Microneedling (Skin Needling)

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling – also known as Skin Needling – is the use of a series of tiny and very short needles to penetrate the skin. The procedure sounds painful but the needle only causes a very mild sensation and superficial punctures of the skin’s epidermis.

These controlled micro-injuries catalyse the skin’s own natural healing response to produce and rebuild collagen and elastin, which results in a smoother appearance and a reduction of fine wrinkles and lines.

The procedure may also used to create “micro-channels” for deeper absorption of topical products, for example Vitamin C skin serum.

What skin conditions does Micro Needling treat?

  • Reduction of fine wrinkles and lines due to aging or smoking
  • Improves skin texture and increases smoothness
  • Evens out colour & skin tone irregularities due to hyperpigmentation or aging
  • Reduces broken capillaries or spider veins
  • Large pores, acne or burn scars
  • Firms, lifts and sculpts to help tone sagging skin

NOTE: Skin Needling is NOT recommended for those suffering from rosacea or overly sensitive skin.

Our approach to Microneedling

We take great care to diagnose your skin’s condition to ensure the best result for Microneedling and to ensure that it is the right treatment for you. You will receive a recommended treatment plan along with detailed information about the procedure and product recommendations for post-procedure skin care at home.

What will the treatment feel like? How long is the downtime?

A topical anesthetic is applied to your skin prior to micro needling treatment to reduce discomfort. We may also use a “dental block” to provide additional anesthesia to more sensitive areas of your face, such as the mouth.

After treatment, you will feel a mild “sunburn” sensation that subsides over the next few hours. There is cosmetic downtime associated with this procedure, and the duration depends on the type of treatment and your skin’s own tolerance.

Typically you will experience redness and mild swelling for 24-48 hours after the treatment, followed by some slight peeling. You may wear makeup again after 24 hours. You can usually return to work and social activities after a few days.

How long does it take to see results?

Because Micro Needling involves very short needles that penetrate only the very superficial layers of skin, recovery time is short. Your skin will be red for about 24 hours after the procedure, but this redness will quickly fade in a day or two, after which time, you will be able to wear make up and resume your normal skin care routine.

The procedure can be performed quite often, depending on your skin’s condition and innate ability to heal. Usually you will notice some improvement after the first or second treatment. More significant results will occur after 2-3 treatments spaced approximately 4-6 weeks apart.

Skin will continue to improve over the next 6 to 12 months after treatment with proper skin care regimen. Results will vary for everyone. We frequently combine topical retinoid therapy with micro needling to enhance treatment results.

Repeat treatments of up to 3-5 treatments maybe necessary for those with deep acne scarring or hyperpigmentation conditions.

What is the scientific principle behind Microneedling?

Micro needling is a form of Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT). The idea behind CIT is similar to that of many other non-surgical skin-tightening procedures in that it aims to create a controlled Non-Thermal injury underneath the skin’s surface, thereby inducing the body to respond through the formation of new tissue layers of elastin- and collagen fibers (neo-collagenesis), as well as new capillaries for an improved blood supply (neo-angiogenesis) in the treated area.

The skin plumps and thickens in response to this stimulus, ultimately reducing the appearance of scars, and fine lines and other skin texture changes. It can be used off-label to perform treatments that improve the delivery of drugs (customized topical solutions and biological materials such as Density Platelet Gel PRP).

Whenever we can generate openings in the skin we have an opportunity for topical to penetrate more readily through the channels created.

Can I combine Microneedling treatments with filler or other injections?

We recommend scheduling filler or other injections, such as Botox® or Dysport® at least one week prior to your microneedling treatment, or one week after. However, we do often customize each patient’s treatment program to optimize results and reduce downtime.

Microneedling: Pre-Treatment Instructions:

1. Avoid sun exposure and/or usage of a tanning bed, including self-tanning products for a minimum of 24 hours before and after the treatment, preferably 1 week. Treatment within 24 hours of prolonged sun exposure (natural sunlight, artificial tanning booth, or sunless tanning products) may result in hypopigmentation (white spots) or hyperpigmentation (dark spots) that may not clear for several months or may even be permanent. A Micro Needling treatment will not be administered on sunburned skin.

2. Discontinue Accutane and any other photosensitizing medication for a period of at least 6 months prior to receiving treatment and should not be used during your course of treatment.

3. Avoid chemical peels in the treated area for at least 2 weeks.

4. Stop using topical retinoids (Retin-A, Renova, and Tazorac) for 1 week prior to and after treatment.

5. Waxing and/or use of chemical depilatories must be avoided for 2 weeks prior and after the treatment. Shaving is allowed immediately before treatment and 48-72 hours after treatment as long as there is no skin irritation.

6. You may not be pregnant or nursing.

7. Notify the provider of any tattoos, including cosmetic tattooing, in the vicinity of the area to be treated. We cannot treat over tattoos.

8. If you have a history of cold sores, we may recommend prophylactic antiviral therapy in the form of Valtrex® or Aycylovir.

9. Medical history: During the course of your treatments, notify our staff of any changes to your medical history, health status, or personal activities that may be relevant to your treatment.

Microneedling: Post-Treatment Instructions:

1. A sunburn-like effect is normal for 1-3 days. You will look and feel sunburned after the treatment. The severity of redness will depend on the type of treatment and your skin’s individual tolerance. The skin will feel tight, dry, swollen, and sensitive to the touch. The treated area may temporarily appear darker and the darkened skin may flake off within 1 week. Avoid picking or exfoliating the area and allow old skin to flake off naturally.

2. After Care Products and Regimen: Cleanse the treated area gently twice daily with a gentle cleanser with tepid water. Apply a soothing, healing moisturizer as often as needed for the first 3 days.

3. Sun exposure must be avoided for 4 weeks after your treatment. Wear a sunblock that contains a physical block such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide daily. Plan to wear a hat and avoid sun exposure.

4. Do not use exfoliating medications, chemicals, or products on the treated areas for at least 1 week.

5. Avoid exercise that causes sweating, sauna, or steam baths if any skin irritation exists.

6. Advil or Tylenol may be taken as necessary for discomfort. Ice packs may be used if desired to minimize swelling.

7. Sleep on your back with your head elevated slightly to reduce swelling.

8. It is recommended that makeup should not be applied for 24 hours after the procedure.

Who performs the Microneedling procedure?

The procedure is performed in one hour in our San Francisco office, by: Jennifer Fick, Board Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist

Dr. Deschamps-Braly is on hand to consult in more complex cases.

Do you need a Microneedling "revision" treatment?

Sometimes your previous microneedling treatment from an unskilled provider may not be satisfactory. Either the results were not significant enough to produce the level of skin rejuvenation improvement you were seeking, or, you may need to include a supplemental topical treatment to accelerate the rejuvenation process.

Please read more about our approach to Microneedling revision treatment.