Dr Ana Barragan's top microneedling tips
Text: Yan Yan
Q: In your opinion, how often should a microneedling device be used?
A: That depends! Microneedling works by creating tiny punctures in the skin that the body perceives as wounds. This is what triggers the collagen production, meaning that the more you use your device, the more collagen your body will produce. At-home skin rollers have shorter needle lengths than the ones we use in the clinic, making them safe and suitable for frequent use. I always recommend that my clients start by using their skin rollers for 2 consecutive days, and then let the skin rest for 2 days. They can then use it for 3 days, and rest for 3 days and so on. By steadily increasing the frequency, most people find what suits them. Personally, I do 7 on, 7 off, but have friends and clients who do 3 on, 3 off, and have the same results. What is very important to point out is that collagen is also produced during the 'days of rest', so don't be tempted to skip them - your skin needs that break! Finally, I would say that 7 consecutive days is the maximum you should do.
Q: Is microneedling really suitable for all skin types?
A: Yes, because what it does is to stimulate a naturally occurring process in our body. That said, needle length, frequency, and pressure should be tailored to your skin type. People with very sensitive skin should start slowly, and with a shorter needle length to 'build up' the skin.
Q: Are there times when you shouldn't use a microneedling device?
A: Yes! Before and after exposing your skin to climates radically different from your own. For example, going on a holiday in the sun if you live in a cold or dark country. This is for a number of reasons, but put simply; most people will notice that their skin acts slightly differently when they go to a different climate. These types of temporary changes usually mean the skin is trying to acclimatise, and then it's best to leave it to do so! Also, on skin that is broken to the point of bleeding, microneedling should be avoided. The healing process is (hopefully) already underway there, so best to leave it alone and not disturb it!
Q: What do you think people should think about when microneedling?
Obviously, I have to be clear that people should always read and understand the instructions that come with their devices. But I also think that they should not be afraid to try their rollers on areas that are not always pointed out. The neck for example. We cleanse and moisturise there, why not microneedle? And on that note - a personal favourite of mine is just under the jawline. Sadly, this is an area that sags quite easily, so giving it a little boost is always a good idea! I also use mine just in front of my ears. If you look closely, this is an area that often develops wrinkles prematurely on women. For men, shaving acts as a natural exfoliator, so they might consider rolling a bit extra on the other areas of their faces to 'even out' the treatment. Finally, I think it's good to start early. It's much easier to keep lines and wrinkles at bay than getting rid of them. Also, making microneedling part of your routine early in life makes it easier to stick to.
Q: Are there any adverse effects to consider?
A: Microneedling has been around for decades now. Originally, it was a clinical treatment, primarily for deep scarring, using very long needles. But even as an at-home treatment it has been available for years. This means there is a lot of research, and no, there are no reported adverse effects provided you stick to suitable needle lengths and let the skin rest sufficiently between treatment courses. One thing I tell my clients, is that when you begin with microneedling, your skin may dehydrate or dry out during the first few weeks. This is a temporary side effect, and once you are used to the treatment, this tends to subside. But it's worth keeping in mind if you have a special event planned.
Q: Is there anything else you think our readers should know?
A: I suppose I should point out again that it is important to "test your way" to a microneedling routine that suits you. Remember that microneedling should NOT be excruciatingly painful. It should feel like scratching. Peoples' skins will always react differently, some will get very red, others hardly have any reaction. Regardless if you are having a visible reaction or not, you should apply a serum or moisturising cream after rolling. This is important as it aids the healing process. And, as you have created the microchannels, any products applied will penetrate the skin deeper which is an added bonus.
Dr Ana Barragan is an accomplished Non-Surgical Senior Aesthetic Doctor providing specialist treatments in clinics in and around London. She also trains other doctors. Treatments/conditions she specialises in include: cheek and lip enhancement, chin augmentation, neck lift, eyebrow lift, skin mesotherapy, clinical microneedling, nasolabial fold, tear trough, hyperhidrosis, and marionette lines.
She is also a fully qualified dentist, specialised in implants.
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