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Microneedling is a method that some dermatologists use to treat different skin conditions. The technique involves using multiple tiny, sterile needles to puncture the skin and cause physical trauma.
This trauma prompts the derma, a deeper layer of skin, to rebuild.
Microneedling may help address many skin-related complaints, including:
- skin pigmentation issues
- stretch marks
- loose skin, such as after weight loss or liposuction
It may also help rejuvenate the skin.
In addition, professionals can use microneedling to deposit medication, such as topical tretinoin or vitamin C, deeper into the skin. This can boost the treatment of a variety of issues, including acne scarring.
Read on to learn more about microneedling, how it works, and whether there are any risks.
Microneedling increases the production of collagen and other healing factors by causing trauma to the skin.
Collagen is an essential protein that helps keep the skin looking youthful, with a firm, smooth, and stretchy texture.
Aging causes the decline of collagen in the skin, contributing to wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Skin can also lose collagen due to injuries, such as acne scarring, stretch marks, or other scars.
It is important to realize that microneedling is not a quick fix, as it involves the growth of new skin. It can take several months for a person to see the full results of the procedure.
A 2018 systematic review found that microneedling is a safe and effective way to rejuvenate skin and treat scars and wrinkles.
The researchers acknowledged, however, that determining whether microneedling is a viable treatment option in all cases will require further research.
A press release from the American Academy of Dermatology also states that people can expect a reduction in the “appearance of large pores, fine lines and wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks.”
The medical community generally considers microneedling to be safe and effective, but there are still some risks.
The primary risk is skin irritation after the procedure. Other side effects could include:
- discomfort at the site
- flaking of the skin
Bleeding is an uncommon reaction to microneedling, though it may be more likely to occur after a deeper treatment.
Bleeding may also be more of a risk for people who have bleeding disorders or who are taking blood-thinning medications. It is important to disclose this information to a doctor before receiving this treatment.
There is also a risk of more serious side effects, including:
- skin pigment changes
- reaction to topical medications used during treatment
Some devices involve additional risks. Those that use energy or heat can increase the likelihood of burns.
Finally, some people are not candidates for microneedling treatment, including those with:
- an active skin infection
- active acne
- keloid scarring
- an unstable skin type
Seeing a dermatologist or medical skin care professional who is experienced in these types of procedures will help minimize the risks.
Many home microneedling devices are available. While these are much less expensive than sessions with a dermatologist, there are some key differences between the approaches.
Devices for home use have shorter, more blunt needles than those designed for dermatologists and other medical professionals.
Home devices are not meant to penetrate the skin, which means that home treatments will not be as uncomfortable as professional versions.
This also means that a home treatment will have a limited response and results. However, even home devices will increase blood flow, which may temporarily brighten the skin.
Finally, these devices are more difficult to clean, and not thoroughly cleaning a microneedling device can increase the risk of infection or injury, especially if the needles penetrate the skin.
There is a selection of microneedling devices available for purchase online.
Microneedling is generally a safe and effective procedure that can improve the appearance of the skin. It may reduce wrinkles, diminish scarring, and tighten or rejuvenate loose or aging skin.
While home microneedling is widely accessible and more comfortable than the professional version, home treatments will not provide the same results and may increase the risk of side effects.
Anyone interested in microneedling should consult a dermatologist or doctor who is specially trained and experienced in these types of procedures.