With technology, every day brings with it new treatments that people can use to alter themselves in a way so as to appear youthful. After Botox injections, facelifts, dermabrasion, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, and dermal fillers, micro-needling is the new craze in the anti-ageing market. Percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), skin needling, and collagen induction therapy (CIT) are some other names of this practice. This practice has actually been in existence since 1995, but it has recently started to attract a lot of people ever since multiple videos featuring it went viral on YouTube and Instagram.
If you are someone who is considering whether or not they should undergo this process and if it is the correct choice for them, then this article might be of help to you. Read on to find out all the pros and cons of micro-needling and everything you need to know about it before you decide to take the final step and go ahead with this procedure.
What exactly is micro-needling?
In the process of micro-needling, one’s skin is penetrated with very fine short needles that range in diameter from 0.5 and 2.5 millimetres to rejuvenate it by inducing the growth of newer skin cells. Usually, one requires three to six sessions, depending on the kind of skin you have, and the type of results that you require. As your skin becomes thicker and more tolerant with each session, the needles are inserted deeper into your skin at every stage of the process. The idea of multiple needles puncturing one’s skin might sound slightly scary to some, but you should know that these micro-injuries are similar to tiny pin-pricks and go no deeper than the surface of your skin.
During the course of each session, one’s skin is first numbed by topical application of an anaesthetic agent. After the skin numbs a result, a derma roller is rolled across the skin. This tool creates micro-injuries on the skin by repeatedly puncturing it with fine needles that are made of stainless steel. After the procedure is over, a serum is applied to your skin which enhances the level of collagen in it. In some cases, to speed up the process of collagen synthesis, a special procedure is performed. The blood of the patient is collected before the procedure and processed to create PRP platelet-rich plasma. The PRP is topically applied to the patient’s skin after using the derma roller on it to speed up the healing process of the skin and consequently obtain faster results.
How does micro-needling work?
Micro-needling works on the principle that the injuries that the needles cause to the skin encourage the patient’s body to send healing agents like collagen to the wounds so that they may heal. Collagen is a protein found abundantly in the human body. It is found in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons and is the substance that gives structure to the body and holds it together. It forms a foundation that gives human skin its structure, strength and elasticity, which gives it a young and youthful appearance.
As we age, we increasingly expose our skin to the sun. The UV rays in sunlight break down the collagen present in our skin. Moreover, with increasing age, our body naturally makes less collagen. Any procedure that can promote the production of collagen by the body can make skin look much more youthful than its actual age. Because of the small wounds created in the surface of the skin, the patient’s body is coerced into making new collagen to fill them in and heal them. The increased collagen levels and production of newer and newer skin cells make the patient’s skin appear and feel smoother, more elastic to the touch, and consequently, gives a more youthful look.
What are the pros of micro-needling?
1. Micro-needling can give your skin a more youthful appearance
The idea behind micro-needling is stimulating your body to produce collagen. When the collagen levels of your skin rise, it looks much more elastic because of the added structure and strength. Additionally, the new skin cells that are formed by the skin to heal the injuries created by the microneedles help to disguise the fine lines and wrinkles on your skin. Micro-needling also prevents more such premature signs of ageing from appearing in your skin in the future. Due to the punctures created in the skin, its absorption when it comes to active ingredients is almost double, which means that anti-ageing serums and other topical treatments become much more effective.
2. Micro-needling can help you get rid of scars
A lot of times, people injure visible parts of their body, such as the skin on their faces. The wounds caused by abrasion or burns might heal with time, but they tend to leave behind scars. If a person has severe acne or picks at their pimples and pops them, they may be left behind with acne scars after treatment. Such scars often become a cause of insecurity to the person. The process of micro-needling induces the formation of newer skin cells, and this can vastly help in improving the way your scars look. Even if you are unable to get rid of the scar for good, you will experience that it becomes significantly faded, which makes it much less noticeable.
3. The effects of micro-needling can stay for up to half a year
After you have completed the series of sessions of micro-needling treatments, the results start to show, and the elastin and collagen levels in your skin rise up to four to five times their original levels. These results are quite significant and can last up to half a year with just three sessions on a monthly basis. You will experience an afterglow that the treatment leaves behind which sets it apart from all of the other cosmetic procedures that offer similar results. Moreover, it can even out your skin tone in the long run, and it works on every type of skin tone.
4. Micro-needling is cheaper than other available skin treatments
The other options that can be used to treat scars and give the skin a more youthful appearance, such as laser skin resurfacing, are almost twice as expensive as micro-needling. The results obtained by both processes are very similar in nature, and this is why micro-needling is becoming increasingly popular with more and more people giving it preference over other alternatives. Although the recovery may require some time, and you might have to show some patience and wait for the results, it is quite effective and worth the money you pay for it.
5. Micro-needling will not require a lot of investment as time
A session of micro-needling generally only lasts for around fifteen minutes to half an hour and doesn’t take up a lot of time in your daily schedule. Additionally, the sessions are generally spread out with gaps of around thirty days, and most people do not require more than two to three sessions. Although some professionals do recommend that you take the day off and take some rest before you get back to your daily schedule, it is not mandatory to do so. Comparatively, alternative procedures like laser therapy or even minor plastic surgery require more than twice this time for a person to be able to fully heal and be capable of returning to their everyday routine.
6. Micro-needling is relatively less painful
The thought of multiple needles pricking the skin on your face might sound scary and painful, but in reality, micro-needling is not very painful. The provider always layers the skin with an anaesthetic agent in the form of a numbing cream first which immediately reduces the sensation of the nerves on the face. Thus, the pricking of the needles only causes mild discomfort and redness on the skin post the treatment and the serums applied on the skin post the derma roller help with the irritation and swelling.
What are the cons of micro-needling?
1. Micro-needling is not affordable for everybody
You should always get complex treatments like micro-needling done by a professional to protect yourself from the possibility of the process going wrong. Just a single session can cost you a lot of money if you choose a reputable clinic, which put this process at the expensive end of the spectrum and inaccessible to everyone. The cost per session, coupled with the cost of expensive aftercare products and the fact that one would most likely need at least three to four sessions for visible results adds up to a hefty sum that may act as a deterrent for many.
2. Micro-needling requires a while to heal and show results
You will not start seeing the results of the process immediately after the procedure is completed, and the swelling goes down. The protein collagen requires at least six weeks to grow enough to show some visible results. In some cases, it might even take a whole year. Your face might sustain the swelling for a while, and the scars might require some time to heal. As you recover, your skin might be tinted with a slight pink colour due to the small injuries that your face sustained during the process, and your skin will be quite sensitive all through the recovery time.
3. Micro-needling can cause scarring on your face
If you are planning to perform the procedure on yourself at home, then you must understand that there are risks involved in it. Any needle that s longer than 0.5 mm or is bent at an angle can cause you a lot of pain and create injuries that will leave behind scars. If your tool has longer needles or is used incorrectly, there is an added risk of catching infection due to the procedure. However, if you are willing to shell out some money and get the procedure professionally done, then there is very little risk involved in it.
4. Micro-needling might not be a suitable procedure for everyone
Micro-needling might not suit every person because of the side effects it has. It might especially not be the correct choice for someone with sensitive skin. The effect obtained through it might not be enough to heal and remove deep acne scars or completely get rid of all traces of any signs of ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, cellulite or stretch marks. It might be helpful to consider a dermatologist for this to know whether he would recommend you to undergo this procedure. You should especially stay away from it if you currently suffer from any skin problems like acne, dermatitis or eczema since this procedure might just worsen the condition of your skin and there is a possibility that your symptoms will flare-up.
5. Micro-needling might prove to be addictive
Cosmetic surgery is relatively permanent in nature and rarely requires any touch-ups. Micro-needling, on the other hand, can only give one temporary results and requires timely touch-ups to maintain the effect. A lot of people get addicted to it and undergo the treatment too frequently, which is very harmful to the skin. It can cause bleeding, swelling, acne and may ever cause severe damage to the skin tissue since the capillaries underneath the skin break. Your skin might start to look like plastic and degenerate because of the excessive and frequent exposure to needles. Do not go for the process more than one time a month, and let your skin fully heal before you decide to go for the second session.
Now, that you are well aware of the benefits of micro-needling as well as the risks that it holds, you should be able to evaluate your situation correctly and appropriately weigh the pros and the cons to decide if this is the correct procedure for you. Since trying to do this at home on your own poses additional risk, you should always approach a licensed professional to get the treatment done. To avoid any dangerous repercussions in the future, always take the recommendation of your dermatologist to make sure that it is the correct choice for your skin.