What is microneedling? It's the process of puncturing the skin with a tattoo gun-like device at 0.1mm-2.5mm. This is beneficial in 2 ways. 1. These punctures act like an irrigation system on the skin, creating pore-like holes that active skincare ingredients can penetrate deeper through, allowing them to treat the deeper layers of the skin where that they can't normally reach. 2. These punctures are small injuries (that don't scar) so your body goes into repair mode, boosting collagen and plumping the skin, similar to how a laser works, just a different aggressor. People see reduced acne scars, smoother texture, fine lines and wrinkles plumped out, and promote hair growth (I'm always sure to hit my eyebrows and hairline)
Microneedling vs Dermaroller - Microneedling goes straight down into the skin creating holes parallel to your pores, the creates less visible damage and is easy to heal. Dermarollers go in at an angle and can damage the skin. Dermarollers are also difficult to sanitize, Microneedling uses 1 time use disposable needles.
How to use.
- I like to make sure there's no dead skin that can get in the way of the needles, so a gentle scrub or clay mask work great to make the skin smooth. I also use retinol products every day leading up to and at least 5 days after the procedure, this makes sure skin is its smoothest.
- This isn't the most pleasant feeling, it's like a tattoo all over your face. For anything over 0.5mm, I recommend numbing with lidocaine prior to treatment. I use the LMK 4% lidocaine which can be purchased OTC at your local pharmacy. Price ranges $30-$65 for a tube. (I also just purchased Numb 520 from Amazon, it's way cheaper and 5% lidocaine and it works great) Applying a medium layer all over the face and cover with plastic wrap for 20-30min. You want the face VERY numb, especially the forehead, with the bone just beneath it, that part hurts the worst.
- After you've rinsed that off (please remember you can't feel your face, the product is probably off, it just feels weird) I clean the skin off with alcohol, you don't want any bacteria on the skin prior that could get into the holes.
- I like to put a treatment on the skin, depending on your concern, 1 to get the first boost into the openings 2 to give a slip to the gun to make the pen glide easier. I usually use a hyaluronic acid serum and/or Vitamin C serum
- Now you're ready for the fun part. Choose a needle , either 9, 12, or 36 prong. Only do the 36 needle if you're ready to have a very red face for a few days. Your pen should have a range from .25mm-2.0mm or 2.5mm. You can go as high as 2.5mm on the face (forehead, cheeks, temples, chin, jaw, neck) .25-.5mm on the eyes and nose (be careful, men who have thicker skin can usually handle .5mm, women may .25mm especially on the nose) and .25mm on the lips. I do not recommend needling the eye lids. The deeper you go, the better the results you will have, but also the longer the down time. If you start bleeding, you're doing it right. My forehead will typically bleed at 2.0-2.5mm, if you find you're not bleeding, especially on the cheeks, try holding the skin taut. You can do the 2.0-2.5 every 8 weeks, 1.0mm every 4 weeks, and .25-.5mm every 2 weeks. I like to do the intense treatment every 8 weeks, and do the .25-.5mm at the 4 week mark before a mask, aha peel, and retinol. Gliding the pen over the skin can be a little difficult at high lengths, so a stamping method may be needed, especially on the forehead, you don't want to feel the skin pull.
- Your face will be red and may be a bit bloody, take toner on a cotton pad and clean up the skin. Follow with your active treatment - Vitamin C for brightening, Hyaluronic Acid to plump and hydrate, and/or Peptides for firming. You may also chose to do a sheet mask and/or mild AHA peel, which will go super deep, so be ready for your skin to start peeling after a few days.
- Always follow your treatment with retinol, it just works. Your skin will be red and irritated for 2-5 days but after that you get this "holy shit" glow that makes all that pain worth it
I've seen med spas charge from $500-$1000 per session for microneedling, doing it at home is way more cost effective, but please use caution! I don't want anyone stabbing their eyeball with a 2.5mm needle or getting an infection from reusing needles.
Where to buy
There are a lot of microneedling pens on the market, I have one similar to this one, but there are plenty out there. Just be sure to get one that has a rechargeable battery, no body wants to deal with a cord. Be sure to also get needles from the same manufacturer to make sure they fit your gun. Please, never reuse needles, that's gross.
I like something with a nice slip so the pen can easily glide. Lately I've been using my essence, Dr Ci Labo VC100 Essence, it has amino acids, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and a nice slip that lasts, making it easy to glide the pen over your skin.
If your main concern is brightening, stick with a Vitamin C serum over after your treatment, as of lately, my favorite has been the Skin Medica Vitamin C + E Complex $58, I didn't love the silicone texture at first, but the results make it worth it. For added brightening, use the Dr. Jart Brightening Solutions Mask $9 right after needling, before your serums, that mask kicks ass.
- Hyaluronic Acid
If your main concern is hydration and plumping out fine lines, go with a Hyaluronic Acid treatment. I'm loving the Kate Somerville DermalQuench Liquid Lift $95 and Dr Perricone Hyalo Plasma $135. Boost up with a hydrating sheet mask directly after your treatment, I love the SK-II Facial Treatment Sheet Masks $17, $95, or $135, they kinda do everything and just make you look perfect.
One of my absolute favorite serums is the Skin Medica TNS Essential Serum $150-281 depending on where you buy it. It's dual pumps contain "Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media" on one side (allegedly baby foreskin stem cells) and a bunch of antioxidants and peptides on the other. If you can afford this Serum, it's definitely one of the ultimate anti-aging products, I ❤️❤️❤️ it.
- AHA Peels
Korres Wild Rose Petal Peel is an amazing 2 step peel that exfoliates and brightens with AHAs and Vitamin C. I've used this one the most after my microneedling treatments and as a weekly treatment, its one of my all time favorites.
Minimum 5 days prior to and 5 days after microneedling, you should be using a retinol. If you have sensitive skin, yes you will peel a ton and have dry irritated skin, but isn't it worth it for the results after? If you have a Rx tretinoid, use that, if not, these are a few of the retinols I use.
Skin Medica has 3 strengths in their Retinol Complex - .25 for sensitive skin, .5 for more tolerant skin, 1.0 for those of us who use everything on the face and have no problems. This is one of my favorite you can buy without a prescription.
A313 $33 is still probably my favorite, even more so than prescription. I love the thick texture of this French Vitamin A cream, and usually apply it as the last step in my PM routine, it always gives great results, especially for the low price point.
After my treatment tomorrow night I will be trying out the Dr Perricone Thio-Plex Intensive 2 Step Brightening System $145 which is an all over mask and overnight spot treatment to brighten the skin. I've been meaning to try it and what better time than the new year! For my eyes I'm gonna to use the new Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment, I got some samples as Sephora 100 point perks and I've loved the results!