Microneedling has changed over the years but it is not new, it was developed by Dr. Desmond Fernandes in 1995. He was originally using hypodermic needles to treat acne and acne scars. He then noticed improvement after punching the skin in the pitted scar several weeks later. It was then that he developed a stamping microneedling device. The goal was like laser fractional resurfacing; making tiny pinpoint holes deep into the reticular dermis and this would promote collagen stimulation by means of healing the skin.
Microneedling has had many devices over the years. For a long time, the go-to device was a rolling mechanism called derma-rollers that rolled tiny needles into the skin. The problem with many of these devices is that they ultimately did more harm and damaged too much skin by causing superficial tears in the skin. These devices are still popular especially for home care devices and we do not recommend them at all. Our preference, which has also been clinically proven to not cause superficial tears or damage to the skin are the micro-pens.
With so many pens on the market which one is best? Our go-to pen at Denver Plastic Surgery is called the Collagen Pen. It fractionates with up to 36 needles where most of them only have 12. This results in better results without creating any damaging injury to the skin.
Why do Microneedling over laser? What does it treat? Who is a candidate?
Why do Microneedling over laser? What does it treat? Who is a candidate? Microneedling can be a very aggressive treatment without requiring the thermal heat of a laser. An added benefit is that it is safe for any skin type and almost all skin conditions. Since there is no heat involved, healing typically takes 24-48 hours and some patients experience a good peel of their epidermis (dead skin cells) on day 3-4. Makeup is allowed on day 3 and there is almost no pain during or after the procedure. Over the years we have found that Microneedling is our absolute preference in treating acne scars. This is due to the deep fractionating that is achieved to stimulate collagen and therefore minimize pitted scarring. It is also amazing for breaking up scar tissue, shrinking pores and reducing fine lines. Having no heat is also safer in patients who still struggle with acne as sometimes the heat from a laser can actually purge the skin post procedure and cause the skin to break out.
When will I see results?
When will I see results? You do have to be patient with this procedure! There is no magic wand unfortunately to correct deep acne scars overnight. However, usually after just 3 treatments you will start to see visible results. We recommend committing to at least 5 treatments spaced 6 weeks apart, but it is likely you will need more treatments for acne scarring. It is also a wonderful treatment for people who want reduced fine lines, wrinkles and smaller pores. People that have a skin condition called Melasma cannot use many lasers due to the heat behind the treatment as heat stimulates Melasma and can make it flare. This is a condition that is usually triggered by hormones such as pregnancy, birth control pills, and IUD’s. Men can also get Melasma which can be triggered by stress, heat, and environmental factors. Microneedling is a wonderful choice for patients with Melasma who are also looking to lighten their pigment from the Melasma, brown spots, fine lines, pore reduction and acne scars.
We also have many tools and secret weapons while performing Microneedling procedures. Many people have heard of “Vampire Facials” or PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). This is when some of your blood is drawn and then spun in a centrifuge machine. This separates the Platelet Rich Plasma from your red blood cells and then mixed with a growth factor then its applied topically during your Micronedling session for faster healing and better collagen production. While this method works great, we have found something that even works better! It’s called OMNI Core Complex and you can read more about it here. Essentially, it is a growth factor packed serum that will decrease your downtime and boost your results. Vitamin C can also be applied topically to help with stubborn pigmentation.
Microneedling is safe and effective for all skin types and almost all skin conditions. Even if your goal is to prevent the signs of aging or need some refreshing, this is the treatment for you. The results can be life changing as most people have lived with horrible acne scars for years and do not think there is anything to be done about them. For 2-3 days of red flaky skin, a 30-minute office visit, and just topical numbing cream, Microneedling can give you back the confidence and skin you have always wanted!
Ashley Ackerson, CMA, Laser Specialist