While microneedling may seem like it’s on everyone’s lips these days, it’s actually been around for a while. The skin treatment’s discovered a second life as an effective alternative to laser and injectable treatments.
Devotees swear by it (we see you, Gwyneth), and the super-loyal following has in turn spawned an avalanche of at-home kits. None, however, are nearly as powerful as in-office microneedling with a board-certified plastic surgeon.
How it works
The science behind it is pretty straightforward: Create a series of very small injuries in the skin to help promote collagen. A handheld device with small needles on its head is used to pierce the epidermis and dermis. And it’s the body’s natural healing process that helps promote the production of collagen, which helps thicken the skin, minimizing fine line lines, enhancing tone, and even diminishing pigmentation—largely the same effect of many of the new laser treatments.
Where microneedling has the upper hand over lasers is that it’s tolerated by a wider range of skin tones. Those prone to hyperpigmentation—a condition where patches of skin become darker than the surrounding skin—like many women of color tend to be, don’t respond well to the heat of some laser treatments.
Another benefit of microneedling that often gets overshadowed by the fountain-of-youth aspect is that it makes it easier for skin care products to be absorbed deeply into the skin. The micro-channels that form in the skin as a result of a treatment theoretically aid in the maximum absorption of topical nutrients, which can also jumpstart the body’s own collagen and elastin production.
What to expect
As the microneedling pen moves across the cheeks, chin, nose, and neck, it can feel like a light, sandpaper-like vibration. It’s often compared to a cat licking your face. It can sting a bit more on the bony parts of the face, namely the forehead. Just remember that the sensation is only momentary (a couple minutes, at most), while your reinvigorated skin will last for weeks.
Immediately after the treatment, your face may be irritated in spots, but it’s more of a pinkish flush than full-on red and swollen. You may also see the slight indentations all over your skin. Don’t be concerned. They’ll disappear quickly. And once they do, they’ll give way to a smooth radiance, the kind almost exclusive to baby skin.
Over the next few days, your pores will look smaller and your fine lines should smooth out. And any discomfort you felt during the treatment will already be a distant memory.