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What is Micro-Needling? Its Benefits, Uses, and Results

By Nancy H, PharmD
September 13, 2023
7 minutes

Micro-needling is a prevalent cosmetic procedure seen everywhere on social media, right? However, it might seem scary for some people as there are literally needles puncturing the skin making people assume that they damage the skin.

So, have you wondered what it is all about, whether is it safe, and what are its risk factors, benefits, uses, and more? If yes, we got you. 

In this article, we plan on guiding you about the whole concept of micro-needling and how beneficial it can be for your skin. Additionally, let us find out information about its cost, results, and contraindications here.

Table of Contents:

What is Micro-Needling?

Micro-needling is commonly known as collagen induction therapy or percutaneous collagen induction. It is an invasive medical technique that is used to treat several skin conditions including aging, acne scars, stretch marks, open pores, textured skin, and more. Its concept lies in stimulating the skin to heal itself from within. 

What is the Procedure of Micro-Needling?

Skin Preparation

Before mico-needling, you must make preparations so that you get the optimal results within a short time. So, below are some tips to prepare your skin beforehand.

  • Wear sunscreen every day to protect your skin from UV rays
  • Do not wax, shave, or epilate the hair during the week of your treatment
  • Stop using retinoids and any active products to keep the skin barrier strong
  • Stop taking antibiotics, anti-acne medications, and ibuprofen a few weeks before your treatment
  • Do not exfoliate your skin for a week before treatment either

Technique of Procedure

Micro-needling is an esthetician-guided procedure that you can get in a professional salon. The doctor numbs the skin by application of a topical anesthetic agent like lidocaine gel.

Once the gel starts working, the doctor pokes your skin with a hand handle pen-like device containing several small stainless sterile needles. These needles are used to prick the skin layers in a well-controlled manner.

After you are done with the procedure, the doctor applies a skin repairing treatment helping skin to heal faster.

Uses of Micro-Needling

Below are the skin-related concerns micro-needling is commonly used for.

1. Aging

Micro-needling works exceptionally well for dealing with the signs of aging.  Research conducted by Glynis Ablon concluded that micro-needling proves to be effective in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin elasticity, and making it smoother [1]

2. Scars

Scaring, caused by acne or trauma, is one of the common skin concerns micro-needling is used for. It works by breaking down the hard and dark scar tissue and stimulating the skin to heal. Moreover, it works to fade the appearance of stretch marks.

A study by Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad showed the efficacy of micro-needling in the reduction of acne scars [2]

3. Pores

Microneedling helps in shrinking large open pores and nasolabial folds by stimulating elastin and collagen production in the skin. These proteins tighten the skin and reduce the pores as explained in a retrospective study published in Pubmed [3]

4. Uneven Skin Tone

Microneedling deals with most of the skin concerns that give your skin an uneven tone. Consequently, your skin appears bright, even, and fresh. An informative article published in the American Academy of Dermatology Association [4]

Benefits of Micro-Needling

Micro-needling has many benefits for the skin. Here are the top benefits you can get from a micro-needling treatment. 

1. Cost-Effective as Compared to Laser

Lasers are faster in treating scar marks but micro-needling offers a more economical substitute to laser with similar if not better results. 

Moreover, it works better for treating small areas and mild scars thus effectively improving skin texture. 

The comparison between both is explained in another article micro-needling vs. laser

2. Better Results as Compared to Home Rollers

While home rollers provide results similar to that of micro-needling, micro-needling is a better choice for even and smooth skin texture. The microneedling procedure is more controlled, and versatile, and does not puncture the skin unevenly making it a better choice compared to rollers.

3. Skin-Friendly

It is a safe cosmetic technique for improving your skin appearance. Microneedling may feel a bit uncomfortable and painful during the treatment. But the pain subsides immediately after. Moreover, for deeper microneedling treatments, anesthesia is used to lessen the pain making it a skin-friendly and safe cosmetic procedure.

4. Suitable for All Skin Tones

In contrast to other treatments like laser where skin tone matters, micro-needling is effective for everyone from dark to light skin tones and even uneven tones. 

Microneedling is beneficial for light skin tones to improve texture and reduce scars, while dark skin tones can benefit from micro-needling as well making their complexion even and less prone to breakouts. 

5. Fast Treatments

A single session of micro-needling only takes 15 minutes to 30 minutes. For a precise and efficacious treatment that deals with acne marks, wrinkles, open pores, and pigmentation, micro-needling is a comparatively fast cosmetic procedure.

Results of Micro-Needling

In micro-needling, the needle pricks your skin and makes a minute injury there. As a result, the skin starts working to heal the injury by production of collagen, elastin, and other proteins. These newly formed proteins rejuvenate the skin and make it look flawless after a few sessions.

Immediately after the session, you can experience some redness. Within 1 to 2 weeks, your skin will appear glowing, bright, and radiant. After a month, you will experience the best results as the level of collagen production increases to the maximum during this time.

Moreover, the number of sessions for a particular skin concern is customized according to your needs. So, you might need 2 sessions per year for anti-aging, 4 sessions per year for acne scars, and up to 6 sessions for stubborn burn and stretch marks. 

Aftercare of Micro-Needling

Here is what should be done and what should be avoided during micro-needling treatment.

To Do

Here are some factors you should pay attention to after your treatment to help in healing the skin.

  • Diet and Water Intake: It is important to take an adequate amount of water after microneedling and eat foods rich in proteins and vitamin C to help the skin heal faster.
  • Skincare Products: You should buy skincare products with antioxidant properties, collagen-boosting peptides, and skin-repairing lotions to add to the benefits of microneedling. Some of the best products are mentioned in face moisturizers to buy in 2023. 

Not to Do

Here are some things you should avoid.

  • Active Products: Active products like retinol should be avoided after microneedling. 
  • Sun Exposure: You must take care to prevent damage caused by sun rays. So always wear sunscreen and avoid sun exposure.
  • Makeup: As skin becomes sensitive after microneedling, makeup might cause damage. 

Contraindications of Micro-Needling

Although micro-needling is a commonly used technique, not everyone is a suitable candidate for micro-needling. So, if you have any of the following conditions, we suggest you reconsider microneedling.

  • Skin Conditions: People with eczema and psoriasis should not try micro-needling as it can aggravate the condition.
  • Active Acne or Open Wounds: Letting the needles penetrate the skin with active acne and open wounds does more harm than good. So a safe option is to let your acne settle down and then go for microneedling. One of the top ways to prevent acne is diet control as mentioned in foods that cause acne
  • Cancer Treatment: The healing power of the skin is reduced after chemotherapy and radiotherapy. So, it is good to avoid microneedling during and after your cancer treatment until you are completely healed.
  • Blood Disorders: Microneedling can cause bleeding and bruising in people with blood disorders. 

Cost of Micro-Needling

Just like any other professional treatment, the cost of micro-needling varies depending upon the reason you are getting it, the surface area of treatment, and the clinic you are choosing.

On average, one session of micro-needling costs somewhere between $100 to $900. It costs around $100 if you are only getting a small area treated. However, if you are getting micro-needling on a large area like an arm or legs, it can go up to $900.

Moreover, the cost of buying a full treatment plan at once can be less as compared to individual treatments. 

Drawbacks of Micro-Needling

Some of the drawbacks of micro-needling are mentioned below to help you make an informed decision after measuring the pros and cons of this “collagen-inducing process”.

Long Time Taken for Results

Micro-needling shows results within 1 session. However, they are not too obvious and 1 session is not enough to treat the skin condition you are getting microneedling for. You need at least 4 to 6 sessions for optimal results.

Each of these sessions is spaced at an interval of 4 to 6 weeks. So, you might have to wait for a few months to see the results you want.

Pain, Skin Redness and Irritation

Because micro-needles give your skin trauma and create little holes in it, it is common to experience pain, redness, and skin irritation after the treatment. These side effects are common and take a few hours to a day or more to subside. 

Bleeding, Bruising, and Scars

Microneedling is mostly a superficial procedure that involves only the top layers of the skin. However, if you are getting it for keloid or deeper scar marks that require needle penetration into all layers of the skin, it can prick the small blood vessels and cause bleeding.

Subcutaneous bleeding leads to the appearance of bruises over the skin and can even result in scars.

Skin Peeling and Infections

The barrier of the skin is invaded during micro-needling. So, if proper anti-septic measures are not taken, you can suffer from skin infections. 

Furthermore, during the healing period, the skin might peel off because of the regeneration of new skin cells and the removal of the older ones.

Conclusion

Micro-needling is an effective cosmetic procedure that works by stimulating the production of collagen in the skin. This collagen tightens the skin, reduces hyperpigmentation, and makes it appear fresh. 

Micro-needling is expensive when compared with at-home derma rollers, but the results are faster and more effective. Dermarolling takes a long time to achieve results and requires consistency, while professional micro-needling treatments can achieve results in two to three months depending on the severity and intensity of treatment.

However, please note as there are some contraindications to microneedling, you must consult your professional aesthetician or a dermatologist about your skin condition before signing up for the treatment.

Nancy H, PharmD
I am Nancy a licensed pharmacist with extensive knowledge in the healthcare industry. I enjoy writing on a variety of topics including; disease management, dietary supplements, nutrition, fitness, functional medicine, and lifestyle changes for optimal health. Below is my Linkedin profile: www.linkedin.com/in/nancyhoyeck/
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