Microneedling is an incredibly popular medical spa treatment that helps patients achieve the best looking skin possible. Many offices refer to microneedling simply as skin needling.
So how does microneedling work to rejuvenate skin? The procedure involves the use of micro (tiny) needles that pierce the skin surface as a device is gently passed over the treatment area. As a result of the needles piercing the skin, a collagen response is stimulated by your body. Because of this, you may hear many offices referring to this as collagen induction therapy, or CIT. It is this response in collagen production that generates the cosmetic improvement in appearance, which usually includes tighter tissue, brighter skin and a smoother complexion.
Benefits of Microneedling
You can think of microneedling as being a cosmetic facial treatment on steroids. While esthetician-grade facials are a very popular choice for rejuvenating skin, a microneedling treatment will typically provide patients with a substantially more impressive result. This is largely because of the true collagen induction that occurs with a microneedling procedure.
Frequently seen skin conditions that are benefited by microneedling include:
- Wrinkles, creases and fine lines
- Scarring from traumatic injury
- Acne scarring
- Stretch marks
- Enlarged pores
- Irregular, rough surface texture
- Poor tone
- Abnormal hyperpigmentation (melasma)
- Sun spots
Microneedling for Melasma
One of the more common conditions treated with microneedling is melasma, or abnormally dark skin pigmentation. Melasma is a very common skin condition seen in our medical spa that is characterized by blotchy, brown pigmentation that can be seen in a relatively symmetrical pattern across certain areas of the face. The condition is certainly seen more frequently in women than men. Patients are usually in their 20s to 40s when melasma becomes most obvious and bothersome. Usually, a topical bleaching agent, such as prescription hydroquinone, is considered one of the first line therapies for melasma. But so many of our San Diego melasma patients simply do not respond favorably – or favorably enough – to hydroquinone. This leaves a sizable percentage of melasma patients becoming more and more frustrated with the blotchy, brown appearance of their skin.
Fortunately, microneedling is a straight-forward office-based spa treatment that we offer to help patients with recalcitrant melasma. The treatment works even better when microneedling is combined with activating ingredients, such as PRP and PRF. Most patients undergoing this combined treatment will see a nice lightening of the skin with a more uniform pigmentation as the melasma is made less noticeable.
Adding PRP and PRF to Microneedling
It is our recommendation that all microneedling patients considering combining their treatment with PRP (platelet rich plasma) or PRF (platelet rich fibrin). Although microneedling alone can result in amazing looking skin, the addition of PRP or PRF can make the results even much better. That is because PRP and PRF bring concentrated growth factors and stem cell attractants to the thousands of tiny piercings just made in the skin surface. As the PRP and PRF are absorbed into the tissue, there is enhanced collagen production, which translates into much better capacity for skin rejuvenation.
SkinPen Microneedling Device
After careful research, our medical spa ultimately picked the Bellus SkinPen device as our chosen instrument for microneedling treatments. This is because the SkinPen has been shown to be one of the best performing FDA-cleared microneedling devices within the medical spa industry. The SkinPen also has the reputation of being one of the safest devices for microneedling skin treatments. Although there are many different microneedling devices being used out there, very few of them can compete with the Bellus SkinPen as a trusted, reliable and effective medical device.
Microneedling is typically done in our medical spa using a topical numbing cream that is applied about 1 hour prior to the treatment. In most cases, the numbing cream is ample enough to keep patients feeling comfortable throughout the microneedling session. This includes microneedling around the lips and mouth as well as the forehead region, which are a bit more sensitive than other areas of the face.
Most microneedling patients will feel publicly presentable in 1-3 days after treatment. In the beginning, the skin will look slightly red and possibly dry, or flaky. But as the days unfold, the skin begins to normalize in color and feel – appearing more like a light sunburn at this point in the healing. Over the ensuing weeks, the new skin becomes more visible with a refreshed, youthful and glowing appearance.