From vampire facials to microdermabrasion, a quick scroll-through on Instagram proves that professional skincare treatments are aplenty. One that’s recently made waves,and has piqued the interest of beauty aficionados and celebrities alike? Microneedling. The cosmetic procedure, which involves using fine needles to prick the skin, is touted for its collagen-stimulating, skin-rejuvenating benefits, as well as its ability to help improve the appearance of fine lines, acne scars, and other textural issues. Curious about how microneedling works? Keep scrolling to learn more about how this minimally invasive treatment works, what to expect during treatment, how long it takes to see results, and how best to take care of your skin afterwards.
During a microneedling treatment, a small derma roller wheel filled with tiny, hair-thin needles is lightly rolled onto the surface of the skin to create small wounds. The needles just barely puncture the skin, causing “injury,” which then kick starts your body’s naturally healing response. Skin cells immediately get to work rebuilding themselves and producing collagen—aka the protein responsible for giving your skin its strength, structure, and youthful-looking appearance. All this new skin growth and collagen building means that, over time, wrinkles become less noticeable, acne scarring begins to fade away, and your skin appears tighter and smoother.
Also commonly referred to as “collagen induction therapy”, microneedling is often seen as an alternative to laser treatments. Not only is it significantly less expensive, but also because it’s better suited for darker skin tones since lasers involve heat and can alter the skin’s pigmentation. What’s more, microneedling isn’t exclusive to just the face—it can be done anywhere on the body that needs retexturizing (think: stretch marks on the hips, stomach, and legs as well as acne scars on the back, butt, and chest).
While microneedling is considered safe, like any cosmetic procedure, there are some risks. For one, you may have an allergic reaction to the serum, cream, or mask that’s applied post-treatment. Also, though uncommon, the “wounds” created by the microneedling pen are really open holes in the skin and can become infected if exposed to germs.
Most dermatologists and medical spas offer the treatment, and while at-home microneedling devices do exist, where they differ from the ones used in professional offices is in the needles used. At-home microneedling rollers typically have shorter needles that are not as sharp as professional devices. Not to mention, at-home rollers are more likely to harbor bacteria, spread germs, and cause infection if not cleaned properly.
Does Microneedling Work?
The majority of professionals agree that you’re more likely to see better results with an in-office procedure versus at-home. If you’re struggling with fine lines, crow’s feet, or deep-set wrinkles, multiple microneedling sessions can be an effective way to minimize their appearance since the main purpose of the treatment is to stimulate collagen production. And because it relies on the body’s own healing process, it yields more natural results. Also, if acne scarring is a skincare concern, the procedure has the data to back up the fact that it’s effective at reducing the appearance of scarring and improving skin texture. This is especially true for more serious scarring, though this skin issue may require the use of a professional-grade apparatus, which is why professionals tend to prefer in-office treatments versus at-home. Finally, microneedling can allow for better absorption of topical skincare products. This is because a microneedling pen creates thousands of punctures into your skin, thus opening clogged pores and making them ready for your favorite nutrient-rich serum.
What to Expect at a Microneedling Session
If the thought of small needles rupturing your skin is enough to give you doubts, hear us out. Prior to the appointment, you should discontinue use of any retinol-based or aggressive topical treatments and stick to milder products, as harsh products could irritate the skin. The entire treatment is relatively quick, and it begins by ensuring the skin is clean as well as prepped with a topical numbing cream (this can take 30 minutes to seep in). Because the area is numb, microneedling is a low pain procedure, with many patients likening the feeling to rubbing your face repeatedly with sandpaper. That being said, there are some areas of the face that are more sensitive than others, such as the cheeks and jawline, and there may be some minimal bleeding throughout the process.
The microneedling process itself typically lasts about 20 minutes, and your professional will usually follow up with a soothing serum, a moisturizing face mask, or a hydrating cream that’s sure to feel good after being poked with little needles. Your skin will experience redness and there may be pinpoint bleeding in some areas, but other than that, there’s little to no downtime post-treatment, even after the numbing cream wears off. (If you have sensitive skin, you may experience itchiness for a few days, but this can be combatted with an anti-itch cream.)
Depending on where you get your treatment done, microneedling can cost anywhere from $200 to $700 per session, with four to six sessions spaced three to six weeks apart for maximum results.
How Long Does it Take to See Results from Microneedling?
It won’t take long to see results post-procedure—in fact, you’ll likely notice a radiance to your skin as early as the morning after. Lit-from-within-glow aside, many patients report shrunken pores and baby-soft skin one to two days after their microneedling session. One caveat: to see tightened skin and less noticeable wrinkles, you’ll need more than one session to see results, as new collagen will be laid down for three to six months after your treatment.
While there’s virtually no downtime with microneedling, there are some aftercare points to note. For one, you should load up on sun protection after your treatment—after all, your skin was just punctured by tiny needles and is irritated, the last thing you’ll want is a sunburn on top of that. And, since the treatment clears the pores and makes for improved product absorption, it’s vital to treat it with soothing, hydrating products post-treatment like the SiO Beauty Energy Serum, which is formulated with green tea (an anti-inflammatory, calming skincare ingredient that helps reduce skin irritation and redness) along with hyaluronic acid (which helps with moisture retention and plumping up the skin). The SiO Energy Serum’s strong antioxidant-based formula helps protect the skin barrier making it the perfect protection to your skin as it heals.
Microneedling is an effective collagen-stimulating cosmetic procedure that improves the look of scarring, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It’s ideal for those looking for total skin rejuvenation or a solution to sagging skin, enlarged pores, and textural issues. Because it triggers the body’s natural healing response, you’re guaranteed natural results with almost no downtime (save for some redness a few hours post-treatment). While many skin types can benefit from microneedling, it’s especially helpful for those with aging skin, as collagen production slows down as we get older, and the procedure is a tolerable, minimally invasive way to introduce collagen back into aging skin. If you’re looking for high-impact results or want to get more information on how microneedling can benefit your specific skincare concerns, visit your board-certified dermatologist to learn more.