What is Microneedling?
Microneedling is ideal for non-surgical and non-ablative treatment of various skin conditions such as aging (wrinkles, stretching), scarring (acne, surgical), and hyperpigmentation.
Microneedling technology uses very fine, sterile needles to puncture the skin to cause micro-injury to the skin to stimulate collagen/elastin production. Resulting micro-channels also aid in infusing therapeutic serums for greater penetration and increasing overall efficacy. Clinical studies from Europe, U.S., and South Korea have shown that serum absorption is dramatically increased when applied with microneedling. Clinical studies have also shown that treatment with microneedling is more consistent in increasing the thickness of the skin than IPL and other resurfacing treatments.
Fast Recuperative Power
The gentle stimulus provided by microneedling is far more “skin friendly” and thus far more effective than many other more invasive and more expensive skin treatments. It leaves the entire epidermal barrier fully intact; micro-channels created will seal within hours of application. New collagen-structures will form within the lower layers of the skin. The patient may resume their normal schedule, quickly. Microneedling helps to eliminate common negative side effects and risks associated with chemical peeling, dermabrasion, and laser-resurfacing. The skin is left thicker and more readily available for additional treatments.
Ablative treatments like dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser resurfacing to do one thing: remove the protective epidermis to force the body to produce a new tissue layer. However, once the epidermis is removed, the lower levels of the skin are completely exposed and vulnerable to environmental contamination from dirt, dust, and bacteria. Certain risks must be accepted with these procedures: pain, long-term discomfort, long prevailing inflammation and redness, long healing period, extreme light-sensitivity for a month or more, possible irreversible pigment changes, and even additional scarring is a possiblilty.
Ablative treatments have their limits. Due to different skin structures, on the neck for instance, laser resurfacing may not be possible. Moreover, because these treatments leave the skin thinner, in some cases these procedures may actually age the skin. Microneedling is far more ‘skin friendly’ by doing much less damage and thereby encouraging faster, longer-lasting positive effects. Since the skin can recuperate faster after a microneedling treatment – often hours after treatment – the patient may see noticeable results, sooner!
Less Invasive, Less Expensive, More Effective
With so many choices, how do you choose from one non-surgical skin treatment over the other? How do you know which is best for you? Here’s an easy comparison of three non-surgical, minimally invasive techniques taking into consideration known side effects, downtime, expected results, and cost.
All treatments have a common goal: injure the skin just enough to begin natural healing processes. Ablative treatments like chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing accomplish this task by removing the entire top layer of skin. Microdermabrasion is also ablative, but it is superficial and cannot treat for deeper imperfections. New technologies like radio frequency and IPL are non-ablative (they do not remove the top layer) and have demonstrated effectiveness, but the equipment is very expensive thus treatments can be costly to the patient. Microneedling is unique because it produces similar results without expensive equipment and without removing skin layers; treatments are comparatively inexpensive and pose minimal risks.
Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels
Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels are popular ablative techniques. Dermabrasion requires the clinician to use a power driven handheld machine with a rotating metal wheel and a diamond fraise or a wire brush to remove the top layers of the skin. It can be performed using a general or a local anesthetic, depending on the area submitted to the treatment. Chemical peels use a mild acid solution to achieve the same effect. To ensure successful outcomes, both ablatives require a great deal of clinical artistry, skill, and experience.
Laser skin resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing uses high intensity light emissions to vaporize the top layers of the skin in order to either remove scars or wrinkles. Like dermabrasion and chemical peels, laser resurfacing stimulates collagen and elastin production in the skin as a means of making wrinkles and other imperfections less visible. Also, like other ablatives, laser resurfacing requires a great deal of clinical artistry, skill, and experience to ensure a positive outcome.
Non-Ablative Machine-based treatments
Non-Ablative Machine-based treatments include a wide array of recent innovations, many of them quite new and very expensive. Radio frequency treatments deliver high energy influences to a large area of tissue with no epidermal injury. The underlying effect is the same as microwave cooking. IPL (intense pulse light) or ‘Photorejuvenation’ focuses broad spectrum light onto the skin to influence texture and pigmentation.
Microdermabrasion is a milder peeling procedure (ablative); a gentle mechanical peel that uses a stream of crystals (or a diamond tipped wand) and suction to gently exfoliate the skin. Home care microdermabrasion kits are readily available from many pharmacies and department stores.
Microneedling is a mesotherapeutic ‘non-ablative’ non-surgical procedure that facilitates the preservation of the top layer of skin while inducing the body to produce collagen and elastin. Treatment involves a roller (or an automated clinical device) with needles that ranging from a short length (0.2mm) to a long length (2.0mm). The clinical version must be administered by a Clinician with a mild topical anesthetic.
The downtime required of various skin therapies depends on the depth of the injury caused to the skin. Microdermabrasion produces very little downtime – a few hours of tingling and redness. But a deep chemical peel can keep you at home on painkillers for as much as 2 weeks.
Dermabrasion and laser resurfacing will leave the skin red and swollen for around ten days; total recuperation can be up to three weeks.
Microneedling is truly non-ablative and produces little downtime – skin may be red and sensitive for about two to three hours after treatment.
Skin Treatment Comparison
Microneedling with MTS topical products: Less Invasive, less expensive, and more effective
Risks And Side Effects
There are ample stories about inadequate care by professionals when performing dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Not only do these procedures require a great deal of training to master, but they also require some amount of artistry in judging how much of the skin to remove: too little, and the patient walks away with less than what they paid for; too much, and there could be permanent damage like scarring or pigmentation changes. Moreover, these treatments may not be suitable for people with darker skin types.
Meanwhile, new machine-based treatments like radio frequency, IPL, and other non-ablatives do not exhibit many side effects, but the performance/artistry risks are the same. Microdermabrasion appears to have the advantage of exhibiting fewer side effects and less risk, because it is a less-invasive procedure. However, microdermabrasion has limited effectiveness on removing deeper acne scars, wrinkles, age spots, and/or stretch marks.
Microneedling has none of the common risks and offers all of the advantages of the most invasive and most expensive treatments. The needles can only go into the skin so far: that’s why CRL offers six different models of our MTS Roller. The key variable, is for the practitioner to determine which of the rollers to use. Even if the provider goes too deep, the damage is minimal and not permanent.
In terms of delivering smoother skin and a longer lasting effect, clinical studies have shown that the mesotherapeutic effect of microneedling at 0.5mm needle depth tends to outperform other ablative treatments (chemical peel, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing), as well as CO2 laser, Fraxel, and IPL.