Micro-Needling: Everything You Need to Know

This skin treatment promises to tackle everything from wrinkles to stretch marks, but is it right for you? Melanie Kingsley, M.D., a dermatologist at Indiana University Health, answers your burning questions.

What is micro-needling and how does it work?

Micro-needling is a minimally invasive procedure designed to diminish acne scars, fine lines, rough skin, and large pores. During a 20- to 30-minute session, a dermatologist or aesthetician will use a electronic pen-like device with 12 very fine needles at the tip to create tiny punctures in the skin. “Your skin responds by producing collagen and elastin to repair itself, leading to smoother, improved texture,” Dr. Kingsley explains. For best results, serums containing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and growth factors are applied during or immediately following treatment to encourage extra collagen production.

Patients typically undergo a series of six sessions every 2 to 4 weeks; once the series is completed, maintenance treatments are recommended.

Is it appropriate for everyone?

Micro-needling is recommended for all skin types, but there are special concerns for those with darker skin. “There’s a risk of hyperpigmentation in these clients if you are too aggressive with the treatment, so I’m more cautious with their treatments,” Dr. Kingsley says. The procedure is also not recommended for anyone who has open wounds or a skin infection, or a history of keloid or hypertrophic scars or poor wound healing.

Does micro-needling hurt?

You’ll probably feel a pricking sensation but it’s very mild. “Providers apply a numbing cream to the area being treated 20 to 30 minutes before the session begins, so micro-needing is well-tolerated,” Dr. Kingsley explains.

Is there any downtime?

Very little, says Dr. Kingsley: “One of the advantages of micro-needling over chemical or laser treatments is that recovery time is minimal.” Your face will appear red at first, and there may be a small amount of bleeding, but these issues are usually resolved within 24 hours. Some patients may experience dryness or peeling, but nothing that significantly affects their appearance.

Is it risky?

Only if it’s not performed appropriately. “I would make sure the provider you choose is well-qualified.  You should always ask first about that person’s background and training and how frequently they perform micro-needling,” Dr. Kingsley says.

How soon will I see results?

Many patients see results after one treatment, but you won’t see the full effects until you’ve completed the series. Your skin will also continue to improve in the months following your last treatment as it continues to repair itself.

How much does it cost?

Each session ranges from $300 to $400, depending on the area being treated and the topical serum that is applied.

-- By Jessica Brown


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