What Is Microneedling?

Have you heard of microneedling? Not to be confused with acupuncture, it's become an increasingly popular cosmetic procedure for individuals suffering from skin problems. Whether you suffer from stretch marks, scars or other skin conditions, microneedling can help you achieve smoother, healthier skin. But what exactly is microneedling?

Overview of Microneedling

Also known as a collagen induction therapy, microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that involves the use a needle-coat rolling device to prick shallow holes in the skin. During the procedure, a professional aesthetician will glide the rolling device, known as a dermaroller, across specific areas of the client's skin. Because the dermaroller contains short needles, it's able to pierce the client's skin with dozens or even hundreds of shallow holes.

The purpose of microneedling is to stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which in turn helps to treat a variety of common skin conditions. To better understand how microneedling, you must first familiarize yourself with collagen. Collagen is a type of protein that's comprised of several amino acids, including proline, hydroproline, arginine and glycine. It's found in connective tissues of the human body, such as the skin, tendons and even the ligaments. Research shows, in fact, that up to one-third of the average person's protein content consists of collagen.

Our bodies produce collagen naturally to increase the strength and elasticity of our skin. With age, however, the amount of collagen produced by our bodies may decline. As the level of collagen in your skin begins to crease, you may develop wrinkles, scars, stretch marks or other cosmetic skin blemishes. Microneedling can treat skin conditions such as these by stimulating the production of collagen. When the aesthetician glides the pen across your skin, it will stimulate your body's production of collagen. As your collagen level increases, your skin will become stronger, more elastic and better hydrated.

Origins of Microneedling

According to Aesthetics Journal, microneedling was invented by German dermatologist Ernst Kromayer during the early 1900s. Kromayer discovered that by pricking the skin with dental burs, he was able to minimize the appearance of scars and birthmarks. With that said, microneedling didn't become a popular cosmetic procedure overnight. It wasn't until the mid-1990s when microneedling gained mainstream popularity. Today, microneedling now ranks as one of the most commonly performed cosmetic procedures. Statistics show that microneedling was performed on over 8 million people in 2017, which is roughly 19% higher than in 2016.

Why Microneedling Beats Collagen Supplements

Although collagen is available in supplement form, you'll experience better results with microneedling. The problem with collagen supplements is that most of the protein simply passes through the digestive system without being absorbed. If you take a collagen supplement on a regular basis, it may increase your skin's collagen level to some degree, but it won't have any meaningful or noticeable impact on your skin's health.

Microneedling, on the other hand, is highly effective at increasing your skin's collagen level. While our bodies produce collagen naturally, injury -- even minor injury like the piercing of shallow holes in the skin -- stimulates this process. Microneedling capitalizes on this bodily reaction to promote healthier skin. When you visit an aesthetician's office for a microneedling procedure, he or she will pierce shallow holes in your skin to stimulate your body's production of collagen. Your body will then recognize these holes as injury, thus producing more collagen in an effort to repair the damaged skin tissue.

Microneedling: What to Expect

If you're considering microneedling to treat one or more skin conditions, you might be wondering what you should expect during the procedure. Many people assume that microneedling is painful or even dangerous. After all, the procedure involves piercing holes in the skin, so conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that it causes pain. In reality, though, most clients experience little or no pain from microneedling. The pen used in the procedure has very short and thin needles. Because of their small size, the needles don't penetrate deep into the skin, nor do they create large holes.

It's important to note that microneedling typically requires several treatment sessions to achieve the best results. After each session, the level of your collagen in your skin will increase. After three to six sessions -- which are typically spread across a four-week period -- you'll reap the benefits of smoother and healthier skin.

How to Beat Stretch Marks With Microneedling

One of the most skin conditions treated with microneedling is stretch marks. Statistics show up to 90% of the U.S. adult population suffers from stretch marks. Also known as striae, stretch marks are characterized by the tearing of the tearing of the dermis. The dermis, of course, is the layer of skin nestled between the epidermis and subcutaneous tissue. Like other layers of the skin, it contains collagen to provide elasticity. When the dermis loses enough collagen, it becomes less elastic, thereby increasing the risk of tearing. Stretch marks are simply areas of the skin in which the dermis has torn.

Unfortunately, there's no magic cream or lotion available that will eliminate stretch marks. Topical treatments such as these don't absorb deep into the skin. As a result, they are unable to reach the dermis where the tissue has torn. But microneedling has been shown to significantly reduce the appearance of stretch marks. As the pen pierces shallow holes in your skin, your body responds by producing more collagen to repair the damaged tissue. The collagen is then able to repair the torn dermis, thereby shrinking or even eliminating stretch marks.

How to Beat Scars With Microneedling

In addition to stretch marks, microneedling is a highly effective treatment for scars. A scar is essentially an area of fibrous tissue in the skin. When your skin is injured, your body will attempt to repair it. Depending on the severity of the injury, it may replace the injured skin with fibrous tissue rather than actual skin, resulting in the formation of a scar.

Scars still consist of collagen -- just like actual skin. The difference, however, is that scars contain a different formation of the protein. While skin has a basket-weave protein formation, scars have single-facing protein formation. Although it's a subtle nuance, it means scars are highly distinguished from actual skin tissue.

Microneedling can treat scars by helping your body replace the damaged tissue with new, healthy skin tissue. Among other things, collagen is used by the body to repair damaged skin. If you have a scar, your body will use the collagen to repair it, which typically means replacing the damaged tissue with new skin tissue. Whether you have a scar on your back, stomach, face or elsewhere, microneedling can help minimize its appearance by stimulating your body's production of collagen.

Here are some of the common skin conditions microneedling is used to treat:

  • Stretch marks
  • Scars
  • Birthmarks
  • Wrinkles
  • Loose skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Oversized pores
  • Poor skin complexion

In Conclusion

Microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that's used to stimulate collagen production. Your body will then detect and recognize these holes as an injury. And like with other injuries, it will respond by producing more collagen.

Want to learn more about microneedling? Request a free consultation today!