Microneedling may be one of the quickest and easiest ways to get more youthful looking skin. Not only does it make your skin look rejuvinated but it can also treat acne, help reduce scarring and even reduce oil production and black heads! If you get microneedling done there are some things you need to know before the procedure because they can seriously impact your results.
What is Microneedling?
Microneedling is a procedure designed specifically to invoke the healing response in your skin by causing microtrauma in a targeted way. Using a pen with a small head that contains 10+ needles, it vibrates at high power, and at a certain depth, to pierce the superficial layer of your skin thousands of times over a few seconds.
These small and controlled piercings go into your epidermis and even the upper layers of the dermis to stimulate the healing response in your skin, which results in increased collagen formation and elastin formation.
But what does that mean for you?
It means your skin becomes more plump, more textured and smoother in the process.
But beyond these basic benefits, microneedling also offers several other VERY beneficial side effects that you can take advantage of.
These range from healing acne, reducing scar formation and even helping you look 5+ years younger!
#1. Improves the quality and texture of your skin (immediately)
The microneedling procedure takes about 1 hour long and in order to get the best results should leave the skin with some pin point bleeding.
Even with the pinpoint bleeding and the slight redness that occurs for up to about 1-1.5 days afterwards, you will notice an IMMEDIATE improvement in the texture and quality of your skin.
How does this happen?
The pinprick needles actually stimulate remodeling of existing collagen and promote formation of new collagen and revascularization (blood vessels) in the skin.
Collagen and elastin are the two components of your skin that give your skin the normal "plump" look every woman wants.
And starting at around age 30 this collagen starts to degrade naturally which is when women start to notice slight changes and sagging in their skin.
The good news is that this healing process starts almost IMMEDIATELY after the procedure.
Which is why you notice a soft texture to your skin immediately afterwards.
Even the day after the procedure it just looks like you have a light sunburn from the redness, but you can definitely go to work or out on a date the following day if necessary.
#2. Reduces pock marks and scarring
Another huge benefit is that skin needling (or microneedling, they are both words for the same procedure) helps reduce acne scars which are notoriously difficult to treat.
So how does microneedling help with scarring?
When you have any sort of scarring on your face (or anywhere on your body) your body naturally undergoes a process known as fibrosis.
This is good when healing, because it makes everything stick together, but beneath the skin the glue is so strong that it can literally pull the skin down and create pock marks or scarring on the surface of the skin.
The microneedling procedure helps to "break up" all of the glue and fibrosis underneath the skin which allows the skin to "let go" of the tenting and release the surface of the skin.
Naturally this results in a more smooth surface to your skin.
The best part?
Studies have shown that you can see results almost IMMEDIATELY after doing microneedling and in as little as two procedures.
Microneedling tends to work best on scars that are small, result in tenting of the skin or pocking of the skin.
It doesn't work as well for large lacerations (like the kind of scars that require stitches).
This procedure is also great if you have a slightly uneven texture from years of acne, but not overt scarring.
#3. Reduces black heads
This is another pretty cool side effect of microneedling and is especially helpful for women who suffer from LOTS of black heads (especially those who have PCOS, or hormonal acne).
The controlled trauma and thousands of needle pokes actually liberate and knock out black heads during the entire procedure.
Immediately after you will notice a reduction in the total volume of black heads on your face (especially in your nose, but be careful because the nose is sensitive!).
You will also notice that your pores are smaller in size for about 3-4 weeks after the procedure due to the healing effects and revascularization that occurs.
The reduction in black heads doesn't last forever though! It usually only lasts around 3-4 weeks which is right in time for when you would need to do the procedure again.
#4. Treats acne and cystic acne
Not only does microneedling help treat acne scars, but it can also help treat and stop acne.
How exactly it helps acne is not well understood but it seems to be due to the fact that microneedling results in a reduction in sebum production and makes the skin less oily.
Reducing oil production on the skin and reducing black heads likely plays a role as well...
Either way, studies have shown that microneedling does indeed help treat acne.
This is mostly helpful because it means you can still get the treatment done if you are having active breakouts.
This is important because some procedures (like dermaplaning) shouldn't be done if you have active pimples.
In my experience microneedling shouldn't be the ONLY treatment you use for acne but it's something you should definitely explore because not only will it help stop acne but it will also treat any texture changes or small scars in your skin.
#5. Exfoliates the skin
Pretty much any treatment that mechanically disrupts the epidermis will result in some exofliatiation.
Exfoliation refers to removing the upper surface of the epidermis, usually the stratum corneum (which is the upper most skin layer).
This is important because your dead skin cells live on this layer and removing this layer of the epidermis makes your skin look fresh and smooth almost instantly.
This procedure isn't as good as dermaplaning for exfoliation, but it still works!
#6. Makes you look younger by reducing fine lines and wrinkles
This might be the single best and more important benefit of microneedling...
That it can actually help you LOOK younger and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
How does microneedling make you look younger?
It has been shown that the small pin holes created by the thousands of needles break into the upper levels of the dermis and cause the release of growth factors to "repair" and "heal" from the microdamage that has been caused.
Basically your body is overreacting to the small trauma thinking that there is a BIGGER trauma and this healing process results in the release of growth factors that increase collagen and elastin levels.
In addition to the stimulation of collagen the microtrauma also results in the formulation of tons of little blood vessels, which supply blood, oxygen and nutrients straight into the dermis.
The combination of these changes results in a reduction in wrinkles, healing of photodamage and tightening of existing skin - all of which makes you LOOK younger.
#7. Reduces hyperpigmentation and evens skin the skin tone
Finally, microneedling also helps with your skin tone and can reduce hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation refers to the slight changes in your skin that can occur from inflammation, pimples, black heads, white heads, etc.
Basically any sort of skin problem results in changes in color to the underlying skin, which doesn't match the surrounding skin. This leaves the skin looking blotchy and uneven.
So how does microneedling help?
It is speculated that the microneedling increases expression of matrix mealloproteinases, which reduces hyperpigmentation.
It's also felt that the microneedling procedure reduces the growth of keratinocytes, but scientists don't know for sure!
In addition microneedling can (and should) be combined with Vitamin C serum to help the healing process and Vitamin C serum has been shown to balance melanin levels as well.
So really the combination of microneedling and Vitamin C serum is what you should be aiming for.
It's also worth mentioning that microneedling is actually preferred over laser treatments of hyperpimentation in women with darker colored skin (Fitzpatrick IV and V skin types).
The reason is because some women react with WORSENING pigmentation if using lasers and microneedling doesn't have that problem.