Skin needling: What can it treat, and how does it work?

Skin needling: What can it treat, and how does it work?
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Skin needling is a term you’ve likely heard in beauty circles or perhaps during a visit to your dermatologist. Also known as microneedling, it has become a popular treatment for various skin concerns. 

Often recommended by dermatologists and skincare professionals, this minimally invasive procedure has gained significant attention for its ability to treat acne and rejuvenate and revitalise the skin. But what exactly is skin needling, and how does it work its treatment on the skin?

Below is a closer look at how skin needling treatment works, its advantages, and the different skin problems it can help with.

What is skin needling?

collagen induction therapy diagram

Skin needling is a type of collagen induction therapy, a cosmetic procedure that stimulates collagen production in the skin. Microneedling does this by creating thousands of tiny, almost invisible puncture wounds in the top layer of the skin using a device with fine needles.

While the idea of multiple punctures might seem intimidating, these are extremely small and only superficially penetrate the skin’s surface. The true magic of skin needling lies in how the skin responds to these micro-injuries.

When the skin is punctured, it triggers a natural healing process. This process involves the production of collagen and elastin, two vital proteins that are key to maintaining our skin’s firmness, elasticity and youthful appearance. 

Basically, skin needling stimulates the skin to regenerate and repair itself, leading to a smoother, more vibrant, and healthier-looking complexion.

What is skin needling best for?

Skin needling is known for  addressing  many skin concerns, but it’s mainly famous for:

  • reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leading to smoother, more youthful-looking skin
  • remodelling the skin and filling in atrophic and depressed scars
  • improving the appearance of stretch marks by stimulating collagen growth in the stretched skin tissue
  • evening out the skin tone to reduce hyperpigmentation or uneven skin tone, such as melasma or age spots
  • improving overall skin texture, making it smoother and firmer
  • repairing and rejuvenating skin that has been damaged by prolonged sun exposure
  • reducing the thickness and redness associated with rosacea by strengthening the skin, reducing inflammation and enhancing blood flow
  • stimulating collagen production, keeping the skin firm and preventing early signs of aging
  • reducing the appearance of large pores. As the skin becomes firmer and more elastic due to increased collagen, pores appear smaller and less prominent.
  • stimulating hair follicles, which can encourage new hair growth. This could be due to the increase in blood flow and nutrients to the follicles, as well as the induction of stem cells in the area of the follicles.
  • increasing permeability for better absorption of skincare products

Tools for skin needling

Dermal rollers

dermaroller in use on a woman's face

Dermal rollers, or dermarollers, are handheld devices with rolling heads covered in tiny needles. Due to their ease of use and accessibility, they are popular for at-home skin needling treatments. 

While dermarollers are effective for various concerns like fine lines and mild scarring, they have limitations. The needle length in these devices is typically shorter than professional-grade tools, limiting their effectiveness for deeper scars or more pronounced signs of aging. 

Also, if using dermarollers at home, you must learn how to apply and control them properly. You don’t want to puncture sensitive areas or over-puncture your skin. You must also ensure your device and skin are sanitised before application to avoid infection.

Dermal pens

Also known as microneedling pens, dermal pens offer a more precise and controlled approach to skin needling. These devices resemble pens and contain a cluster of fine needles that rapidly puncture the skin. Its penetration depth can be adjusted, making dermal pens suitable for targeted treatments and sensitive areas. And because its tip is narrower than a dermaroller’s, it’s easier to use on narrow areas such as around the nose, eyes and lips.

The Secret Micro-Needle Fractional RF System

This advanced system combines traditional microneedling with fractional radiofrequency (RF) technology. It delivers RF energy deep into the skin via fine needles, significantly enhancing collagen and elastin production. The Secret RF system is known for its precision and effectiveness in treating various skin issues, including deep wrinkles and significant skin laxity, with minimal downtime. This system is a professional-grade tool used in clinical settings for more intensive skin rejuvenation treatments. At ENRICH Clinic, The Secret is our go-to microneedling treatment.

Does skin needling really work?

The short answer is yes. Skin needling works mainly because it triggers our body’s natural wound-healing process.

But, of course, the success of skin needling can vary depending on your skin type, specific skin concern, the depth of needle penetration and the overall quality of the treatment. Also, your body’s natural collagen production rate, which can be influenced by age and lifestyle, plays a significant role in the results.

Where you get the treatment also affects skin needling’s effectiveness. Professional treatments, especially when combined with technologies like radiofrequency (as in the Secret RF system), tend to be more effective because the device can penetrate deeper and be controlled more precisely. At-home treatments can work but are generally more suitable for minor skin concerns and require consistent use over time to see noticeable results.

How often should skin needling be done?

The ideal frequency and interval between sessions vary, depending on the type of skin needling you’re undergoing, your skin type and condition, and your specific treatment goals. Here’s what you should consider:

Professional treatments

If you’re going the professional microneedling route, such as those done with dermal pens or the Secret RF system, you’ll typically need one session every 4 to 6 weeks. This schedule allows your skin enough time to heal properly and begin the process of collagen production. For comprehensive results, especially if you’re targeting deep wrinkles or scars, your dermatologist may recommend a series of 3 to 6 treatments.

At-home treatments

If you’re using at-home tools like dermarollers, you can treat your skin more frequently, usually once a week to every other week. Since these tools are less invasive, your skin can tolerate more frequent sessions. 

Your skin’s reaction 

The reaction to microneedling can vary from person to person. Some people might recover quickly and be ready for the next session sooner, while others may need more time between treatments. Observing how your skin heals and feels after each session is essential.

Your goals

The frequency of your treatments also depends on what you’re trying to achieve. More intensive treatments for issues like scars require longer breaks between sessions, whereas lighter, preventive treatments could be done more frequently but with less intensity.

What are the disadvantages of skin needling?

Although generally beneficial, skin needling has its downsides, too. Some of these are:

Risk of skin irritation and redness

One of the most common side effects of skin needling is temporary skin irritation and redness immediately following the procedure. This is a natural response to the tiny injuries made by the needles. While these symptoms usually subside within a few days, they can be inconvenient if you have social or professional commitments.

Potential for bruising and swelling

Depending on your skin’s sensitivity and the intensity of the treatment, you might experience bruising and swelling. This is more common with deeper needle penetrations often used for treating scars or wrinkles.

Risk of infection

Any procedure that involves breaking the skin can lead to infection. While this risk is low when a professional performs the process under sterile conditions, it’s higher with at-home treatments if you don’t maintain proper hygiene.

Possibility of skin damage

If not done correctly, skin needling can cause damage, such as tearing, especially with at-home treatments. This is why you should only have this procedure under the guidance of a real professional.

Not suitable for everyone

If you have sensitive skin or skin conditions, this procedure might not suit you. We cannot stress enough that professional advice is always the best way to go before undertaking any procedure. Home treatments may be appealing, but without proper advice, they can leave patients with issues that may be worse than the initial skin problem. 

Experience skin needling at ENRICH

Ready to rejuvenate your skin with skin needling? Book an appointment with us today.

Please Note:

*With all surgeries or procedures, there are risks. Consult your physician (GP) before undertaking any surgical or cosmetic procedure. Please read the consent forms carefully and be informed about every aspect of your treatment. Some surgeries have a mandatory seven-day cooling-off period to give patients adequate time to be sure of their surgery choice. Results may also vary from person to person due to many factors, including the individual’s genetics, diet and exercise. Before and after photos are only relevant to the patient in the photo and do not necessarily reflect the results other patients may experience. Ask questions. Our team of dermatologists, doctors and nurses are here to help you with any of your queries. This page is not advice and is intended to be informational only. We endeavour to keep all our information up to date; however, this site is intended as a guide and not a definitive information portal or in any way constitutes medical advice.

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