- Collagen Induction – Uplifting
- Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier, causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.
- The Misconceptions
- This is a serious procedure
- Side Effects, Contraindications, and Complications
- Treatment for impaired skin
- Treatment for complications after microneedling
- The Naked Truth
- What’s The Stretch?
- Is Microneedling Effective?
- Microneedling Treatment
- Alternative Stretch Mark Treatments
- Microneedling cost varies from treatment area and condition – Dermapen
- Microneedling is just a fraction of the cost of surgical treatment.
- Microneedling can treat any of the following:
- What will be the microneedling cost per treatment?
Collagen Induction – Uplifting
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Would you roll needles all over your face for smoother skin? That’s the promise of the trendy treatment microneedling, with compelling before-and-after photos (and some horror stories) flooding the internet.
In the microneedling procedure, a dermaroller wand studded with tiny needles is run over skin to even out its texture, including wrinkles and scarring, says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine. There are even claims that it can help reduce stubborn stretch marks.
But is microneedling safe and does it work? Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab skin scientists and dermatologist experts weigh in on everything you need to know about microneedling, and if you should ever do it at home.
What does microneedling do for your skin?
The treatment (which can be performed by a dermatologist or aesthetician in-office or done at home) involves rolling a roller with tiny needles along the skin. The microneedling pen’s needles produce micropunctures in skin that can enhance the absorption of skincare products and cause an increase in collagen production, which can minimize fine lines and scarring from causes like acne over time, among other benefits, Dr. Gohara explains.
Is microneedling effective?
Yes: When done by a professional 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,” Dr. Gohara says. “And a study found microneedling may be as helpful lasers and other resurfacing devices for reducing acne scars.”
It’s also a great option for minimizing stretch marks, experts say: “In my opinion, microneedling is the single best treatment for stretch mark reduction,” says Manish Shah, M.D., a plastic surgeon based in Colorado. “Microneedling improves the color 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 color fades because the skin thickens and the tiny blood vessels that give early stretch marks their pink/purple color retreat.”
Does microneedling hurt?
Done in the hands of a professional dermatologist, there should be zero to minimal pain, side effects, or down time from microneedling treatments, though some may experience minor skin irritation immediately after. If done improperly at home, microneedling has the potential to cause scratching or burning pain and irritation, redness and inflammation, marks, and even bleeding and scarring on skin. Your dermatologist can advise you on the proper after-care procedure for your skin to minimize irritation and facilitate best results.
How long does it take to see results from microneedling?
“Response to treatment may vary, but some may need four to six sessions over several months to obtain the desired results, while others may be happy after one to two,” Dr. Gohara explains. “But maintenance treatments may be necessary to keep the progress up and prevent further damage.” In between, your dermatologist can advise you on whether you can continue your regular skincare regimen, including other types of exfoliating and skin resurfacing products while receiving microneedling treatments.
Depending on the skin issue, the severity of it, your age and skin condition, and whether the treatment is done by a professional, the results can range from subtle improvement (i.e. softening the look of lines and marks) to a dramatic change (erasing of wrinkles and acne scars), as seen here.
How much does microneedling cost?
Depending on the location and practitioner, professional microneedling by a dermatologist or aesthetician can cost anywhere between $100 to upward of $500+ per treatment, with a series of four to six treatments often required to see results, the number of which can vary based on skin issue and condition.
Is microneedling at home safe?
Recently, the FDA issued an alert to manufacturers about potential regulation of microneeding pens as medical devices. It may not be worth the risk to DIY: In a GH Beauty Lab study, 25 women used a popular at-home dermaroller system. After four weeks, there was no difference in the appearance of skin on the side where the dermaroller was used, according to digital imaging with the Visia Complexion Analyzer device, or in the improvement of firmness, per measurements with the Lab’s Cutometer machine. Testers also complained that the tool hurt during use, felt sharp, and scraped their skin. One developed a rash from use and two did not complete the study due to skin irritation.
If you want to try microneedling, the GH Beauty Lab and our experts recommend going pro for optimal results and less risk: “This procedure can work wonders if used correctly, but microneedling devices are best used by a trained professional to mitigate the risk of overuse and permanent damage,” Dr. Gohara advises. Getting the treatment at a dermatologist’s office will also ensure the needles are sterile, which is crucial for preventing skin damage and infection. “Consult a dermatologist to see if it’s for you and come up with the best treatment plan,” she says.
April Franzino Beauty Director April Franzino is the Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping, part of the Hearst Women’s Lifestyle Beauty Group.
Wrinkles, acne scars, enlarged pores, and stretch marks can make people feel self-conscious about the uneven appearance of their skin. Dermatologists have a variety of devices and medications at their disposal to help improve these skin conditions—from lasers to chemical peels to microdermabrasion. Another minimally invasive option is microneedling, a nonsurgical procedure that’s performed in a dermatologist’s office.
Though the thought of needles may make you cringe, microneedling is not painful. Doctors generally apply a topical anesthetic cream beforehand to help numb the area being treated. It has few side effects other than temporary redness and swelling post-treatment. Microneedling typically has a shorter recovery time compared to the laers or chemical peels that are also used to help resurface the skin and improve its texture.
At Yale Medicine Dermatology, microneedling is offered to treat a variety of cosmetic skin conditions. “The way our skin looks is a big part of how people perceive us,” says Kathleen Suozzi, MD, aesthetics director for Yale Medicine Dermatology. “Patients have high satisfaction when they can improve the appearance of their skin and eliminate signs of aging. Microneedling is one tool we use to achieve results.”
Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier, causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.
Lately, it seems that everyone is turning to microneedling, and who can blame them? Just look online, and it is apparently the answer to all of your skin related woes – and the hottest trend in beauty right now.
Scare-mongering is not what this article is about – nor my philosophy, but as with all things in life, there are risks associated with this treatment.
I have been inundated with emails from readers which you can read below, and many clients have been referred to me, who have been both physically and psychologically scarred as a result of this treatment, so I really wanted to address this treatment, for those who are considering it. For further reading my article skin needling, looks at the very real side effects of causing trauma and wounds to the skin.
They Say: Microneedling is a collagen-stimulating treatment that uses needles to injure the skin; this stimulates collagen and elastin production, resulting in improved skin texture, pores, fine lines, and more.
Naked Chemist Truth: Microneedling tears through the epidermis – the top layer of the skin – creating tiny puncture marks which play havoc with your skin’s natural defence mechanisms, which have to work hard to repair these tiny micro-tears through collagen induction. This causes a whole host of skin conditions.
It does not tighten your skin; it swells your skin: You must understand the concept, ‘needling promotes skin collagen’. Because you’re temporarily injuring your skin, the tightening effect is plump, swollen skin.
It does not create a glowing complexion: That ‘lit-from-within’ glow is a result of the inflammation it triggers, and as I believe inflammation is at the source of premature ageing, it is a big no-no in my book.
This is a serious procedure
At any depth, even a 0.2mm puncture can cause inflammatory responses that lead to problems. Not only that, but you are effectively injecting active serums at a depth where serums are not meant to go! Not everyone should needle, as you can cause irreparable harm.
Bottom line: If your skin is impaired, it requires a super-healthy skin response, and if your skin is stressed at all, you are almost certainly at risk of damage.
Clemmy from London wrote: “The microneedling felt like it shredded my skin beneath the surface, my once perfect skin is ruined and I feel like I could cry, it has lost all firmness and support. I know it has been structurally damaged. I’ve had such a bad reaction it flared up. It was awful. I looked grazed all over I didn’t want to leave the house for ages after 6 months it is only just recovering.”
Nancy from Australia wrote: “The next photo is the day of the microneedling, you can see my face is very swollen and I have scratch like marks on my face, I was shaking during the procedure, I should have known something was wrong then. I was told to do a course of peels to get rid of the lines and this sent my skin into inflammation mode. Today my skin has tiny holes and lines in it. With your help it has been slowly repairing, but it has been a long road.”
Quick side note: For this reason, I recommend avoiding peels, lasers, or active topicals to try to reverse the damage done. Instead, work to rebuild the barrier and balance the delicate micro-flora with skin-identical ingredients that are missing, bringing your skins pH back into balance holistically, which equates to healthy skin.
Angela, a client, experienced the following: “I am 43 and had one session of microneedling. My face became inflamed and I have been battling severe facial burning ever since. My previously smooth skin is scarred all over with lines, huge pores and a strange texture. I have been to a few dermatologists who have no idea what to do, it severely damaged my lipid barrier. Your advice and skincare especially Fortify barrier repair cream, is helping to rebuild my barrier I can’t thank you enough.”
Marian from the USA wrote: “Micro rolling seriously destroyed my skin. It left bumps and holes and requires total resurfacing, which I am scared to have. It has dried out my skin and given me lines I did not previously have, on top of the bumps and holes. In short, microneedling is UNSAFE.”
Jen from Australia wrote: “After having numerous tests (had to go back to the hospital a second time because they didn’t take enough blood the first time) the blood test results were normal so no autoimmune disorders which is good. I have had 25 pages of blood test results as my dermatologist was very thorough and he has figured out what the microneedling has done to my skin. He believes I have solid facial edema, very rare. I’m now on roaccutane & may need to be on it for 1-2 years, although my skin is responding this will be a very long battle to get rid of this. I’m completely shattered. I would NEVER recommend microneedling to anyone, in fact I warn all my friends about it so they never suffer the way I am suffering. Your Bio lipid has been a life saver I refer to it as liquid gold.”
For those of you who commented, thank you for sharing and I really hope together we can rebuild the health of your skin through a well thought-out skincare and supplementation regime. Hopefully, this article will also help others who are contemplating this procedure.
If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered a serious reaction, let’s take a look at the problems that can go wrong and why. That way, you will be able to connect the dots about what you can do to repair your skin.
Do not treat your skin with microneedling if you have the following, ever!
- Active acne
- Keloid scarring
- A cigarette smoker
- Prior Roaccutane user
- Signs of active infection
- Sensitive or impaired skin
- Eczema or dermatitis sufferers
- Very dark or unstable skin type
- You are a 1, 2, or 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale
- Autoimmune problems of the skin, such as Lupus
- If you have had a topical treatment (such as peels or laser) in the last 12 weeks
In a nutshell, anything that will affect your skin’s natural healing ability.
You should absolutely NEVER have this treatment on skin that has breakouts or is irritated or inflamed, or has active acne or eczema.
Why? You could spread bacteria around your face and increase your risk of serious infection. In fact, if you have active acne or cystic acne, I don’t recommend microneedling until your acne is 100% clear. Even if you have a pimple, be sure to avoid that area completely.
If you have sensitive skin that can become red or flushed, if you suffer from rosacea, or if your skin doesn’t tolerate products well, then you need to be very careful. This treatment causes inflammation on the skin, disrupting the protective barrier and increasing penetration of active ingredients. I appreciate this may sound counter-intuitive, because microneedling is all about better product penetration, but when active ingredients go deeper into skin, the risk of irritation goes up. If, after reading this, you still want to experiment with microneedling, you should carry out a patch test (discussed in my article, “Microneedling Treatment”)
Side Effects, Contraindications, and Complications
Whilst there are many general side effects of microneedling – including bleeding, slight bruising, redness, dryness, and skin flakiness – some may experience more severe side effects such as permanent scarring, Indentations in the skin or hyper and hypo-pigmentary changes in the skin.
Infection: It doesn’t always look the way you think, such as with swelling, pus, and redness. Some infections can appear a lot more subtle, where the skin just stays irritated and doesn’t heal. What is happening here is that your body’s immune system is holding the offending bacteria, fungus, or virus in partial check, but isn’t strong enough to eliminate it.
Allergic or irritant reactions: These can range from barely visible to extreme ongoing pain and itching. This is not normal; pain associated with this treatment should be temporary and last no longer than a day.
Redness and texture changes: These changes are common, as treatment pumps the skin, increasing blood flow and collagen, but should reduce in a few days.
Treatment for impaired skin
A big question I’m often asked is, will my skin ever return to normal? You can heal your skin once it has been damaged by microneedling, but how long it takes depends on the amount of damage done. From experience in my own clinic, some people may heal in between 6 to 12 weeks in line with cellular turnover. Sadly, for others, it can take a couple of years – but with the correct treatment protocol and effective ingredients, it is achievable.
You require a three-pronged, holistic approach.
Employ a consistent skin care regime with gentle topicals that are barrier repairing – nothing too active, as that will inflame the skin further.
Use topical actives such as H2O Hydrating Complex combined with Urea to help re-hydrate the skin’s tissues. A low-strength Vitamin C will help to rebuild collagen and elastin naturally. DNA contains copper peptides that help to rebuild fragile skin. Bio-lipid and Fortify are specifically designed to rebuild the barrier function and replenish skin-identical ingredients that are missing as a result of harsh treatments.
Your skin is the largest organ of the body, so make sure you’re feeding it repairing foods, including vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, B complexes, Zinc, and essential fatty acids.
Treatment for complications after microneedling
- Keep copies of records and take before and after photos
- Where a risk of infection may be present, ask for a bacterial culture or swab to be done on your skin
- A small biopsy can be carried out for “tissue culture” to look for deeper or unusual bacteria or other organisms
- If there is any question of skin allergy, especially if a lot of chemicals were microneedled into the skin, an allergist may be able to help
- If you’re concerned about an infectious disease, or difficult or unusual infections in the skin, consult a doctor
- If you have any hormonal or other issues affecting your healing, an endocrinologist may help
The Naked Truth
The bottom line. Be careful with how you treat your skin; you have a responsibility to take care of your primary organ that protects you every second of your life.
If all of this does sound alarming, but you still want to treat your skin with microneedling, below is my checklist on things you should consider before undergoing microneedling:
- Know your skin type and where on the Fitzgerald scale it fits into
- Do your research, and ensure your therapist has many years of experience and understands microneedling at a technical level
- Do consider the type of machine used, there are less complaints from those who have been treated with a derma pen
- Do listen to your skin! We are all metabolically different. If you feel your skin is compromised, don’t embark on any invasive treatment, not just microneedling
- Ensure you get a thorough consultation, and that they discuss the post-treatment protocol with you.
- Do make sure you take close-up photos of your skin beforehand; if the therapist involved decides to try and deny responsibility, you will have proof
- Do be consistent with treatments and use quality serums and vitamins, both internally and externally, to repair and protect your skin – but nothing too active
- Don’t use a combination of treatments coupled with an energy-based device, as there is also the risk of burns to consider
- Your therapist must be really well trained on their device so they really understand how they behave. I’ve seen patients over the years who’ve sustained iatrogenic injuries which have resulted in scarring after devices have been dragged across the skin
What’s The Stretch?
If you’re determined to get rid of your stretch marks for good and considering treatment options, you may be considering microneedling. Microneedling, also referred to as skin needling or collagen induction therapy, is a process where a doctor runs a tool covered in several fine needles over stretch marks. By creating minor injuries where skin has been damaged, microneedling encourages your body to repair damaged skin through increased production of collagen and elastin.
Is Microneedling Effective?
Stretch marks are scars that form in the middle layer of skin, and like scars from injuries, they do not go away on their own. While they may fade over time, getting rid of stretch marks requires undergoing a treatment that can penetrate the top layer of skin and affect the middle layer of skin where stretch mark scars form.
The process of microneedling allows a doctor to use long enough needle to impact middle layer of your skin. When skin is damaged through the microneedling process, it triggers the development of collagen and elastin in your body, which will promote skin regeneration in the damaged areas. The skin regeneration process can encourage new skin growth in areas with stretch marks, improving the tone and texture of skin and reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
In addition to treating stretch marks, microneedling is also commonly used to treat wrinkles and acne scars. The treatment can be performed in a doctor’s office, requires only a topical anesthetic, and is generally considered a safe and low-risk treatment option.
More than one microneedling treatment is generally required for stretch marks. Your doctor will develop an individual treatment plan that considers the severity of your stretch mark scarring, but you can probably expect to need five or more treatments with intervals between treatments of 4-6 weeks. On average, a single microneedling treatment costs around $700, so if five treatments are needed, the entire process will take 4-6 months and cost around $3,500. Determine your likely costs for microneedling treatment.
Alternative Stretch Mark Treatments
If microneedling isn’t right for you, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to suffer with stretch marks forever. There are several other options available for getting rid of stretch mark scarring:
- Laser treatment, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion treatments can also be performed by dermatologists and may be effective in treating stretch marks. These treatments use varying methods to damage skin and promote regrowth, though like microneedling, multiple treatments will likely be needed.
- Many stretch mark removal products are available for purchase over the counter. These products, when applied regularly, may reduce the appearance of stretch marks and are much more cost-friendly than treatments performed in a doctor’s office. If you’re interested in getting rid of your stretch marks but unable to afford the high costs of microneedling or laser treatment, using a stretch mark removal product is a great starting point on your journey to rid your body of stretch marks. Find a stretch mark removal product.
Microneedling cost varies from treatment area and condition – Dermapen
Microneedling is just a fraction of the cost of surgical treatment.
It will likely take 6 to 8 sessions, each of which last approximately 30 minutes. After that, you can bid farewell to that problem area and cherish your rejuvenated skin.
Microneedling can treat any of the following:
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Stretch marks
- Enlarged pores
- Scars from surgery, acne or chickenpox
- Sagging skin
- Pigmentation marks from sun damage or acne
xtent of the treatment. For example, face treatments will be about $300. However, if you choose to purchase the device yourself, Dermapen will cost you nearly a third of that.Microneedling treatments have proven more effective than surgical treatments, laser resurfacing and chemical peels in stimulating the production of collagen and elastin, which reinforces the skin, removes the wrinkles and smooths the scars. Microneedling can also be done at a fraction of the cost when compared to surgical treatments.
What will be the microneedling cost per treatment?
Generally, the cost of microneedling depends on which area you are treating, as well as the size of that area. On average the cost can be anywhere from $100 to $700 per session, and it is recommended that you undergo 4 to 6 treatments depending on the skin condition and your age.
Microneedling cost also differs based on the provider’s location, experience, and treatment area. Learn More.