Microneedling is one of those tweakments that has been around for so long that it tends to be overlooked in favour of newer, trendier or more exciting-sounding procedures, but here's the thing: microneedling really works. Here's what you need to know about it.
What can microneedling do for the skin?
Microneedling has tons of great effects on the skin. It improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles, smooths the texture of dry, rough skin and tightens sagging skin. In addition to this, it can also tighten enlarged pores, lessen acne scarring, and improve the appearance of sun damage and hyperpigmentation.
How does microneedling work?
All these benefits from one treatment... how does this happen? Well, the key reason that microneedling can do all this is because it works to stimulate regrowth of the skin. This means you end up with tighter, fresher, more evenly-toned skin which looks younger and clearer. Needling brings about this regrowth by creating thousands of tiny, controlled puncture wounds in the skin, which provokes the skin’s wound-healing response. This means the body flooding the skin with growth factors, which cause the skin to create new, firming collagen and elastin.
One treatment alone of clinical microneedling (with longer needles) can benefit the skin for 300 days. Ideally you would have a course of six sessions of treatment, each a month apart, to see the best effects. The results of properly-done microneedling can be really impressive. Another great thing about microneedling treatments is that they work on all skin tones - there’s no risk of the treatment causing hyperpigmentation, as there is with some light treatments.
Any reasons to avoid microneedling?
Note that microneedling is not recommended for rosacea - this may well irritate the skin and make the rosacea worse. Expert advice is needed for treatment of rosacea - it’s a fickle skin condition and it’s easily disturbed. Microneedling also can’t be done on active acne.
Does microneedling hurt?
Having all those tiny puncture wounds created? What do you think? But seriously, it's not as bad as you might imagine, because you'll be dosed up with plenty of numbing cream beforehand, to make it comfortable. I've done a whole post on this topic here.
Can home-microneedling give the same results as in-clinic procedures?
If you mean, can home treatment rejuvenate the skin, soften the look of scarring, and reduce pigmentation, and produce tighter fresher skin in the way that clinical microneedling can - the answer is, 'No.'
You won't get the same results using a home needling device with very short needles, because these needles aren't long enough to create that wound-healing response in the skin. What short needles can do, though, is create enough tiny punctures in your skin to allow skincare products to get a bit deeper in than they otherwise would. This works because the outermost layer of the skin is only 0.02mm thick, so even 0.1mm needles will get through it.
Do be careful with home needling - too many practitioners have told me that they see many patients who have scratched up the surface of their skin with over-enthusiastic needling.
See the FAQs about microneedling (scroll down on this page to find them)