If you’re anything like us, you're probably not a big fan of needles. But the latest beauty trend involves having quite a few of them poke you in the face. Yep. Microneedling, which promises to reduce the appearance of acne scars and stretch marks, among other skin issues, is gaining popularity as a facial treatment.
“The minimally invasive microneedling technique involves a series of tiny, very fine needles that are passed over the skin, creating micro-injuries which trigger new collagen and elastin synthesis as the skin begins to naturally repair itself,” says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery. “These micro-injuries stimulate the growth of collagen, the scaffolding under the skin, which then improves the appearance of some scars and wrinkles. It also creates channels that allow various substances—serums or your own plasma—to penetrate deeper into the skin resulting in better product efficacy.”
Intrigued? Here’s what else you need to know:
Who Should Try Microneedling?
Anyone looking to improve the appearance of their skin, prevent signs of aging, treat pigmentation or wrinkles, or fade acne scars or stretch marks is an excellent candidate, says Adriana Rodriguez, training manager for skin-care brand Sesderma USA. (Um, so basically all of us). Still, there are limits—it only works for scars and wrinkles that are on the superficial side, so if you have something really deep, this isn’t right for you.
What Should You Know Before Your First Treatment?
You should book a consultation to go over your expectations with the dermatologist or esthetician you’ll be seeing, says Rodriguez. They’ll be able to review the most appropriate home-care products and discuss pre- and post-care precautions, she says. If your skin is infected, inflamed, or if you have eczema or open acne lesions, call the office to see if you can reschedule your appointment. Why? Because microneedling could spread bacteria around your face and possibly cause further infection. Want to try an at-home device? “Be sure to consult your dermatologist to make sure this treatment is right for you and if the products you use can be accompanied with microneedling,” says Engelman.
What’s the Pain Like?
While every person’s pain tolerance is different, most experts describe the sensation associated with microneedling as a tolerable discomfort. Generally, it can be performed without any numbing solution or anesthesia (though if you get it done at a doctor’s office, you may be able to opt for a numbing product if you feel you need it). “There is typically no pain associated with a needle length less than .5 millimeters,” says Jamie O'Banion, president and co-founder of Beauty Bioscience, the makers of GloPRO, an at-home microneedling device that uses .3 millimeter needles. That being said, expect some redness post-procedure (this should die down in a few hours).
How Often Do You Need Treatments to Maintain Results?
A series of six treatments every two to four weeks is recommended, depending on your skin’s condition. “After you’ve achieved the desired results, it’s recommended you do single treatments every four to six weeks for maintenance,” says Rodriguez. And keep this in mind: According to Realself.com, the largest online cosmetic surgery community, a package of sessions can run you up to $700 (the GloPRO, for comparison, costs $200).