. The process of creating micro-injuries in the skin helps to break down scar tissue and stimulate the production of new, healthy skin cells.
5. Enhanced product absorption
As mentioned earlier, microneedling improves the skin’s ability to absorb topical products. This can make your skincare routine more effective and lead to better results.
6. Hair growth stimulation
While more commonly used for skin concerns, microneedling can also be used to stimulate hair growth. By creating micro-injuries in the scalp, it can stimulate blood flow and nutrient delivery to hair follicles, promoting healthier, thicker hair.
7. Safe for darker skin tones
According to WebMD, because microneedling doesn’t involve heat, like laser treatments, where the risk of post-inflammatory pigmentation is very high, it is also a very safe technique for people with darker skin tones.
The Microneedling Procedure and Aftercare
Preparing for a Microneedling Procedure
Before undergoing a microneedling procedure, it’s important to have a consultation with a trained professional. This consultation will typically involve a skin assessment to determine your skin type, any existing skin conditions, and your suitability for the procedure.
In the days leading up to the procedure, you may be advised to avoid certain activities and products that could increase your risk of complications. This might include avoiding sun exposure, certain skincare products, and medications that can affect healing or increase bleeding risk.
The Microneedling Procedure
The microneedling procedure begins with a thorough cleanse of the skin to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the microneedling procedure for several reasons:
- Removal of Dirt and Oil: Throughout the day, our skin accumulates dirt, oil, and other impurities. If these are not removed before microneedling, they could potentially be pushed deeper into the skin during the procedure, leading to clogged pores and potential breakouts.
- Prevention of Infections: Microneedling involves creating tiny punctures in the skin. If the skin is not clean, bacteria could enter these micro-wounds, leading to infections.
- Better Results: Clean skin allows for better penetration of the microneedling device, leading to more effective results. Furthermore, some practitioners apply a serum before the procedure to enhance the benefits of microneedling. Clean skin allows for better absorption of these products.
- Prevention of Skin Irritation: Residues of makeup or skincare products could potentially cause irritation or allergic reactions when pushed into the skin during microneedling.
2. Application of Topical Anaesthetic
Next, your therapist will apply a topical anaesthetic to minimise discomfort. The numbing cream stays on for 20 minutes while your therapist gives you a relaxing massage.
Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, the skin is cleansed again with lukewarm water and 70% alcohol to ensure there are no impurities left.
3. Skin Needling Procedure
Each treatment is done with a single-use, disposable needle for sterility. Soliette uses a Bella Pen or a Dr. Pen with a 12-needle cartridge. The microneedling device is moved gently across the skin in several directions to create tiny punctures in the skin.
Microneedling works by stimulating the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Punctures in the skin trigger a wound-healing response. It boosts the production of collagen and elastin leading to improved skin texture and firmness and a reduction in the appearance of scars and wrinkles.
The procedure usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the area being treated.
While the procedure can cause some redness and swelling, it’s generally well-tolerated by patients.
Aftercare and Recovery
Aftercare is a crucial part of the skin needling process. Immediately after the procedure, your skin may feel tight and sensitive, similar to a sunburn. You’ll be advised to avoid sun exposure and any skincare products that could irritate the skin.
In the days following the procedure, you should focus on keeping the skin clean and hydrated. This might involve using a gentle cleanser, a hydrating serum, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
The recovery time can vary, but most people notice an improvement in their skin within a few weeks. For optimal results, a series of microneedling treatments are often recommended.
Watch the video below where Lauren answers frequently asked questions, and gives a microneedling demonstration:
What should I avoid after microneedling?
After microneedling, you should avoid sun exposure, strenuous exercise, and any skincare products that could irritate the skin. This includes products containing retinol, vitamin C, or alpha and beta hydroxy acids.
Are there any side effects of microneedling?
Microneedling is generally considered safe, and side effects are usually mild and temporary. The most common side effect is redness, swelling, and sensitivity in the treated area, which should resolve within a few days after the treatment.
However, more serious side effects can occur if the procedure isn’t performed correctly, which is why it’s important to choose a trained professional for your treatment.
Some people may experience bleeding, infection, or changes in skin pigmentation. Burns and adverse reactions to topical medications used during the procedure are also possible but rare.
Moreover, people who have certain skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, or active acne, may not be ideal candidates for the treatment. Individuals taking blood-thinning medication or who have a history of keloid scarring should also avoid microneedling.
It is crucial to consult an experienced therapist before getting the treatment to ensure you are a suitable candidate. A therapist can assess your skin type, medical history and recommend a personalised treatment plan accordingly. They can also help you understand the potential risks and side effects associated with the procedure.
Is microneedling painful?
While the skin care treatment involves creating micro-injuries in the skin, it’s generally not considered painful. A topical anaesthetic is usually applied before the procedure to minimise discomfort.
How often should you get microneedling?
The frequency of microneedling treatments can vary depending on your skin concerns and how your skin responds to the procedure. However, most dermatologists recommend at least 4 treatments and waiting 4-6 weeks between treatments.
How long does it take to see results from microneedling?
While some people may see subtle improvements in their skin after the first session of microneedling, optimal results are generally achieved after three to four treatments. This is because microneedling works by stimulating collagen production in the deeper layers of the skin, which takes time to show visible results.
The number of sessions required for optimal results may vary depending on the individual’s skin concerns and the severity of the condition. In general, it is recommended to space out microneedling sessions by 4-6 weeks to allow adequate time for the skin to heal and recover.
It is important to have realistic expectations and understand that microneedling is not a quick fix solution. However, with consistent treatment and patience, the results can be significant and long-lasting. For best results, it is important to work with a professional who can recommend a customised treatment plan tailored to the individual’s specific needs.
How long do results from microneedling last?
While the effects of microneedling are permanent, maintenance treatments may be necessary due to the natural ageing process.
The number of maintenance treatments required will depend on the patient’s skin type, goals, and desired results. Generally, it is recommended to have a maintenance session 2-3 times a year. This will ensure that the benefits of microneedling are maintained over time, allowing your skin to look youthful and radiant.
Can microneedling be done at home?
While there are at-home microneedling devices available, it’s generally safer and more effective to have the procedure done by a trained professional.
In-office microneedling is performed by a trained professional, ensuring the depth and pressure of the needle is precise. This method is more effective in targeting deeper layers of the skin, which can stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles. Additionally, in-office microneedling can incorporate platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for even deeper penetration and enhanced results. However, there are potential risks and pain associated with the procedure, as well as the need for downtime afterward.
At-home microneedling devices, like derma rollers, have a shallower penetration and rely on manual rolling to produce results. While they may be less effective, these devices can be more convenient and cost-effective for minor skin concerns. However, there is an increased risk of infection or injury due to improper use and lack of professional guidance.
How much does microneedling cost?
A professional microneedling treatment in a salon in Cape Town can cost you between R1100 (Face Only – 60 min) to R1500 (Face & Neck – 75 min) and R2000 (Face, neck, decollete). Although you will notice improvement after each treatment, you will need about 4 – 6 treatments for optimal results, so purchasing a promotional package is a great option.
Is there downtime after a microneedling session?
Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that involves the use of a special device to make tiny punctures in the skin’s surface. While it is a minimally invasive treatment, there are some side effects and downtime associated with it.
Immediately after the microneedling procedure, the skin may be red and sensitive, similar to a mild sunburn. This usually lasts for 24 to 72 hours. It is important to avoid direct sun exposure for 1 to 2 weeks after the treatment and not to wear makeup for 48 to 72 hours.
During the healing phase, it is best to avoid activities that cause sweating or lead to an increased heart rate, such as strenuous exercise. It is also recommended to use only gentle skin care products and avoid using any harsh chemicals or scrubs.
While microneedling stimulates the growth of collagen, which leads to improved skin elasticity and texture, it is essential to care for the skin during the healing process to avoid complications. Patients can use a cold compress or ice pack to provide relief from minor skin irritation.
In summary, microneedling does have some downtime associated with it, but following proper aftercare instructions can help ensure the best possible results.
Many patients have shared that microneedling has improved the texture and tone of their skin, reduced the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even helped with acne scarring.
One patient shared that after just one microneedling session, they noticed that their skin appeared brighter and smoother. Another patient reported that their acne scars had significantly faded after a series of sessions, and they were thrilled with the overall improvement in their skin’s appearance.
Below you can see the results after 3 microneedling sessions, in conjunction with professional at home product use. The treatments have lightened her pigmentation, improved skin tone and texture, diminished fine lines and wrinkles, removed acne scars, and overall given her healthier glowing skin.
Overall, patients have described microneedling as a minimally invasive and relatively painless procedure that provides noticeable results in the appearance of the skin. While there may be some slight discomfort and downtime required, many patients have found the treatment to be well worth it in terms of the improvement in their skin’s texture, tone, and overall appearance.
Click HERE for more info on treatments and pricing.