Rise of Micro Needling

micro_needling_applicationAlthough the term micro needling makes some queasy, this procedure is becoming one of the most popular skin resurfacing procedures that we offer here at Maine Laser Skin Care.  Micro needling is certainly very descriptive, but is also known as collagen induction therapy.  Since collagen growth is induced by this approach, the overall appearance of the skin is improved through the tightening of the skin surface which lessens fine lines and scar tissue.

The results that aesthetician Denise Gidney and I have been seeing here from our micro needling patients have been very encouraging.  Looking into the medical literature, I found a study published in the journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, which confirms our experience so far.

This study followed 480 microneedling patients over 10 years.  The study’s results showed 60-80% improvement in collagen and elastin in the skin resulting in a 40% thickening of the skin layers.

microneedling_microscopicTo review, micro needling involves a device that uses tiny needles to cause microperforations into the skin.  The Eclipse Micropen that we use here at Maine Laser Skin Care has 13 small sterile needles and can be adjusted to a depth of 0.05-0.25 mm below the skin surface.

The adjustment of depth of penetration allows the Micropen to treat the severity of the skin problem.  Mild fine lines and discoloration can be treated very superficially, whereas acne and post-surgical scars need deeper penetration to get results.

The micro needle penetration basically wounds the skin in a very controlled fashion.  The action of wounding the skin stimulates the renewed production of collagen and elastin as the skin strives to repair itself.

micro-needling-stepsAdditionally, the creation of multiple microperforations allows skin care ingredients to penetrate the skin and affect skin cells at a deeper level.  The most common ingredients we currently use include hyaluronic acid (the major component of collagen) and antioxidant vitamins.

When considering a new procedure, it always helps to know what to expect.  Prior to the treatment, we apply a novocaine-type numbing cream to make the experience comfortable.

The numbing cream is removed after about a 1/2 hour, and the skin to be treated is cleaned with alcohol.  I apply a hyaluronic acid preparation over the skin and then prepare the micro needling pen itself with the sterile needle tip and sterile covering.

Once I have determined the depth of penetration that is needed for the particular area, that adjustment is made and the procedure begins.  Most patients have described the sensation as a light sandpapering feel.

The vibration of the micro needles themselves also seem to distract from the subjective sensation of pain.  As the micro needles do penetrate and sometimes deeply (especially with the depth that I routinely use), some superficial bleeding does occur.

I generally stop after I finish each different section of skin to massage the area.  Massaging, in turn, helps with penetration of the hyaluronic acid, and limits the small amount of microbleeding seen.

micro_needling_rednessImmediately following the procedure, the treated skin area will be red and swollen.  At the depths that aesthetician such as Denise can use, the redness and swelling can resolve within several hours.  At the deeper penetrations that I use, the resolution can last several days.

I always tell people that the area will look worse than it feels, and will look worse initially before it looks better.  As I said above, this technique is definitely a wounding process, so you actually do want to see redness and swelling as that is what stimulates healing and collagen production. Remember, redness and swelling is a normal response as the skin works to repair itself.

Micro needling continues to grow in popularity for lighter skin rejuvenation all the way to improving appearance of acne scar and unsightly postsurgical scars.  If you are interested in whether or not this technology is appropriate for you and your skin,  call us at (207) 873-2158 for your free consultation.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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