What is Microneedling?
It's a medical procedure that involves the use of a micro-fine needle to puncture the skin at a very shallow depth. The goal of this type of therapy is to cause tiny wounds in the skin, which are then filled with collagen and elastin. Depending on the severity or pattern of concern, some practitioners may also recommend applying serums containing hyaluronic acids and other ingredients to improve visible signs of aging that result from wrinkles.
The process has been used for years in clinics around the world as an effective way to promote cell rejuvenation, stimulate healing, and treat chronic conditions like acne scarring. According to doctors and medical professionals, it can be used as an alternative to lasers and chemical peels, both of which require more time and money. However, microneedling has gotten its most recent surge in popularity as a quick treatment for the temporary improvement of cellulite.
In fact, some practitioners claim that it is far more effective at reducing the appearance of dimpled skin than other types of cellulite treatments (e.g., massage therapy) because all you need to do is poke a tiny needle into the skin until you see results. Microneedling can also be used on dryness scarring as well as stretch marks.
Dermatologists who use this method during their treatments say that they have seen great results from using it, including younger-looking skin, improved texture, and even minimized wrinkles. Some people also find needling helps improve hair growth and condition. However, this technique has not been clinically proven to improve acne scars, stretch marks, or fine lines and wrinkles. Instead, a different approach should be used for those conditions (e.g., lasers, botox).
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, right now microneedling is one of the most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedures in the United States. After microdermabrasion it is the second most frequently performed alternative treatment for skin rejuvenation. The procedure is most frequently performed by dermatologists.
Earlier this year, Forbes reported on the explosive popularity of microneedling among the general public, particularly in China and Korea. According to Kim Dao (medical expert), since 2014 there has been a 200% increase in demand for at-home micro needling devices from Korean consumers; one company reported selling more than 1 million units in 2015 alone.
In terms of non-medical applications, "microneedling" includes both transdermal therapy (electricity or chemicals placed into the skin via needles) and dermabrasion or microdermabrasion techniques which utilize abrasions and/or acid solutions (usually carbolic acid) to remove or abrade the upper layers of skin.
The "non-medical" scope also implies that this article does not include extreme procedures such as transdermal implants, insulin therapy, or other more extreme cutting with surgical scalpels. The present article will focus on the cosmetic use of a dermabrasion device for skin rejuvenation and improvement. In this case we are using microneedles to enhance the penetration of topical products into the epidermis via microchannels in an off-label manner (off-label use = no existing FDA approval from studies conducted specifically for this purpose).
Is Microneedling Right for You?
If you plan to DIY, before you read on and decide to use a microneedling device, please go over the "Safety Precautions". There are risks involved, and by using a dermabrasion machine off-label to create microchannels in your skin, you assume those risks when you choose to do so. It might be best to use a qualified beauty therapist to help you with your skin, if you are concerned about how to perform the procedure correctly.
The traditional technique of performing microneedling or dermabrasion is slightly more effective than a using modern day dermabrasion tool like an Amiea MicroPen. However it's important that I stress that there are no peer reviewed studies that have compared the efficacy of microneedling vs other dermabrasion methods.
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