What is skin needling and how does it work?
Skin needling is also called micro-needling therapy or collagen induction therapy. It is a minimally-invasive non-surgical and non-ablative procedure for facial rejuvenation that involves the use of a micro-needling device to create controlled skin injury.
As each fine needle punctures the skin, it creates a channel or micro-wound. The controlled injury triggers the body to fill these micro-wounds by producing new collagen and elastin in the papillary dermis. In addition, new capillaries are formed. This neo-vascularisation and neo-collagenesis following treatment leads to reduction of scars and skin rejuvenation, i.e., improved skin texture, firmness and hydration.
What is skin needling used for?
Skin needling is effectively used for:
- Reducing scars (including hypertrophic scars) caused by acne, surgery or thermal burns
- Fading stretch marks
- Reducing fine lines and deep wrinkles
- Dyspigmentation e.g in melasma
- Tightening sagging skin.
Benefits of skin needling
Reduced risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring therefore safe on ethnic or dark skin.
Suitable for thin and sensitive skin
The treatment can be performed in an office setting.
The procedure is well tolerated and well accepted by the patients,
It is cost-effective, and can be done on areas of skin not suitable for peeling or laser resurfacing, such as near eyes.
As opposed to ablative laser resurfacing, the epidermis remains intact and is not damaged. For this reason, the operation can be safely repeated if needed.
Treatment does not result in a line of demarcation between treated and untreated skin, as usually occurs with other resurfacing procedures. This allows for specific areas of scarring to be treated without the need to “blend” or “feather” at the treatment edges.
The patient can resume regular activities within a few days, depending on the depth of penetration of the needles. Treatment options like laser resurfacing or dermabrasion are often associated with considerable morbidity and downtime from daily activities of the patient in the post-treatment period.
What is the skin needling procedure like?
The procedure is well tolerated. It takes 30 minutes up to an hour to complete, depending on the area to be treated and the severity of the problem.
No lotions or makeup are applied on the treatment area on the day of the procedure.
The medical professional then applies a numbing cream (topical) on the treatment area or injects local aneasthetic.
The skin is punctured in a specific pattern using a skin needling device. The device is rolled over the skin multiple times for best results.
As each fine needle punctures the skin, it creates a channel or micro-wound stimulating skin cell regeneration.
Depending on the condition treated it may take 30-60 minutes to complete the procedure.
A minimum of six weeks is recommended between two treatments as it takes that long for new natural collagen to form.
How many skin needling procedures does one need?
The number of needling procedures depends on the individual skin condition. Three to four treatments may be needed for moderate acne scars. Scars from Thermal burns and stretch marks (striae) may require up to 5 procedures.
In the case of wrinkles associated with ageing skin, one or two refresher skin needling treatments are recommended every year.
Are there any side effects from skin needling?
Generally the treated areas recover rapidly from skin needling. However there are occasional side effects, which include:
Swelling during the recovery phase.
Skin infection with bacteria (rare) or herpes simplex virus (cold sores).
Milia, which can be easily removed.
Acne flare, which is usually mild.