It’s easy to have perfect skin on Instagram. With one tap of the finger you can literally obliterate years of sun-damage, lines and wrinkles, acne scars and even freckles. In real life, however, the quest for perfection requires a little more effort. If you weren’t lucky enough to be born with flawless, porcelain skin then fortunately there’s microneedling - a relatively painless treatment with little downtime that’s highly effective for smoothing and refining your complexion.
Microneedling involves slowly gliding an automated device called a ‘pen’ over the skin’s surface. As the microneedling pen moves along it deploys 12 tiny needles that deliver hundreds of micro-injuries deep into the dermal layers. The magic happens weeks later. The body immediately triggers a healing response which results in the production of natural new collagen at the treatment site.
Similar but not the same, microneedling penetrates much deeper than a DIY derma-roller device. Therefore the results from an automated microneedling treatment are not only faster but have a much higher degree of efficacy. The depth of penetration with a microneedling pen can be adjusted (ranging from 0.5 mm to 3.0 mm) based on the condition being treated, allowing a deeper setting for acne scars or wrinkles for instance. There’s also a higher risk of infection with a derma-roller if the treatment is done on skin that hasn’t been cleansed or disinfected properly before or after the procedure. When it comes to safety it’s best to leave this treatment to the professionals.
Prior to treatment the skin is thoroughly cleansed and a topical numbing cream is administered to minimize pain and the sensation of the needles as they penetrate. Each session takes approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the number of passes performed and each patient’s unique treatment goals. Immediately after the procedure skin will be look mildly sunburned and feel dry and sensitive. Healing ointment such as Aquaphor is recommended to keep the skin protected from dirt and the elements. It’s also advised to stay away from harsh or irritating skincare products for 48 hours, after which time most redness will subside and patients can return to work and their daily activities.
Maximum results occur after 30 days. That’s when the skin has fully recovered and new collagen has started to form around the microscopic injury points, giving the skin a healthier, smoother and more plump appearance. For deeper skin concerns such as acne scars or wrinkles several treatments are recommended. In fact, it may take 3-5 microneedling sessions to see a satisfactory improvement in these conditions.
Microneedling is generally safe for most skin types and ethnic backgrounds. Contraindications include patients with an active skin infection (such as herpes), severe cystic acne or predisposition to keloid scarring. It’s very important to have your treatment done at a reputable clinic and by a fully trained professional to prevent any complications.