Let us face it: we could only wish for our skin to remain youthful even as we age.
Time causes collagen production all throughout our body to slow down, and as it does, our skin begins to sag and lose its glow.
Aging, pregnancy, childbirth and even stress takes its toll on our skin and it overall affects the way we see ourselves. And truth be told - skin problems can be very distressing especially when it involves scars, stretch marks, and yes, wrinkles!
With a lot of breakthroughs in the field of dermatology, it seems that every skin problem has already been addressed through a specific procedure or product. But this time let us talk about a breakthrough in dermatology: microneedling.
It is one of the most talked about skincare procedures of all time, with dermatologists leading the promotion of this specific technique. Also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT), microneedling is a successful and proven procedure which you can safely have at The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ.
It is minimally invasive, highly effective, with little to no downtime, and produces visible effects in as early as one to two weeks after your first treatment. The process involves a series of 3-4 sessions four weeks apart. Since we keep aging, repeating a single session booster every six months is recommended. The results are well worth it.
Microneedling does not produce immediate overnight results. You will notice smoother feeling skin the very next day. It sure does provide lasting results!
Microneedling History: Bits and Pieces
The practice of microneedling dates to back to as early as 1905?
Way back in 1905, a German dermatologist pioneered the use of a device with rotating wheels and rasps that was used to treat acne scars, keratoses and hyperpigmentation.1 It was relatively primitive compared to what we have today, but the concept remains.
In 1995, the concept of “subcision” was introduced by two doctors, David Oreintreich and Norman Oreintreich.
They initiated the concept of using tri-beveled hypodermic needles inserted through a puncture in the skin surface, with its sharp edges maneuvered carefully, thus inducing wound healing. The depression caused by the connective tissue is released, thereby giving a permanent solution to depressed scars and wrinkles.
Dr. Desmond Fernandes, by the year 2006, developed the first microneedling product based on the concept of percutaneous collagen induction, which is now known to us as the “dermaroller”.
Fast facts: What is microneedling and how does it work?
Professional microneedling involves using a roller product to make fine, uniform pinprick wounds on the epidermis to stimulate the production of growth factors, as well as collagen and elastin. The mechanism basically taps on the body’s natural healing mechanisms to improve one’s skin.
Microneedling is usually done on the face to reduce scars, wrinkles, sagging, or large pores. It may also be done on other problem areas other than the face which have depressed scars. It is a cosmetic procedure that costs less than laser treatments with almost the same benefit.
Because the body responds the same way to both large wounds and tiny wounds, the basic principle is that microneedling tricks the body to respond to these tiny wounds with the same rush of fibroblasts and growth factors towards the skin surface.
The most popular microneedling device, the dermaroller, involves the use of 0.5 to 2.5mm micro-fine needles on the skin. This is usually used at home treatments, however, it has a lot of disadvantages over modern microneedling pens, an innovation used by a lot of clinics today instead of the mechanical dermarollers.
The dermaroller is more agonizing and traumatic because the needles penetrate the skin at a 45° angle. This result in “tears” as the device is dragged on the skin, hence leading to more side effects and longer recovery time.
Microneedling pens are motorized and penetrate the skin vertically in a “stamping” motion, thus producing clean and precise puncture wounds. The skin experiences lesser trauma resulting in faster healing time.
Microneedling pens are also more versatile, which allows easy access to areas of the face such as the upper lip, around the nose, and around the eyes.
Furthermore, unlike dermarollers, microneedling pens are consistent, penetrating the skin up to 100 times per second with an adjustable speed. Ability to adjust the speed minimizes skin damage, a feature that can never be achieved using a manual dermaroller.
Here at The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ, we use microneedling pens to ensure an efficient and sanitary procedure, with little to no downtime at all.
Research and Studies
Various systematic reviews have established the safety and effectiveness of microneedling as a therapeutic option for the treatment of scars and wrinkles. In fact, it has become a part of the skin care practices of most dermatologists and aesthetic professionals.
Microneedling works through stimulating intradermal collagen production and was also used in achieving trans-epidermal drug delivery. Most clinics today suggest microneedling coupled with the use of serums on the skin’s epidermis, which can be directly delivered using the same procedure.
The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ highly recommends applying a product called GHK-Cu for its additional collagen stimulating results. We find this to be a superior to platelet rich plasma, which was made popular by the Vampire Facial™. This method also does not involve any blood products and therefore removes any chance of cross-contamination.
Microneedling is also referred to traditionally as collagen induction therapy, designed to address facial scarring and to induce skin rejuvenation.
In a 2017 study, results showed that combined treatment resulted in increased collagen production in the skin, and that combined treatment produced better results than each technique done alone.
This established the effectiveness of microneedling in effective collagen and elastin production.
Another study in 2015 evaluated the use of multiple microneedling sessions in skin rejuvenation. Results showed that there was a significant increase in level of collagen type I, III, and VII, and more tropoelastin was noted from baseline after six microneedling sessions at two-week intervals.
Therefore, though microneedling may not produce immediate results, having multiple sessions can add to the improvement attained. It was noted that overall youthful appearance of the skin was achieved by reducing fine lines and wrinkles, reducing pore size, increasing suppleness, and increasing elasticity.
These results are even made better once coupled with serums such as hyaluronic acid and the above mentioned GHK-Cu application.
Another study involving fractional microneedling radiofrequency in large multicenter trials noted that the procedure was highly effective in wrinkle reduction. In effect, microneedling is indeed an effective treatment modality, proving to be effective even on people with darker skin types of which risk of post-inflammatory pigmentation is very high.
Based on your skin requirement and needs, The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ can also suggest the use of anti-aging serums that can assist you for you to have the best skin ever!
The Microneedling Procedure
Microneedling is a simple office-based procedure that lasts for approximately 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the area to be treated. Total preparation and procedure time last approximately one hour.
Patients should be aware of the expected outcomes and the delayed response, and a thorough counselling is regularly done prior to the procedure. Most clinics recommend a total of four - six sessions spaced at 4 to 6 weeks apart depending on the problem at hand.
First, the face or the skin surface area of concern is cleansed using medical-grade facial cleanser. After drying, a topical anesthetic is then applied all over the area, and this is allowed to set in for about 20 minutes.
Depending on clinic protocol and your treatment of choice, a serum promoting wound healing and skin repair is then applied. You can also choose to forego this step.
Then it is time to start needling! The process of microneedling is initiated using a microneedling pen - device that basically induces a “controlled injury”. Needling is done by running the device with fine needles across the skin surface area of concern vertically, horizontally, and diagonally.
Through our specialized microneedling pen, fine needles basically go up and down the skin very rapidly as it is glided across your skin creating hundreds of micro-holes per section. Skin thickness varies even in the face so make sure you do the process with a licensed and microneedle certified provider who knows how to adjust the depth of the needles and manipulate the extent of penetration based on the area involved.
Once the needling process is done, the clinician proceeds to applying a soothing layer of serum. The numbed sensation lasts for several hours and there is little to no discomfort post-procedure. Exercise can make you feel like the skin is burning, so we recommend 24 hours of no exercise or at least no aerobic exercise at all.
Protection is vital. Sunscreen application is a must! Most clinics slather on their patients a generous amount of sunscreen prior to discharge. And since we do not want any chemicals on the face, we use barrier sunscreen like zinc oxide which has a whiteish appearance.
Side Effects and Risks Involved
Just like any area of the skin that has experienced injury, a couple of side effects can be readily noted:
- Pinpoint bleeding
Do not be surprised to see areas of pinpoint bleeding after the procedure. Be assured that these are minimal and painless.
- Pain and redness
You will experience redness and possibly a slight burning sensation for about 24 hours. During these 24 hours, your pores are open. This is the best time to slather hydrating creams and collagen stimulating products, like GHK-Cu. And again, do not forget to apply sunscreen!
- Mild itchiness
Since the process induces micro-injuries, you can expect mild itchiness accompanied with tightening of the skin up to a few days post-procedure.
- Melasma and keloid formation
If you are prone to keloid formation, it is critical that your clinician knows this. There are ongoing studies suggesting that microneedling can be a good alternative treatment to help reduce the appearance of inactive keloids and melasma. The key is a gentle approach. The process for keloids and melasma requires more sessions and may take up to eight months for maximum results.
Due to the microinjuries sustained by the skin, the skin also becomes prone to infection. This happens if the instrument used has not been properly disinfected or sterilized. Make sure you do the procedure at a trusted clinic to limit the chances of getting an infection. The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ uses a NEW, sterile head for every procedure! Also, these microinjuries enhance the delivery of any toxic products to your system, so ask the clinic regarding any skin care regimen. You should make sure you are using non-toxic products on your extremely sensitive skin at this point.
No reason to worry though, microneedling is very safe and well-tolerated by all skin types!
Chemical-free sunscreen with at least SPF 30 is recommended during the weeks following treatment.
Products containing retinol and acids such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid are also discouraged, as the skin may not be able to tolerate strong ingredients right after the procedure. Go for mild skin products and avoid exfoliating scrubs temporarily.
Hydration is still a must! Aside from drinking lots of fluids, make sure to put on hydrating serums and creams.
If you need to put on makeup, go for light and hypoallergenic makeup. Make sure to remove it prior to bedtime.
On DIY Derma-Rolling VS Microneedling in Clinics
A lot of do-it-yourself derma-pens and derma-rollers have come out in the market today, and though visible effects can be noted early on after the procedure, most of these offer short-lived and temporary results. This is most often because these products have shorter needles hence lesser skin penetration.
Do-it-yourself microneedling may be cheaper than that done in clinics, but it comes with a lot of risks especially in terms of infection control.
Having your microneedling procedure at a trusted clinic like The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ guarantees you that the procedure is handled by an experienced professional. On top of that, you have ready access to serums and other topical products that will improve your overall microneedling experience!
Book an appointment with us TODAY!