How Does Microneedling Work With Collagen?
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How does microneedling work? Our beginner's guide will explain how this popular anti-aging skin care treatment can help you to produce new collagen production and fight back the signs of aging.
Collagen, strong and flexible, is the most abundant protein in your body and it's especially concentrated in your skin.
As you approach your 30s, your body doesn't make as much new collagen protein, creating a deficit that grows year after year.
Hence, wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin...
There are several ways to help your body create new collagen or help preserve what you already have.
Another way is to 'trick' your body into creating new collagen--that's where microneedling comes in.
Let's get started to learn more about how does microneedling work...
What's Microneedling and How Does it Work?
Well, how does microneedling actually work to help provide support and improve the tone of your skin?
At its core, microneedling is about tricking the body into thinking it needs to rush in new collagen to a wound.
Stepping back a bit, hypothetically, let's say you experienced a cut (wound) to your skin.
Once something like that happens, the body goes into 'work mode' and sends in a rush of naturally-made collagen to start the healing process.
How microneedling works is it intentionally punctures the skin on your face, neck, chest scalp, stomach or other parts of the body through a roller or electric pen device.
TIP: You’ll hear microneedling also referred to as derma rolling, skin-needling or collagen induction therapy.
With microneedling, because the tiny needles only puncture the epidermis (outermost layer of skin), the procedure is considered minimally-invasive, little to no side effects and generally safe.
Can Microneedling Tighten Skin?
Does microneedling stimulate collagen?
As we explained above, the purpose of microneedling is to ‘trick’ the body to use the natural three-step healing process to improve the skin’s appearance, texture and tone.
The benefits of more collagen, elastin and blood rushing to the wounds include:
- Plumping up of the skin
- Tighter-looking skin
- Smooth out fine lines, wrinkles and scarring
- Add more hydration
- Improve hair growth and help stop hair loss
Actually, microneedling doesn't have to stop at the face.
In fact, you can use the same treatment on other areas of your body such as your:
Where Can Microneedling be Done?
First, you can search locally for a dermatologist, plastic surgeon or aesthecian that offers this service in their office.
These types of professionals will create a treatment plan for you and the cost will generally range from $100-750 per treatment, with an average of around $300 per treatment.
Because this is a cosmetic procedure, it's usually not covered by insurance.
Second, you can do home dermarolling (another term for microneedling). Microneedling or derma rolling supplies are widely available for purchase online for home use.
For your convenience, here's a list of supplies you’ll want to gather if you’re going to do at-home derma roller/microneedling treatments:
10 Easy Steps-Microneedling Session at Home
In general, here are the steps you’ll take during an at-home microneedling treatment. Of course, please also refer to any instructions provided with your roller:
- Sterilize your roller in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol for 10-15 minutes.
- Wash your face with a high-quality cleanser, twice. Then put the alcohol on your face.
- OPTIONAL: This is where you may want to add in a good numbing cream, especially if you’re using longer needles.
- Visually divide your face into 4 sections: upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right.
- For each section, roll 2-3 times in one direction (lifting the roller when starting a new roll).
- Then roll in the opposite direction in that section the same amount of times.
- Finally, go diagonally.
- Rinse your face with a gentle face cleanser, we especially like La Roche-Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser.
- Wash the roller in soap and water then let it sit in the alcohol again for another 10 minutes.
- Let the roller dry, then put back into the case.
- Apply a high-quality serum, see our recommendations here.
Either way, professionally or at home, you’ll see pinprick drops of blood after the treatment. This is a normal and expected part of the treatment--no need to panic.
Best At-Home Microneedling Devices
Actually, it's hard to say which microneedling device is best for a person since everyone is different in their skin sensitivity, age and other factors.
However, there are two general types of devices that are used for microneedling:
2. Electric microneedling pen: These types of medical-grade microneedling pen devices are electric, can be cordless and are often used in spas.
The good news is you can get a spa-like microneedling treatment from the comfort of your home.
We believe Dr. Pen is the best microneedling pen for home use.
The pen is more sterile than a derma roller since the needle cartridges are disposed of after each treatment.
Another nice convenience is the needle length can be easily adjusted for your needs.
For example, Dr. Pen can adjust from 0.25, 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2.0, 2.25 and up to 2.5 mm.
Finally, there's another big difference between the two devices:
The electric microneedling pen's needles penetrate the skin straight on which gives a consistent delivery and shorter recovery time.
The manual derma roller's needles enter the skin on more of an angle. The derma roller is safe and effective, just not as effective as the pen.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON HOW DOES MICRONEEDLING WORK
In this article, we introduced you to the minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure known as microneedling.
How does microneedling work?
The needles in a microneedling device penetrate the skin to create small 'wounds'.
Your body then starts the healing process, which includes sending new collagen to the site of the wounds.
The additional collagen plumps up the skin and helps to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, improve texture, lighten age spots, heal scars, reduce hair thinning and tighten saggy skin.
Microneedling can be done at spas, gyms and dermatologists' offices.
Or, you can do microneedling treatments at home.
Now you know the answer to 'how does microneedling work?'!
How long to see results after microneedling?
The results after microneedling depend on the length (microneedling depth)
of the derma roller’s needles along with how sensitive your skin is.
The bottom line is not to expect immediate results after one treatment.
It will be over a series of treatments where you’ll start to see improvement as the collagen regenerates under the skin.
If you choose to do in-home treatments, with consistent application, look to see improvements generally in 3-4 months.
How often should you do microneedling at home?
The length of the needles will determine how often you'll want to roll.
For example, if the needles are short, you may be able to do a derma roll treatment every other day.
If they are longer, you may need to go longer between treatments, like every 3-4 weeks.
Start slowly to see how your skin reacts.
Always seek medical attention if you have any questions or concerns.
How long does microneedling last?
The result of microneedling treatments doesn't last forever.
In general, the results will last a year.
You can choose to do treatments, gain the benefits and not do any more treatments.
Or continuously use the treatments on a monthly basis, for example.
Overall, everyone is different, so you'll have to experiment and see what works best for you.
Is microneedling safe?
We can't talk about how does microneedling work without also talking about safety.
A 2018 study published by J Clin Aesthet Dermatol showed improvements in the facial skin’s lines, wrinkles, skin elasticity and texture was significantly improved after four microneedling treatments done four weeks apart.
Not only were the results positive, but there was also “minimal pain, discomfort or downtime" after the treatments.
This is why it’s a popular procedure since you can return to work or daily activities right after the procedure.
During the treatment, depending on the depth of the needles, you’ll likely experience bleeding which is a natural part of the process.
Your skin may also look red and irritated for a few days afterward.
If you’re doing derma rolling treatments at home, the most important part of the process to make sure you keep sterilization in mind to avoid any kind of infection.
Lastly, there are no FDA-approved microneedling devices out there. Rather, you'll see that microneedling devices are FDA-registered.
Who should not do microneedling?
Although we want to explain how does microneedling work, we also want to discourage the following to avoid microneedling:
- Skin diseases, such as psoriasis or eczema
- Overly sensitive skin
- Open wounds, such as active acne
- Chemo/radiation therapy
- Blood coagulating therapy
- Herpes or warts
Even if you don’t have any of these conditions, we always recommend consulting with your health-care provider before starting a microneedling treatment plan--professionally or at home.
Is there post-treatment care?
To start with, do not take any anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, Advil or Aleve after treatment (or at least one week prior).
The reason to not take these over-the-counter medications is that they can interfere with the natural inflammatory process that will cause the skin rejuvenation you want to see!
After your session in the office or at home, you’ll probably see some redness and irritation on your face. That's perfectly normal and nothing to become overly concerned with.
Because microneedling is minimally invasive, you won't need much recovery time after your treatment.
Importantly, you’ll want to stay out of the sun and use sunscreen regularly since your skin will be more sensitive.
Finally, you'll want to apply a quality anti-aging product on your face after the session.