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  5. Microneedling: Procedure, Benefits, Dos & Don'ts

If you are on social media, you must have come across the term microneedling and all the benefits it can bring to your skin and hair. Has this made you curious about this trending beauty procedure?

Whether you are planning to go for a microneedling session at a professional salon or want to try simple microneedling tools at home, you should have a basic understanding of this procedure. Read this article to know what microneedling is, its benefits, side effects and whether it is the best choice for your skin.

What Is Microneedling & What Does It Do?"

Microneedling was initially developed as a collagen induction therapy aimed at rejuvenating aging skin.[1] This treatment procedure involves the utilization of an instrument called dermaroller.

The dermaroller has numerous small, sterile needles, usually a few millimeters in size, arranged in rows across its head. The dermaroller is used to make multiple micropunctures on your skin. This stimulates new collagen production in your skin.

The natural capacity of the skin to produce collagen decreases with age and due to various other factors. Collagen is the most abundant among the proteins that render firmness and elasticity to your skin. It is essential not only to keep lines and wrinkles at bay but also to heal wounds and scars.

Microneedling is minimally invasive, with faster recovery time and is less expensive than other procedures such as laser treatments.

Microneedling Treatment Process

For best results, you should get the microneedling procedure done by a certified beautician or a dermatologist. Milder microneedling tools are also available for using at home, but the effectiveness and safety of those tools remain questionable. If you are getting professional microneedling done, typically these steps will be followed.

  • Your doctor will check your skin issues and discuss with you the possible outcomes and the number of sessions that may be required to observe visible results. Your doctor may also prescribe vitamin A and C supplements a month before the procedure. This boosts the cell turnover and collagen production in your skin, which help to get the desired benefits of microneedling.
  • A mild anaesthetic cream will be applied on the skin surface, before starting the procedure. This will decrease the pain or discomfort, if any, during the process.
  • The doctor or beautician will use either a dermaroller or a pen-like instrument with microneedles, and swipe it uniformly across the surface of your skin. This may take anywhere between 20 to 30 minutes depending on the area being treated.
  • To finish off, a calming moisturiser or serum will be applied to soothe the treated area. Microneedling can be practically done anywhere on your body depending on your treatment goals.

Before and after results of collagen induction therapy

Benefits Of Microneedling

1. Fights Signs Of Aging

Microneedling upregulates the production of collagen and elastin. This not only reduces lines and wrinkles but also helps tighten the skin thus reversing the signs of aging.

2. Reduction Of Scars

Microneedling has been used successfully to treat acne scars significantly.[2] It is also effective in reducing other scars such as the ones from surgery, burns or diseases like varicella. The best part is, microneedling can be targeted to the affected area only and does not lead to discoloration of the treated area of skin.

3. Acne Treatment

Microneedling is effective in reducing certain types of acne such as acne vulgaris. It directly acts upon the sebaceous glands present in the skin, regulating the oil production as well as excess proliferation of the skin cells.

4. Penetration Of Actives

Microneedling facilitates the delivery of various drugs or active ingredients used for skin care to the deeper layers of the skin.

5. Reduction Of Skin Pigmentation

Microneedling in combination with skin lightening products and chemical peels are shown to be effective in reducing hyperpigmentation, especially in the areas around the eyes.

6. Treatment Of Alopecia

Microneedling combined with minoxidil or platelet rich plasma (PRP) therapy gives better results in reversing hair loss due to alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia.

At What Age Should You Start Microneedling?

If you want to undergo microneedling to reverse the signs of aging, you should ideally start before the lines have become too deep. Microneedling is most effective when the symptoms are not too severe. Doctors will typically suggest you to start microneedling when you are in your late 20s or early 30s.

Also, if you are planning to undergo microneedling for acne or other scar treatments, it is best to start as early as possible. The younger your skin is, the higher is its rejuvenation capacity, which will make the microneedling procedure more successful.

Who Should & Who Should Not Go For Microneedling?

Anyone can go for microneedling, provided they do not have any wounds, trauma or active acne at the time of the procedure. You should avoid microneedling if you have:-

  • Inflammatory skin diseases such psoriasis, eczema;
  • Infections affecting the skin such as herpes;
  • Wound healing disorders, such as in case of diabetes;
  • Tendency to get keloid scars;
  • If you are on anticoagulant medications, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, etc.

Microneedling Aftercare Tips

To avoid complications post a microneedling session, take the following precautions.

  • It is best to avoid going out in the sun if possible. Your skin is more prone to photo damage especially in the initial days after microneedling. Use a high SPF sunscreen, hat and umbrella to protect the treated skin.
  • Your skin may get dehydrated and flakes of skin can appear on the treated area after a few days. Keep the treated area sufficiently moisturised but do not overdo it. You should never pull the skin that is peeling off, as this will impair healing and may even cause infections.
  • Avoid activities such as heavy exercises, hot baths, saunas, etc. which cause sweating, for a couple of days.
  • It is best to avoid makeup altogether for the first week after you have undergone a microneedling session. Do not use chemical peels to avoid irritation.
  • Avoid NSAIDs (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs) as they can slow down the repair process of the skin.

How Long Does It Take To See Results From Microneedling?

The efficacy of microneedling depends on the rate at which new cells are regenerated and collagen is produced. Typically you will need multiple sessions to get the maximum benefits of the treatment.

Most experts claim that your skin shows some signs of change after 7 days of treatment. However it takes anywhere between a month and a half for significant visible results.

Side Effects Of Microneedling

Microneedling involves breaking the natural barrier of your skin, which may involve certain adverse side effects as discussed below.

1. Skin Trauma And Bleeding

The area treated with microneedling becomes extremely delicate and may be prone to bruises and bleeding.

2. Inflammation

Inflammation caused by this procedure may cause pain and redness. Your doctor can suggest a painkiller if it is too unbearable.

3. Infections

If the equipment used for microneedling is not properly sterilised, there is a high chance of infection as the skin barrier is breached.

4. Hypersensitivity

In some people the skin may become extremely sensitive post microneedling. You may even develop allergies to certain skincare products. Opt for a gentle, soothing moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated and help in healing.

5. Scarring

In rare cases, treatment with microneedles may cause lines and scars that will refuse to disappear.

Painless Alternatives To Micro-needling

The ability to tolerate pain varies from person to person. If your pain tolerance level is low and microneedling is too painful for you, you can try other painless solutions for your skin woes.

1. For Anti-aging

Compounds containing copper have been found to increase the production of proteins like collagen and elastin in the skin.[3] Thus, gels containing copper peptides can be an effective anti-aging solution to reduce lines and wrinkles.

2. For Better Penetration

Ultrasound mediated cavitation, along with an enhancing ingredient, can increase the penetration of the desired product into the skin. In this process, ultrasound produces bubbles of liquid that burst with high pressure, forcing the desired product into your skin.

3. For Smoother, Flawless Skin

Use chemical exfoliators such as AHA (alpha hydroxy acids) to get a smooth and toned skin. These exfoliators are also effective in reducing hyperpigmentation and generating an even complexion.

Wrapping Up

Microneedling is a hassle-free option to get rid of a number of skin problems. However, it is crucial to consult with your dermatologist about your treatment goals and possible outcomes. You should also be aware of the time required to heal and what precautions to follow. There are a number of microneedle rollers available in the market which you can use at home. But getting the procedure done by an expert is by far the best option.

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