The Risks And Benefits Of Microneedling At Home
Microneedling is not a new facial treatment. Its core principle? Forcing the skin to stimulate collagen and elastin. This facial, minimally invasive with a very short downturn, can help treat a lot conditions: acne scars, wrinkles, pigmentation issues, etc. Until now, patients had their microneedling facial done in a spa or by a board certified dermatologist. However, endorsements of this treatment by socialistes like Kim Kadarshian led to another growing trend: microneedling at home.
The coming of devices such as home derma rollers accelerated this trend. More and more people are trying this skin care technique meant to stimulate collagen and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Practice away from board certified dermatologists and skincare experts, is microneedling at home safe? Should patients, especially those with a sensitive skin, stick with specialized clinics or spas when it comes to such treatments?
Is microneedling at home safe?
What is microneedling?
Microneedling is a skincare procedure that is minimally invasive and that stimulates collagen and elastin production. In other words, it is a collagen induction therapy but using a lot of small needles to puncture the first layer of the skin. The tool used during the treatment is called a derma roller. It is covered in steel tiny needles that puncture the skin and cause physical trauma.
Microneedling is used by board certified dermatologists and estheticians to treat skin conditions such as acne scars, scarring, alopecia, skin pigmentation issues, stretch marks, rosacea, loose skin as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
The purpose of a microneedling treatment is to generate new collagen and skin tissues for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. It works on all skin types and complexions. The microneedling process works to rejuvenate the skin by boosting collagen production. This in turn reduces the appearances of fine lines and wrinkles; and elevates the overall texture of your skin.
In addition, board certified dermatologists can use microneedling to deposit medication, such as topical tretinoin or vitamin C, deeper into the skin. Microneedling is a popular facial treatment because it is less expensive than laser treatments.
For example, treatments such as fractional CO2 laser that treat acne scars can cost up to $700 per session. Microneedling works on all skin types and is actually safer for darker skin. Indeed, it does not involve heat like laser treatments, which can affect skin pigmentation and color. Microneedling at home is meant to offer the same benefits.
How does it work?
Microneedling is a collagen induction therapy. It boosts collagen and elastin production by causing trauma to the skin. Collagen is an essential protein that helps keep the skin looking youthful, firm, soothe and texture. Aging causes the decline of collagen in the skin, contributing to wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Skin can also lose collagen due to injuries, such as acne scarring, stretch marks and other scars. Microneedling is not a quick fix as it involves the growth of new skin. One treatment usually takes ten to twenty minutes, depending on how big the area is. Most people will need four to six treatments before they can see a difference.
A microneedling treatment is very straightforward. First, you will get a numbing cream smoothed onto your face so you can’t feel the tiny needle pricks. The esthetician will then move the derma roller around your face. The needles will make small cuts in your skin which can cause a bit of bleeding. The esthetician may spread a cream or serum on the face after.
Most people get microneedling on the face. However, it can be done on other parts of the body. For example, microneedling on the thighs can help treat stretch marks.
Is microneedling safe?
A 2018 systematic review found that microneedling is a safe and effective way to rejuvenate the skin and treat scars and wrinkles. However, the researchers acknowledged that microneedling might not be the best treatment to all skin conditions. At present, there is only one FDA-approved microneedling device, and it’s for professional use. Thus, we can assume that done by a professional, microneedling should be safe.
Another study found that using an anti-aging treatment along with microneedling didn’t address wrinkles, but it did improve the skin’s overall radiance, texture, tone, brightness. Another concluded that, when done in a professional setting over at least four weeks, the skin appears younger and smoother than without the treatment.
Although microneedling is considered a safe procedure, it still has risks, even when done by a professional: swelling, discomfort at the site, redness, bruising, dryness, flaking of the skin. Bleeding may also be more of a risk for people who have bleeding disorders or who are taking blood-thinning medications. If the right precautions are taken, risks and side-effects will be minimized.
The benefits of microneedling at home
The increase in popularity of microneedling led to more people trying home treatments. Home devices such as home derma rollers are now available which makes microneedling at home possible. Of course, home derma rollers are much cheaper than a session with a board certified dermatologist or at a spa. Furthermore, those derma rollers have shorter, more blunt needles than those used in spas and clinics.
Microneedling is a minimally invasive collagen induction therapy. However, home treatments are weaker than in spa treatments. Indeed, home devices are not meant to penetrate the skin. Thus, microneedling at home will not be as uncomfortable. This also means that home treatments have a limited response and results. Yet, home devices will still increase blood flow which will temporarily brighten the skin.
The risks of microneedling at home
Skincare specialists warn against people microneedling at home. Home treatments seem to have side effects to be aware of. According to specialists, microneedling can cause significant damage if it is not carried out by experts. They worry that the boom of affordable home derma rollers is convincing more and more people to try microneedling on themselves, without taking the proper precautions.
Buying a cheap derma roller can only damage the skin rather than improve it. Those home devices are also more difficult to clean. If not thoroughly disinfected, derma rollers can increase the risks of infection and injury. Without the regulation and expertise of a dermatologist, microneedling can easily lead to scarring and complications – and when it comes to your face, you really do not want that.
People doing microneedling at home are more likely to miss the contraindications, such as a breakout of cold sores, rosacea, acne, skin cancer or thin skin – and end up with infection and scarring. Microneedling needs to be done by a trained professional.
Microneedling is a form of controlled wounding meant to stimulate healing within the skin. It is a long term treatment and not a quick fix treatment at all. It involves the insertion of tiny needles into the skin. They need to be sterile and technique is key. If there is a failure to administer the treatment effectively, it can result in many serious skin and health issues.
Advice from our facialist
It may be easy to give into a low price point and the idea of an affordable treatment in the comfort of your home. However, microneedling at home is not safe. It is a long-term treatment that will show results after months and will require multiple sessions.
The treatment actively wounds the skin to stimulate healing capabilities and it has some side effects patients must be aware of. The best way to minimize those side effects and potential complications is to go to a trained facialist or board certified dermatologist who will be able to take precautions to ensure the safest experience.
We offer a microneedling treatment at Infinity Laser Spa as well as a free consultation with our facialist to answer all the questions you may have and adjust the treatment to your skin.