I have been promising this blog for a while now – I think I found it hard to get started as it’s quite technical in terms of the information I wanted to share. But ultimately – its a product that can help get you the glow you want.
What is it?
Micro needling, clinically referred to as ‘collagen induction therapy’, is a rejuvenating skin treatment that can be performed at home or at a clinic. A Skin Roller (aka dermaroller) repeatedly penetrates the skin creating thousands of tiny microchannels that the skin perceives as microwounds. This stimulates the body’s natural healing process; production of collagen and elastin. The result is smoother, healthier, and younger-looking skin.
A dermaroller (the microneedling device) has a rolling head, equipped with hundreds of ultrafine needles that create micropunctures in the skin. The body perceives these microscopic channels as wounds, and prompts a healing process. Healing of the skin is mainly done by collagen and elastin production. And its the collagen and elastin that the skin requires to look plump, healthy and youthful. Other factors its helps with include skin texture, pigmentation, fine lines, scarring and sun damage.
What it promises:
- Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
- Reduce hyperpigmentation and give you a more even skin tone
- Exfoliate the skin
- Allow for better absorption of your skin care products
- Reduce scarring
- Reduce the size of your pores
- Treat acne and clogged pores
The skin roller I have been using is by Swiss Clinic – It is designed specifically for at-home use and the needles are made of silver-plated Japanese surgical steel. The spacing between the needles ensures that the ideal amount of serum can penetrate the skin, as well as ensuring ease and safety of use. Mine is 0.5mm and I use the gorgeous serum they also make which has five Hyaluronic Acids – essential for plumping our skin. I am very careful to make sure its cleaned properly after every use too and they have a great cleaning spray.
This is the roller and serum I use here.
My roller works on two levels:
- Simulates stress on the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing process.
- Creates micro channels to allow the skin to absorb 300% more serum than untreated skin is able to – meaning my products can work on a far deeper level – and I use less of them.
I had a few questions about the technical scientific side so approached my friend and very talented aesthetic Doctor Anna Hemming. Read our Q&A below for more details and a bit more info if you’re tempted to go professional and have a deeper treatment.
What can be offered with a clinic based method that can’t be done at home?
Clinic based micro needling using deeper derma-rollers (and anaesthetic cream), injectable products and serums added to this to maximise results, the use of intradermal injectables like the RRS brand which have 14 separate products the physician can mix and tailor to your skin needs. These are used in a 6 week course of treatment and can give some amazing results in tightening, firming, skin conditioning as well as lightening, removing stretch marks, cellulite, thickened volume under the chin.
Platelet Rich Plasma is also an excellent addition to an office Microneedling or Fractora RF treatment. Using your own plasma taken via a blood sample and spun in clinic to extract the PRP portion. It stimulates growth and collagen too and steps up the results from the needling on it’s own.
Microneedling can also be used with radiofrequency, I love the Fractora treatment which has 3 different Microneedling pin heads for the physician to select depending on target area, skin concerns and fragility. Treatment is done on anaesthetised skin and the area has multiple micro needle treatments with radio frequency stimulated inside the skin. This gives maximum tightening and skin improvements.
RADARA is a micro-channelling patch for the use around the eye area with a HA serum. This can be purchased through your local aesthetic physician too! It comes in a very neat box lasting 28 days with individual micro channelling patches for the area surrounding the eye.
What length needle should I use and what does it depend on?
The depth of the needle and other serums applied to the skin will determine the efficacy, cost and results. At home you would achieve minimal skin improvement with 0.1, 0.2, 0.3mm compared to physician Microneedling (up to 3mm). The longer the needle you can use the better, however you need to ensure your skin is very clean. I recommend Clinisept plus for skin disinfection before rolling and for sterilising the roller in between use. (Or 70% alcohol solution).
Needle length is also selected depending on the area you want to treat. For example, in clinic I would use a 1.0mm or 1.5mm for facial rejuvenation. 1.5mm for acne / scarring and rejuvenation. 2.0mm for stretch marks and 3.0mm for cellulite. At home you will have to work within your pain tolerance, the longer the needle the more painful it is. In clinic you have the benefit of topical local anaesthetic creams. Home treatment is a great way to continue to stimulate the effects created with a physician treatment. Home treatment rollers are often included in a treatment package along with a serum. Perhaps this is a really good way to start.
When should someone make the decision to go deeper and have it done professionally?
I think this is quite simple. Go to a professional when you want a deeper treatment, if you are not getting the results you want, for expert advice and a more targeted treatment with anaesthetic cream. When using Microneedling in clinic you should aim to have 2-3 treatments about 6-8 weeks apart.
What is the recovery time like?
Recovery time depends on the depth of treatment and whether RF is used. Very minimal after a home roller. Skin might be a little red, possibly a bit tight.
Clinic Microneedling with derma-roller you would expect to leave a finishing serum, PRP or other product on the skin until the next morning when you wash it off. On day 1 and 2 following treatment you would expect moderate swelling, redness, sensitivity to touch, itchiness and occasional petechiae (pin prick spots of bruising). There can be some serous fluid discharge from the needled skin and it may appear scratched. Around Day 3 the treated skin starts scabbing slightly and remains pinkish. At this point mineral makeup or colourscience products can be used on the skin. Day 4 the scabbing and redness subsides or is greatly reduced. Day 5 Treated skin heals and there is barely any evidence that the procedure has taken place. Most patients have minimal down time at about 48hrs. With minimal post treatment discomfort and minimal side effects (vs Laser,fraxel etc).
Aftercare experienced with Radiofrequency treatments are similar. Following RF treatment your skin will be pink (like sunburn) for a couple of days. The needle pin holes can scab and crust over. There are often 7000 or so on the face and neck area. Your skin will feel tight and slightly rough. This will pass after 5 or so days. Some carry on as normal, others might feel they want to take cover for a few days. Again reduced downtime compaired with CO2 fractional laser / Fraxel etc
When the skin has recovered from the skin needling treatment AHA, retinol or other skin treatment products can be resumed as per discussion with your physician. These help to keep the skin soft smooth and help to superficially resurface the epidermis.
What are the best serums / products to use after doing an at-home session?
My skills lie in physician only treatment. Therefore I have a huge depth of knowledge about the creams and serums avalible to my patients. For home use it depends what you are trying to achieve and who you see for your skincare products.
Whatever you use I recommend you do a patch test first to check for sensitivity.
Retinol cream – Tretinoin 0.5% (prescription only)
Some can sting the skin and make it feel red slightly itchy and possible flake a little.
How often should I do it at home?
This depends on the product, needle length, treatment additions and should be started gently and slowly.
Initially Derma-roller Microneedling should be used twice a week so the amount of serum penetration is controlled. You do not want to over stimulate the skin.
RADARA treatment is nightly pop the patches on both eyes for 5 mins.
Is it better at night or in the morning?
I don’t think there is a very best time of day as everyone’s routine is totally different. Please ensure that you sanitise the roller. Most sanitising solutions state that you should not rinse the roller with water before use, as this could actually re-contaminate it. The sanitising solution should evaporate rapidly which actually has a cooling effect on the roller needles making them less painful!
A good time is when you are relaxed, perhaps in front of the TV in the evening for 20 minutes. I would not recommend doing this immediately before bed, where you put your head on your pillow where several nights worth of skin cells, bacteria etc It is best to needle your skin at least an hour before bed.
Are some materials better than others in terms of the roller and needles?
Always used a reputable manufacturer with UK accepted regulation. Not all of these products need to be CE marked.
Personally I suggest using titanium rollers, this gives the needles a finer more durable edge (less pain and less irritation vs stainless steel). Titanium does not pit or damage like stainless steel so there is no tearing of skin (which could cause scaring). Some makes use a gold-plated microneedle to maintain sterility.
Is there anything to watch out for be worried about?
There are some things to look out for. However, if you are worried about anything you should go to see your aesthetic physician. If you do not have an aesthetic doctor then visit your GP. They will be able to help you although their knowledge about aesthetic procedures may not be extensive.
You must also use sun protection during the healing period to avoid any hyperpigmentation. If you do get this – it should normally resolve in about a month.
When to stop.
Stop using the roller when you have reached your goal. If your skin gets overstimulated, you are unhappy with the effect.
Anything that works nicely alongside (products and/or treatments) to get the most impact from it
Using an anti-ageing skin program set up by your aesthetic physician would benefit any Microneedling treatment. I love Calecim serum for use immediately following RRS, Radiofrequency Fractora and micro needling treatments. Containing stem cell technology, it helps improve results and maintain them too. They also make a couple of very nice creams for everyday use.
For years I have been working with ZO skin health and have been trained by Dr Zein Obagi in Beverly Hills. The products focus on returning skin back to youth, healthy, soft, smooth, pigmentation free. Sounds good doesn’t it. I would definitely recommend the core treatment products including the cleansers which are fabulous at removing unwanted skin oils as well as make up. The scrubs exfoliate and further remove oil from the skin. The oil control pads are aptly named too – resulting in skin that is ready for product application. Oil is responsible for much of the aging effect on the skin, including spots, large pores and acne but also breaking barriers within the skin so products cannot penetrate properly. The treatment creams vary depending on your skins needs, they include vitamin C and retinol. Finally, the hero product daily power defence and one of their amazing SPF’s are applied. Making your skin day ready and protecting it from UVA, UVB and HEV sun rays.
Zo is physician dispensed and available through a doctor or nurse prescriber on their website search area. I see patients for a skin assessment appointment before writing a personalised ZO regimen for them.
Hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading and please do contact Anna if you’d like to know more about any of her treatments or products that can help your own skins needs.