Rolling micro-needles all over your face sounds like a self-inflicted torture. One may ask why rolling hundreds of micro-needles over your skin give you smoother skin?
The truth is that the practice of using microneedles, which dates back to 1995, is a simple, yet effective way to induce collagen production and increase blood flow in the treated area.
What is microneedling?
In the most simplistic sense, microneedling is a procedure which involves using a handheld roller covered in tiny needles to puncture the superficial layer of the skin. The skin is repeatedly punctured with tiny, sterile needles by rolling over the skin gently.
Is microneedling effective?
This 20-minute procedure aims to achieve the following benefits:
- Allows deeper penetration and better absorption of skincare products.
- Creates micro-injuries to kickstart skin repair, induce collagen production and improve blood circulation.
- Depressed acne scars
- Stretch marks
- Hair loss
- Loose skin
- Superficial pigmentation
It helps to provide overall rejuvenation of the skin by subtly tightening loose skin.
Some studies were conducted to compare the results between the topical application of Minoxidil and combining it with microneedling. Results indicated that the latter showed thicker hair growth and reduced hair loss as compared to just using Minoxidil alone.
In countries where microneedling is approved, doctors may even use the procedure to administer topical creams such as vitamin C and tretinoin, deeper into the skin for better absorption.
Is microneedling painful?
There are hundreds of tiny needles up to 1.5mm in length protruding from the roller barrel. Rolling them on the face repeatedly will definitely cause discomfort.
Fortunately, the pain can be easily managed by apply topical numbing cream to the face before the treatment. It should not hurt after the effects of the numbing cream kick in.
What are the risks of microneedling?
It is generally accepted as a safe and effective treatment, but there are still risks associated with it.
The main concern is skin irritation immediately after the treatment. You can also expect to experience other side effects such as swelling, discomfort, bleeding, bruising, and redness. With proper care, the inflammation should subside after 3 days.
If not done by a professional, you may also experience serious side effects such as infection or darkening of the pigments. Severe skin irritation may also occur if you are sensitive to the topical medication applied after the treatment.
Are microneedling home devices useful?
As microneedling is a very simple concept, it is no surprise that home devices are sold on the internet. While these home devices are much cheaper than a session with a doctor, there are some key differences you should note.
Home devices are usually not as effective as those used by doctors. The needles are shorter and more blunt. Home devices are often not meant for addressing serious skin concerns such as pigmentation or depressed acne scars. They are, however, good for overall skin rejuvenation and improve absorption of skincare products.
If the home devices are not cleaned properly after every use, it may cause serious skin infection or injury, especially if the needles break the skin surface.
Alternative treatments to microneedling
At most reputable medical aesthetic clinics in Singapore, they are likely to offer laser treatments that are similar to microneedling.
For example, CO2 laser creates precise, micro-ablative columns in the skin to allow collagen to grow. The precision of the laser increases the efficacy and safety of the treatment, allowing the skin to heal more evenly and providing better results than microneedling.
Another popular treatment that involves microneedling is INFINI. It involves administering radiofrequency energy into the dermis with an adjustable depth of 0.5mm to 3.5mm for the purpose of treating depressed acne scars and inducing collagen growth. The radiofreqency waves administered by the microneedles have an added effect to encourage collagen production and tissue tightening, which yields much better results than microneedling.
Should I do microneedling?
While microneedling is not allowed to be offered by aesthetic doctors in Singapore, you can purchase home devices over the internet.
The main takeaway is that microneedling is generally a safe and effective treatment to improve overall skin texture and reduce signs of aging, home treatments often don’t yield the same results as a treatment done by a doctor and it may increase the risk of undesirable side effects.
Always consult an experienced aesthetic doctor before you start any treatment.