How does skin needling work?
The Dermapen 4 is a device which contains 16 medical grade sterile micro-needles in a disposable cartridge which glide over the skin and move vertically up and down penetrating the surface of the skin to a depth determined by your therapist. This delivers thousands of controlled micro-trauma injuries to the upper layer of the skin which kickstarts your body’s natural healing and repair mechanisms, promoting collagen and elastin production. In the process your body naturally replaces the damaged tissues including old scarring, wrinkles, stretch marks and scarring. This can produce surprisingly effective results in just a few short treatments with imperfections visibly being replaced by plump, glowing fresh collagen.
What is the procedure?
At the beginning your treatment your therapist will thoroughly cleanse the skin on the area being treated, and then will apply a numbing cream to the skin which will eliminate any discomfort during the procedure. Following the numbing cream the skin is disinfected and a intensive moisturising hyaluronic acid serum treatment is applied ready for the skin needling to commence.
The needling involves gliding the head of the Dermapen 4 device over the skin in a smooth sweeping motion allowing the needles to penetrate in and out of the skin to the desired depth according to your skin type and treatment objectives.
You will feel a slight sensation associated with the needling however it should be pain free and most people find the feeling quite satisfying or therapeutic. Some areas such as the forehead, hairline and jawline areas may be more sensitive than others, and if you do feel any discomfort you should notify your therapist and they can alter the speed and/or depth accordingly.
Once the needling is complete your therapist will apply a compress face mask to which soothes the skin and boosts the healing process.
We recommend following your treatment with an LED light therapy session which complements the micro-needling by activating the collagen production within the skin and really boosting the recovery process.
What to expect after your treatment?
Stage 1 – 1 -2 days Inflammation
Once your treatment is complete your skin will usually feel quite warm and slightly raw, a bit like a case of mild sunburn and there will be a redness and inflammation present, possibly with some pinpoint bleeding. This will vary according to skin tone and sensitivity with results usually more apparent on fairer skin types in particular.
Within 2-3 hours some of the inflammation will have subsided and any pinpoint bleeding will have stopped. Within 24 hours you can resume your normal skincare routine and everyday activities.
During this phase the body is largely still in alarm and repair mode and white blood cells are storming the area to disinfect and clear debris in order to allow the repair process to get underway. Minor downtime is typically experienced during this phase with most patient’s opting to have a treatment then return home, and are able to return to work or attend social appointments the following day with no issues.
Stage 2 - 3-5 days – Healing
From day 3 onwards your skin should have returned to its typical complexion however it will feel softer and fuller and more radiant than normal, with a healthy glow about it that often surprises people. In this phase the body is now well into the repair process with an abundance of fibroblasts, keratinocytes and epidermal cells flooding the area to create new healthy growth on the repair sites. From this phase onwards patient’s skin will look better than it did pre-treatment, and no down-time should be experienced.
It is recommended during this phase to wear an all day sunscreen and to avoid chlorinated swimming pools if possible.
Some skin flaking may occur during this phase and is not a cause for concern, rather an integral part of the healing and repair process. Indeed it is a sign that the treatment has worked effectively and to the right depth of penetration.
Phase 3 (days 6–30) Remodelling
This is the final stage of the repair process where the newly created collagen and elastic forms healthy new skin growth, in doing so remodelling the surface of the skin leaving a slightly renewed appearance compared to pre-treatment. The result being a dermis which contracts, causing a tighter, fuller skin surface and a radiant youthful glow.
Why is skin needing so effective?
Skin needling utilises micro needles to create microscopic trauma sites onto the skin’s surface, piercing the outermost layer of the epidermis (the stratum corneum). These trauma sites act as a signal to the body’s natural repair mechanisms and it responds by sending a burst of skin cells including fibroblasts to the sites which then form new collagen fibres and work to repair the microscopic damage.
The nature of the even and repetitive trauma sites causes the new collagen to repair from the bottom up and in doing so evenly fills the skin’s surface levelling out scars and wrinkles and replacing pigmentation in the process. This results in more even, thicker, fuller and more elastic skin than pre-treatment, and tends to remove blemishes and pigmentation over time.
What are the benefits of microneedling?
Microneedling is becoming very popular treatment as it has a number of benefits:
The microchannels created by microneedling increase the absorption rate of serums, increasing their overall efficacy. Medical studies have shown that microneedling can increase serum absorption by as much as 1,000 times.
It can be performed on all skin types and most areas on the body.
Microneedling can be combined with other acne scar treatments like subcision, chemical peeling, microdermabrasion and fractional resurfacing giving maximum benefits.
It leads to regenerative healing, as opposed to cicatricial healing (with a risk of scar tissue formation) with most other alternative treatments.
It is more affordable than laser resurfacing and does not have the associated risks. Six to ten sessions at a gap of four weeks are generally sufficient.
Can be easily personalized by going deeper in some areas where skin damage requires a more aggressive approach.
Microneedling vs lasers vs chemical peels vs microdermabrasion. Which is better?
Treatments such as laser resurfacing or dermabrasion, offer a significant improvement in facial scars but are invariably associated with considerable downtime and longer recovery time. This interferes with the individuals’ daily activities. Treatments with microdermabrasion and non-ablative lasers are associated with minimal downtime but do not show the same level of efficacy as microneedling. Microneedling can be used on areas that chemical peels or laser resurfacing cannot, such as around the eyes. With a lower risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring, it’s safer for darker skin tones than lasers. Deep chemical peeling used for the treatment for scars may render the skin more sensitive to photo damage and dyschromia. In contrast, microneedling preserves and thickens the epidermis over time.
History of skin needling
Skin needling as a procedure can be traced back to the early 1900s when in 1994 a Swiss-French dermatologist Dr Philippe Simonin published the results of his “Electroridopuncture (ERP) technique” which examined the results of treating scarring and skin ageing in 600 patients. In 1997 Andrea Camirand, a Canadian surgeon, published a report on the use of ink-less tattoo guns to improve scarring on patients via breakdown of scar collagen tissue and the synthesis of new tissue due to the natural repair process catalysed by the micro-traumas induced by the repetitive needle injuries.
In the year 2000 the Dermaroller was patented by German inventor Professor Horst Liebl, which heralded a significant breakthrough in the field and enabled much more rapid and significantly less tedious treatment times, opening up the commercial appeal.
In 2011 the original Dermapen 1 was created by Stene Marshall right here in Sydney, Australia, and a decade later the 4th generation device represents the state of the art in modern medical grade skin needling treatment.