Microneedling – What Is It?

August 24, 2022

Woman receiving microneedling treatment

As we age, our skin shows signs of daily exposure to the sun, wind, pollutants, and other environmental components that lead to changes in skin’s texture, tone, and elasticity. Simply put, people begin to develop wrinkles, fine lines, and discolored areas of their skin as they age, and their skin may no longer be as full and supple. When this happens, you may want to consider minimally invasive cosmetic dermatology solutions, like microneedling, to improve the look and feel of your skin. According to Dr. Cuong Le of U.S. Dermatology Partners in Centreville, Virginia, “When the skin is injured, it goes to work healing itself. The new, healed skin is healthier and more supple. Microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic dermatology treatment that harnesses the power of skin’s natural healing ability to improve the appearance and texture of sun-damaged, aging, scarred, or otherwise imperfect areas of skin. Microneedling is also a great solution for those who want to improve the results of other cosmetic dermatology procedures or just give skin a refreshed appearance.” Keep reading to learn more about microneedling, as Dr. Le answers some of our patients’ frequently asked dermatologic questions.

How Does Microneedling Work?

The microneedling treatment process, according to Dr. Le, “Begins with an initial consultation with a dermatologist or aesthetic specialist who will examine the skin, answer any questions, and work with the patient to create a customized microneedling treatment plan. If the dermatologist and patient determine that microneedling is the right option for the individual’s skin health goals, you’ll need to come in for a series of treatment sessions that last between 15 and 30 minutes per treatment.” Before beginning treatment, your treatment provider will numb the area. Then, they’ll start the microneedling treatment. The procedure itself involves using a needle to make a series of small micro-injuries in the skin throughout the treatment area. The small perforations trigger the skin’s natural healing response, including increasing the production of collagen and elastin and accelerating the removal of dead skin cells, and the development of new, healthy skin cells. Microneedling may be used on its own or in combination with other cosmetic dermatology procedures to improve the health and cosmetic appearance of the skin.

What Are the Uses for Microneedling?

There are many situations where microneedling may be recommended. The most common use for microneedling is to improve the appearance of irregularities in the skin. Most often, microneedling is used on the face, but in some situations, this procedure may be recommended for treatment of other parts of the body. Some of the common reasons a dermatologist will recommend microneedling include improving the appearance of:

Microneedling is minimally invasive and considered safe and effective for most patients, including patients with skin of color. However, there are some situations where your dermatologist will not recommend this cosmetic dermatology procedure, including:

  • Anyone who has an active infection, and in some cases, those who are prone to infections.
  • Those with an open sore or wound on or near the area being treated.
  • People who take certain medications, including isotretinoin (Accutane) for acne.
  • Expectant mothers who are pregnant or actively trying to become pregnant as well as those who are breastfeeding.
  • Individuals who are receiving radiation therapy or who have received radiation treatment in the past.
  • Anyone who has experienced abnormal scarring (keloids or post-injury hyperpigmentation), or those who have a close family member with a history of abnormal scarring.

How Long Does Microneedling Take to See Results?

According to Dr. Le, “Some people notice a warm glow to their skin almost immediately after microneedling treatment. Skin will continue to show improvement throughout the initial round of microneedling sessions and for several weeks following the final session. Depending on the individual’s specific needs, the initial round of monthly microneedling treatment sessions can take anywhere from six to eight months.”

How Often Is Microneedling Required?

Following the initial round of treatment sessions, most patients need retreatment once a year to maintain the results of microneedling. However, each patient is different. Your dermatologist will outline a unique retreatment plan for ongoing care.

Are There Side-Effects?

When it comes to the side effects of microneedling, Dr. Le says, “In patients that experience side effects, most only have very mild side effects that clear up within a few hours or the first few days after microneedling. In rare cases, more severe side effects are possible. However, dermatologists take every precaution to minimize patients’ risks of experiencing adverse effects. Additionally, your dermatologist will provide aftercare instructions that promote healing and avoid or reduce the severity of many common side effects.”

Some common side effects include the following:

  • Redness, including small red spots or bumps in the treatment area
  • Itchiness and dryness
  • Irritation and inflammation
  • Tightness

In rare cases, you may notice some more severe side effects, and in the most serious cases, these adverse effects require intervention from your dermatologist. Some of the more serious, rarer side effects of microneedling include:

  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Peeling
  • Infection

How Much Does Microneedling Cost?

The cost of microneedling varies based on a number of factors. Some variables that impact the cost of microneedling include the size and location of the area being treated, the number of treatment sessions, and whether or not you choose to combine microneedling with other cosmetic skincare treatments. Your dermatologist will work with you in advance to create a personalized microneedling plan to meet your skin health goals.

Ready to Schedule Microneedling Treatment?

If you’re ready to get started with microneedling treatment or you’re interested in partnering with a dermatologist to develop the ideal skincare routine, we hope you’ll reach out to a local U.S. Dermatology Partners practice. Our skilled dermatologists and experienced dermatology team members help patients create effective skincare routines and plan for comprehensive dermatology solutions. Getting started is quick and easy. Simply take a few minutes to complete our online scheduling request form. A local team member will be in touch to finalize the details of your visit.

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