Sometimes all you need is a little boost to get that last bit of improvement that makes all the difference.  If you already have an effective and consistent skincare routine but you want to see more improvement in scars, dark spots or fine lines, then micro needling could be the right  treatment for you.
Whether you’re thinking about professional micro needling treatment, want to buy a device for home use, or you’re just curious (aren’t we all), then you’ve come to the right place. We took an in depth look at the  clinical studies to see if this treatment is just more beauty hype or the real deal.
In this post we answer some of the most common questions you might have about micro needling and compiled all the information we found  so you can have an informed opinion and make the best decision for your skin.
Kim K famously getting a vampire facial, a variant of traditional micro needling

WHAT IS MICRO NEEDLING?

There are a lot of terms for the same procedure. You might have seen it called collagen induction therapy, micro needling, skin needling, derma rolling, just needling, or even vampire facial.

In principle it all refers to the same thing: small needles (usually on a roller) puncture the skin to create controlled damage that the body’s natural processes will then work to fill in with new collagen, while simultaneously also filling scars and fine lines, and helping to face dark spots and other pigmented scars.

Although the basic principe underlying treatment is the same, the way that treatment is done, the device used, and the cosmetics applied can make a big difference both in results and in cost.

For example, the vampire facial made famous by Kim Kardashian is a high-end variation on micro needling where blood plasma harvested from your body is combined with stem cells or human growth factor and applied back onto the skin after a needling session. Practitioners claim that this high tech cocktail of actives makes the treatment much more effective. We discuss professional treatment in more detail below.

Micro Needling Claims

There are a lot of claims surrounding micro needling including:

  • It’s just as effective as more invasive procedures like IPL and chemical peels.
  • It’s a cheaper alternative to more expensive professional treatments, especially when done at home.
  • It uses the body’s natural processes to boost collagen and improve the appearance of skin.
  • It increases the absorption of skin care products.
  • It works with your existing skincare routine – no need to buy anything new.
  • It’s good for anyone who prefers natural skin care.
  • It can be done at home.

We explore each of these claims in depth below.

Micro needling as an Alternative to Lasers & Peels

It’s been claimed that micro needling can be as effective as more invasive treatments like laser treatments and chemical peels. That might not be totally true and here’s why:

There aren’t any clinical studies testing the effectiveness of micro needling compared to lasers or chemical peels. Such a study would pose challenges for clinicians because for one, all treatments would need to be administered on the same person and ideally on the same scar or wrinkle in order to give an accurate comparison.

It’s hard enough finding those conditions on one person, but replicating it with sufficient participants to get statistically significant results (and controlling for different skin types etc) would be a whole other challenge. 

Micro needling performs a different function as compared to chemical peels and lasers. Lasers and chemical peels can target the skin at different depths (and for different purposes) depending on how they are designed. A superficial glycolic acid treatment might just exfoliate the outermost dead skin cells, while a laser treatment can go all the way to the depth of the dermis for what’s usually called a laser facelift.

Micro needling targets the deeper layer of your skin called the dermis where it initiates the healing response and causes collagen formation. The key difference is that micro needling doesn’t affect the epidermis beyond some temporary redness it can cause.

It can be a much less invasive treatment option for scars and fine lines compared to lasers and chemical peels. Whether it’s as effective isn’t a question that’s easily answered but our guess would be no.

Cost Comparison

Professional treatments range from as little as $50 a treatment for basic needling with no actives to as much as $750 a treatment for needling followed by advanced actives like platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Professional treatments are usually done 4-6 weeks apart to give the skin enough time to heal.

For at home treatment a micro needling device and vitamin C serum can cost as little as $30 for a 2-3 month supply. Home treatment can be done as often as twice a week for a cost of just over $1 a treatment.

Micro Needling AT HOME VS PROFESSIONAL

There haven’t been any significant studies done to compare the effectiveness of professional micro needling treatments versus an at home regimen. Based on the existing research the best answer is that professional treatments are more intensive and better suited to more significant skin issues like atrophic scarring and deep wrinkles.

micro needling plus fillers

Beyond significant skin issues a conservative at home regimen is a great starting place for most people. As with skin care in general, starting small and working your way up is a good strategy to avoid spending more than necessary and treating the skin more aggressively than necessary.

micro needling before and after results acne scars

Results following 6 months of at home treatment.

DOES MICRO NEEDLING WORK

micro needling

Micro needling has been clinically and anecdotally proven to provide a ton of benefits with a relatively low risk and low cost. Microscopic analysis has shown that micro needling increases collagen production up to 400% and “leads to reorganization of old collagen fibres and laying down of new collagen, elastin, and capillaries.” It’s safe for darker skin tones and it’s relatively accessible and inexpensive for home treatment. It’s  effective whether or not you use product following treatment, but of course results are faster and can be more pronounced when supported by the right actives.

Clinical ​interest in micro needling has ramped up in the past 5 years. There’s more research being done that clarifies best practices for effective treatment in both professional and at home settings, which means better treatment outcomes. Two years ago when this post was first published there was 73% worth it rating on the website real self based on 57 reviews. Today, there’s an 90% worth it rating based on 92 reviews over the past 24 months.

MICRO NEEDLING BENEFITS, RESULTS & STUDIES BY TOPIC

Micro needling can be used on different parts of the body for everything from under-eye bags, stretch marks on the tummy, hair loss on the head, and scarring from head to toes.

MICRO NEEDLING FOR FACE

​UNDER EYE SAGGING, BAGS & DARK CIRCLES

Micro needling ​of the eye area can tighten the periorbital skin and reduce the appearance of eye bags and sagging. Dark circles are harder to treat since they’re largely based on genetics, but micro needling has been shown to plump the delicate skin around the eyes​, which can reduce the appearance of dark circles caused by thin skin.

INCREASING PRODUCT ABSORPTION

The Dermatology Review reported that micro needling is “proven to increase chemical absorption up to 1000 times” with 0.25mm rollers.

ANTI-AGING, FINE LINES, WRINKLES & SUN DAMAGE

In one study in micro needling was shown to increase new collagen fibers by 206% 6 weeks after treatment. In another “4 microneedling sessions 1 month apart shows up to 400% increase in collagen and elastin deposition at 6 months.” Computer imaging analysis was used to show that micro needling is a safe and effective treatment to improve upper lip wrinkles. Unlike laser treatments, “the epidermis remains intact and is not damaged.”

micro needling for wrinkles

micro needling results for wrinkles source

DARK SPOTS / POST-INFLAMMATORY HYPERPIGMENTATION (PIH)

micro needling for hyper pigmentation

micro needling results for hyper pigmentation and scarring

micro needling results

results of micro needling treatment source

ACNE SCARS, ATROPHIC SCARS, & BURNS

Micro needling is “…proven to be very effective in minimizing acne scars and burn scars…

micro needling scarring

micro needling results for scarring

Microscopic analysis has shown that micro needling increases collagen production up to 400% and “leads to reorganization of old collagen fibres and laying down of new collagen, elastin, and capillaries.” The appearance of scars is diminished by the production of collagen fibres. The collagen produced by micro needling is in the form of  “collagen fibre bundles [that] appear to have a normal lattice pattern rather than parallel bundles as in scar tissue.” After multiple microneedling treatments with a 1.5mm derma roller over 90% of patients saw reduction in severity of atrophic (deep and recessed) facial scars. Of the treatment group 80% assessed their treatment as “excellent” on a 10-point scale. No significant adverse effects were noted in any patient. The best needle length for scarring is 1.0mm to 1.5mm.​ Two good options are the Vansaile 1.5mm needle rollerand the 90ine kit, which includes a 1.5mm roller as well as two additional 0.5mm and 1.0mm rollers.

SCALP

HAIR LOSS / HAIR REGROWTH

Hundreds of cases of androgenic alopecia (most common cause of hair loss in men and women) were divided into 2 groups: one received only: twice daily 5% Minoxidil (like Rogaine) while the other group received twice daily 5% Minoxidil along with weekly micro needling (using a 1.5mm derma roller like this one). Over 80% of patients treated with micro needling in combination with minoxidil reported more than 50% improvement compared to 4.5% in minoxidil only group.

micro needling accelerated hair regrowth results source

After 12 weeks the mean hair count was significantly higher for the micro needling group as compared to the Minoxidil only group. Micro needling found to be “a safe and promising tool in hair stimulation.”

MICRO NEEDLING FOR BODY

HANDS & DÉCOLLETAGE ANTI-AGING, FINE LINES, WRINKLES & SUN DAMAGE

The same principles apply to the body as to the face. Needling can improve the appearance of skin tone, tightness, dark spots and scars either on it’s own or in combination with appropriate products. The Dermatology Review reported that micro needling is “proven to increase chemical absorption up to 1000 times.” In one study in micro needling was shown to increase new collagen fibers by 206% 6 weeks after treatment. In another, “4 microneedling sessions 1 month apart shows up to 400% increase in collagen and elastin deposition at 6 months.” Unlike laser treatments, “the epidermis remains intact and is not damaged.”

STRETCH MARKS

Stretch marks respond really well to micro needling treatment. Stretch marks are a scar and they respond to micro needling the same way that all other scars do. After multiple microneedling treatments with a 1.5mm derma roller over 90% of patients saw reduction in severity of atrophic (deep and recessed) facial scars. 80% assessed their treatment as “excellent” on a 10-point scale.

micro needling stretch marks results

No significant adverse effects were noted in any patient.

CELLULITE

As far as current research goes cellulite does not respond to micro needling. It’s not proven that cellulite creams work but if they do adding needling to a cellulite treatment regimen will increase the absorption of cellulite cream by 1000x.

ATROPHIC SCARS & BURNS

Micro needling is “…proven to be very effective in minimizing acne scars and burn scars…” The appearance of scars is diminished by the production of collagen fibres. The collagen produced by micro needling is in the form of  “collagen fibre bundles [that] appear to have a normal lattice pattern rather than parallel bundles as in scar tissue.” After multiple microneedling treatments with a 1.5mm derma roller over 90% of patients saw reduction in severity of atrophic (deep and recessed) facial scars. 80% assessed their treatment as “excellent” on a 10-point scale. No significant adverse effects were noted in any patient.

RISKS & SAFETY GUIDELINES

A 2012 study found that “infections after microneedling are very unlikely due to the rapid closure of the SC within a maximum of 15 minutes.” In a 2009 study on micro needling for atrophic scars “no significant adverse effects were noted in any patient.” “Microneedling of the skin facilitates skin repair without scarring after the treatment of superficial burns, acne, hyper pigmentation.” It’s generally recognized as safe to use a micro needling device at home provided you follow normal precautions. However, everyone’s skin is different and your mileage may vary. If you aren’t sure you should consult a professional.

CRITICISM

When this post was first written about two years ago the famous beauty site Paula’s Choice had this to say about micro needling “…there is no research proving that at home derma roller devices produce results better than laser therapy can, or even equal what’s possible from using a well-formulated skin care routine.” – Paula’s Choice Actually there is here, and here – both peer review studies in which hand held derma-rollers were used with results that couldn’t be achieved with a well-formulated skin care routine. In fact, this study showed that unlike laser treatments, “the epidermis remains intact and is not damaged.”

MATERIAL: STEEL VS TITANIUM VS OTHER

Clinical studies recommend stainless steel.

DERMA ROLLER, DERMA STAMP OR DERMA PEN

It’s been suggested that a stamp is better because a roller can cause tearing of the skin as it rolls whereas a stamp leaves clean micro incisions, as illustrated in this picture.

proposed comparison of derma rolling verses derma stamping

There are a lot of images like this online, however, most seem to be produced by the manufacturers of derma pens/stamps. Most of the studies I’ve cited in this post used derma rollers. They are generally easier to use, especially for at home treatment, unless you’re using an electric derma pen. I haven’t seen anything in any study that suggests that pens/stamps are better than rollers.

ELECTRIC DERMA STAMPS

Electric devices may seem intimidating but they are easy to use and can provide a lot of benefits even with home treatment.

HOW TO: DIY MICRO NEEDLING Q & A

BEST WAY TO STERILIZE A MICRO NEEDLER

Devices can be sterilized in a number of ways. A bleach solution 1:1 ratio mixed with water is a good option.  Isopropyl alcohol is also effective. If you opt for a more high-end device then there are also gentler sterilization methods including steam sterilizer or UV sterilizer.

HOW TO PREPARE THE TREATMENT AREA

Thoroughly wash the area to be treated. Pat dry with a fresh towel. If you are using numbing relief cream apply all over treatment area about fifteen to twenty minutes before treatment. Wipe or wash off before beginning treatment.

PAIN RELIEF

The question of whether you need pain relief in the form of numbing cream (like Numb Master) depends on your pain tolerance. At home needling is not very painful except when you get to the last few rolls when the blood has already rushed to the surface and your skin is much more sensitive. As with skin in general your mileage may vary.

MICRO NEEDLING TECHNIQUE

To put it simply the roller should be run across the skin with firm even pressure about five times each in every direction (up and down, side to side, diagonally each way.) For detailed information about how to micro needle see At Home Micro Needling Step by Step Instructions.

AFTER CARE GUIDELINES

CHOOSING A GOOD VITAMIN C SERUM 

There are a lot of vitamin C serums on the market so choosing an effective serum can be a challenge. There are a few guidelines supported by scientific research that can make the process easier.

  • Look for an opaque or dark bottle – a clear bottle will cause the vitamin c to oxidize and become ineffective much faster.
  • Ascorbic acid with vitamin E and ferulic acid is a clinically proven combination that shows real results in trials.
  • Penetration of the active ingredients is more important than the concentration percentage since concentration doesn’t mean the actives will fully absorb. Plus, research indicates that concentrations higher than 20% don’t make a difference.

VITAMIN C SERUM CHART

After reviewing 67 vitamin C serums the 7 below were the only ones with the clinically proven formula of ascorbic acid, vitamin E and ferulic acid.

Other serums may also be effective. This is just a guideline since this specific formula is backed by research and shown to increase penetration of the active ingredients. See the full results of the rating analysis to find the best serum for your needs.

BEST FOR MOST PEOPLE

TIMELESS SKINCARE VITAMIN CE FERULIC 

REDNESS

Micro needling feels like a sunburn and also happens to look like one, especially on lighter skin tones. Studies have shown that redness can last up to 48 hours and decreases by up to 50% on caucasian skin within 4-6 hours. If you’re in a rush hyaluronic acid sheet masks have been shown to decrease redness by up to 50% in 30 minutes.

SUNSCREEN

Sunscreen is highly recommended following treatment. Look for Neutrogena Ultra Sheer – it’s cost effective, not greasy, and it doesn’t leave a white cast so it works for darker skin tones too. You can find it at most drug stores.

TREATMENT FREQUENCY

Treatment frequency depends on the needle length.

Length of needles 0.3mm-0.5mm 0.5mm – 1.0mm 1.0mm-1.5mm 1.5mm-3.0mm
Purpose Increase penetration of skin care or hair growth products Dark spots, fine wrinkles, mild sun damage or aging skin. Acne/burn scars, stretch marks, loose skin, sun damage, fine lines & individual deep wrinkles. Deep scars and stretch marks.
Ideal Frequency of Use Less than 0.5mm: every other day. More than 0.5mm: once or twice a week on the same area. 1.0mm: once every 2 weeks on the same area. 1.5mm: once every three – four weeks on the same area. Once every 5 weeks or more under supervision of a professional.

WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR MICRO NEEDLER

One study recommends using a device 100 times before replacing. It’s likely you won’t get that many uses from your device because they tend to break down quickly. Watch out for these common signs of wear and replace accordingly.

micro needling roller rust

micro needling device showing rust formation

micro needling roller bent

micro needling device with bent needles

micro needling roller dirty

derma pen with debris

OTHER QUESTIONS & CONCERNS

MICRO NEEDLING FOR DARKER SKIN TONES

“In ethnic skin, traditional skin resurfacing procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy can be effective but can also be associated with prolonged recovery and risk of complications. These complications can include a higher risk of dyspigmentation and scarring, and unsatisfactory clinical outcomes. Microneedling is an evolving treatment technique for an expanding number of dermatologic conditions. Microneedling may offer a more advantageous safety profile, particularly in the skin-of-color population.” Micro needling has been shown to have very little risk of causing pigmentation problems.

MICRO NEEDLING FOR ROSACEA

Radio frequency micro needling has been used for the treatment of rosacea with “favourable results” but currently there isn’t enough information to support a home treatment regimen.

MICRO NEEDLING & ACNE

Micro needling should never be done over active acne. The only role micro needling can play as far as acne goes is for post acne redness or hyper pigmentation.

MICRO NEEDLING VS MICRODERMABRASION

Micro needling “may offer a more advantageous safety profilecompared totraditional skin resurfacing procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy [which] can also be associated with prolonged recovery and risk of complications.”

This is especially true for skin of color or skin that is more prone to hyper pigmentation.

MICRO NEEDLING VS LASER THERAPY

Micro needling “may offer a more advantageous safety profilecompared totraditional skin resurfacing procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy [which] can also be associated with prolonged recovery and risk of complications.”

This is especially true for skin of color or skin that is more prone to hyper pigmentation.

MICRO NEEDLING VS CHEMICAL PEELS

Micro needling “may offer a more advantageous safety profilecompared totraditional skin resurfacing procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser therapy [which] can also be associated with prolonged recovery and risk of complications.”

This is especially true for skin of color or skin that is more prone to hyper pigmentation.

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26 Comments

  1. Hi, I have found myself reading just about every article you’ve written. I don’t often do that because many blog articles on beauty treatments are based on opinion instead of reasearch. I have been researching microneedling for some time now and I don’t have to anymore since finding your site. Your writing is easy to understand and follow, keeps my interest and provides tons of much-needed, current information on the subject! I also love your recommendations to different devices and products. To put it simply, I think you have covered just about every angle! Thank you for all of this, I’ve had my microneedling device on my dresser in it’s package for about 2 months now, not sure of how to exactly use it. Thanks to your great info, I’m ready to open it up and get started! Keep up the GREAT work!

    • Cristina Reply

      Thanks so much for the comment Erika! Sorry for the delay. I waited too long but then I kept thinking I should reply. better late than never as they say. I really appreciate your words. I put a lot of work into bold + blush and it’s so good to know that people find it useful 🙂

  2. Pingback: Acne Update: Treating My Acne Scars | Frivolous Girl

  3. Hi. Thank you for all your articles on needling. I am hoping you can give me some info. Your “before” photo appeared like you had pitted acne scars, not just marks/dark spots like you write about. You’re “after” shot appears like your skin has filled in all the pitted scars as well. Is this true?
    I’m looking for hope. I had great skin before a professional chemical peel @ a dr office for anti-aging prevention. It did the opposite & gave me pitted scars over my whole face. I’ve had 3 dermapen sessions so far & no improvement yet. How long before you started seeing pitted scars fill in? I have 3 more sessions to go. I’ve dealt with deep depression ever since & any hope is appreciated.

    • Cristina Reply

      Hi Lauren,

      Thank you for reaching out to me. I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through this. Your face is what you present to the world before anything else and it can be totally devastating when you don’t feel good about it.

      Yes, I did have some lightly pitted scars on my right cheek and chin and yes they’ve improved quite a bit from micro needling combined with an AHA routine (which you may or may not be sensitive to if you reacted badly to a peel.) It took about 6-8 months before I saw a difference and it’s still a work in progress.

      However, everyone’s skin is different and it’s hard for me to give you any sort of insight on your skin without more information. There are just so many factors. For example: Do you know why you reacted badly? What kind of peel was it and what strength? How long ago did this happen? Is your skin typically sensitive to products? Did they offer to help? What needle length, frequency of treatment and actives are in your treatment plan? How old are you? What does your skin look like exactly? A before and after would be ideal. If I had that information maybe I could give you some indication of how long it might take.

      In any case needling improvements come over months not weeks. You also have to be sure to wait at least 6 to 8 weeks between treatments with the longer needle lengths typically used in clinics to treat scars. All the magic of needling comes from your skin’s healing response following treatment, not in the moment it’s administered. I want to say that it’s just a matter of time before you see improvement, but again I can’t say for sure without knowing more about your skin.

      That being said, one thing you can do to (hopefully) speed up the process is help your skin help itself with good habits. Healing can be affected by so many factors like diet, digestion, dehydration, stress, inadequate sleep, medications, hormones, and even the weather. I also found out recently that posture can affect lymph drainage and make it more difficult for some areas to heal. I’m currently travelling but early next week when I’m home I’ll make it a priority to compile my research on skin healing habits into a post. Would that be helpful for you?

      I wish I could give you more than this. If you care to shed more light on your situation I’m happy to listen and give you as much information as I have. Feel free to either reply here or email me directly cristina@boldandblush.com

      Wishing you quick improvement,
      xox
      Cristina

  4. Thank you for taking the time to respond. I will try to email you a photo soon. Yes, an article on healing would be nice.
    Before the “accident” I had been on birth control pills non stop for over 10 years. I stopped taking BC about 2months before the accident. During the time of the peel, I was under severe stress at work.

    I’ve always taken good care of my skin & sunscreen & hats. Also healthy Paleo diet: lots of eggs, fresh veggies, fruit, salads, fish, meats etc. nothing processed.
    My skin has always been super sensitive. im talking very very sensitive: to any foundations, most sunscreens, most moisturizers etc.
    The peel administered was a Jessners/TCA I think 20%. The dermatologist who did it didn’t even look at my skin beforehand. (It was flawless). I went back after the damage & she denied that the peel did it. Didn’t take responsibility.
    I’ve seen 7 dermatologists since then. No one & nothing helped. They tried Retin-A for a few months. Tried fraxel laser 3 sessions. No one ever mentioned microneedling.

    I now use dermaviduals skincare (6 months) under the care of an esthitician who’s supposed to help with skin barrier repair. I use Emenence vitamin C too every night. HA after dermapen treatment for 3 nights after in addition to my normal skincare.
    I get the dermapen treatment done @ a medi-spa. First 2 times we did .75 mm needles-my request- to be more conservative at first. But my skin only got solid pink on my forehead. I know most people say sold pink or pin point bleeding is optimal end point. So the 3rd treatment we did 1mm forehead & 2mm rest of face. We do the treatment once a month (4 weeks). 4 weeks is standard time frame for most people/medi-spas. My skin responded with solid pink & some pinpoint bleeding this time.

    The oddest thing about my skin is the way the damage displays itself. It’s (thank god) very very shallow & yet nothing has improved it yet. It looks different in different lighting. A straight on view of my face indoors & you can’t see any damage. If I’m somewhere that creates shadows like in my car, you can see thousands of lines from straight on view.
    If I tilt my head you can see small shallow pits. In other lights it looks a bit like orange peel. Other lighting it looks straight up weathered looking & bad texture but when u actually feel it, my skin is soft & smooth.
    This damage happened when I was 29 years old. I’m now 33.
    My esthitican says it’s collagen degradation.
    Anymore insight is appreciated
    -Lauren

    • Cristina Reply

      Hi Lauren,

      I’m sorry for the delay. I needed some time to really think about this. It sounds like you’re doing everything you possibly can, so it might be the case that the only thing to do it wait. However, it’s also possible that your state of mind is the one unchecked variable. Understandably, this is causing you a great deal of stress. You mentioned in your first comment that you’ve dealt with deep depression ever since the accident. There are a lot of studies that point to the link between psychological stress and poor wound healing. A lot of these studies happen to deal with skin barrier recovery. These are just some of the findings:

      -A 2011 meta-analysis of a diverse range of wound healing studies found that “psychological stress can have a substantial and clinically relevant impact on wound healing.”
      One of the studies considered in the analysis concerned skin barrier function and found that participants who reported greater levels of psychological stress showed slower skin barrier recovery in standardized tests measuring the rate of transepidermal water loss (TEWL).
      Another study from 2001 found that “acute psychosocial and sleep deprivation stress disrupts skin barrier function homeostasis in women.”

      This is just a cursory overview but I find these studies compelling. Based on other studies I’ve read I think of stress as tension we hold in our bodies that turns into congestion, which limits free circulation of nutrients and removal of waste products. Psychological stress also puts the body into fight or flight mode, which shuttles resources away from bodily processes that are not essential for survival. Unfortunately, long term skin repair is not essential from an evolutionary perspective.

      I’ve often found that the thing I don’t want to do is exactly what I need.

      The stress and turmoil you’re feeling could be what’s stopping your skin from healing. Based on these studies that’s a totally possible scenario. Maybe your skin will improve if you work on reducing your stress…but maybe it won’t. What I can tell you for sure is that if you remove the stress and turmoil from the equation, you will be better off no matter what the result.

      It’s hard for me to tell you this. That’s why I deliberated so much on my reply. I’m not in your shoes and I can’t feel how difficult this is for you…but I’ve been there. I spent my teens and twenties trying to fix my skin (and my hair, and my thighs, and etc etc). Now moving into my thirties I’ve learned that nothing makes me as beautiful as happiness and confidence, which incidentally don’t come from everything about me being perfect. There are a lot of things in life that are out of our control. If we fixate on those things, we’ll crumble under their burden. But if we focus on the things we can control, the things we do have, the beauty in and around us…..happiness multiplies.

  5. This blog post is so incredibly helpful and clear. Do you have any brands you recommend for micro needlers? Thanks in advance!

    • Cristina Reply

      Ah thanks a lot Anna! Love to hear that. I wrote a post on the best micro needling devices for home treatment. A lot of the devices on the market are manufactured according to pretty similar (like almost identical) manufacturing standards, irrespective of brand. I would suggest you focus more on finding a device with the appropriate length for your needs and combining it with the right treatment protocol. You can find a good intro device for around $15 USD. Expensive doesn’t necessarily indicate higher quality…at least not with what’s currently on the market. Best of luck and feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.

  6. Just wanted to say appreciate the thorough post, been doing research on this and this is definitely one of the better blog posts I have read. Thanks!

  7. I have micro needling done by a natureapath. After 3 treatments I have seen improvement. I love it. It doesn’t hurt and I have had no bruising or side effects and I am a blonde with sensitive skin. Its cheaper than a high end facial. Try it.

  8. This was so informative! Been researching microneedling for a few weeks now. Ordered a kit online. Going to try it tonight. I have the day off tomorrow, so wish me luck! This article was the best one I’ve read so far. Love your before and after picture. I have slight acne scarring/texture over the years. I had the Mirena IUD and it caused me acne for almost 9 years. Hopefully microneedling can reverse this damage and I can have better looking skin. Thanks again for you article. Best wishes.

    • Cristina Reply

      Really happy to hear this was helpful for you! Keep in touch – let me know if you have any Qs 🙂

  9. I’m 54 and have some brow spots on my face with a somewhat saggy jaw. Also not happy with my frown in between my eyes. Will this help? I’m not interested in Botox!!
    I have brown areas below my lips on both corners. lol I think it’s from drooling when I sleep, Yuck!!
    Which needle is best to use and how often should I use it?
    When should tool be changed?
    Thanks

    • Cristina Reply

      Hello so sorry for the delay! At home micro needling works really well for more superficial issues (hyper pigmentation like brown areas, fine lines, overall skin texture) but it probably wouldn’t do much for a saggy jaw. You could still see a lot of improvement in your overall skin tone and texture with a well formed skin care routine that includes the right actives with micro needling to increase their performance. A good vitamin C serum or a retinol product could do a lot for for your skin. An AHA like glycolic acid is also really effective. I can’t make any specific recommendations without knowing more about your existing skin care routine and your skin’s tendencies. A good place to start is the Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Intensive Wrinkle Repair Serum. But again it depends on your skin’s sensitivity and whether you currently use any retinoids. Tread carefully and always patch test.

      As for sagging, I’m a big fan of face yoga and couldn’t recommend it more highly. I have TMJ so I do face yoga every day to release tension in my jaw, shoulders and neck, which has the fringe benefit of tightening up my jowl area..like a lot more than I expected it could. There are a lot of good videos on YouTube. You can also try googling “throat openers.” Hope this helps!

  10. georgina Southen Reply

    Hello! I apologise if I repeat a question on here.

    I have just had a skin consult regarding derma pen for my shallow acne scares caused by adult stress related acne.
    I’m 30, and under a wood lamp I’m showing hormonal pigmentation and I have a couple of dark spots that are visible without the lamp.

    The technician recommended 6 weekly sessions followed by a break, she recommends this every 6 months x 3.
    She hadn’t discussed needle length, but said this weekly approach is what the “founder of derma pen recommends”. Have you come across this technique in your research?

    As in clinic sessions are pricey, I’m considering doing the 2nd and third round at home. Great to hear that you had improvement in your dark spots, as my primary concern is the scarring.

    I’m excited! Thanks for the info! X

    • Cristina Reply

      Hi Georgina,

      Thanks for writing! I haven’t come across that technique in my research, nor do I know of any “founder of derma pen.” The only thing I know is what the studies in medical journals say, which is that the skin needs time for the collagen to form. That being said, the fact that it isn’t a well documented technique in the medical literature doesn’t necessarily mean it doesn’t work. Aestheticians are doing the work on the ground and often discover things unavailable to medical researchers who are encumbered by red tape. If I were you I would really focus on the reputability of the practice. Do they have a solid track record as evidenced by before and after shots? Is there a medical professional on staff like a dermatologist or similar? What are other people saying? Are there reviews? You could even just tell them that you have some apprehension about the treatment frequency of their technique because the majority of the peer review studies clearly indicate that the skin needs significant recovery time. See how they react. If their answers don’t fully satisfy you, if they seem defensive, or if for whatever reason you are uncertain, don’t do it. Listen to your instinct. I know all of this takes time that you might not have, but a little bit of patience goes a long way. Your face isn’t something you want to mess with, right? That’s what I would do if I was in your position. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

      PS. Do you use any actives at all? If your biggest problem is dark spots you can get pretty significant improvement from a good routine with the right actives and micro needling to increase product penetration. You could try that for 6 months (for much less $$$) and then assess and see if you want to go the pro route. Just a suggestion.

  11. Christina

    Thank you for this great information! I have been battling Malasma for years and I can’t wait to start this treatment. Which microneedling pen would you recommend?

    Thanks!

  12. Salesa Ramirez Reply

    Thank you so much for not only writing this article, but updating it. I started using a dermaroller 4 months ago, and while I am starting to see great results, I still do research to see if anything new has come out. Like with reading your article. I was under the impression that I could only do it once a month, at the most, finding out I should be doing it every two weeks is great. I’ve been tempted to do it anyways, but was scared to damage my skin. (I heal fast, never had any issues) I’m doing it for wrinkles, especially the ones around my mouth. I’ll be 49 in Oct, and other than those pesky lines, you’d never know. (not tooting my own horn, really, lol, I’ve just been told over and over).
    One of my only issues is, I’m still kinda lost as to what I can, or can’t put on my skin directly after using the roller. I found one article, that seemed to be informative, that had a list, but on that list were ingredients that are in EVERY facial serum/cream. I’ve been using, on a daily basis, several different things, from Paula’s choice Resist Retinol Serum, to Smyrna Vit c with Hyaluronic Acid and Vit E, Pur-lisse Blue lotus, or bay berry’s rosehip and hibiscus moisturizer, amongst anything else you can name. I’ve stuck with the Smyrna serum after the roller, but would like to add something else with it. I’ll be trying some of your suggestions listed here, I should be able to find one that will work well with the one I already use. For some reason, I’m under the impression not to use the retinol serum directly after using the roller, not sure where I got that information from though.
    Again, thanks so much for the great, updated article. Very informative, and very helpful.

    • Cristina Rosu Reply

      Hi Salesa! I’m so happy to hear you found this article helpful. I hope you find a serum that works for you. Generally I would say to look for something with ascorbic acid if you can tolerate it and apply that directly after needling. Most of the clinical studies use ascorbic acid so it’s a well researched addition with clinically proven benefits. That being said I think you can definitely use retinol after treatment if you prefer, the only caution I would note is that treatment increases product absorption quite a lot, which can make retinol much more potent and potentially cause some redness or scaling. Like with everything skincare, your mileage may vary. It really depends on your own skin and what it tolerates best. I would suggest patch testing with the retinol first before moving into full face treatment and then you can compare whether retinol or vitamin C works better for you. I’d love to hear what your results are!

  13. I have a couple of questions, first, doesn’t the vitamin C serum burn like heck when applied after microneedling? Second, does microneedling help actinic keritosis?

    • Cristina Rosu Reply

      Hi Rebecca,

      Whether the vitamin C hurts after micro needling depends a bit on the formulation. For most ascorbic acid formulations the answer is (unfortunately) yes, there will be some stinging. However, oil based formulations made with vitamin C ester like The Ordinary Tetraisopalmitate are oil based and go on with zero stinging. Of course, ascorbic acid is the most effective form but given that not everyone tolerates it well alternatives like vitamin C ester can be a good option for a lot of people and also prevent the stinging if that’s a concern.

      As for acitinic keratoses, I’m not very familiar with the condition and of course the best advice is to consult a dermatologist or other skin care professional but I can say that I came across this study which seems to suggest that micro needling improves the effectiveness of existing therapies for actinic keratoses to a significant degree using the same mechanism (the body’s healing response) to improve the appearance and condition of skin.

      Hope that helps!

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