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Microneedling & RF Microneedling

What is a Microneedling?

Since its invention in early 2000’s, microneedling has taken the beauty world by storm. The term microneedling is non-specific as it can refer to any treatment that uses small needles to prick the skin.  This broad term encompasses treatments ranging from at-home cosmetic rollers to dermatologist-grade microneedling pens.  The microneedling that I love is the medical-grade microneedling.

Medical-grade microneedling can been used to treat a variety of cosmetic concerns— wrinkles, scarring, enlarged pores, stretch marks and even melasma.  I think of it as a natural and long-lasting skin rejuvenation procedure that turns back the aging clock.  How does it do it? The newly-created microchannels in the skin causes a wonderful release of growth factors that signal the skin to deposit new collagen and elastic fibers. 

This deposition increases your skin’s thickness, elasticity and overall youthfulness for many years to come. Many of my patients love microneedling because they notice that their skin is brighter, smoother, less wrinkled, and less porous than before.

MicroNeedling-Before-2 MicroNeedling-After2

What type of patients love microneedling? What do you microneedle with?

Microneedling is also a great treatment for those who prefer a more natural, chemical-free approach to anti-aging. During microneedling treatments at Precision Dermatology, we use either hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally occurring sugar in our body, or Platelet-Rich-Plasma (PRP), which is a concentrated elixir of platelet growth factors from your own blood.  In either case, it’s an ingredient your body makes and is familiar with. We caution against microneedling with other active skin care ingredients like vitamin C, retinoids, and peptides as these have been shown to cause rashes.

What is RF microneedling? What is it specifically great for?

RF microneedling or Radio-Frequency microneedling combines the effects of microneedling and radiofrequency energy.  Thermal energy is delivered through the microneedling needles to enhance the results of regular microneedling. The extra energy hyper-stimulates the production of collagen and elastin which tightens and lifts the skin.  RF-microneedling is GREAT for stretch marks, crepey-skin (arms, post-pregnancy), acne scars, traumatic scars, enlarged pores, and deep wrinkles. It restores natural radiance and youthfulness. 

What is the difference between cosmetic microneedling and medical microneedling?

Cosmetic microneedling is often done at home. It involves rollers with needles up to 0.5mm in depth. Typically no numbing is needed as the needles do not penetrate deep enough to cause bleeding or pain. Cosmetic microneedling is a simple at home treatment that primarily increases the absorption of your skincare products. Because the microchannels do not reach the level of the dermis of the skin, there is minimal-to-no collagen deposition post-treatment.

Medical microneedling is done at doctor’s office or medical spa. It involves a using a FDA approved medical microneedling pen with a sterile disposable needle tip. The depth of the needle ranges from 0.5mm to 3mm, and numbing is required. Because the depth of the needle is sufficient to reach the level of the dermis, there will be pinpoint bleeding and also induction of collagen deposition.

I know I am biased as a dermatologist, but having tried both cosmetic and medical microneedling on myself, my family, my friends and many patients, I think medical microneedling wins the competition without a doubt. Why? For two reasons.  It’s a lot more sanitary, and a lot more effective. 

What can I expect during and after the procedure?

When you come in for microneedling, we first apply a strong topical numbing ointment. This ointment is wiped off after 25-45 minutes and your skin is then cleaned with alcohol prep. After that your skin is ready to go!  During the procedure, you’ll hear a whirling sound and feel a vibrating-pressure sensation. There should be minimal or no pain (thanks to the strong topical numbing). 

Depending on how big of an area we treat, the procedure can last anywhere from 5-20 minutes. After the procedure, we apply a thin layer of hyaluronic acid serum to seal all the microchannels. No makeup, sunscreen or skin care products other than the hyaluronic acid serum should be applied to the skin for 12 hours. After 12 hours, you can resume a gentle cleanser, light makeup and mineral SPF. Any active skin care products like retinol, tretinoin, vitamin C, etc can be resumed in 5-7 days.  You can expect redness, possible bruising, and skin flaking for 3 days.  In some patients the redness can last up to 7 days.

Can everyone get microneedling?

Yes, almost everyone, with a few caveats. Microneedling is considered safe for men and women of all skin colors, from those who are very fair to those who are very dark.  However, even though any skin phototype can be treated, we recommend delaying treatment in those with recent sun exposure to avoid potential post-treatment pigmentation irregularities.  Other poor candidate for microneedling are those with active acne or other rashes on their face. Microneedling over these lesions increases your risk of infection and scarring. As always, it is best to consult one of our dermatologist if you have a particular concern.

How often do you recommend microneedling?

There is no universal regimen for microneedling. Some of my patients like it done monthly and others come every 6 months or even annually. The benefits of microneedling are cumulative.  If you’re new to microneedling, I would recommend doing monthly treatments for 3 months and then evaluating your satisfaction at month 6.  At that point you can resume microneedling to reap more of its benefits or stop because you’re already satisfied.

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