While many of us love the convenience of video conferencing, for some it was a bit of a shock. Is that what I look like to other people? Where did my jaw line go? Am I really that wrinkled?
You may be resigning yourself to aging gracefully, or perhaps you’re slowly investing more in skincare products and maybe even at-home treatments. If you’re curious about what’s available that isn’t surgery but does produce results, including firmer skin, improved texture, and even softer scars, then keep reading!
Tiny Holes Lead to Healing Changes
One noninvasive process that produces noticeable improvement, from acne to wrinkles, is microneedling. Needles! That doesn’t sound pleasant!
Not to worry. In this case, the needles are tiny, the results potentially huge, and most importantly, minimally painful, thanks to topical numbing creams.
Microneedling, also called skin needling or collagen induction therapy (CIT), is a minimally invasive procedure that uses thin needles to make minute holes in the top layer of your skin. The damage prompts your skin to heal, which results in the gradual production of collagen and elastin, making your skin firmer and smoother.
“When you think of microneedling, essentially picture creating tiny holes with tiny needles all over the face,” says Kasie Palmer, PA-C of Golden State Dermatology. “The body responds to that ‘damage’ to heal you, and that healing produces collagen.”
From Pens to Radiofrequency
Depending on your goals, your health, and your skin, you have multiple options available when it comes to microneedling in a board-certified dermatologist office.
Traditional Microneedling: Tools like SkinPen® Precision use tiny sterile needles to evenly puncture the skin of the face and neck. (Don’t worry – doctors apply a topical anesthesia to numb skin first!) Not only does this spur collagen and elastin production, but it also makes it easier for the skin to absorb topical applications, like platelet-rich plasma which enhances results even further. You’ll see results after one or two treatments, with significant improvement after four to six. Even when you’re done with treatments, the skin will continue to improve on its own.
Radiofrequency: Tools like Scarlet RF, Vivace RF, and Agnes RF use micro-needle electrodes bipolar radio frequency (RF) technology. This is a great treatment for skin tightening, with very little downtime and no pain. And because the technology uses radio frequency, not light (as with lasers), it’s safe for any skin color. Patients see results after only one treatment, with a recommended set of three in a year.
Benefits of Microneedling
“We always talk with our patients about their goals and expectations,” says Avis Chiu, PA-C of Golden State Dermatology. “We want everyone to be happy with the results, and part of that is understanding what different procedures can – and can’t – do.”
Microneedling helps with a wide variety of concerns:
- Enlarged pores
- Sun damage
- Sagging skin (e.g. jowls, jaw, neckline, other body areas)
As with any medical treatment, certain people are not good candidates, or the time might not be right. If you’re undergoing radiation therapy or chemotherapy, for example, of course you want your body to focus on responding to those treatments. If you have an active skin condition like eczema or psoriasis, that would be another reason to wait.
Can I Do This at Home?
If you look up microneedling (especially on social media!), you’ll find plenty of at-home tools and how-to videos.
With any at-home tool or treatment, it’s not sterile (which can be risky), it’s less accurate, and it won’t be as potent as those used by doctors. All that adds up to less: meaning the results won’t be on the same scale as those from a dermatologist-administered treatment. Also, since a nonprofessional is using the tool (that means you!), chances are the application will be uneven.
Picture painting a wall for the first time. Will the coverage be even? Will you see the brush marks? Compare that to the work of most professional painters — even coverage with not a hint of the brush or roller. Different results come from not only the tools, but the experience of the person using them.
Bottom Line for Better-Looking Skin
If you have concerns about how your skin looks, it’s always worth a conversation with a dermatologist. After all, we love skin, and we spend our time working to heal and protect it.
Microneedling can be a great option, but as with any treatment, we want to make sure it meets your needs.
“Everyone’s skin is unique,” says Palmer. “And unlike many other parts of your body and your health, skin is also how you show up to other people. That’s why we offer cosmetic treatments as well as medical ones. We want you to be healthy and your skin to feel and look healthy, too.”