What Is Microneedling? How It Works And All Your Questions Answered

April 28, 2020 16 min read 0 Comments

what is microneedling

   By Emma Fan

I’m Emma Fan, a college student at Georgia Tech studying chemical engineering, and I'm now a researcher in the microneedle laboratory at Georgia Tech. When I was in primary school, my best friend, Ivy, was always confident and really energetic. However, everything changed when she reached twelve years old. Her skin began to develop lots of pimples and acne.

She had tried all kinds of skincare products, and visited the dermatologist a couple times to manage her acne until college.  In the process of having acne, her skin ended up with a lot of acne scars which ended up being her main concern. I’ve seen my best friend became afraid to socialize with others! I really wanted to help her.

Before I came to college, I heard about a technology called  microneedling, that is becoming increasingly popular for it's ability to renew skin and treat acne scars.  I thought to myself "If microneedling could really help Ivy's acne scars, I needed to learn more."  So, I decided to start my own research into microneedling and learn how it works. That's what motivated me to became a researcher in the microneedle laboratory.  

 

Let me introduce you to an in-depth microneedling guide along with all it's benefits and costs. 

We'll review  what is microneedling,  how microneedling works,  the safety of microneedling,  effects of microneedling on acne scars, and  how to use microneedles.  

We’ll also help you figure out where to buy quality microneedling tools. You can see some before and after results from microneedling too.

What Is Microneedling?

What Is Microneedling?

Microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy. It's based on the 1950's cosmetic treatment called mesotherapy. Microneedling is a non-invasive procedure where several sterile micro needles are pressed into the skin. These pricks create tiny micro holes that trigger the skin's repair system to create new collagen and elastin fibers. Topical skincare applied directly after is also absorbed more effectively.  

Benefits of Microneedling

  • Immediate skin-plumping effect 
  • Lasting results
  • Almost no risk of skin trauma
  • Rapid recovery 
  • Suitable for nearly all skin tones and types 

According to research, microneedling causes a healing response in the skin that improves scarring, acne scars & can help reverse skin damage caused by the sun. 

How Much Does Microneedling Cost?

In office microneedling may cost anywhere from $200 to $700 per session in the U.S. and it depends on the area. Although the number of sessions can vary, most people need three to six sessions for optimal results. With this in mind, you may spend anywhere from $600 to $4,200 overall. 

Factors that determine the exact cost of microneedling sessions include:

  • Your provider
  • Your location/area 
  • The office that is providing the treatment
  • Length of treatment
  • How many follow-up treatments you need
  • How well your skin responds to treatment

A usual treatment course of microneedling consists of 3 to 5 sessions spaced at least 4 weeks apart - with results being seen in 3 months.

Some may decide to treat their acne scars with microneedling at home. If you go this route, use a tool that is safe for home use like the Banisher 2.0 and don't ever share your microneedle tool. 

Who Can Try Microneedling?

    Microneedling is becoming more and more popular in recent years since it iscost-effective, can be done onall skin types and skin tones, and can be done on areas that are not suitable for other skincare treatments. Microneedling maximizes the potential of skin regeneration and cell turnover.  As we age, we lose the ability to regenerate collagen as efficiently.

    Microneedling solves a large problem with skincare product formulations, which is getting the ingredients to be able to pass the skin barrier and absorb into the skin through microchannels created by the needles.  

      What Does Microneedling Do?

      1. Improves fine lines and wrinkles
      2. Prevents dark spot formation
      3. Reduces hyperpigmentation
      4. Increases collagen in the skin
      5. Reduces Acne Scars
      6. Reduces the appearance of stretch marks
      7. Increases the rate of skin cell turnover

        When your skin is facing several problems at the same time (such as acne scars, indentations, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, etc), microneedling is one of the most effective treatments that can help you solve all of them simultaneously.

        How Does Microneedling Work? 

        Skincare knowledge 101

        How microneedling can cure acne scars and improve fine lines? (Why microneedling beneficial?)

        Does microneedling work on hyperpigmentation?

        To understand how microneedling works, I’ll explain more about the different layers of skin and skin functions.

        Layers Of The Skin

        Our skin is the largest organ and it provides indispensable protection for us. Skin is divided into two layers, the Epidermis and Dermis.

        microneedling drawing epidermis level 0.5mm

        The outermost part of the epidermis is the Stratum Corneum, whom's job is to protect bacteria out and to keep our tissue fluids from evaporating out. The Stratum Corneum consists of 10-15 layers of keratinized cell epithelial tissue. The Stratum Corneum also contains 10-20% moisture, which is a factor that keeps skin healthy and hydrated.

        The Dermis Layer is the tissue structure below the Epidermis Layer. The Dermis Layer is the last part of the skin and can reach a depth of 4mm.

        The Dermis layer is where there arecollagen and elastin fibers are and the main source of skin elasticity. Deeper in the dermis is the subcutaneous layer which has nerves and nerve endings,blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, and some muscle.

        Traditional cosmetic ingredients are slowly absorbed by the skin; however, it isvery difficult to penetrate a certain amount of ingredients through the uppermost layer of skin.

        Most ingredients will beblocked by the skin barrier since the barrier is working hard to block out bacteria. Only a percentage of the ingredients are able to be absorbed by the skin. Our microneedling technology solves this problem as it creates micro holes where the needles poke so skincare ingredients can effectively absorb into the skin and stimulate collagen production.

        What are the Main Skin Benefits Of Microneedling?

        before and after banisher 2.0

        1. Stimulates Collagen Production To Reduce Acne Scars

        Collagen is the most abundant protein found in our skin. As we get older, our production of collagen reduces. Thereduction of collagen leads to the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, and loose skin.

        Microneedling is also calledcollagen induction therapy. The needle pricks signal our skin to cure these micro channels. Once the skin receives the signal, it recreates collagen to fill in the hole. As a result, the uneven parts of our skin are filled withnewly produced collagen, and it pushes out an old layer of skin to improve acne scars and fine lines over time.

        2. Creating Microchannels for Skincare Absorption

        The Banish microneedles’ length is 0.5 mm. During the treatment, the microneedlescreating micro wounds (holes) on our skin. Since the holes don't reach the dermis layer, which contains nerves and blood vessels, Banish microneedling technologywon’t cause pain or bleeding.

        The microchannels allow your skin to absorb more of your skincare products applied afterward, which improves the efficacy of your products and absorption percentage. It's important to avoid applying products that are too strong, exfoliating, or with a lot of preservatives right after microneedling.

        Does Microneedling work on Hyperpigmentation?

        banish acne scars results

        Yes, microneedling has been shown to reducehyperpigmentation.  Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of a part of the skin caused byexcessive production of melanin. Many factors may lead to hyperpigmentation, but most commonly it happens from the inflammation after acne. Other factors include exposure to sunlight, allergic reaction, hormonal imbalance.

        Through microneedling,small injuries or 'micro wounds' are made on the skin. During the healing process,  the old layers of skin will peel off and form collagen for new layers of skin

        This study shows that microneedling can improve both acne scarring and hyperpigmentation at the same time. The patients got general “lightening” of dark spots and improvement of scarring. The experiment got a 79% satisfaction rate, indicating the expected results and safety of the microneedling treatment.

        Safety Of Microneedling

        Is at-home microneedling safe?

        Microneedling who can do it?

        People who are not suitable for microneedling

        Side effects or complications of microneedling

        Does microneedling damage skin?

        Is at-home Microneedling safe? 

        When you are using a microneedling tool from a reliable source, and proper handling and cleaning it is considered safe.  Ones that are 1mm in length and longer could cause more risks versus the shorter ones. Longer sizes should be used in a professional setting only.

        There are several different sizes of microneedles in the market. Each length has a different function. Longer needles (1 mm or longer) are usually used in professional microneedling treatments since they are more dangerous and can reach the deeper levels of skin that contain nerves and blood vessels so it's best for a professional to use those tools. 

        Banish uses a 0.5 mm microneedle, which won't reach the dermis layer or cause unnecessary trauma when used as directed. With the 0.5 mm needles’ length, the microneedling tool can still stimulate the formation of collagen and create microchannels for skincare ingredients.

        banisher 2.0 close up of bristle

        The material that Banish is using is 24k gold plated titanium which is completely safe after sterilization.  

        Gold is chemically unreactive, so it won’t easily react with the vapor in the air or the sweat on the skin. However, since pure gold is soft, it cannot be used as needles. It’s a good candidate for theouter coating of the needles

        Titanium is as strong as steel but much lighter weight. It does not corrode or tarnish, and it's non-allergenic.

        Banish utilizes the advantages of both these two metals and forms the 24k gold plated titanium microneedle product in the Banisher 2.0.

        What you need to know before Microneedling

        Although Banish uses the highest quality and safest materials, all microneedle tools require sanitation before usage.  The best way is to soak in 70% isopropyl alcohol to kill bacteria on the bristles. The skin should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized with alcohol or witch hazel before use too.  Banish microneedle products are safe to use by following the instructions on the website or in the provided booklet.

        Microneedling Who can Do it?

        • All ages
        • All skin types and colors

        Microneedling is suitable forall ages, but it's best to wait if you are older than 16. It works better when someone is younger because the skin has a higher repair and regeneration ability, and younger people usually don't have as much skin damage. It doesn’t mean older users won't see results, as it will still be effective but may require more patience.As a result, by microneedling,  people of all ages can see changes including smoother skin, improved skin texture, and lighter acne scars on their skin.

        It can be done on areas that are not suitable for laser resurfacing or peeling, including areas around the mouth, neck and the back of the hands.

        Who's Not Suitable For Microneedling?

        People who have  active acne, active rashes, active infection, open wounds or cuts on the skin and keloid scarring (hypertrophic scars/poor wound healing) are not suitable for microneedling.   It may take a longer time to recover for people who havepoor self-healing ability. It is also important to note that it is not suitable for those who are using Acctaune.

        Does Microneedling Damage Skin?

        The mechanism of microneedling is utilizing human skins’ natural reactions to micro-wounds, healing, and producing collagen, to improve acne scars and fine lines. Since it’s all based on the  reversible nature of human skin, with the proper method of application, microneedling does not cause long term damage to the skin. The microchannels created to heal and close up within a couple of hours. 

         

        When do the Microchannels close up and When Will The skin barrier return to normal?

        According toresearchers, the microchannels created by 0.5 mm microneedles have been reported to  close within 18 hours. These microchannels are  reversible in nature and close in several hours depending on the length of needles. Therefore, microneedling technology doesn’t damage skin.

        Microneedling: When can we see results?

        Microneedling doesn’t have immediate results since the skin will slowly repair itself. You may see redness on your skin at first, which is normal and a fuller skin tone and texture in several hours. 

        Based on the  consumers of Banish, it usually takes 4 weeks to see changes in the skin. For a large difference in fading acne scars, it can take a few more months to see results and results will vary from person to person. There is no exact answer to this question since everyone has a different skin healing time and different degrees of scars. If you want to see the progress of microneedling, check our consumers’ self submitted before-and-after on acne scars.

        Are The Results Permanent?

        The short answer is yes the results will be permanent, but you have to take into factor that skin is always growing and changing.  No skin enhancement procedure is truly permanent. The results of microneedling will show in a few months and some patients will have continuous skin improvements after microneedling.  Even if you reach your desired results - skin will go through changes as we age so the natural aging process would make it not permanent. 

        At-home Microneedling VS. Professional Microneedling

        Professional Microneedling

        • Needles are longer 
        • Needs professionals to operate
        • Costs more
        • Quicker effectivess and amplified benefits especially on deeper scarring
        • Longer downtime and side effects

        At-home microneedling

        • Suitable for a larger range of people
        • Faster recovery because of shorter needles
        • Convenient at home
        • Less than $100 and can do up to 8 treatments
        • No bleeding and only causes a temporary redness
        • Good for maintenance and sustaining results but less effective results

        In comparison, both treatments have pros and cons. At-home microneedling is more cost-effective, available, and convenient.

         

        Side Effects of Microneedling

        Several  scientific clinical trials have done and the results proved that microneedling is a  safe and effective therapeutic option for the treatment of scars.

        Here are some possible side effects after microneedling:

        1. Bleeding

        Bleeding is common after getting microneedling done in office, especially if long needles were applied for the treatment. In most circumstances, bleeding is not an issue because it is caused by needles reaching blood vessels in our skin which should only occur in a professional setting.  If you experience bleeding after 24 hours  please see a doctor. 

        2. Infection

        In order to eliminate this complication, sterilize your skin and microneedle tool thoroughly before using. Do not share your tool with anyone and replace it regularly and there's pretty much little to no risk.

        3. Itching

        A little bit of pain is possible after microneedling, but most people do not feel any pain at all.  Itching can be common because your skin is healing the microchannels created on your skin and the healing process can feel like an itchy sensation. The itching feeling should go away after a day.

        Again, side effects are not common after microneedling. If the needles are 1mm or longer, do not do the treatment by yourself and ask professionals to help. With proper sterilization and standard products, the possibility of experiencing these side effects is less than 0.1%.

         

        Microneedling VS. Chemical Peels for Acne Scars

        chemical peel is a chemical agent applied to the skin and causes  controlled destruction of skin layers. There are different degrees of Chemical peel based on how deeply the peel penetrates the skin. After the upper layers of skin are removed, the  regenerated tissues regrow to form the outermost layer of skin. It can  improve acne scars, fine lines, and uneven skin tones.

        A common chemical peel is Jessner’s peel which is a medium depth chemical peel. Its solution contains lactic acid (skin renewal & moisturization), salicylic acid (keratolytic and anti-inflammatory), and resorcinol (skin renewal).

         Pros of Chemical Peels

        1. Renew skin: A Chemical peel gets rid of the dead skin cells and renews skin for fresh, smoother skin appearance. It’s one of the most effective treatments for removing acne scars, fine lines, and skin pigmentation.
        2. Quick: A Chemical peel takes 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on the type of chemical peels.
        3. Mild: The superficial and medium chemical peels are relatively gentle and safe.
        4. Efficient: The deep chemical peels can remove some deep acne scars. Patients can choose the type of chemical peels based on their needs.
        5. Convenient: Superficial chemical peels can be done at home. There are several products available online.

        Cons of Chemical Peels

        1. Allergic reactions: People with sensitive skin and allergic skin is not suitable for chemical peeling.
        2. Infections: Since chemical peels largely destroy our skin, including the stratum corneum and skin barrier which prevents the entry of bacteria and fungus, infections may happen.
        3. Uneven skin pigmentation, higher risk of hyperpigmentation for people with darker skin tones. Some aggressive chemicals may damage our skin. People may get uneven skin pigmentation, especially for those who have a darker skin tone.
        4. Dryness, itchiness, and soreness: These side effects are common to chemical peels, especially people with sensitive skin since it removes the layer of skin. The areas around eyes, nose, and mouth are dangerous since the acid may burn them the most.
        5. Expensive: The cost varies from $150 - $6000 depend on the type of chemical peels if you do it by professionals. 

        The mechanism of chemical peeling and microneedling is similar: the  natural process of skin renewal. They  both can be done at home to reduce acne scars, fine lines and improve skin tones.

        The biggest difference between them is microneedling is less invasive because it creates microchannels and lets them heal without removing the whole layer of skin, while chemical peelingremoves all the affected areas. As a result, it takes a longer time to recover for chemical peels.  Chemical peels also have a higher risk of causing hyperpigmentation in those with more pigmented skin especially if they are getting a medium or deep peel.

        The advantage for chemical peels is deeper peels work better ondeep acne scars than microneedling. However, the drawback is that chemical peelscannot be applied to people with darker skin tone and sensitive skin because of the risk of causing hyperpigmentation and the range of surfaces it can be applied is not as broad as microneedling.

        How to use a Microneedling tool?

          What should you avoid after microneedling?

          • Avoid exposure to the sun
          • Avoid makeup
          • Avoid “active” chemical ingredients
          • Avoid ice face
          • Avoid sweating

          How often to microneedle at home?

          The recommended time for using the Banisher microneedling is  once a week at home. Do not do a microneedling session too often since it takes time for skin to heal and recover. If you cannot consistently use it, the result won’t be as effective as you expected.

          How to use the Banisher 2.0 microneedle tool? (check our video)

          1. Sterilize the Banisher using alcohol and let the bristles touch the alcohol for at least 5 minutes
          2. Let the Banisher air dry for 2 to 3 minutes
          3. Use light and even pressure, press the Banisher 4 to 5 times on the areas you want to treat, making sure to avoid pricking active acne. 
          4. Rotate the Banisher about 90 degrees whenever you lift it up, and press down again. 

           

          What Skincare Should I Apply After microneedling?

          Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid is the most popular form of topical applied.  Professional treatments apply PRP which stands for platelet-rich plasma taken from our own blood and separated with machines.

           Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

          Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that maintains the synthesis of collagen on human skins. In order words, it accelerates skin repair, which can reduce acne scars, and it is a perfect product for anti-aging. The research study shows that vitamin C also helps the photoprotection from UV A&B and inhibit melanogenesis, which may cause hyperpigmentation.

          According to the researchers, using Vitamin C with microneedling had a 63% possibility of leading to smoother skin. Applying Vitamin C after microneedling can amplify the benefits of both of them.

          Banish Oil is a fresh vitamin c serum to apply after microneedling that isn't too strong and it's very hydrating. Its ingredients contain L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin E, aloe vera, rose water, and ferulic acid. It can help the healing process without overly irritating our skin. 

          Stay moisturized

           Staying moisturized is also important after microneedling.

          Drinking water is the easiest way to stay hydrated. Oxygen and nutrients were delivered to the wound using water. A lack of water will disrupt normal cell function and delay the wound healing process.

          Except for supplying moisture through drinking water, we should also hydrate our skin by applying natural skincare ingredients directly on our skin. The Banish Vitamin C Spray contains Vitamin C, tea tree oil and aloe vera. Vitamin C is the antioxidant that promotes collagen, brightness and an even tone in the skin. Tea tree oil and aloe vera can calm the irritated skin after microneedling.

          The best product to help our skin stay moisturized is always a good cream or moisturizer. The Banish Vitamin C crème is natural and doesn't leave a heavy or greasy feel.

          What should you avoid after microneedling?

          Avoid Exposure to the Sun (Sun protection)

          Do not go outside for the rest of the day after microneedling because ultraviolet light may cause sun damage to your skin while it is still healing.  It's best to microneedle in the evening so you don't have to worry about the sun and you can go to bed after. 

          On the next day, you can wear sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) value of 30 or more when you are outside. Without sun protection, microneedling may lead to higher PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) risk because of sun exposure. 

          Avoid Makeup - When Can You Wear Makeup After Microneedling?

          You should avoid wearing makeup for at least 24 hours after microneedling. Since your skin has open channels - wearin gmakeup may lead to infection and irritation.  It doesn’t take a long time to heal the skin for most people when using the Banisher 2.0 as instructed. You should be okay to wear makeup the following day. 

          Avoid “Active” Chemical Ingredients

          There are lots of skincare ingredients that may be harmful to apply after microneedling. Alpha Hydroxyl acid and Retinol (Vitamin A), which can help reduce acne scars, may irritate the sensitive skin. Give your skin time to recover from microneedling before applying these types of products.

          Avoid Sweating

          Exercising should be avoided after microneedling since sweating may lead bacteria to enter our skin. It may cause infection and adverse reactions. So steer clear of any activity that could cause you to sweat after treatment.  Also, swimming should be avoided after microneedling for 24 hours.

          Where to buy a quality microneedling tool?

          banisher 2.0

           Banisher 2.0 (Derma Stamp)

          • 24k Gold Coated Titanium Bristles promotes collagen
          • Lasts 2x as long as the first Banisher
          • Finer and sharper bristles
          • Less irritation so you can use more often
          • Needles go into the skin with 90 degrees
          • Lower risk of needle stick injury

          banisher 2.0 versus dermarollers

          The Banisher Roller used the technology of  dermaroller, the first appeared microneedling product for skincare. The new  Banisher is safer, more convenient, more effective for deep scars, and causes less irritation. It prevents the risk of "Tram track" scarring which may be caused by rolling microneedles.

          In conclusion, microneedling is an amazing technique to combat acne scars and help with many other skin concerns. Take a look below to see some customer results from our Banish Soldiers. 

          You can find more examples @banishacnescars Instagram account and on the Banish website.

          Microneedling Results Before-And-After 

          banish results on acne scars


          "I won the original Banisher + Banish Oil in a giveaway from @prettyprogress23. I have been using the Banisher + Banish Oil all the way up until a month/two months ago when I switched to the Banisher 2.0 + Oil. Let me be very frank when I say that this product is the ONLY product that has worked for my acne scars. It is literally a miracle at-home spa treatment for acne-prone skin. I have super sensitive, acne-prone skin and have struggled with acne/acne scars since the 6th grade (now a third year college student) and I will continue to buy Banish until the day I die. 1000/10 rating. Do not hesitate, buy these products. Your skin will thank you. "
           

          Submitted By Customer Used  Banish Kit
          and Pumpkin Enzyme Masque. Age 14, caucasian skin

          "I was in such a hard time in my life and I felt so empty but now I love myself again and I have used the Banisher about 4 times and I see a difference after about a week of each use."

          Submitted By myjourney3212 Used  Banish Starter Kit

           "I remember trying so many products trying and trying to find something to help my skin. Spending so much money on products that “guaranteed” to help my skin. I honestly was just giving up at one point and thought this was just gonna be my skin forever honestly. I came across @banishacnescars and decided I’ve give one more shot and that was honestly the best shot that I ever did take. The banish kit is what DID THIS. Literally AT HOME, in my own comfort! Amazing if you ask me."

          Submitted by Jeni. Age 21. Used Banish Starter Kit 

          "I’ve been using the banish starter kit for approx. a month. I have definitely been seeing results. I use the Banisher every two weeks. I use both masks 1-2 a week. and the elixir and vitamin c after Banisher. So far so good. Left is before Right is after"

          Amazed by the awesome power of microneedling? I know I can’t wait to take this back to Ivy when we meet again this summer. What are you waiting for?  Let us know in the comments if you would give microneedling for acne scars a try! 

           

          references:

          https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/needling-your-way-to-healthier-skin

          https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/jocd.12520 

          https://www.evms.edu/media/departments/medical_group/aesthetic_center_new/A_Review_and_Update_of_Treatment_.pdf



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