Top 10 Questions About DIY Microneedling
One of my favorite ways to keep up with “Look my best” skincare is microneedling. I do it myself with an easy to use microneedling pen and disposable needle heads. It’s easy as can be, sterile and very inexpensive compared to the same thing you would get at a Med spa or doctors office. Whenever someone asks me about how I maintain my skin (I’m 46), I say microneedling and I get one of two responses. Confusion or revulsion. People either don’t know what it is, or they’re immediately turned off by the word “needle”. I’ll try to explain the top ten questions about microneedling in general. If you want to know more about DIY microneedling, here is my Do It Yourself Microneedling.
What is Microneedling and How does it work?
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that involves using a device with very fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin. The process stimulates the body’s natural healing response, triggering the production of collagen and elastin, which are key proteins that help to keep the skin firm, smooth, and supple.
The needles used in microneedling can vary in length and thickness, depending on the specific needs and goals of the patient. The procedure can be performed on various parts of the body, including the face, neck, chest, and hands.
The punctures created by the microneedling device also help to increase the absorption of topical skincare products, allowing them to penetrate deeper into the skin and be more effective.
Overall, microneedling is a safe and effective treatment option for a range of skin concerns, including fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin texture. It can also help to improve overall skin tone and enhance the appearance of the skin.
What are the benefits of microneedling treatments for the skin?
Improved skin texture and tone: Microneedling stimulates collagen production, which can help to improve skin texture and tone. The treatment can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and large pores, as well as improve the overall firmness and smoothness of the skin.
- Reduction in the appearance of scars: Microneedling can be an effective treatment for reducing the appearance of acne scars, surgical scars, stretch marks, and other types of scarring. The treatment helps to break down scar tissue and stimulate the production of new collagen, which can help to smooth out the skin and reduce the appearance of scars.
- Increased absorption of skincare products: The tiny punctures created during microneedling can help to increase the absorption of topical skincare products. This means that the products are more effective in delivering their active ingredients deep into the skin, where they can be most beneficial.
- Enhanced skin radiance: Microneedling can help to improve the overall radiance of the skin by promoting cell turnover and improving blood flow. The result is a more glowing, youthful complexion.
- Safe for all skin types: At home microneedling devices are generally safe for all skin types and colors, making it a versatile treatment option for a wide range of patients.
Are there any risks or side effects associated with microneedling?
Microneedling is generally considered a safe and minimally invasive procedure, but there are some possible risks and side effects. These include:
- Redness and swelling: After a microneedling treatment, it is common to experience some redness and swelling in the treated area. This usually goes away within a few hours to a few days, depending on the individual and the depth of the treatment.
- Discomfort or pain: Microneedling may cause some discomfort or pain during the treatment depending how deep the needles go into the skin. Most cosmetic microneedling is painless. For those with sensitive skin, this can be minimized with the use of a topical anesthetic.
- Infection: There is a risk of infection associated with any procedure that breaks the skin’s barrier, including microneedling. You should ensure that the treatment is performed in a clean and sterile environment to minimize this risk. You can check out my sterilization checklist here.
- Skin irritation: Microneedling can cause skin irritation, particularly in patients with sensitive skin. This may manifest as itching, dryness, or flakiness. People usually have red skin after a treatment, especially if using a longer needle length.
- Hyperpigmentation: In rare cases, microneedling can cause hyperpigmentation, which is a darkening of the skin. This is more likely to occur in people with darker skin tones.
- Bruising: Some people may experience bruising after a microneedling treatment, particularly if they are taking blood-thinning medication.
How many treatments are typically required to see results from microneedling?
The number of microneedling treatments required to see results varies depending on many factors, including the person’s skin condition, their age, and the severity of their concerns. Regardless of the variables, most people will require a series of treatments to achieve the best results.
Usually, a series of three to six treatments spaced four to six weeks apart is recommended. However, some patients may require more or fewer treatments depending on their individual needs and goals.
While microneedling can produce noticeable results after just one treatment, these results are typically temporary and will fade over time. This is because the body’s natural collagen production takes time to build up, and it may take several treatments to see long-lasting results.
People should also be aware that the results of microneedling are cumulative, meaning that each subsequent treatment builds on the results of the previous treatment. This is why it’s important to follow a recommended treatment plan and to space treatments out appropriately.
After the initial series of treatments, you may choose to schedule maintenance treatments every six to twelve months to maintain their results. This can help to keep the skin looking firm, smooth, and youthful over the long term. (DIY side note – After the initial round of treatments, do a monthly or 6 week treatment to maintain results)
Is microneedling suitable for all skin types and conditions?
Hyperpigmentation is a rare but possible side effect of microneedling. Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin in the treated area, and it can be a result of increased melanin production. This is more common in people with darker skin tones or those who are prone to hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is more likely to occur if the skin isn’t properly prepared for the treatment, if the treatment depth is too aggressive, or if the person doesn’t follow the proper aftercare instructions. To minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation, it’s important to follow these guidelines:
- Prepare the skin properly: People should avoid tanning and sun exposure in the weeks leading up to their treatment. You should also discontinue the use of any topical retinoids or exfoliating agents at least one week before the treatment.
- Use appropriate needle depth: The needle depth used during the treatment should be appropriate for the patient’s skin type and concerns. Overly aggressive needling can increase the risk of hyperpigmentation.
- Protect the skin post-treatment: You should avoid sun exposure for at least 24 hours after the treatment and use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect the skin. They should also avoid any harsh skincare products or treatments that could irritate the skin.
- Follow the recommended treatment plan: Patients should follow the recommended treatment plan and space treatments out appropriately to minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation.
Overall, while hyperpigmentation is a possible side effect of microneedling, it can be minimized by properly preparing the skin, using appropriate needle depth, protecting the skin post-treatment, and following the recommended treatment plan. If hyperpigmentation does occur, it is usually temporary and will fade over time.
How long does the recovery process take after a microneedling treatment?
One of the benefits of microneedling is that it is a minimally invasive procedure, meaning that it does not involve surgery or significant downtime. However, there is still a recovery period associated with the treatment, and patients should be aware of what to expect during this time.
Immediately following the treatment, the skin may be red and slightly swollen. This is a normal reaction and should subside within a few hours to a day after the treatment. Some patients may also experience mild bruising or pinpoint bleeding in the treated area.
In the days following the treatment, the skin may feel dry and tight, and patients may notice some mild peeling or flaking as the skin begins to regenerate. It is important to keep the skin well hydrated during this time and to avoid any harsh skincare products or treatments that could further irritate the skin.
Most patients are able to resume their normal activities within a day or two after the treatment, although it is important to avoid strenuous exercise or activities that could cause sweating or irritation to the treated area for at least 24 hours.
Patients should also be aware that it can take several weeks to see the full effects of the treatment, as collagen production and skin regeneration take time. Most patients see noticeable improvements in their skin texture and tone after a series of microneedling treatments, spaced out at least several weeks apart.
Overall, while there is a recovery period associated with microneedling, it is generally a relatively mild and short-lived process. Patients can expect some mild redness and swelling immediately following the treatment, as well as some mild peeling and dryness in the days following. With proper aftercare, patients should be able to resume their normal activities within a day or two after the treatment.
Are there any special precautions or preparations I should take before and after a microneedling session?
There are a few precautions and preparations that patients should take before and after a microneedling session to ensure the best possible results and minimize the risk of complications.
Before the treatment, you should:
- Avoid direct sun exposure and tanning for at least a week prior to the treatment. This is because sunburned or tanned skin is more sensitive and prone to damage during the microneedling process.
- Stop using any topical retinoids or exfoliants for several days before the treatment. These products can make the skin more sensitive and increase the risk of irritation during the treatment.
- Avoid taking any blood-thinning medications or supplements, such as aspirin or fish oil, for at least a few days prior to the treatment. This is because these substances can increase the risk of bleeding or bruising during the microneedling process.
After the treatment, patients should:
- Avoid direct sun exposure and tanning for at least a week after the treatment. The skin will be more sensitive to the sun and prone to damage during the healing process.
- Avoid using any harsh or abrasive skincare products for several days after the treatment. This includes exfoliants, retinoids, and any products that contain alcohol or other irritants.
- Keep the skin well hydrated and moisturized. Using a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer can help to soothe the skin and prevent dryness or peeling.
- Avoid touching or picking at the treated area. This can increase the risk of infection and interfere with the healing process.
- Avoid strenuous exercise or activities that could cause sweating or irritation to the treated area for at least 24-48 hours after the treatment.
- Follow any additional post-treatment instructions provided by your healthcare provider. This may include using a specific skincare regimen or avoiding certain activities or products for a period of time.
Overall, by following these precautions and preparations, patients can help to ensure the best possible results from their microneedling treatment and minimize the risk of complications.
Can microneedling be combined with other cosmetic treatments, such as chemical peels or laser therapy?
Yes, microneedling can be combined with other cosmetic treatments, such as chemical peels or laser therapy, to further enhance the results and address multiple skin concerns at once. This approach is often referred to as “combination therapy.” (For DIY purposes, I don’t microneedle if I’m going to be doing any kind of professional treatment, and I don’t microneedle until I’m healed after a professional treatment.)
Combining microneedling with other treatments can provide several benefits. For example, combining microneedling with a chemical peel can help to improve skin texture, tone, and pigmentation. The microneedling treatment can help to stimulate collagen production and improve the absorption of the chemical peel, while the peel can help to exfoliate the skin and enhance the overall results of the microneedling treatment.
Similarly, combining microneedling with laser therapy can help to address a range of skin concerns, such as wrinkles, sun damage, and scars. The microneedling treatment can help to stimulate collagen production and improve the overall texture and tone of the skin, while the laser therapy can help to address specific areas of concern, such as dark spots or redness.
How long do the effects of microneedling last, and how often should I schedule treatments to maintain results?
The results of microneedling can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s skin type, the severity of their skin concerns, and their overall skin care routine. In general, the effects of microneedling can last for several months to a year or more, but will likely require regular maintenance treatments to sustain the results.
During a microneedling treatment, the skin is stimulated to produce collagen and elastin, which helps to improve skin texture, tone, and overall appearance. The results of microneedling can be seen in the days and weeks following the treatment, as the skin undergoes a natural healing process.
To maintain the results of microneedling, maintenance treatments are recommended every 4-6 weeks, depending on the individual’s skin concerns and goals. This allows enough time for the skin to heal and regenerate between treatments, while also allowing for consistent stimulation of collagen and elastin production.
However, the frequency of microneedling treatments should be based on the individual’s skin type and concerns, as well as their response to the treatment. Some individuals may see significant improvement after just one or two treatments, while others may require more frequent treatments to achieve their desired results.
In addition to maintenance treatments, it’s important to maintain a consistent skincare routine to help prolong the effects of microneedling. This includes using sunscreen daily, moisturizing regularly, and using topical products that contain antioxidants, peptides, and other beneficial ingredients.
Does microneedling hurt?
Microneedling can be slightly uncomfortable or even painful, depending on the depth of the needles used, the area of the body being treated, and an individual’s pain threshold. Most Cosmetic microneedling is not painful as the needle puncture is mostly superficial. Some people may experience mild redness or swelling immediately after the treatment, but these side effects usually subside within a few hours to a few days. Overall, microneedling is a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of your skin with minimal downtime. If you have concerns about the pain, you can use a numbing cream to help reduce discomfort during the treatment.