Medical Micro-Needling | A Great Alternative to Lasers!
If you've read anything about micro-needling at all, you've probably heard it described as hundreds of tiny needles poking holes in your face. And that leaves you feeling horrified. I understand!
But fractional lasers do that exact same thing to your skin. They make hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny holes. But they do it with light.
So lasers and micro-needling work very similarly. They create lots of tiny skin injuries to force your body to make new collagen and elastin. The biggest difference is the way they do it (needles vs. light) and the side effects (micro-needling has fewer side effects than lasers).
- Medical micro-needling uses your skin’s ability to heal itself.
- It makes your skin healthy, and in turn, more beautiful.
Lots of doctors are abandoning their lasers for micro-needling pens like the SkinPen®. Here's an excerpt from Dr. David B. Reath's website. He's a plastic surgeon in Knoxville, Tennessee:
"Bye bye ablative laser. In the past we have used Pearl Fractional Laser to create tiny pore-sized holes deep in the skin to stimulate the skin’s collagen growth. The microchannels created by the SkinPen are accomplishing much the same thing…just without the week’s downtime. We are so impressed with the results that we have virtually replaced ablative fractional laser in favor of three SkinPen treatments."
This post might help you to better understand: Micro-Needling Is Better Than Other Kinds of Skin Rejuvenation | 9 Reasons Why.
What's a medical micro-needling treatment like? What should I expect?
Your skin will be prepared with a topical anesthetic. To work, it needs to sit for about 30 minutes. After your skin is numb, it will be very thoroughly cleaned. Your medical provider will use either hyaluronic acid or normal saline on your skin. These allow the pen to glide smoothly over your face.
The SkinPen punctures the skin with very fine needles. These tiny channels / skin injuries trigger your skin to make new collagen and elastin. Once your face (or treatment area) is finished, topical skincare products - made for and tested for safety with micro-needling - are applied. The channels made by the SkinPen needles, allow the skincare products to be absorbed deeply, making them much more effective.
How is medical micro-needling different than using a roller at home?
Medical micro-needling works on a deeper level than cosmetic needling. In medical micro-needling, the needles pierce more deeply into the skin (up to 2.5 mm) to reduce wrinkles and improve skin tone and texture. It treats the appearance of aging, scarring and stretch marks and can thicken skin by up to 40%. The effects are noticeable and relatively long lasting. You can expect to see continued skin improvement for up to a year after treatment.
This type of skin rejuvenation has proven to be a simple and fast method for safely treating wrinkles and scars. Because the top layer of skin, the epidermis, remains intact, the procedure can be repeated safely and works well around the eyes, mouth, hands, and chest - where laser treatments and deep peels are not usually done.
Do people like medical micro-needling? Are they happy with the results?
Here's what one of our patients had to say about her treatment:
"Amy did a micro needling treatment on me a few months ago....and after almost three months my face looks wonderful! A lot of the lines are gone, and just today I had someone ask me what I did to have such beautiful skin! I'm older so I love it when people notice how good my skin looks. I plan to go back soon to have another treatment. It's not invasive and there's no real downtime. Better than a face lift!"
- Jane S., Fort Collins, Colorado
Follow Jane's progress as she goes through her treatments on our Micro-Needling Results post. You should also read our post, Micro-Needling Is in the News! There you'll find links to information about the treatment and more reviews. There's a SkinPen review by Kathleen Jennings of KathleenJenningsBeauty.com.
I'd also recommend checking the micro-needling ratings on RealSelf.com:
- It gets an 84% "Worth It" rating based on 96 ratings from the last 12 months.
- It gets an 86% "Worth It" rating based on 188 ratings over the last 2 years.
- Micro-needling gets an 87% "Worth It" rating based on 302 ratings from all time.
What's the recovery like? Is there a lot of down time?
There's very little down time after a treatment. Immediate effects vary among patients, and can include redness and mild irritation in the treated areas. Your skin will look and feel sunburned for about 24 hours. It will also start to flake after a day or two as the skin cells slough off. It can be difficult to apply makeup over flaking skin, but don't exfoliate! It will only irritate your skin.
After about a week, you’ll see new, bright smooth skin. Learn more in our blog post, 6 Reasons to Try Micro-Needling for an Active Lifestyle.
Check out this video about medical micro-needling by Gina Miller, at TV Journalist & Sportscaster. It includes unretouched photos before and after her medical micro-needling treatment. Remeber, results will vary from patient to patient.
How many treatments will I need?
Several treatments are needed. The number is dependent on your skin condition. Six treatments get the best results, but the response varies from person to person. Unfortunately, there's no way to predict who will respond best. Most people stop after about 3 treatments - or when they're happy with the results.
Is there a limit to the number of treatments you can get?
There is no limit to the number of treatments. An interval of 30 days between treatments is recommended.
How much does it cost?
Medical needling alone (without add ons like radiofrequency or platelet rich plasma) runs around $300 - $400 per treatment. This price varies by your location and the qualifications of your provider. For example, a dermatologist will charge more to treat you than a nurse will. And a micro-needling treatment in New York City usually costs more than the same treatment in Colorado Springs.
When compared with the cost of laser treatments, it's a bargain. Learn more in our post, Skin Rejuvenation | The Most Common Procedures, What They Treat & How Much They Cost.
None of my friends have heard of micro-needling. That worries me!
It's a newer procedure, but it's becoming more and more popular because it gets great results. If you'd like to learn more, you should read our post, Micro-Needling Is in the News! It includes links to several articles about micro-needling.
Charlotte's Book says,
"According to data released by RealSelf today, the procedure (micro-needling) will be the hottest aesthetic trend of 2016, as predicted by the majority of 500 board-certified doctors polled by the site. Additionally, the site has seen a 57% increase in interest in the treatment by readers since it became a topic in forums there."
Clearly, micro-needling is a great option for skin rejuvenation! But don't just take my word for it. Look around, ask questions, talk to people. Make the best choice for you! Thanks for reading!
Learn More About Micro-Needling:
- Medical Micro-Needling | 3 Ways It Works to Improve Skin
- Micro-Needling Before & Afters | Scar & Stretch Mark Reduction Results
- Why Micro-Needling Is the Best Choice for Scars & Stretch Marks
There's lots more information about needling and dermarolling in our Free Resource Library. Check it out!
Amy Takken, RN
Amy Takken is a registered nurse with 20+ years of experience helping people improve their health. Her in-depth skincare articles have been featured on Nazarian Plastic Surgery and The Palm Beach Center for Facial Plastic & Laser Surgery. She's also been quoted on Dermascope.com. Amy loves research and constantly watches for new products and treatments to help you improve your skin’s health – because healthy skin is beautiful! To reach Amy, visit our contact page.
Masterpiece Skin Restoration is your online resource for all things medical aesthetics, skincare, beauty, and wellness. We keep you up to date on leading edge technology and the services available to help you restore your natural beauty.
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The Information provided on our website is not medical advice and should not be viewed as such. By law, only a medical doctor can diagnose or give medical advice. As a registered nurse, my goal is to educate, so I provide information on skin care, skin care products, and skin care treatments. If you have any condition that concerns you, please see a medical doctor. While most skin conditions are benign, some - like melanoma - can be deadly. If there is any doubt, please, please consult your physician. Thank you!