Humans have been obsessed with their skin for the last 5,000 years. Professional skincare treatments have come a long way since the early days of pumice stones, salt, and animal bone scrubs. Now, careful and effective skin therapies fill in the gaps– and keep us looking young and vibrant. Microneedling is one such treatment that has been used by professionals to treat scarring, cellulite, acne, fine lines, large pores, sun spots, unsightly birthmarks, and hyperpigmentation since 1905. What is microneedling? Are you a good candidate for this minimally invasive treatment? Keep reading to find out.
The Basics: What Is Microneedling?
Microneedling, or collagen induction therapy, is a protocol intended to encourage collagen and elastin production on the face, neck, and chest.
Collagen is a protein produced in the body that is responsible for keeping skin smooth, firm, and elastic. This protein, unfortunately, declines with age.
Elastin is another key tissue protein that lends itself to skin elasticity.
Effective skincare requires knowledge of the epidermis and dermis– two layers of skin with distinct functions.
The stratum corneum (the outermost barrier of the epidermis) is responsible for keeping bacteria and other environmental elements out of the skin while keeping the skin moist with fluids. This layer of skin works hard to keep things out, which is why your skincare products might not be effectively absorbed as you want them to be.
Why waste your hard-earned cash on ineffective skincare products?
Microneedling creates additional channels that allow cosmetic ingredients to be more effectively absorbed. Because these channels close up within 18 hours, it’s crucial to nourish your skin with the right products, at the right time.
Underneath the epidermis lies the dermis layer, which is home to the collagen and elastin fibers that give our skin a youthful glow. This is also where you will find some nerve endings, and blood and lymphatic vessels.
During microneedling, tiny channels are created by a sharp tool. The epidermis is suddenly put to work, stimulating collagen production to heal the “micro-injuries” simulated during the procedure. As collagen fills these microchannels, the old layers of skin are pushed out– thus, making room for the new.
A typical microneedling treatment will last about 30 minutes. It will stimulate:
- Inflammation – to increase bloodflow and remove toxins
- Proliferation – new tissue growth
- Remodeling – new vascular pathways to enhance the new tissue
These three phases are crucial steps of the wound healing process. New skin will generate and allow for a youthful glow.
Microneedling patients utilize the therapy for a variety of skin conditions. Microneedling benefits are most often seen on patients with:
- Unwanted scars
- Age or sun spots
- Fine lines
- Stretch marks
- Large pores
- Acne scars
- Poor circulation
- Reduced skin elasticity
- Dull texture
- Uneven skin texture or tone
- Hair loss
As microneedling stimulates new tissue growth, a patient is able to enjoy the look and feel of young skin. Depending on the severity of scarring or hyperpigmentation, multiple sessions may be necessary.
Patients with a healthy lifestyle and minor skin conditions are usually great candidates for a microneedling service. If you are pregnant or taking any kind of medication, a consultation will be required prior to the procedure.
The average number of sessions is usually between three and six treatments. Patients may elect to book one or multiple sessions, depending on their intended outcome. If booking multiple sessions, you can expect for them to be spaced four to six weeks apart.
Prior to your session, you will be expected to complete a consultation with a microneedling expert. During this time, you will share your medical history and discuss factors like:
- State of your health
- Skin concerns
- Your age
- Skin tone and texture
- General side effects and possible individual side effects
- The expected outcome.
Your technician may also recommend additional therapies to maximize the health of your skin.
When it’s time to return for your first treatment, your microneedling technician will walk you through all steps of the procedure. During your 30-minute session, your technician will:
- Provide a numbing cream an hour before treatment in order to make the procedure more comfortable
- Use a medical-grade microneedling tool (similar to a pen) to create tiny, unnoticeable pricks in the skin barrier
- Apply a gel mask or healing serum to soothe inflammation and promote healing
Wondering when you’ll notice your glow? Results should become obvious 2-3 weeks after treatment.
Are You a Microneedling Candidate?
Microneedling is a very popular and safe procedure that most healthy adults can benefit from. There are a few populations that should consider a physician’s recommendation before booking a session.
If you have a history of severe skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, keloid scars, scleroderma, collagen vascular disease, or fungal infections, talk to your doctor before booking an appointment.
Those who are immunosuppressed due to an autoimmune condition or medication should not attempt a microneedling session.
Are you pregnant or nursing? It might be worth putting a pause on your microneedling treatments until you meet the recommended criteria.
Possible Side Effects
24-hours post-session, your skin will likely be red and tender. Your skin will also feel tight for a couple of days as your body works to heal the “micro-wounds” created by the microneedling tool.
Very small amounts of blood may spot. Avoid touching any bruising or scabbing.
It’s important to follow your post-session instructions to avoid infection or scarring. In most cases, all pain should subside within 24-hours. Your skin should look and feel normal to touch after 1-3 days.
How Does It Feel?
Due to the topical anesthetic applied to the treatment area, skin should feel relatively numb during the procedure.
Although this is true, it is important to consider the needles that are used to stimulate your skin. Because the needle creates tiny holes in the stratum corneum, the procedure may feel scratchy or prickly.
Pain may also be dependent on the type, length, and number of microneedles used during your microneedling procedure.
After the session is complete, your technician might apply saline pads to the affected area and a gel face mask to minimize inflammation. Your skin may be sensitive in the days following the microneedling procedure.
Remember– proper aftercare will help to minimize your pain during recovery.
Before and Aftercare
Like any skin therapy, microneedling may involve some minor preparation and aftercare regimen in order to receive the intended results. Preparation may include avoiding:
- Accutane medication for six months prior to treatment
- Retinoids, exfoliants, topical antibiotics 5-7 days before your treatment
- Ibuprofen, Motrin, or Advil three days prior to treatment
- Sun exposure for two weeks prior to treatment
- Waxing and hair removal creams for two weeks prior to treatment
- Blood-thinning medication for two weeks prior to treatment
Once you have received the treatment, your skin may be hypersensitive to sun and skincare products. Please be sure to:
- Avoid exposure to the sun
- Avoid sweat and extreme heat
- Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above if you plan to be outside
- Avoid applying makeup for 8 hours after your procedure
- Avoid exfoliating ingredients that may irritate the skin
- Apply a gentle face cream or moisturizer regularly
- Apply a Vitamin C serum to accelerate skin repair and protect from additional hyperpigmentation
The results are up to you. Following these steps will ensure you get the most out of your investment.
Take Care of Your Skin
What is microneedling? Ask the experts.
We believe that taking care of your skin should be a regular part of your routine. Luckily, Zero Gravity is happy to provide friendly, accessible microneedling in Cincinnati. Add this beauty treatment to your professional regimen for exciting results.