Home | What Does Microneedling Do?

What Does Microneedling Do?

We’re all trying to find the perfect way to rejuvenate our skin. Over time, the elements and our busy lifestyles can start to take a toll on our skin. And whenever we’ve partied too hard, worked too late, or spent too long in the sun, our skin is quick to remind us of it when we look in the mirror. Over time, skin can start to look dull and lifeless. It may begin to wrinkle and sag. And when this happens, we can feel like our reflection in the mirror is drifting further and further away from how we see ourselves. 

It can be frustrating, especially when your skincare routine fails to keep your skin looking taut, firm and youthful. The good news is that there are a number of treatments that can help to restore your skin’s youthful lustre and elasticity. While many involve the use of chemical agents or surgical intervention, microneedling is a safe and non-invasive treatment. It uses your body’s natural healing mechanisms to restore the skin’s youthful elasticity and plumpness. 

Here we’ll take a closer look at the procedure, how it works and what you can expect from the treatment. 

What is microneedling? 

Microneedling (also known as Collagen Induction Therapy), dermarolling or skin needling involves the use of tiny sterile needles ranging between 0.5 and 2.5mm in length. These are embedded within a special applicator or dermaroller that is applied to the skin of the affected area. This stimulates the body’s natural healing function to restore the skin’s youthful properties. 

Although microneedling is often applied to the face, it can be employed elsewhere on the body, too. As well as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it can also be used to treat other skin issues such as:

  • Scarring (including surgical and acne scars)
  • Burns
  • Enlarged pores
  • Stretchmarks
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Cellulite

How microneedling works

Microneedling works by piercing the outer layer of the skin, creating tiny pinprick-like micro-incisions in the skin. Once the body detects these, it rushes to heal the breach in the skin, encouraging the production of collagen and elastin. In fact, studies show that a four month  course of treatment with four microneedling schedules spaced out a month apart can increase collagen production in the skin by up to 400%.

Some microneedling treatments apply other technologies to further enhance collagen production within the skin. For instance, some applicators have radiofrequency technology built in. This separates collagen from the surrounding water within the skin and helps to create stronger, longer-lasting collagen strands. Some treatments also apply Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) taken from the blood. Again, this can further stimulate collagen production, facilitating more dramatic and longer-lasting results.

Benefits of microneedling

Microneedling is one of many treatments available to treat worn, uneven or damaged skin. However, it offers a number of benefits when compared to similar treatments.

For instance:

  • It can be used to reduce the appearance of a number of skin conditions including visible pores, stretch marks, scars, acne, hyperpigmentation and rosacea
  • It is highly versatile and can be carried out anywhere on the body
  • It can enhance the efficacy of topical products such as moisturisers and anti-ageing serums because they are absorbed into deeper layers of skin. 
  • Results are visible almost instantly 
  • Results are longer lasting than comparable treatments with a similar price point
  • Downtime is minimal, with most patients able to resume normal activities within 24 hours
  • If you have a darker complexion, you will find that microneedling is more beneficial than chemical skin peels because it is less likely to cause pigmentation issues
  • Unlike other treatments (such as botox or dermal fillers) there are no chemicals injected into the skin

Professional treatments vs doing it at home yourself

Microneedling has been around since the mid-1990s. At first, patients could only access this treatment by going to a dermatologist or skin care professional. Now, however, there are a range of home treatments available. These can enable you to carry out your own microneedling treatments in the comfort of your own home. 

While this may seem like a perfect money-saving alternative to visiting a skincare clinic, it’s something that should be carefully considered. Skincare professionals invest heavily in high-quality microneedling appliances that are far more sophisticated than the kind available for home use. Furthermore, a clinician will be able to carry out the treatment with a more prasticed and finessed hand.

DIY microneedles are typically less than 1mm in length, while professional-grade needles are much longer. While this means they require a more practised hand, it also means that they can yield more dramatic results. As impressive as the equipment is, technique is also an important factor, and a YouTube tutorial is no substitute for an experienced, professional hand. Professional equipment is also sanitised to a much higher standard than the equipment used in most households, making it far less likely to cause inadvertent infections. 

As such, professional treatment is not only more likely to yield impressive results, it’s also much safer than a DIY home treatment. 

How often do you need the treatment?

Generally speaking, microneedling can be carried out safely every 4 to 6 weeks. An experienced clinician will advise on a course of treatment based on your skin’s needs. It may take several treatments before you see the results you’re looking for. However, once attained, those results can often last for around 3-5 months. 

How long before you see the results?

Microneedling can yield immediate results. Because the process results in some superficial swelling and inflammation, the skin looks plumper, more youthful and more radiant. Once this initial swelling subsides however, the healing process begins. This is when the more sustainable results will start to become visible. Again, your clinician may recommend a course of three or four treatments before you see the results you’re looking for. 

Is the treatment painful?

Microneedling can be painful when performed incorrectly. Which is why it’s important to choose a reputable clinician with a proven track record. When it is carried out by a trained and skilled professional, however, discomfort is significantly mitigated. The needles are much finer than those used by, for instance, a tattooist and most patients report nothing more than a warm scratching sensation. 

However, a topical anaesthetic may be applied to those who are worried about pain or discomfort. 

Are there any side effects?

As with any skincare treatments, there are some side effects that need to be considered when deciding whether it is the right option for you. 

Side effects are, however, usually quite mild and subside quickly. Which is why most patients are able to return to their work and regular activities after 24 hours. 

Common side effects include:

  • Redness and irritation for the first few days
  • Peeling and flaking
  • Potential bruising
  • Increased sensitivity

This is all part of the natural healing process and should subside in a matter of days. 

How much does microneedling cost?

Microneedling is a relatively cost-effective treatment. A single treatment can cost anywhere from £150 to over £500 depending on the surface area covered. A course of treatment may require three or four such sessions. 

Is microneedling the best option for me?

This is something that only you can decide. There are some who may benefit from microneedling more than comparable treatments such as chemical skin peels, especially people of colour. However, there are some who would be best to avoid this course of treatment. For instance, it is not recommended for people who are pregnant, undergoing radiation therapy, have a skin disease, or have a historical difficulty with healing.

A clinician will take the time to get to know your needs, advise you on which options are available and help you to make an informed decision