If someone told you that pricking thousands of little needles into your face could give you the smooth, soft, glowing skin of your dreams, would you do it? I would.
This post comes to you from ex-FP blogger, Brigette Muller.
Here’s the thing. I’ve had acne for 17 years. Seventeen. And I’ve spent the last five optimizing my diet, skincare routine, and supplement regimen to heal it. I can finally say that, after endless research and lots of experimenting (plus a ton of patience), it’s starting to clear up for good. But one thing I never really accounted for? Acne scars.
Microneedling is a treatment that uses a mechanized device to make thousands of teeny needle punctures in your skin, which stimulates real collagen production. Also used for a wide range of issues — acne scars to wrinkles and stretch marks — it can be done on almost any part of the body, too.
I had the pleasure of going in for a treatment with Lara Devgan, MD, MPH, FACS, who’s worked on some of the most beautiful faces in the world (Kim Kardashian included). I knew I was in good hands.
Read on to hear about my experience, and answers to what I’m sure are some of your burning questions with Dr. Devgan herself.
There’s really nothing you need to do prior to treatment. The one caveat? Microneedling is not advised for skin with active acne, so if you’re experiencing a breakout on the day of your treatment, it might be best to reschedule. This actually happened to me, so I pushed my appointment out a month and stayed hyper-focused on eating super well (and avoiding alcohol) to allow my skin as clear up.
The first step involves the application of a numbing cream to the treatment area. I knew I was about to experience thousands of tiny needle pricks in my face, so I welcomed this step with open arms. I chilled post-cream application for about fifteen minutes, taking a couple selfies as my skin began to tingle lightly.
As an add-on to the microneedling, I would be getting something called PRP (it stands for “platelet rich plasma”), which meant that plasma from my own blood would be applied to my skin during treatment. This has been shown to greatly increase results – and the part I was most excited about.
Dr. Devgan drew a small vile of blood from my arm, and ran that through a machine to separate the PRP from the rest of the blood. The result: a golden-colored serum that works wonders. She calls it “liquid gold.”
I leaned back in the chair and let out an exhale with a smile as Dr. Devgan began to work on my face. She did three full “passes” of microneedling on my skin, alternating each pass with an application of product – she applied one or two products from her skincare line, as well as, of course, the PRP.
The entire microneedling process took less than 15 minutes. Maybe even less than 10. It was quick, easy, and (mostly) painless. I did feel a teeny bit of pain near the bonier areas of my face like near my temples, but this was to be expected – and was certainly nothing I couldn’t handle.
Immediately after the treatment, my skin was quite red – and I was advised not to wear makeup for two days (even though I was going on a date the very next day. Damnit). As soon as I stepped outside into the craziness that is NYC, something came over me. I had no makeup on. My face was bright red and covered in my own plasma. Yet somehow, I felt more confident than ever. I walked down the street smiling at everyone who looked my way. Someone even asked me if I was Heather Graham. Like, definitely not, but I’ll take it.
Within 2-3 hours, the redness had calmed down considerably. It just looked as though I had a slight sunburn. After 48 hours, the redness was totally gone. My skin now felt a little dry and rough, but it wasn’t noticeable at all. This roughness went away by the next morning.
I’m now a week and-a-half post-treatment, and already seeing results. My skin is smoother and plumper, hyperpigmentation seems noticeably better, and I somehow even feel like my breakouts are healing faster. Since microneedling stimulates your natural collagen production, full results aren’t seen until about the 6-week mark (the time it takes for collagen to naturally do its thing). It’s really incredible that I’m already seeing results, and I can’t wait for what’s to come!
I would recommend this treatment one million percent. Dr. Devgan is a miracle worker — read on for our one-on-one interview, which will give you lots more details.
How does microneedling work?
Collagen Induction Therapy, also called microneedling, is a minimally invasive technique that boosts your skin’s production of collagen and elastin, two of the most important substances in maintaining plump, youthful, glowing skin.
Microneedling involves using a mechanized device to make thousands of miniscule needle punctures in the outermost layers of the skin. By precisely controlling the depth, spacing, frequency, and pattern of these needle pricks, I am able to stimulate your body to make more collagen in the areas where it needs it the most. Microneedling has been scientifically demonstrated to show improvement in fine lines, freckles and sun spots, scars, burns, pitted and non-pitted acne scars, stretch marks, and large pores.
Microneedling can be combined with a liquid treatment on the skin surface – such as growth factors, vitamin C, or platelet rich plasma (PRP) – to further improve skin quality, evenness and texture. This is highly effective because the skin absorbs more of these growth factors as a result of microneedling treatment.
Are there certain skin types that should avoid microneedling?
Skin types that should avoid microneedling are: ones that have open wounds, cystic acne, or active pustular acne, as microneedling can irritate these areas and exacerbate these conditions. Microneedling is safe on all skin colors, ethnicities, and races, as it has a very miniscule risk of hyperpigmentation, which is the main limiting factor with lasers and chemical peels.
I know microneedling is widely used for issues like acne scars, stretch marks, and fine lines – which seems to be the most common concern for your patients? In which area do you see the greatest improvements?
Although individual results and situations vary, most patients see me for microneedling to improve facial wrinkles, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, burns, surgical scars, and stretch marks – and, of course, for prevention of future facial aging. These are the areas where I’ve seen the best improvement.
I know that a numbing cream is often used before undergoing treatment. For those concerned about putting chemicals on their skin, it safe to undergo treatment without this?
Microneedling can be done without numbing cream; however, it can be uncomfortable for the patient, as each needle prick is at least 1.8mm in depth. If the patient chooses to use numbing cream, the face is cleaned with alcohol wipes once numbing has occurred in order to ensure that the cream does not seep into the skin while the microneedling procedure is performed.
How long do results last?
Results last indefinitely. Improved skin appearance begins to occur almost immediately, and collagen induction occurs around 6 weeks after treatment. The results of improved collagen production do not ever go away, but the natural history of collagen in the body is a progressive degradation and weakening. Think of it like hair color. You can get your hair highlighted, and those results will stay in place indefinitely. However, over time, new darker hairs will sprout out and require treatment.
How often do you recommend undergoing treatment?
For best results, microneedling can be repeated as frequently as every 6 weeks, or as infrequently as 2-3 times a year, depending on your concerns.
What would you say to someone who is interested but hesitant about receiving a microneedling treatment for the first time?
Microneedling is preferable to laser and chemical peels in many patients because it is safe for use in all skin tones, all parts of the body (including stretch marks on the abdomen), and all times of life (including pregnancy and breastfeeding). In addition, the downtime with microneedling is quite short, with transient redness usually lasting less than a day (as compared to one week or more with peels or laser).
Microneedling Collagen Induction Therapy is also a great technique for those who are concerned with their complexions but are reluctant to try Botox or fillers. Because it is mechanical and doesn’t involve any chemicals or neurotoxins, the technique is reassuring to many.
Do you have any major patient success stories you can share?
I’ve had many amazing success stories – patients whose acne scars have faded, patients whose wrinkles have dissipated, and patients who are able to go makeup free when they historically never would have because of the improvement in their skin tone and texture. I performed a microneedling facial for Kim Kardashian a week before she went makeup-free at the Balmain fashion show in Paris this past year, and she liked it so much, she put it on her app and Twitter.
Thanks so much, Dr. Devgan!
Have any of you tried microneedling before? Comment below – tell us your experience!