1+1=3 – how to maximise the anti-ageing benefits of microneedling
Text: Yan Yan
If you have even the slightest interest in skin care, you will most likely have heard of hyaluronic acid – a natural substance in the skin that has a stunning capacity to attract and hold vast amounts of moisture. This means it works overtime, replenishing the skin to enhance the look and texture. You may also have heard of microneedling, or dermarolling as some call it. A treatment that stimulates collagen production and creates thousands of microchannels in the skin, allowing it to absorb up to 300% more skin care than untreated skin is able to. Well, guess what – if you combine the two, you have one of the most powerful anti-ageing treatments available at your disposal.
A substantial increase in the number of clinics in London, New York and Los Angeles that offer microneedling treatments with hyaluronic serums vouches for the efficacy and popularity of the treatment. And simultaneously, we are beginning to see at-home treatments on the market. We decided to have a look and compare the two: The biggest difference between the procedures performed in clinics and the at-home treatments, is the needle length on the rollers. The ones used in clinical treatments are between 2 and 3 mm long and can be manual or in the shape of a dermapen (which means the depth of needle penetration can be altered during treatment). Once the skin has been treated, a potent serum, based on your skin’s needs, is applied.
What to expect & think about:
1. Inflammation: this is immediate, but short and fades significantly within hours from redness to pinkish that may last for 12 to 48 hours.
2. Cool compresses help alleviate discomfort after treatment if excessive discomfort, burning, redness, or swelling is persistent. Do not take any anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) because these will interfere with the body’s natural inflammatory process that is important for your skin transformation. If you have extreme discomfort, take a paracetamol, or even better; eat fresh pineapple as this helps heighten the healing process as well as help with any skin discomfort.
3. Avoid strenuous exercise or sweating for 24 hours after treatment due to open pores.
4. Avoid sun exposure for a minimum of 3 days (ideally ten days) after the procedure.
5. Within 2 days of your procedure, you can expect skin dryness and flaking due to an increased turnover of skin cells (this is good!). During this period moisturiser must be applied, but follow any instructions given to you by your medical professional.
6. You will see immediate results, and they will carry on – your skin’s texture and appearance will improve!
At-home microneedling with hyaluronic acid
At-home microneedling isn’t anything new. It’s the serums that are applied after needling that are novel. It’s important to look for a serum developed with microneedling in mind so the ingredients are appropriate for the treatment. By using the roller, you create thousands of microchannels in the skin, and this allows the skin to absorb the serums applied to be absorbed 300% more than on untreated skin. Hyaluronic acid has a high molecular weight naturally, so untreated skin has difficulty absorbing it. For maximum results, look for serums containing combinations of acids and peptides (the ‘building blocks’ of the skin).
The at-home treatment differs from the clinical one in that the needles do not penetrate as deeply. This means that you will have a greater collagen stimulation after being at a clinic. But it is also a more aggressive procedure so expect a bit of down-time after the treatment. A doctor we asked put it this way; they are great complementary options. You can rarely replace a clinical treatment with something that you do at home, that’s not the point of it. The idea is that you use the at-home treatment if you have less severe issues (if you have fine lines as opposed to deep wrinkles for example). But, make no mistake. Microneedling performed at home will have visible rejuvenating effects. Or, as preparation for a clinical treatment. By microneedling at home, in the run-up to a course of treatments, your skin will be more receptive and you will get even better results from your clinical procedure.
As with any medical treatment, it is important to do research. Try to find a clinic through recommendations, and if you can’t do that, ask for testimonials from other patients. Upon consultation, the practitioner will suggest the appropriate number of treatments (usually 3-6, with 4-6 week intervals). Clinical treatments start from £200 per session. At-home treatments can be found for approx. £90 for a month’s treatment.