What is Microneedling Really Like?
by: Abigail White
I had microneedling done for the first time about two months ago, and I was immediately hooked.
Not familiar with microneedling? It's a procedure that uses a device with tiny, shallow needles that create even tinier holes in the skin's surface. This stimulates collagen and elastin production, which can plump the skin, fill in fine lines and break up scar tissue, resulting in a more youthful appearance. (For those of you who have seen a DIY version that you can buy online, file this treatment under "best left to the experts," like a bikini wax.)
I'm 38 years old and my biggest skin concerns are anti-aging and anti-acne. I also have some discoloration on my skin from years of being out in the sun (oops) but I am now very diligent about wearing SPF 50 every day and doing things I didn't do in my 20s and early 30s, like washing my face every night and adhering to a skin care routine that Maegan Griffin, NP-C recommended for me. Oh, and Botox! Who doesn't love Botox?
Anyway, I had a lot of friends comment on how dewy and youthful my skin looked after my first microneedling procedure, but they were wary about things like whether the procedure is painful (it isn't) and how much downtime they'd need to account for (not much).
Here's what you can expect from microneedling, from the day of your procedure and the following week:
I arrived at Skin Pharm and lovely RN, Megan Stewart, removed my makeup and applied numbing cream to my face. I took the opportunity to flip through every magazine in the room (such fun!) while the numbing cream took effect, and then Megan returned to start the procedure with the SkinStylus, which resembles a tiny magic wand. As she'd been there for my first microneedling appointment, she noticed that my skin wasn't reacting as strongly -- it wasn't as red, and I didn't have any bleeding (it's totally normal to have minor blood beading from the needles -- you don't feel it as you're totally numb, and they heal incredibly quickly). Megan noted that we were even going about a millimeter deeper than we went the previous time, which means the microneedling was doing it's job -- my skin was growing stronger.
If you're worried about what it feels like, I can attest that it does not hurt. The SkinStylus feels like a combination of a vacuum and a razor, and while you may feel some minor pressure around your jawline -- and some major tickling around your nose! -- it isn't painful at all.
The whole thing took less than 15 minutes. Megan spread some Epionce Medical Barrier Cream on my face and I headed straight to the nail salon to get a pedicure (in case you didn't notice, I was totally having a "me" day, ha). I thought I was going to get some weird looks, but nobody seemed to notice -- it looked like I had a mild sunburn. I even met a friend for drinks after that -- she was curious about microneedling and wanted to see what I looked like -- and she was surprised by how normal I looked! I didn't wear makeup the rest of the day and used the Gentle Foaming Cleanser from Epionce that evening. I applied Epionce Medical Barrier cream before bed.
When I woke up my skin felt a little tight, but most of the redness had faded from the previous day. I rinsed my face and put Epionce's Medical Barrier Cream and SPF 50 lotion on before using my regular BB cream (by Dr. Jart). Even in the harsh, ridiculously unflattering fluorescent light in my office bathroom, my skin looked totally normal. It still felt a little dry, so I was happy to wash my face when I got home and applied more medical barrier cream and Cetaphil.
My skin was a little dry and flaky, but returned to normal as soon as I put more Cetaphil moisturizer and Epionce SPF 50 lotion on. I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but my skin was GLOWING. I barely needed any BB cream as the skin tone looked much more even, and overall I just looked refreshed and renewed. I continued to use the Epionce gentle face wash but used my regular night cream by Algenist and Intense Defense Serum by Epionce.
I was definitely having a little more peeling on Day 4, so I used a mild exfoliant to get the dead skin off before applying Cetaphil and SPF 50. Once again, as soon as I put the BB cream on, everything looked normal. Well, better than normal -- glowing, even skin tone, refreshed. I used my ZO Oilacleanse that evening and my aforementioned night cream/serum combo.
By Day 5 my skin felt hydrated -- the flaking had pretty much disappeared at this point and I hardly needed any BB cream to even out my skin tone. I did my normal skin care routine at night and everything felt back to normal!
I woke up to a stupid hormonal pimple on my cheek - FOILED. Fortunately the rest of my face looked fabulous and it was easy to conceal so I didn't stress over it. I hadn't been using my usual anti-acne treatment (ZO Offects TE-Pads Acne Pore Treatment and spot treatment with Aczone) as I was worried it would dry out my skin as it healed from the microneedling, but I used it this morning and at night along with my regular skin care routine.
Thank goodness I have the photo to prove this as I wouldn't believe it, but that pimple disappeared overnight. Not sure if that's a benefit of the microneedling, but I woke up to clear, even, glowing skin. I even made it another makeup-free day because I didn't feel like I needed it. If you had told me a few years ago that I'd be voluntarily going makeup-free, I wouldn't have believed you. That's one of the best things about getting into a good skincare routine -- once you figure out what works for you, it streamlines your entire beauty routine because you're not wasting time concealing your skin. Microneedling actually treats and improves your skin, and there's nothing to hide about healthy skin, right?