You have probably already heard about microneedling and want to know what skin experts have to say about it before visiting a skin clinic. With the advent of Instagram and TikTok, almost every novel skin treatment has had its time in the limelight but what do doctors and other skin professionals have to say about Microneedling in particular? What’s the verdict on this extremely popular treatment?
In a nutshell, Microneedling is a treatment that involves the insertion of tiny, short needles into the skin. While that may sound painful, it’s not, and it’s actually a very helpful tool for diminishing wrinkles, stretch marks, and facial scars—especially those caused by acne.
To learn more about microneedling treatments, listen to what these seven experts have to say about it:
The longer needle length, when applied by a trained professional will penetrate deeper into the skin and yield better results. Microneedling in a professional setting also minimizes the risk of infection. Your healthcare professional will clean your skin with anti-septics prior to the procedure and use fully sterilized microneedling tips in order to minimize the risk of infection.
“Professional microneedling produces better and more consistent results, and is safer for your skin. Skin care professionals use advanced microneedling devices that range from 1mm-3mm in needle length, whereas at home microneedling devices have needle lengths of less than 1mm.” – Dr. Jennifer Yin, MD
Dr. Chilukuri, a dermatological surgeon based in Houston, TX, has incorporated microneedling into his practice for over nine years. He states that he uses the mechanical technology, referred to professionally as collagen induction therapy, rather than heat-based mechanisms, to correct acne scarring and treat pigmentary issues.
“Microneedling treatment improves skin texture, By creating an inflammatory response with mechanical trauma, fibroblast activity is increased, thus improving collagen production.” – Suneel Chilukuri, MD
Still, many would-be patients fear that the treatment would cause pain. Dr. Chilukuri understands this, and has a solution to to the problem. “…[T]here is a lot we can do to help prevent pain. There’s a relatively new product on the market called Prevadyne, which uses a lipophilic molecule to enhance delivery of a very low percentage of lidocaine. We’ve used it and it provides patients with comfort rapidly.”
Experts have also begun to focus on the use of microneedling to prevent and reduce stretch marks. Dr. Shah, a plastic surgeon from Colorado, is leading the way in this innovative use of the microneedling procedure.
“In my opinion, microneedling is the single best treatment for stretch mark reduction. Microneedling improves the colour and appearance of stretch marks by creating tiny pinhole injuries in the stretch mark itself. The skin responds by making new collagen, filling in the broken dermal layer. As the dermal layer expands, the colour fades because the skin thickens and the tiny blood vessels that give early stretch marks their pink/purple colour retreat.” – Manish Shah, MD
When pressed, integrative dermatologist Dr. Fishman says that she believes that home microneedling is mostly safe.
“At-home microneedling is generally safe as the needles are only 0.25 millimeters in depth. The main ways they can become unsafe is if people overdo it with the pressure and don’t keep the roller clean, which could cause infection. What people need to know is that home microneedling will not stimulate collagen, as the needles do not go deep enough. Home microneedling rollers are useful primarily to help topical products penetrate deeper.” – Cybele Fishman, MD
This means that in the opinion of Dr. Fishman, it is still best to see a professional if you are primarily interested in resurfacing your skin in order to lessen fine wrinkles, lines, and scarring.
According to Mona Gohara, MD, when conducted by a skilled dermatologist;
“Microneedling can be effective at boosting the penetration of topical skincare and plumping skin, and there is data to show its efficacy in reducing fine lines and wrinkles. And, a study found microneedling may be as helpful as lasers and other resurfacing devices for reducing acne scars.” – Mona Gohara, MD
Dr. Gohara is an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, CT.
Adeela Crown, an international facialist, concurs with the product absorption theory:
“The skin is a natural barrier, designed to keep things out, which is why only a small percentage of active ingredients ever penetrate the dermis. Microneedling helps create tiny entry points: doorways that stay open only for a short time post-treatment before the skin begins to close them down with new skin cells.” – Adeela Crown
Diana Yerkes is the head esthetician at Rescue Spa of New York, NY adds.
“At-home microneedling is safe and effective if you are using a correct tool. Microneedling rollers improve product penetration by close to 80 percent, therefore increasing its efficacy. The differences between a good tool and a bad tool is needle placement.” – Diana Yerkes
This means that Yerkes recommends microneedling tools that contain evenly-spaced and aligned needles only.
Dr. Mary Stevenson, a Mohs surgeon and dermatologist also based in New York City, agrees with the other experts that in general, at home methods are less effective.
“The needles range from 0.5–2.5 mm and rotate over the skin from a pen-like device, which creates tiny wounds that breach the stratum corneum—the top-most layer of the skin—to reach the epidermis and deeper dermis. If we are able to create tiny controlled injuries, then we are able to promote collagen formation, which in turn allows the skin to remain tighter and thicker as we age.” – Mary Stevenson, MD
The procedure is often paired with a topical application of platelet rich plasma, or PRP, which helps speed up healing.
Physicians and skin technicians work with much better precision tools, so the treatment is more likely to stimulate collagen production and improve the texture of damaged skin.
Most experts agree that microneedling is a fantastic procedure for refreshing the surface of the skin and treating everything from acne scars to fine lines and wrinkles to stretch marks.
The at-home version of the treatment is not wholly considered to be as effective although it can be used as a proactive method in getting different products to more easily penetrate the skin and thus increasing their effectiveness.
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