More than sixty years ago microneedling was invented when tattoo artists used needles without ink, called “dry needling”, to improve the skin’s appearance. The process has evolved over the years and today’s microneedling, also called “collagen induction therapy” (CIT), or derma-rolling, has become an extremely popular minimally invasive cosmetic procedure. The treatment is used for acne scars, stretch marks, facial rejuvenation, and wrinkles. The treatment is not used to reduce pore size, and is not always effective on very severe stretch marks, burns, or surgical scars. However, the benefits are undeniable and it has gained popularity through the media. Many people want to know what exactly it is.
Microneedling is a procedure in which a handheld derma roller, covered with tiny needles, is rolled across the skin’s surface. It creates tiny holes that do not damage the epidermis nor cause scarring. It simply creates a controlled injury that stimulates collagen production. This may sound somewhat painful but the procedure is described only as “mildly uncomfortable”. Typical acne treatment uses a derma pen that is 0.5-1.5 mm in length and 0.1 mm in diameter. ABE insures derma-rollers up to 1mm in length, and Medi Spa policies are available for greater length. Dermapen (pictured above to the right), is a newer version of the derma roller. There are advantages for using the dermapen including the exchangeable tip, which allows for sterile tips of different lengths to be used for different treatments (eyelids versus deep wrinkles or acne scars). Another advantage is also said to be more comfortable. Since the pressure is applied automatically, the treatment is more consistent as well.
Microneedling has even been shown to be as effective as Fraxel Laser Resurfacing, or Fractional photothermolysis. Fraxel lasers target a very specific surface area and partially damage certain skin cells, in order to create new growth. Microneedling has been shown to be a less expensive, comparable alternative. Microneedling is also extremely effective as an exfoliant and works well on scars. There are however, some misconceptions regarding microneedling. The first is that you can purchase the machine and do the same procedure at home. This is incorrect. In a professional setting they can penetrate the skin deeper and more effectively than consumer machines. The final myth is that microneedling damages the skin visibly. While this process does create tiny holes in the skin, you will most likely experience slight redness and discomfort but nothing that some makeup cannot conceal until you heal fully.