Micro-needling at home

This article first appeared on well.ca

Microneedling, the buzziest cosmetic treatment on the market! 

Have you heard of micro-needling? I’m sure you have since it’s all over social media! Microneedling has gotten a lot of attention lately because it’s considered a more “natural” treatment for scarring and wrinkles than fillers or invasive surgery. It’s actually not a new procedure and has been around for over 100 years, but the modern version was developed about 25 years ago

So, what’s microneedling?

Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that uses a hand-held device containing micro-fine needles (0.25 – 2mm in length) to create very small punctures in the skin. This procedure is considered minimally invasive and administered by a professional.

How does it work?

Microneedling is an in-office procedure which usually takes around one hour with no ‘down’ time. A numbing cream is first applied to the skin to minimize pain and keep the client comfortable. The practitioner will then go over the surface of the skin using the hand-held needling device, creating small punctures (sounds scary!) and triggering the skin’s own healing process to create more collagen and elastin. Microneedling is also used to enhance product absorption since the fine needle punctures enable active ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin.

Micro-needling for scarring

What are the benefits?

Microneedling is ideal for anyone looking to reduce scarring, especially indented and discoloured acne scars, as well as to lighten hyper-pigmentation caused by sun damage and melasma. It’s also great as a way to smooth the skin’s texture and soften fine lines.

Results are usually seen within a few sessions, which makes micro-needling a popular choice over lasers because there’s little down-time and few side effects. Also, studies have shown that microneedling is a good option for treating melasma (hormonally induced hyper-pigmentation) because traditional treatments for hyper-pigmentation like IPL (intense pulsed light therapy) emit heat, which make dark spots worse.

Can I do this at home?

I get asked about at home micro-needling a lot! There are at-home versions, called “derma pens”, “derma rollers”, or “derma stamps” and vary in needle length. In general, most professionals don’t advise microneedling at-home (including me!), especially when the needle is longer than 0.25mm. You have to consider a few things when micro needling at home like proper sanitization, appropriate pressure, and frequency of use in order to avoid un-wanted damage and infection to the skin.

It’s also worth mentioning that results will take longer when microneedling at home and may not be as noticeable. Smaller needle size means that they trigger less (or no) wound healing in the skin, and penetrate more superficially. The main benefit of at-home micro-needling devices is to enhance product penetration and should be used with active ingredients, like hydrating or brightening serums, to see better results. At-home microneedling devices are more affordable and will inflict less pain than their professional counterparts, but if you do choose to use one, first seek advice from a professional.

Micro needling at home

Who is micro-needling ideal for?

If you’re looking for a minimally invasion procedure to treat acne scarring, hyper-pigmentation (particularly melasma) and early signs of aging, micro-needling might be the right treatment for you. Studies have shown significant results achieved through microneedling, but keep in mind multiple sessions may be required and will be an investment!