Microneedling has become increasingly popular as a simple procedure to stimulate collagen production. It can help improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, uneven skin texture, and when done with appropriate skin care can also help some types of hyperpigmentation such as melasma. Our consultant dermatologist, Dr Anne Farrell, can determine if this procedure can help achieve your cosmetic goals.
What does microneedling involve?
Very tiny, thin microneedles (less than a hair in width) are used to make superficial breaks in the skin. Because the needles are so tiny, the minute holes are barely visible to the naked eye and usually heal within a few hours.
What is the benefit to the skin?
The tiny needles make microscopic holes in the skin which start to heal within hours. The tiny holes are separated by small islands of untreated skin which are stimulated by the microscopic injury to produce growth factors which form new collagen and elastin. This is designed to produce a new, better quality dermis and, as a result, can reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and scars. The tiny holes can also be used to enhance the delivery of topical creams—to allow them to penetrate deeper—and this is particularly good for treating unwanted pigmentation and melasma.
The healing that is triggered by the microneedling has many similarities to the healing process that occurs with fractional lasers. However, the absence of heat means there should be less swelling and potentially less post-procedure induced pigmentation in darker skin.
What method is used at Dermatology Consulting?
At Dermatology Consulting we prefer to use the SkinPen by Bellus Medical. This device uses a sterile, disposable head with tiny needles which vibrate up and down and which is gently stroked across the skin in different directions to give an even distribution of the tiny holes. A hydrating hyaluronic gel is applied beforehand to lubricate the movement.
What does it feel like?
Local anaesthetic cream is applied for an hour before. The cream is then removed before the treatment. The sensation of the SkinPen treatment has been described as similar to sandpaper brushing against the skin.
How long does the treatment take?
The treatment can take as little as two to five minutes for a small area such as the upper lip, whereas a full face treatment may be 15-30 minutes, although this will vary depending on the individual’s skin concern.
What does the skin look like afterwards and how long does it take to recover?
The treated skin looks red immediately afterwards and there may be a few, tiny pin-point bleeding points which dry up in a couple of hours. The redness lasts approximately one to four days, depending on the settings and number of passes used. Antiseptic or antibacterial ointment can be applied for a couple of days after the procedure. Sunscreen should be used after the treatment, and makeup can usually be applied the next day.
Can it be used on all skin types?
Yes. As the microneedling does not involve any heat, it typically can be safely used on all skin types.