Interest in Micro-Needling Grew 228% in 2014: Is the Wrinkle Reducer Really Worth It?

A current industry hot topic is micro-needling, commonly referred to as Collagen Induction Therapy or CIT. It’s quickly becoming a sought-after method for overall skin rejuvenation, with specific indications including skin tightening, wrinkle reduction, and improvement in the appearance of acne scars and stretch marks. The treatment received an average RealSelf Worth It rating of 75% in 2014, with an interest growth of 228% compared to the previous year.

Micro-Needling Before and AfterAs opposed to aggressive treatments like traditional lasers, dermabrasion, and deep chemical peels, micro-needling creates a controlled wound without removing the outermost layer of the skin. This results in decreased downtime, as well as a better chance of leaving the surrounding skin unaffected and healthy.

There’s a variety of micro-needling methods available, including stamps, rollers, and automated needling devices. Let’s break them down:

Stamps: Stamps are typically plastic hand-pieces with protruding needles on one end (typically .1mm-.25mm). While these are not as frequently used, they can be cost-effective for those wanting superficial needling. They’re easier for at-home use on smaller areas such as around the eyes and the upper lip, as well as providing a pathway for topical products to enter. At-home devices help stimulate cellular turnover to produce a healthier appearance, but they must be used on a regular basis with beneficial products to support the results.

Rollers: Rollers have multiple needles protruding from a drum, which is moved back and forth in several directions on the treatment area. Medical treatments with the roller can be aggressive, especially when a physician is treating deeper wrinkles, acne scars, or stretch marks. The roller has the most clinical studies showing its efficacy and seemed to be most the popular for awhile, but automated devices are now starting to become the treatment method of choice.

Automated Needling: Automated needling devices are glided across the face in three to four directions by a trained aesthetic provider. While the roller has shown to greatly improve the appearance of the skin, the automated devices can be altered to the individual patient’s needs. (For example, the depth the needles penetrate the skin can be adjusted from one area to another.) Automated devices also provide the user with more consistent needling, vertical insertion to reduce the risk of tears in the skin, and ease of use with an ergonomically comfortable design.

Day 2 After Micro-NeedlingIf you and your physician decide that micro-needling is a good fit for you and you concerns, expect to undergo a series of three to six treatments, depending on the severity of conditions. Treatments should be spaced four to six weeks apart, so as not to interrupt the collagen regeneration process. According to a study conducted by the University of Cape Town, micro-needling produced “at least 400% more collagen and elastin in the post-procedure” area. That said, it’s important to note that results may not be seen until three months following the first treatment, but can continue to improve for up to a year.

So, what will your skin look like immediately following the procedure? Patients who choose a treatment not resulting in pin-point bleeding (such as less aggressive at-home treatments) are typically pink and may be a little swollen for up to three days. You should avoid wearing makeup for 24 hours, but it shouldn’t interrupt your regular activities. More aggressive treatments by medical professionals can result is redness, swelling, and sometimes bruising for up to seven days.

Think micro-needling could work for you? As with any cosmetic treatment, it’s imperative to do your research. Speak with a trained physician about your concerns to find out if you’re an ideal candidate. If you’re considering purchasing your own device, you should only buy from a reputable company. The problem with at-home treatments lies in the increased availability of medical-grade devices being sold online to consumers. Anything past .25mm should only be done in a medical setting under the direction of a physician.

Have you tried micro-needling, either at home or in a medical setting? Let us know in the comments.

Terri Wojak

About Terri Wojak
Written by sought-after skincare professional Terri Wojak Terri Wojak has 20 years of experience in the aesthetic industry and is a respected authority on skincare in a medical setting and business development on multiple levels. She’s built 30 individual courses based on skincare and has trained over 10,000 estheticians and medical professionals on the importance of incorporating skincare into cosmetic medicine. More than 40 articles by Wojak have appeared in a multitude of industry magazines and she’s published two Amazon best sellers,Mastering Medical Esthetics and Aesthetics Exposed: Mastering Skin Care in a Medical Setting & Beyond.

Photo Credits: RealSelf user hchau76; RealSelf user Coco in Boston