Dermatologists may recommend microneedling for rosacea, although it can sometimes worsen symptoms.

Rosacea is a widespread skin issue, primarily affecting the face. It causes skin discoloration or redness, visible blood vessels, and sometimes small, red, or discolored, pus-filled bumps. Besides discomfort, those with rosacea may feel self-conscious due to the visible symptoms.

Managing rosacea often involves lifestyle changes, specific skin care routines, and medical treatments. Another potential treatment is microneedling, which involves using fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin. It stimulates collagen production, improves skin texture, and reduces the appearance of scars and wrinkles.

This article explores whether microneedling is an effective treatment for rosacea, detailing its benefits, risks, and what to expect from the procedure.

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Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, may improve the appearance of rosacea.

The treatment creates controlled micro-injuries on the skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production. This can help improve skin texture and tone, reduce redness and discoloration, and decrease the visibility of blood vessels.

Non-insulated fractional microneedle radiofrequency (NFMRF) is another effective treatment that combines microneedling with radiofrequency energy.

A small 2022 study tested NFMRF on difficult-to-treat rosacea, administering three sessions at 2-month intervals. Over 48 weeks, it significantly reduced skin inflammation scores and improved the quality of life for the 34 participants without serious side effects.

However, people should use treatments that create multiple mini traumas to the skin, such as microneedling, with caution. Although people with controlled rosacea may use them safely, these treatments could cause a flare-up.

What is rosacea?

Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition that often begins with a tendency to blush or flush more readily. Over time, this flushing can become more persistent, and other symptoms, such as visible blood vessels, swelling, and acne-like breakouts, may develop.

Research suggests that a microscopic mite called Demodex, which lives on the skin, may play a role in rosacea. These mites are typically harmless but may trigger an immune response in some individuals, leading to inflammation and the characteristic symptoms of rosacea.

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but it is thought to involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Learn more about rosacea.

Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure that uses fine needles to create tiny punctures in the top layer of the skin. These micro-injuries stimulate the body’s wound-healing processes, increasing collagen and elastin production and improving skin texture, tone, and overall appearance.

There are various types of microneedling, including:

  • Traditional microneedling: Traditional microneedling uses a derma roller or Dermapen with fine needles to create micro-injuries in the skin.
  • Radiofrequency (RF) microneedling: This combines microneedling with radiofrequency energy to enhance collagen and elastin production, providing better tightening and lifting effects.
  • Non-insulated fractional microneedle radiofrequency (NFMRF): This uses non-insulated needles to deliver radiofrequency energy uniformly across the entire needle length, enhancing treatment for difficult-to-treat conditions like rosacea.
  • Microneedling with platelet-rich plasma (PRP): This procedure involves applying PRP (a component of blood-rich growth factors) to the skin before or after microneedling to boost collagen production and improve skin health.
  • Nano-needling: This uses nano-size needles to create even smaller punctures, targeting the upper layers of the skin for more superficial treatments.

Microneedling can also deliver products such as serums and medications directly into the skin, enhancing their effectiveness by promoting deeper penetration.

Learn more about microneedling.

Microneedling offers several benefits for the skin, including:

  • Improved skin texture and tone: The procedure stimulates collagen production, which can help smooth and even out the skin.
  • Reduction in redness and discoloration: By promoting skin healing and reducing inflammation, microneedling can help diminish the redness and discoloration associated with rosacea.
  • Minimized visible blood vessels: The treatment may reduce the appearance of dilated blood vessels, improving the skin’s overall appearance.

While microneedling can be beneficial, it also carries some risks, particularly for individuals with rosacea:

  • Skin irritation: The procedure can cause temporary discoloration, swelling, and irritation.
  • Infection: If not performed in a sterile environment, there is a risk of infection.
  • Worsening of symptoms: Sometimes microneedling may aggravate rosacea symptoms, increasing redness and inflammation.

Before undergoing microneedling for rosacea, individuals should consult a dermatologist or skin care professional. During the consultation, the provider can assess the skin condition and determine if microneedling is appropriate. The treatment typically involves applying a numbing cream to the skin, followed by the microneedling procedure, which usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.

The microneedling procedure follows these steps:

  1. Cleansing: The dermatologist thoroughly cleanses the skin to remove makeup, dirt, or oil.
  2. Numbing: They apply a topical numbing cream for 15 to 45 minutes to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
  3. Microneedling: Using one hand to stretch the skin, the dermatologist rolls or glides the device with fine needles over the skin. They move the device in horizontal, vertical, and oblique directions, typically 15 to 20 times per direction. The endpoint is uniform pinpoint bleeding occurring.
  4. Post-treatment care: After the procedure, they apply a soothing serum or moisturizer to calm the skin.

Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure the best results and minimize risks. After microneedling, individuals should:

  • Avoid sun exposure: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect the skin from UV rays.
  • Keep the skin clean: Gently cleanse and avoid harsh skin care products.
  • Moisturize: Use a gentle, hydrating moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Avoid strenuous activities: Refrain from activities that cause excessive sweating for a few days.

In addition to microneedling, there are other treatments available for managing rosacea, including:

While rosacea is not ways preventable, individuals can take steps to minimize flare-ups and manage symptoms, including:

  • Identifying and avoiding triggers: Keep a diary to track potential triggers and avoid them when possible.
  • Using gentle skin care products: Choose products free from irritants and fragrances.
  • Protecting the skin from the sun: Use sunscreen daily and wear protective clothing.
  • Reducing stress: People can use mindfulness techniques and other approaches to manage stress.

Microneedling is a potential treatment option for individuals with rosacea, providing benefits such as improved skin texture, reduced redness, and minimized visible blood vessels.

However, it is essential to consult a dermatologist to determine whether microneedling is appropriate and to understand the potential risks.

By combining microneedling with other treatments and lifestyle changes, individuals with rosacea can effectively manage their symptoms and improve their skin’s appearance.