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History and evolution

Microneedling dates back to about a century ago.  A German dermatologist, Ernst Kromayer in 1905 first used a technique involving the use of rotating wheels and rasps which helped treat acne scars, keratoses and hyperpigmentation of the skin. 

Modern microneedling could be traced to a Canadian plastic surgeon, Dr Dres Fernandes who in 1996, discovered that puncturing the skin with tattoo needles results in improved facial scar tissue. That same year, a needling device used to stimulate collagen production in patients was invented. Dr Des Fernandes is the pioneer of this skin needling technique that is now known as the safest and most effective way to bring life back into our skin. Professor Horst Liebl was the microneedling inventor.

The techniques have gained popularity in recent years thanks to new technology—and YouTube and Instagram

What is microneedling?

Microneedling treatment on a woman face.

Also known as collagen induction therapy or percutaneous collagen induction, microneedling is a procedure that uses a bunch of tiny needles to puncture the very first layer of skin. This process works to rejuvenate your skin by boosting collagen production, which in turn reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and elevates the overall texture of your skin. 

The minimally invasive treatment can be used all over the body—from scalp to ankles—to improve the appearance of scars, boost collagen, or encourage hair growth. 

The Technique

Microneedling works by encouraging your skin to make more collagen. The idea is that pinpricks from the procedure cause slight injury to the skin and that the skin responds by making new collagen-rich tissue. The purpose of treatment is to generate new collagen and skin tissue for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. 

Benefits and side effects

According to a 2009 study, almost 100 per cent of microneedling participants reported a noticeable difference and vast improvement in the appearance of their acne scars after treatment.

Portrait of a woman before and after microneedling.

The general benefit of the procedure includes;

  • Enhancing the texture of the skin
  • Stimulating collagen production
  • Helping to reduce scars and hyperpigmentation
  • Reducing the appearance of wrinkles

In addition to stimulating the body to produce new collagen and elastin, studies have shown that topical or therapeutic products are more deeply penetrating after microneedling procedure, hence they can work more efficiently. 

Like most cosmetic procedures, microneedling. The most common side effect is minor skin irritation immediately following the procedure. You may also see redness for a few days. Severe side effects may include;

  • bleeding
  • bruising
  • infection
  • peeling

You may not be an ideal candidate for microneedling if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have certain skin diseases, such as psoriasis or eczema
  • have open wounds
  • have had radiation therapy recently
  • have a history of skin scars

This technique is not recommended for those who have used Accutane® within 6 months, have open wounds or skin infections in the area, have had radiation treatment within 1 year, or for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a history of keloid scars. It is also not recommended for those with extremely sensitive skin.

The procedure (Before, during and after)

Microneedling Makeover 

Microneedling is what is referred to as a type of fractional treatment, in which only a fraction of the surface of the skin is affected, leaving the skin unharmed around each micro-wound. This allows for rapid healing and a short recovery time associated with the procedure.

Before the procedure 

Your doctor may also recommend that you stop using topical retinoids a couple of days or even weeks before the procedure. Doing so may reduce the risk of certain side effects.

On the day of appointment, the doctor/practitioner will use a topical anaesthetic to numb the skin to reduce the chances of pain. This is done about an hour before your treatment.

During the procedure

Microneedling roller treatment on face

The practitioner makes small pricks under the skin with a pen-like tool. The pinpricks are so small that you likely won’t notice them after the procedure. The doctor will move the tool evenly across your skin so that the new skin that rejuvenates will be even, too.

After the procedure 

A calming cream is applied after the procedure. The skin will also be more sensitive to the sun, so sunscreen is a must.

The procedure isn’t invasive like plastic surgery, so the recovery time is minimal. According to Emory University, most people require very little downtime, if any at all. You may notice skin irritation and redness within the first few days following the procedure. This is a natural response to the small “injuries” made by the needles in your skin.

Microneedling is not a quick fix. Changes with microneedling take time because the body is actually repairing itself and growing new tissue. Most people will also need a series of treatments — typically at least two or three, but potentially as many as six, spaced four to six weeks apart — to get the desired result.

At-home microneedling

Close-up female face with dermaroller for mesotherapy procedures, skin care at home and in salon. Meso roller with microneedles on pink background

Ideally, microneedling should be a professional procedure that’s performed in an accredited med-spa only. To save money, some people opt for home rollers instead. The difference between home rollers and professionally done microneedling is that rollers don’t puncture the skin hardly at all.

While this might seem a less painful option, the problem is that you won’t achieve the same results. The punctures made during professional microneedling are designed to induce skin rejuvenation.

With a roller device, you may achieve brighter skin at best, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

If you’re interested in more dramatic, long-term results, microneedling is a better option than a store-bought roller device.

Microneedling may work better for people with darker skin tones because it doesn’t involve heat the way laser treatments do, which can affect your skin’s pigmentation or colour.

Always consult your doctor to enquire about what’s best for your skin – and your budget.

The most popular (and cost-effective) microneedling device, known as a dermaroller, comprises micro-fine needles that range in diameter from 0.5 and 2.5 millimetres.

If you try it somewhere other than a doctor’s office, first check on the person’s experience and credentials, and make sure that all of the equipment is sterilized. There are do-it-yourself versions of microneedling devices. But dermatologists warn against using those because you might accidentally hurt your skin, and you may not have a good way to sterilize the needles.

Cost

Microneedling can cost anywhere from $100 to $700 per session. The overall costs depend on the size of the area being worked on and the pricing structure of the facility you intend on doing the procedure at. Note that, it is not covered by insurance.

Conclusion

In recent years, not only has the technique gained acceptance, but it appears to have secured a place alongside mainstream treatments designed to improve the skin’s condition and appearance.

Overall, microneedling treatments are considered very safe, and there have been few reports of adverse side effects. It’s also well tolerated by most skin types, including darker skin, and is typically less expensive than other similar treatments, such as laser surgery.

If you have fine lines, acne or trauma scars, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, or sun damage on your face or hands, this gentle cosmetic procedure might just be for you.

Book a consultation with us today and begin your journey to a youthful skin.

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