Most of us don’t keep the flawless soft skin of our youth for very long. Life, sunlight, pregnancy, work, adolescence, alcohol, smoking, and more all contribute to the ongoing degeneration of our skin. Are there ways to keep your skin looking fresh and young? We think so! Microneedling therapy, a type of dermabrasion, has proved to be very successful at rejuvenating the skin.
What is Microneedling Therapy?
Microneedling therapy is a technique in which your cosmetic surgeon will use a roller with steel blunt needles to penetrate the upper layers of your skin. The needles penetrate rapidly, safely injuring the deeper layers of the skin and causing microscopic deposition of collagen at each needle penetration. This treatment softens the sharp edges of the skin irregularities. As the skin heals, it becomes thicker and more resilient. The most common site for microneedling is the face, but other areas may be treated as well.
What Condition Does Microneedling Treat?
Microneedling may be used for a variety of skin conditions, ranging from mild acne scars to an enlarged nose (rhinophyma) caused by an inflammatory skin condition called rosacea. This procedure may be used over large surface areas, such as the entire face, or over small portions of the face, such as around the mouth to treat fine wrinkles. Microneedling may be used in conjunction with other procedures, such as a face lift, chemical peel or scar revision, but generally not at the same time.
Below are the most common conditions treated with microneedling:
- Improve the look of acne scars
- Improve the look of scars from an accident or prior surgery
- Smooth fine facial wrinkles
- Improve the appearance of stretch marks
If you have a skin condition for which you would like treatment, contact a plastic surgeon to schedule a consultation on what type of treatment would best treat you. Microneedling therapy will not always be the best solution for people with severe stages of the above mentioned conditions, and a face lift, chemical peel or other procedure may be a better option.
Explain the Procedure:
The areas that will be treated are cleaned and marked by the surgeon. He will apply a local anesthetic to the skin and allow it to take effect for about 45 minutes.
The surgeon treats one small area at a time. As the procedure is penetrating the layers of skin, minor bleeding is to be expected.
Once the full area has been treated, the surgeon will apply an ointment and sunscreen. The procedure is performed in your doctor’s office on an outpatient basis, so ensure that you have someone available to drive you back home where you must rest and recover.
The Recovery Period:
Recovery varies depending on the size and depth of your microneedling therapy. Usually, there is redness for the duration of the day of the procedure, and there may be itchiness for several hours or a couple days. The effects of microneedling therapy can last approximately one year or longer.
This is significantly less time than the recovery for deep or large area dermabrasion. For these, regrowth of skin usually occurs in 5-8 days, during which scabbing and itching will occur. The new skin is usually pink or red in color, which fades in 6-12 weeks.
Most people find there is little to no pain usually associated with microneedling therapy and are back to their normal activities the following day. Following the therapy, your doctor may also prescribe certain types of skincare products to help prolong the effects of the derma rolling therapy.
Properly caring for your skin following your treatment is vital. Your surgeon will give you a sheet advising specific protocols to follow. This will normally involve:
- Cleansing the skin a couple times each day to avoid infection and rinse away any crusting or scabs. Use warm water and wash gently.
- Following each cleansing, a serum should be applied for as long as your physician recommends. This will keep the area nourished as the skin heals.
- Taking any antibiotics or antivirals that your plastic surgeon has prescribed for you.
- Coming in to the office for all follow up visits to ensure that you are healing properly and there are no signs of infection.
- Avoiding sun exposure until after the skin has completely healed. If you are exposed to the daylight, use a high powered sunscreen to protect your skin, as the tender new skin will be easily damaged by the UV rays.
Are there any risks?
As with any surgical procedure, there are some risks. You may have increased risks and not be a good candidate for this procedure if you:
- Have a history of abnormal scarring
- Have an active herpes infection or other skin infection
- Have a disorder of the skin, blood or immune system that would impair your ability to recover
- Have used a drug to treat acne within the last 6-12 months
- Have recently had a facelift on the area that you would like to treat; other areas of the face may still be treated, however.
Other elements will determine the efficacy of the procedure as well, such as your skin type and color, the level of expertise of your surgeon, and your lifestyle. Before and following the procedure, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, drink lots of water and it is advisable to cease smoking.
When considering a surgical procedure, it is always advisable to research thoroughly and consult certified professionals. Your plastic surgeon will be able to examine your skin and provide a personalized perspective on whether microneedling would be most effective for your condition. Schedule a free consultation with Dr. McIntosh for further information on this amazing procedure.