MICRONEEDLING AND WHY IT IS BENEFICAL FOR THE SKIN
Microneedling comes with a tremendous amount of benefits for the skin. Some well-known benefits of microneedling are collagen induction, skin rejuvenation, scar repair, and so much more. It all depends on what skin condition and body area need treatment. Multiple body areas can be treated with microneedling, completely transforming the skin.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Microneedling benefits for the skin
- Is microneedling painful?
- What are the benefits of microneedling your face?
- Microneedling benefits for hair
- Microneedling lips benefits
- What are the benefits of microneedling the neck and chest?
- Benefits of microneedling for acne and acne scarring
- Benefits for microneedling scars and stretch marks
- Microneedling with PRP benefits vs. RF microneedling
- Final Thoughts
MICRONEEDLING BENEFITS FOR SKIN
Microneedling is good for skin in so many ways!
The treatment can be likened to “percolating and conditioning soil” that has gotten dry and hard at the surface and is no longer very healthy. Like soil, skin that has been sun damaged becomes dry and hard and doesn’t absorb nutrients very well. Microneedling can help renew and invigorate skin by creating tiny temporary openings in the skin and allowing ready access for nourishing ingredients (what I like to call “skin fertilizer”) into the areas where they can do the most good.
Although laser and chemical peels have long been known as treatments of choice for photoaged and scarred skin, microneedling has recently proven to be superior for a broad range of uses, including skin rejuvenation, wrinkles, acne scars, surgical scars, melasma, sun damage, enlarged pores, precancerous lesions, and skincare product delivery. Not only are the results more impressive, but safety is vastly better (both in regards to infections and pigmentation), as is patient recovery time, which is generally quite minimal. All of this has led microneedling to be the most popular and in-demand aesthetic procedure today.
Medical microneedling penetrates the skin deeper and is done in a more controlled manner (adjusting the depth of needles in different areas and looking for clinical endpoints) than home or aesthetician grade microneedling. In this blog post, we will be referring only to medical microneedling.
IS MICRONEEDLING PAINFUL?
The first question people ask is, is it painful? The word “needles” invokes an almost subconscious fear in most of us! At SkinHappy, we apply a strong topical anesthetic to the treatment area for about 15 minutes prior to the procedure, which generally completely numbs the skin so that the needles aren’t felt as sharp. The gentle vibration of the treatment is often described as soothing or relaxing, like a massage. The only bother is the noise of the electric microneedling device, which can sometimes sound like a dental drill! Rest assured, when done in a professional medical setting, microneedling is essentially painless.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s talk about how microneedling in a medical center works to help the skin.
Microneedling works in two important ways. First to mention is microneedling helps us to bypass the skin barrier. Our skin is designed to keep things out. Generally not much gets in, even the things we want to get in. By creating “microchannels” into the deeper layers and temporarily allowing nutrients in at 10-100 fold higher amounts than typical. Then we have the second way. We wake up the skin cells and turn back on the machinery to make skin cells and collagen and elastin to repair, renew and thicken our skin.
When exposed to sunlight, skin is given the signals to break down, and repair mechanisms get turned off. By using microneedling and applying carefully selected nutrients, we can encourage skin to essentially reverse the harmful effects of sunlight and rejuvenate our skin, all with little to no downtime! The skin contains stem cells and is remarkable as an organ in that it can constantly renew itself over time.
Because the skin “break down” signals from sunlight are repetitive, reversing the bombardment of negative signals takes repetition too! Getting skin to turn on again is, therefore, best done by a series of microneedling sessions, done in regular repetition. This is how we train and reinforce skin to do our bidding of repairing and renewing itself.
The ideal interval between repetitive sessions is 2-4 weeks. Treatment packages are usually provided in 3, 6, 9, or 12 sessions. Asking the skin to do more work, such as remodeling scars or rebuilding a thicker collagen layer for significantly thinned skin, takes more sessions than less challenging skin.
Creating the microchannels in the skin causes very little epidermal damage yet effectively stimulates the dermal healing cascade of inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. This is essentially what happens in other, but much more traumatic, forms of wound healing. The dermal wound healing cascade causes the release of many different growth factors (platelet-derived growth factors, fibroblast growth factors, transforming growth factors, etc), all of which work together to stimulate new collagen, elastin, and epidermis formation and better blood flow. In addition, the needling will also break up knotted or cratered scars, allowing these to reform, remodel and become smoother and softer.
Interestingly, the collagen that is created with medical microneedling is a combination of type III collagen (fetal or “scarless” collagen) as well as type I collagen (adult collagen). This is in contrast to the type 1 only collagen that is formed with either thermal (heat, such as with laser) or chemical, such as with chemical peel agents, injuries. In contrast to these other modalities, microneedling induces scarless wound healing, which creates a natural and overall youthful appearance with minimal risk.
Another tremendous benefit of microneedling over thermal or chemical injury is the extremely low risk of altering pigmentation. One of the common dreaded complications of either laser or chemical peel treatments for people with other than very pale or very dark skin (the majority of the human population) is the “dyspigmentation” (excessive lightening or darkening of the skin) that these treatments can unpredictably cause. Sometimes this dyspigmentation is permanent, sometimes just extremely frustratingly slow to resolve. This disappointing complication is particularly noted with the stimulation of melasma that can happen in lasered or chemically peeled skin in those with light brown skin especially.
In addition to the benefits of skin renewal through initiating the wound healing cascade, microneedling sets in motion the skin’s receptiveness to signals encouraging it to rejuvenate itself long after the actual treatment, as long as the signals continue to be applied. I emphasize to all of my patients the importance of continuing to use an excellent skincare program so the skin doesn’t slip back into responding to the negative effects of sunlight exposure.
At SkinHappy, patients are counseled regarding how to take care of their skin immediately after and subsequently to maximize the benefits of their microneedling treatments.
WHAT ARE BENEFITS OF MICRONEEDLING YOUR FACE?
Due to the constant exposure to sunlight, the skin on our face and neck ages faster than the skin in sun-protected parts of our body. This “photoaging” leads to wrinkles, sagging, excess pigmentation, sallowness, aggravated rosacea, blackheads and milia, precancerous lesions, large pores, skin cancer, and more. Microneedling can help reverse all of these changes and therefore has significant benefits for the face and other sun-exposed skin surfaces such as the neck, chest, hands, arms, balding scalp, and more.
MICRONEEDLING BENEFITS FOR HAIR
Because medical microneedling can turn on growth factors and signals to rejuvenate, this modality has recently been applied to the scalp to encourage hair restoration. Microneedling is theorized to work by stimulating the dermal papilla (stem cells in the hair follicle) to promote hair growth.
While still in the early stages of study, results are promising and may serve as a valuable adjunct to hair-promoting topical treatments.
The lips can also benefit from microneedling treatments. Because microneedling is used to create more collagen and elastic tissue over time, this procedure can help the appearance of lips by lessening the fine wrinkles and plumping the tissue. Deeper lines and major volume loss will need to be addressed with filler. At SkinHappy, we often do filler and microneedling (sometimes even at the same visit), which is a beautiful lip treatment.
Remember, smoking habits strengthen a circular muscle around the lips, and this muscle training can lead to deep lip lines. So, in addition to the harmful effects of smoking on skin quality and lung health- STOP SMOKING!
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MICRONEEDLING ON THE NECK AND CHEST?
As our face ages from sun damage, so do our neck and chest. These areas of the body see a lot of sunlight, which can cause crepiness and unwanted pigmentation. Microneedling these areas will tighten the skin and create new and healthy skin that makes the neck and chest look younger and more youthful.
BENEFITS OF MICRONEEDLING FOR SCARS AND STRETCH MARKS
Microneedling is also an excellent treatment for burn scars, surgical scarring, or stretch marks (a particular form of skin scarring).
For example, many confuse the brown spots left after inflammation from acne or a kitchen burn as a scar. This is actually not a scar, but a skin reaction called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH can take a very long time to heal, and microneedling can vastly speed up this process of getting skin tone back to normal!
Just one of the many other benefits of medical microneedling.
MICRONEEDLING WITH PRP BENEFITS VS. RF MICRONEEDLING
Because microneedling is so effective and tolerable, this modality is being used in combination with a great many other medical skin procedures. Two examples are PRP and RF. While the data is still under investigation, results from some studies are promising. Stay tuned!
Microneedling is the fastest growing medical grade cosmetic procedure being done today. And for a good reason! It is not only highly effective and safe but has minimal downtime and can be used for a variety of purposes on all skin surfaces.
Just remember, facial aging is the combination of skin quality and facial shape.
Medical microneedling is a powerful treatment for treating skin quality when given in conjunction with appropriate skin products in the hands of a trained professional.
Microneedling is not a treatment for facial shape- that part of aging is addressed with filler and or neurotoxin.
Suppose you are interested in a medical microneedling service at SkinHappy. In that case, you can purchase one treatment or a series of treatments online and call our SkinHappy Clinic to set up an appointment!