It’s 2020, and intensive beauty treatments are simply the norm. Odds are by now you’ve heard of the popular skincare trend known as microneedling — a procedure that improves skin texture, and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and acne scarring. Microneedling is exactly what it sounds like: pressing tiny needles into the top layer of skin. Since it boosts collagen production, experts agree the results are remarkable for the skin’s overall appearance. That said, if you aren’t familiar with the process, booking an appointment may feel a little, well, scary.
Don’t let that fool you; it’s not nearly as painful as it sounds—especially when you know what’s coming. I spoke with FACILE dermatology + boutique provider Xochitl Renteln PA-C, who gave the low-down on everything you need to know about the treatment. So, if you had any questions about the procedure, you’ll find all the answers here.
According to Renteln, microneedling—aka collagen induction therapy or percutaneous collagen induction—is a virtually painless procedure. “Very thin sterilized needles puncture the skin, resulting in controlled micro-injuries, evenly spaced apart,” she says. The needles only go 0.5 to 2.0mm deep, and break through the outermost layer of your skin to penetrate the epidermis, and in some cases, the dermis underneath. In reaction to these tiny injuries, your skin begins its wound healing process. This promotes the production of collagen and elastin and the formation of new capillaries, resulting in tighter, more youthful, and healthier skin.
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Before you face the needles, your provider will apply a prescription topical numbing cream to the areas undergoing treatment, followed by an antimicrobial cleanser. They will also apply a serum to penetrate skin during treatment — either hyaluronic acid or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). If you need help deciding which serum to use, Renteln says she’s seen better results using PRP versus hyaluronic acid.
Once you’re prepped, the provider uses a microneedling pen containing those tiny needles in gentle circular movements, alternating horizontal and vertical motions across the treated area. You may feel more pressure around your face’s bonier parts, such as the bridge of the nose or the forehead. But don’t worry: Renteln says that more sensitive patients might equate the sensation to gentle scratching. She also mentions that the provider may focus more on areas with acne scars, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and volume loss. The procedure ends with another cleanse before finishing with a healing cream and mineral sunscreen.
After your session, Renteln advises following a simple skincare routine with a gentle cleanser, a healing cream (like Cicaplast Baume B5), and a tinted mineral sunscreen for a few days. “Avoid any active products like exfoliants three days prior to treatment and for a week after,” she says. You should also take more caution with sun protection before and after treatment. Additionally, it’s essential to keep your skin clean in the days following your microneedling session. If you must wear makeup, keep it to mineral products. Lastly, avoid exercise or other activities that would cause you to sweat for the next 48 hours.
Those new to microneedling procedures should schedule four to six sessions, four to six weeks apart. “Microneedling definitely works, but it’s subtle and slow, so it’s best to complete a series,” Renteln explains. If you reach your skin goals by then, she recommends an annual session for maintenance.
Before you sign on, there are a few things to keep in mind. “Let your provider know if you have a history of cold sores, as we can prescribe you a prophylactic dose of antiviral medication to avoid breakouts ahead of the procedure,” she says. “If you have very active, uncontrolled acne, or if you have wound healing issues, wait until your skin is better controlled before undergoing the process.” Finally, Renteln advises to avoid blood thinners such as alcohol, fish oil, and aspirin for at least 48 hours before treatment.
In the first one to two weeks, you’ll notice plump, glowing skin. After that, you’ll see the long-term results such as improved skin tone, smoothed lines and wrinkles, and smaller, less noticeable pores. “We naturally make less collagen as we age, and factors such as the sun help break it down more quickly,” says Renteln. “So, treatments like microneedling that encourage collagen synthesis are very impactful.” Sound good to you? Book your sessions ASAP and get started on that series.