Updated January, 2020.
Microneedling is a procedure that helps generate new collagen and skin tissue. This treatment helps tone, firm, and smooth the skin; being a benefit for wrinkles, acne scars, and overall appearance. When this procedure is done to the skin there are many small needles that will pierce the skin as the device is rolled across an area. While this sounds painful and scary to those that dislike needles, it is actually very helpful to the skin, and it is minimally invasive. It helps promote the production of collagen to help the skin stay supple. Many people focus this procedure on their face, a popular area for such therapies, although it can be used to treat other areas as needed.
Is Microneedling Safe?
Microneedling, even though it sounds like it would be dangerous, it is actually quite safe for any person to try. The procedure is not like other beauty procedures where a person may need time to rest and recover, as it is not a very invasive process. If a person does not have other health concerns or problems at the time, they are likely fine to use this therapy. Although those that are treating acne with specific medications and pregnant women should speak to their doctor before doing microneedling.
The face, or the area of skin treated, may experience minor redness after the procedure. It activates collagen to be produced and as it is done the redness will go away. The benefits of the therapy may not be apparent at first. Most people start to notice a difference around their fourth round of microneedling therapy.
How Long Does a Microneedling Procedure Take?
From start to finish a person can complete a microneedling procedure in around one to two hours at a medspa or with a dermatologist. The one who performs the procedure depends on which state a person lives in. In some areas, an aesthetician or a trained spa specialist can perform this therapy. While other states are more strict and require a plastic surgeon, cosmetic surgeon, or dermatologist.
Does Insurance Cover It?
A disappointing part of microneeding is that insurance will not pay for it. The cost will vary from area to area and it is usually based on the size of the application site. Some sessions may be as little as one hundred dollars while larger sections may cost up to seven hundred dollars. The good news is you can now purchase home microneedling systems which are at-home devices that allow you to do it yourself.
Microneedling Creates Tiny Punctures in the Skin.
The premise for microneedling is that a device is used to roll across the skin and prick it with many small needles. The tiny trauma that you make signals your body to send in the blood to repair the damaged areas. Along with it is collagen which can help the skin look younger, rejuvenated, and even reduce the amount of scarring that is visible.
Many people are trying microneedling to combat aging skin concerns. As people grow older their bodies slow down on producing many vital components and hormones, as well as collagen. When collagen production slows down, many people develop dark spots on their skin as well as wrinkling and even cellulitis! Microneedling can help reduce these dark spots, scars, and wrinkles.
This is a great alternative to surgery. It is less invasive, and it takes less time to recover from. Microneedling is often one of the steps taken before deciding to go under the knife. For some, they can put off surgery and just use continued treatments of microneedling instead.
Also read: Clever Tips to a Flawless Skin in Your 20's
Facing the Costs
Even though many people are happy with their microneedling results, the bills can be quite startling. Before starting any of the procedures, make sure to know all the costs involved especially because cosmetic procedures like this will take several sessions for optimal results. This will help to avoid any unexpected bills after the fact.
As mentioned previously, microneedling will cost a person from $100 to $700 per session. On average, a person who is treating their face is likely to spend around $300 per session. This can quickly add up for those who get multiple sessions to get the desired results.
Currently, microneedling is only considered a cosmetic treatment and health insurance will not pay for it. Most clinics that offer microneedling services will have a payment plan in place for those looking to start their treatments.
Microneedling and Collagen Production
Microneedling works because it helps the body produce collagen. Collagen is needed to keep skin healthy and young. As we age, our ability to produce collagen slows down. Because of the decline in our collagen reserve, we see aging skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles as well as hyperpigmentation.
The small incisions from the microneedles cause the body to react to the injury to the skin. With this response, the injury stimulates the body to produce collagen to help repair the small wounds. This will result in firm and flawless skin.
Is Microneedling Painful?
It is understandable that some people are apprehensive about this procedure. People do not like needles and they certainly do not enjoy another person sticking them with multiple needles at a time. Do not worry though, the needles used in this procedure are small and it is unlike the ones people imagine. The injuries that are made are merely a pinprick and it won’t bleed you out.
Doctors who administer this service will try to avoid any irritation during the procedure. The overall comfort of the patient is of utmost importance. A local anesthetic is applied to the desired area to help numb the skin. This can be done 30 minutes to an hour before the procedure to ensure the skin is fully numb.
Once the procedure starts it may only take thirty minutes. Much of the procedure is the waiting time for the anesthetic to kick in. After the procedure is done the doctor will apply another treatment that is meant to smooth the skin. Overall, most people are in and out of the office within a few hours.
If you are uncertain of the needles, then microdermabrasion may be a better alternative for you. Microdermabrasion exfoliates the dead skin cells from your face to promote restoration to the skin, helping with fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, and more.
Is Microneedling For My Face Only?
Microneedling can be used in a variety of areas and most people focus on their faces. The face often has scarring from acne, the start of wrinkles or fine lines, some experience age spots, enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, and overall sagging of the skin. These are all problems that microneedling may help with.
Some people use microneeding in other areas of the body to treat problems like stretch marks, body acne scars, etc. This is often used in combination with other procedures that specialize in stretch marks.
Microneedling Side Effects & Skin Types
We have to take into consideration that we all have different skin and we may respond to a certain treatment differently than other people. Although most people do not experience any problems with microneedling, there are still problems that could arise.
Some people may experience skin irritation. The skin may appear reddened and the small cuts in the skin may be more visible to some compared to others. Some people may experience inflammation that can last a few days while some can go about their day with no downtime at all.
If you are unsure how your skin will look after the treatment, it is best to schedule your treatment on a weekend or on days when you will just be staying home. You may not want to do it the day before a very special occasion just in case your skin doesn’t react too well (no selfies!)
You should contact your doctor if problems like bruising on the application site, bleeding, peeling, or even an infection occurs. Infections of the skin should be reviewed by a doctor who can determine if further treatment is needed.
Pregnant women should not undergo this treatment until they have delivered their babies. If a person has eczema, psoriasis, or any open sores, they cannot use this procedure. People undergoing radiation therapy should also not use microneedling.
Microneedling Post Treatment
People often try microneedling because they do not have to recover from the procedure like they would need to for plastic surgery. Since the doctor is puncturing the skin it is perfectly normal for the application site to look red. It may also feel irritated for many days after. This is a side effect that many people are unable to avoid. To return to daily life right away many people hide this redness with makeup.
Sunscreen should be part of a person's daily routine. It is imperative to always wear sunscreen after undergoing this treatment. People have to take extra precautions to protect their skin from the sun.
A few weeks after the treatment the skin will have had enough time to produce collagen in the treated area. This is when people will start to notice a difference. Not everyone sees a difference with just one treatment and most need multiple sessions.
Each doctor will have different instructions for prepping for a treatment. Once a person has gone regularly for their treatment they will know what their doctor expects them to do. Doctors should ask patients to discontinue medications for acne and even ibuprofen. Avoiding certain medications can help to limit the likelihood of complications.
Do Home Rollers Work?
A home roller and microneedling will not be the same procedure. A home roller does not need to be used by a qualified doctor and can be purchased by anyone looking to better their skincare routine. Home rollers will not puncture the skin as much as ones used in the office reducing the risk of a person injuring him or her with this at-home treatment.
Microneedling has benefits of promoting collagen to improve the overall skin appearance and can be done at Med Spa’s, dermatologist clinics, or at a cosmetic surgeon’s office.
Alternatives To Microneedling
Another alternative to microneedling is microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive treatment using an abrasive tool to gently sand your skin removing any dead skin cells, uneven layers, and skin imperfections. It exfoliates your skin to hasten the cell renewal process necessary for better skin to the surface. Just like microneedling, it can improve the appearance of scarring, melasma, sun damage, skin aging, and more.
Exfoliating your skin helps reduce pore size and promotes collagen production. Studies have shown with microdermabrasion 75% of patients saw a reduction in wrinkle depth, tone, blemishes, and fine lines. This can also be a good alternative for those that are not comfortable with needles.
Trophy Skin is a company that has many products specializing in helping people achieve youthful glowing skin. They provide different types of microdermabrasion devices fit for any user: an at-home system, an on the go microdermabrasion, and a mini microdermabrasion tool.
This can be a great alternative to microneedling if you aren’t a fan of sticking your skin or creating tiny tears. The diamond-tip technology of microdermabrasion allows for precise exfoliation while making sure that it doesn’t cut too deep in the skin. The gentle suction also vacuums dirt and pore clogs to clean the pores out and make them look smaller. It also stimulates collagen and elastin production to heal the skin and give back its youthful glow.
Another tool that provides similar effects to microneedling is the Ultrasonic Skin Spatula found here. Just like microneedling it exfoliates and infuses products into the skin. In addition, it is a cleaning tool. It helps in unclogging pores of blackheads, oils, whiteheads, and remove dry dead skin cells. These tools help in revitalizing your skin.
Various products can be used in combination with each other to boost effectiveness. Those interested in microneedling may want to try microdermabrasion or the ultrasonic skin spatula for at-home use to help achieve your healthy skin goals and have a good skin care regimen.