Micro needling is a minimally-invasive and non-surgical technique that uses a hand piece to power very small needles repeatedly in and out of the skin. These microscopic punctures caused by the micro needles create very small channels into the lower reaches of the skin (i.e. the dermis).
This mechanical process signals to the body that an injury has occurred and initiates the natural healing powers of the skin to repair that induced injury. The technical name for this process is Collagen Induction Therapy.
This therapy essentially means that the micro needling stimulates your body to produce the collagen and elastin in a very controlled fashion in a localized area. When your body produces more collagen and elastin underneath the treated area, the skin texture will look more improved.
Fine lines and wrinkles are improved. Acne scars can be minimized. Stretch marks can be lessened.
One of the very best features of micro needling is that it can be applied everywhere on the skin. At Maine Laser Skin Care, the face is the most common area we treat.
However, other areas that we have treated include the neck, the upper chest (décolleté), legs, arms and the abdomen. Stretch mark treatments have been very effective in the abdomen, arms and legs.
Surgical scars have been treated on the abdomen, the face and the neck. Acne scars have been treated on the face, shoulders and back.
Just like other aesthetic treatments, micro needling requires a series of treatments to be fully effective. The average for most people is 3 to 6 treatments, depending on a person’s ultimate goal in terms of appearance.
Some women want to just be able to wear less makeup, while others would prefer not to wear makeup at all. Deeper scars such as acne scars or surgical scars will generally need more treatments to make them less obvious.
Some scars are deep enough that micro needling will not help to completely eradicate them. They may require a much more intense treatment such as Fraxel, which uses a laser beam to create similar skin channels as micro needling, although deeper.
A micro needling procedure starts with the application of a numbing cream containing Novocaine-like medication. After the skin is fairly numb, the skin is cleaned off with an alcohol solution.
Once the skin is clean, various solutions can be applied to enhance and stimulate the healing process. The most common solution we use is hyaluronic acid, which is a building block for the production of collagen in the healing process. Solutions that contain peptides and anti-oxidants are also used.
Occasionally, we apply platelet-rich plasma (PRP), which concentrates the stem cells and growth factors within the blood to stimulate even more active healing and collagen stimulation. Using PRP in combination with micro needling is also known as the “Vampire Facial,” as coined by the founder of the procedure, Charles Runels M.D.
Once the solution of choice (hyaluronic acid, peptides, PRP) is applied to the skin, the micro needling itself can begin. We can control how deep the needles will penetrate below the surface of the skin.
Some sensitive areas, like around the eyes or the lips, will be treated at a more shallow depth. Areas that have scars from acne or surgery will require an increased depth to penetrate through the scar and stimulate the collagen we need to repair.
Generally, any area treated with the micro needling device is crisscrossed to cover the area with as many micro channels as possible. Horizontal and vertical passes are combined with angled passes from the left and the right. Depending on the depth of the needles used, the area treated can appear scratched and even bloody.
Micro needling performed by an aesthetician usually looks like a wind burn. Deeper treatments by myself and other doctors tend to look more obviously like something more aggressive was done.
Once the procedure is done, we apply another layer of solution, such as hyaluronic acid, to the area. Basically, the channels produced by the micro needling allows the topical solution to be absorbed deeply within the skin.
Following the procedure at whatever depth, the skin needs to be left alone for at least 4 hours. This time period allows the micro channels to absorb the topical solution before these channels start to close and begin the healing process.
On the day following a micro needling operation, the skin will feel tighter and mild flaking will start. By the second day, any appearance of scratches is usually gone and easily controlled with a light makeup if needed.
Once the surface of the skin is healed, the really effective healing begins below the surface. Within 2-3 weeks, the texture of the skin is noticeably improved.
The skin begins to smooth out first. Later, you begin to feel the tightness and lifting of the skin from below the surface.
Micro needling has been a very successful addition to our roster of other more intensive treatments that we perform here at Maine Laser Skin Care. It stands apart because it is less expensive than laser alternatives, and the recovery time is faster, although the result is less dramatic.
Micro needling can be used on a long term basis to correct problems caused by excessive sun as well as to maintain a more youthful appearance. If you have any questions about this procedure or want to know if you would be a candidate for micro needling, feel free to call us at (207) 873-2158 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Through photos and a direct examination of your skin, we can decide on the best choice individually for you. I look forward to discussing these and other exciting treatments with you.