We are seeing a surge in press and products relating to skin ‘microneedling’. This is a term that is used somewhat broadly and encompasses several treatments that use short, sharp needles on a pen or roller device to treat the skin. Derma rollers have been around the longest, and often these are what “at-home” needling devices are. In general the goal of these procedures is to stimulate collagen production, revitalize skin texture and address mild scarring and discoloration. This is achieved by making tiny holes in the skin which promotes new collagen production, and also forms channels to allow skin care products to better penetrate.
Derma rollers marketed for home use are typically very small needles mounted on a roller. This is rolled along the skins surface with little discomfort and does not leave visible breaks in the skin or cause bleeding. This does not mean they are completely safe. They have not been FDA approved for home use, and require meticulous care to keep the tool clean.
Microneedling pens are typically used in a physician’s office. Larger needles are used and these often draw blood, requiring sterile technique and more down time after the procedure. This procedure needs to be performed by experienced hands, with guidance about pre and post-treatment protocols. Often the needling procedure includes the delivery of stem cells or growth factors into the skin after the skin is punctured. The idea is that the small holes created by the needles allow a deeper penetration of these factors and can promote skin revitalization.
I hesitate to encourage people to go out and buy these to use at home without getting some type of evaluation with a skin care expert, to make sure this would be appropriate for your skin type and skin concerns. I have yet to try one myself, so look for a product review soon. As for office procedures, there is definitely a lot of “buzz” and it may have a place among the less-invasive procedures. Stay tuned.