There are so many dermatology “hot topics” and one that has dominated headlines (and social media!) recently is a procedure known as microneedling. During this procedure, teeny tiny needles are used to poke small holes in the skin; then a serum or cream is applied to the skin for treatment of various different concerns. Microneedling is commonly is used to help treat acne scarring; it is also widely used for anti-aging, skin tightening, and pore size reduction. The process itself helps to stimulate collagen development from the deep layers of the skin, resulting in a more youthful, smooth appearance of the skin. Remember Kim Kardashians “vampire facial?” That was microneedling with the application of her own plasma (spun down from blood) afterwards!
Microneedling treatments can be done very superficially and penetrate only the very top layer of skin (called the stratum corneum) and they can also be deeper and penetrate to the second layer of skin, called the dermis. Deeper treatments are used for treatment of scarring and wrinkling, with mid-depth being effective for enhancing collagen production and skin texture. There is some social downtime after a microneedling treatment, usually dependent on the depth of penetration of the needles. Swelling, redness and scabbing are commonly seen after this procedure
Recently, we’ve seen more and more at-home microneedling devices available over the counter. These devices are superficial only and generally will not penetrate more than 1mm into the skin. These devices are used to enhance the effects of serums or creams you may already be using (like retinol or vitamin C). However, due to the shallow depth of the OTC needles, the home devices may not see significantly noticeable improvement in the skin. They should be used with caution for risk of infection or scarring. If you are considering microneedling or skin pen, we recommend a consultation with a trained medical provider to discuss your options. Have any of you tried microneedling?