Inside Scoop: I Tried Microneedling
What’s it really like to get microneedling?
Our writer gives the inside scoop on this trendy but totally legit skin rejuvenating treatment.
Let me just start by saying that my skin has never looked better. That’s a pretty bold statement considering how many laser beams, syringes and chemical peels my skin has been subjected to over the past eight years. Oh, the perks of working at a dermatologist’s office! In my 20s I suffered from some bouts of acne (something I managed to avoid while in my teens) and would get regular facials to help prevent breakouts and extract any existing spots.
My skin eventually cleared up and I didn’t bother to do much to it other than a regular at-home skincare routine that included cleansing, exfoliating, moisturizing and SPF-ing. It wasn’t until my mid-30s that I started to explore the more intense offerings at the dermatologist (which, by no coincidence, was also the time I started working for Schweiger Dermatology Group!).
Fast forward to this spring, when I gave into Dr. Rachel Nazarian’s request that I give microneedling a shot. When I first heard about microneedling, I shrugged it off as just an add-on treatment that could almost be replicated at home with one of those roller devices. It didn’t seem to me that a bunch of tiny pricks from a needle in your skin could produce any real results.
The difference between DIY microneedling (or as it’s sometimes referred to, Collagen Induction Therapy) and the device used at the dermatologist office is akin to the difference between sewing a patch on your jeans at home and a couture-made dress from a Parisian atelier. Dr. Nazarian numbed my face then went to town with the microneedling pen. Things got bloody.
I looked pretty scary afterwards and Dr. Nazarian insisted I wait at least 1 hour to wash my face. Thankfully I had time to spare and hung out in the office for a bit. After cleansing my skin, there was still a fair amount of bloody pin pricks visible, which garnered some stares from the parking attendant at the garage. My kids were worried when I got home that day and begged me not to go into their school looking like this. My husband tried to avert his eyes during dinner (my skin apparently was not so appetizing to look at).
The next day I was able to put on some makeup and not scare the crossing guard. My skin was still red, but looked more sunburned than like it had been stabbed with a fork a few hundred times. After about two more days, my skin was back to normal. Now, five weeks later, my skin looks UH-MA-ZING. I’ve always had a little redness to my skin but somehow all the ruddiness disappeared and left behind a much more uniform tone. Sun spots that I had before are nowhere to be found and my complexion looks almost airbrushed and that’s without a drop of foundation (only tinted SPF). I’ve never gotten so many compliments on my skin–from other moms at drop-off, co-workers and even my husband (who typically only notices my skin if it’s dripping with blood).
I’m officially hooked on microneedling. I love that it doesn’t involve anything besides using your skin’s own rejuvenation process and the healing power of your own platelets. This is my new go-to treatment. Next time I might just ask Dr. Nazarian to dial-up the bloodiness.
Here, Dr. Nazarian answers the questions I had about microneedling and what makes it so incredible:
How do microneedling results compare to that of a laser?
Similarly. Many lasers work by causing controlled areas of injury deep in the skin, which triggers the skin to produce more collagen and “anti-aging” proteins. Many of these lasers use thermal or heat energy to induce this reaction, while microneedling uses physical means to produce similar results. Because a laser can target areas closer together than needles can, they treat a greater percentage of skin area with each treatment- microneedling produces similar results for wrinkles and fine lines, but may require a few additional treatments.
What skin issues are targeted during microneedling?
Wrinkles, fine lines, pore-size, and skin sagging are also addressed with microneedling.
You used an hyaluronic acid (HA) serum in conjunction with my treatment. Why? What does it do? Would any HA serum work?
HA is an essential building block to healthy youthful skin. Because microneedling creates temporary open pores during the treatment, we use the opportunity to allow for deeper penetration of these molecules. The HA is typically injectable grade, and aside from being a helpful anti-ager, also allows for easy maneuvering of the microneedler during the treatment since it helps the tool glide across skin.
Why is it essential to leave the blood on your skin as long as possible?
Blood contains many useful growth factors and anti-aging boosters; the channels that are open following microneedling are only open temporarily, so we want the blood to absorb as effectively as possible- wiping it off immediately after would be robbing you of the added benefits!
When’s the soonest you should cleanse your face after?
The absolutely earliest would be about 45 minutes. That’s when the channels begin to close.
Why is it important to avoid applying makeup right after?
Anything applied directly following microneedling has the risk of being absorbed deeper into the skin. Makeup contains many artificial and harmful ingredients that would likely cause accelerated aging if absorbed following a microneedling session.
When do you see results?
Typically collagen regeneration is noted 4-6 weeks following a session.
How often should you do microneedling?
There’s no clear guideline, likely because you can’t over-do it. My recommendation is for at least twice a year. Many of patients use it as a routine part of their anti-aging routine to actively PREVENT skin aging (rather than just repair parts of the aging process).