I have been asked repeatedly about micro-needling, a skin treatment based on the concept that creating micro-wounds in the skin will help stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin.
While I have my personal opinion (I would never get this done), as is usual with skin care questions, I turned to my father, Switzerland’s top dermatologist, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, for some more scientific and expert explanations and opinions.
AP: What exactly is micro-needling?
LLP: Microneedling is a simple procedure during which rolling is done 15-20 times in horizontal, vertical, and oblique directions to create micro-wounds in the skin. This can be performed by aestheticians or even at home. Medical micro-needling is typically done through mechanical or manual microneedling, and is performed by an MD, typically a dermatologist.
In the dermatologist’s office during or just after the procedure, it is possible to apply on the injured skin hydrophilic suspensions of active molecules. Vitamins or self-growth factors obtained from the patient’s platelets will penetrate easily into the epidermis and amplify the microneedling effect. Pin-point bleeding and redness typically occur but are easily controlled. The entire procedure lasts for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the extent of the area to be treated.
AP: What is the difference between at-home micro-needling and in-office micro-needling?
LLP: In Switzerland, at-home procedures are done with a roller with needles limited to 0.5mm length and is intended to induce skin rejuvenation. Medical procedures may use needles up to 3 mm long. With these needles, it is possible to improve not only the skin quality but also scars and stretch marks by using very specific protocols. These regulations will vary country to country, and in the United States state by state.
AP: What are the typical benefits from this procedure?
LLP: The benefits of micro needling are linked to the skin’s own healing systems, which when faced with such micro-wounds, will stimulate collagen and elastin production. This will help with the skin’s overall texture and glow, dilated pores, fine lines, scars, and aging skin.
AP: What are the possible side effects from this procedure?
LLP: Pain during the procedure (which can be managed with anesthetic creams), some light edema and redness during maximum 48 hours. We have to be careful with possible post inflammatory hyperpigmentation when micro-needling is done on darker skin tones.
AP: Do you offer this procedure at Forever Institut? Why or why not?
LLP: Yes, we do. The procedure is complementary to other collagen-stimulating treatments. I very much believe in the combination of various to yield the most effective rejuvenation results, without downtown. We combine micro-needling with photo-facials and various types of non-ablative laser treatments. Furthermore, in my experience, micro-needling is the first and best therapeutic option in the treatment of stretch marks and scars.
Thank you Dad! I have to admit that I might just have to try a treatment on my stretch marks…
2 thoughts on “Micro-needling: yes or no?”
I’m glad you included the depths on at-home vs. medical clinical procedures. That’s a big difference in depth and also helps explain the relative risk/reward calculus that comes with going to a dermatologist.
My friends have a lot of acne scars when her skin had a break out last winter. It was explained here that micro-needling helps the skin’s healing system by stimulating collagen and elastin production. Furthermore, it’s highly advisable to see health professionals for micro-needling sessions.