What Is Microneedling? How It Works And All Your Questions Answered
July 16, 2023
By Emma Fan
You may have heard of microneedling, a treatment that seems to help nearly every skin condition. Here we'll discuss what microneedling is, different types of microneedling, and how it works.
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 right after microneedling is also absorbed better.
Benefits of Microneedling
Immediate skin-plumping effect the next day
Can reduce acne scarring, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation
Lasting results compared to fillers or light to medium depth chemical peels
Almost no risk of skin trauma
Suitable for nearly all skin tones and types, even deep skin tones.
Microneedling causes a healing response in the skin that improves different kinds of scarring including dark marks, atrophic acne scars & can help reverse skin damage caused by the sun. This is because microneedling helps to renew the skin and can stimulate the formation of collagen which is the foundation of skin.
Who Can Try Microneedling?
Microneedling is suitable forall skin tones, but it's best to wait if you are 18 and older.
Microneedling can also be done on other areasincluding areas around the mouth, neck, body, arms, and legs. Just don't microneedle around the eye lids.
Who's Not Suitable For Microneedling?
Do not try microneedling if you have
Active Rashes or infections
Eczema or Rosacea
Taking certain medications such as Isotretinoin
Prone to keloid scars
People who have a lot of active acne, active rashes, active infection, open wounds or cuts on the skin and keloid scarring(hypertrophic scars/poor wound healing), or are taking medication like isotretinoin are not suitable for microneedling. It may take a longer time to recover for people who havepoor self-healing ability.
If you break out occasionally, you may try microneedling to treat scars, but make sure to avoid going over the acne as that may spread the acne causing bacteria.
How Does Microneedling Work?
Skincare ingredients can have trouble going past the skin's natural outer barrier; because it isvery difficult to penetrate ingredients through the uppermost layer of skin.
Most ingredients will beblocked by the skin barrier, that's why some skincare formulas make products quite harsh at high concentrations, or add other ingredients to force extra penetration through the skin barrier.
Microneedlingsolves this problem as it creates micro channels so skincare ingredients can effectively absorb into the skin. Don't be alarmed, these micro channels close up within a few hours and aren't visible to the naked eye.
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 a higher chance of scars forming, and increase in fine lines and less plump appearing skin.
After microneedling, it will create controlled micro injuries to signal our skin to cure these micro injuries. Once the skin receives the signal, it recreates collagen to fill in the microchannels and the surrounding area get repaired too!
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, dark marks, and fine lines over time.
Think of it like building muscle, you work out and our muscles create microtears, but over time builds back up stronger as you continue exercising a muscle group.
Creating Microchannels for Skincare Absorption
The Banish microneedles’ length is 0.5 mm which is ideal for home use.Since the needles won't be long enough to reach the dermis layer, which contains nerves and blood vessels, Banish's microneedling technology won't cause pain or bleeding.
The microchannels created from microneedling allow your skin to absorb more of your skincare products applied afterward, which improves the efficacy of your products and absorption percentage. You can also use a more gentle formulated product and get more out of it.
It's important to avoid applying products that are too strong like benzoyl peroxide, retinoids, exfoliating products, or products with a lot of fragrance and preservatives right after microneedling.
Microneedling For Hyperpigmentation
Microneedling has been shown to reduce hyperpigmentation. 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.
During the healing process after a microneedling session, the old layers of damaged skin will peel off and the fresh new layers of skin will be pushed to the surface.
This study shows that microneedling can improve both acne scarring and hyperpigmentation at the same time. The patients noticed 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?
When you are using a microneedling tool designed for home use, from a reliable source along with proper handling and cleaning, it is considered safe.
At home microneedle tools use needles that are shorter compared to what professionals use at spas or clinics.
Don't use anything 1mm or longer at home as that could increase the risks of trauma to the skin. Longer sizes should be used in a professional setting only since you are getting close to areas that contain blood vessels and nerve endings.
Banish uses a 0.5 mm microneedle stamp. This is the minimum length needed to stimulate collagen formation without causing trauma to the skin.
Microneedling at home can be safe if you follow the tips below:
Always disinfect tool before use
Always cleanse skin surface thoroughly before microneedling. Wipe skin with an alcohol wipe afterwards for extra precaution.
Never share your microneedle tool - personal use only
Never microneedle over active acne or rashes
Patch test your skincare product that you apply after microneedling on a small area of skin first to make sure you don't have a reaction to the product.
The material that Banish is using is 24k gold plated titanium which is safe after disinfecting or sanitizing. Just make sure to replace after 8 uses as the microneedles may blunt, which happens with any microneedling tool.
Titanium is stronger than stainless steel, but much lighter weight. It does not corrode or tarnish, and uncommon to be allergic to unless you have a confirmed titanium allergy which is rare.
Can I Microneedle On Hypertrophic Scars?
Yes, a small studyshows that a combination therapy of microneedling and application of silicone gel sheet improved hypertrophic or raised scars by 68%.
If you tend to keloid however, we recommend consulting with a few professionals first.
What you need to know before Microneedling
Although Banish uses the highest quality and safest materials, all microneedle tools should be sanitized before use. For home use, soak the bristles in 70% isopropyl alcohol to kill bacteria on the bristles.
Does Microneedling Damage Skin?
Since it’s all based on the reversible nature of human skin, with the proper use, 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?
According toresearchers, the microchannels created by 0.5 mm microneedles have been reported to fully close within 18 hours. Microchannelsclose in several hours depending on the length of needles.
When can we see results?
It usually takes 4-6 weeks to see minor results.
For a bigger difference on acne scars or fine lines, it can take up to 3 months and results will vary from person to person. Keep in mind that 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 after trying microneedling with the Banisher.
Are The Results Permanent?
The short answer is yes the results will be permanent unlike fillers, but you have to take into factor that skin is always growing and changing as we age.
No skin enhancement procedure is truly permanent. Similar to exercising and building muscle, our muscle mass will decline as we naturally age. Even if you reach your desired results, the natural aging process would make it not permanent.
At-home Microneedling VS. Professional Microneedling
Needles are longer
Needs professionals to operate
Quicker effectivess and Better benefits especially on deeper scarring
Longer downtime and side effects
Suitable for a larger range of people
Faster recovery because of shorter needles
Convenient at home
Less than $100 and can do up to 10 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, while professional may provide faster and better results for deep scarring or deeper fine lines.
How Much Does Microneedling Cost?
In office microneedling may cost anywhere from $300 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:
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, replace it after 10 uses or every 3 months, and don't ever share your microneedle tool.
Side Effects of Microneedling
Several scientific clinical trialshave done and the results proved that microneedling is a safe and effectivetherapeutic option for the treatment of scars.
Here are some possible side effects after microneedling
Bleeding is common after getting microneedling done in office, especially if long needles were applied for the treatment. At home microneedling shouldn't cause bleeding.
Sanitize your skin and microneedle tool thoroughly beforeusing to eliminate this risk. Don't use your microneedle tool over open wounds, acne, rashes or other skin conditions. Do not share your tool with anyone and replace it regularly and there's pretty much little to no risk.
If doing it in office, make sure that you are going to a reputable place, it is the person doing your procedure that matters, and follow the aftercare they give you.
Also be active in your treatments, don't continue getting microneedling treatments in office if you do notice a reaction or possible infection forming.
Itching & Mild Redness
Mild 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, these type of side effects are not common after microneedling especially with home use tools.
If the needles are 1mm or longer, do not do the treatment by yourself and ask professionals to help. With proper sanitation and standard products and steps, the possibility of experiencing these side effects is less than 0.1%.
Types Of Microneedle Tools
There are different tools available like derma rollers, stamps, and motorized microneedle tools.
Out of the home use tools, the stamp design tool is generally safer and more foolproof to use as the technique is more simple. Stamp tools also allow the needles to penetrate skin vertically which creates a better controlled micro injury.
Roller tools have a slight risk factor of 'tram track' scarring caused by the wrong technique and overly aggressive pressure.
Roller tools also have the needles roll into and out of the skin at an angle compared to a stamp, so some argue that it creates larger scoops out of the skin that are more like micro tears rather than a smaller controlled microchannel.
Powered tools are typically used by a professional since they can go quite deep into the skin and may also have a small risk of creating micro tears if used with the wrong technique or dragged on the skin.
How to use a Microneedling tool?
Use the Banisher microneedling tool up to once a week. Do not do a microneedling session too often since it takes time for skin to heal and recover. Consistency brings better results. If skin is sensitive, reduce frequency to once every 2-3 weeks.
Disinfect the Banisher using alcohol and let the bristles touch the alcohol for at least 5 minutes. Clean skin and hands thoroughly.
Let the Banisher air dry for 2 to 3 minutes
Use even pressure, press the Banisher 4 to 5 times on the areas you want to treat, making sure to avoid using on any active acne or rashes.
Do not drag or twist the Banisher when it's on the skin.
Sanitize the Banisher again and place the protective cap back on.
What Skincare Should I Apply After microneedling?
Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid is the most popular form of topical applied.
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.
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 Serum is a fresh vitamin c serum to apply after microneedling that isn't too concentrated and it's very hydrating. Its ingredients contain L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid. It can help the healing process without overly irritating our skin.
You may have heard some rumours that vitamin c shouldn't be applied after miconeedling because it causes granuloma's but after we read the entire study, the patients were all reacting to the same formula of vitamin c from a particular brand.
After patch testing a few of the known ingredients in the serum they hypothesized they most likely reacted to a fragrance or an unlabeled preservative in the serum - not necessarily vitamin c or all vitamin c serums. Banish's Serum does not have any of the same ingredients as the c serum that caused reactions in the study.
Staying moisturized is also important after microneedling.
Keeping skin moisturized is important so skin is protected and less prone to irritation as it heals. The best product to help our skin stay moisturized is always a good cream or moisturizer. The Banish Serum is also hydrating containing the humectant glycerin.
What should you avoid after microneedling?
Avoid Exposure to the Sun (Sun protection)
Use sunscreen 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 UV damage.
Avoid exfoliating ingredients
Avoid products with BHA or AHAs and Retinol (Vitamin A), they can be too irritating to apply after microneedling. Give your skin time to recover from microneedling before applying these types of products.
Avoid Wearing Makeup
You should avoid wearing makeup for at least 8 hours after microneedling. Since your skin has open channels - wearing makeup may lead to clogged pores 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.
Finer and sharper bristles compared to other tools
Needles go into the skin vertically each time
Lower risk of injury compared to rolling tools
In conclusion, microneedling is an amazing technique to combat acne scars and help with many other skin concerns that pop up whether you choose to do it at home or in-office. Take a look below to see some customer submitted results from microneedling.
You can find more examples @banish Instagram account and on the Banish website.