Medical micro-needling is becoming a popular method of non-surgical skin rejuvenation improving a wide variety of conditions including scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, loose, lose skin, and poor skin texture. Dr. Dan Del Vecchio of Boston remarks that, “For every patient who gets a facelift, there are probably 50 others who would like to have skin tightening.” Perhaps there is finally something plastic surgery can offer those in between patients as an option!
An Erasing Pen?
How does micro-needling work? In essence, a pen shaped device studded with fine needles penetrates the upper layers of the skin creating tiny holes in the skin’s surface. In response to the “needling” the body creates new collagen and elastin fibers, plumping and thickening the skin. Dr. Stafford Broumand who practices in New York City describes the procedure as a “new tool” that revolutionizes how compounds are introduced into the skin and dermis. “The physiology and technology of micro-needling makes sense and (in the future) we can extrapolate more complicated ways (of using it.)”
Dr. Del Vecchio agrees and emphasizes the fact that while treating skin topically is popular, lotions and potions have little ultimate effect because, “the skin is a barrier. The skin is not supposed to let topicals in.” Both plastic surgeons agree micro-needling breaks down that barrier and allows a host of compounds including growth factors, hyaluronic acid and vitamins to be introduced at a deeper level, dramatically increasing the effectiveness and penetration of active ingredients. Dr. Del Vecchio calls it, “…the gateway that allow us to treat the skin.”
Versatile and Effective
One of the most important points of micro-needling is the fact that is safe and effective for all skin types and skin colors, including ethnic skin. In addition, it can be used on all areas of the scalp, face (even fragile skin around eyes, mouth and neck,) and the body.
Micro-needling is done in a doctor’s office. Numbing cream is applied and is usually sufficient to ease any discomfort. The procedure generally takes less than an hour and downtime is short. Apart from some mild swelling and redness, there are few side effects. On average, most patients repeat the procedure 3 times on a 4-6 week schedule until they achieve desired results. Full effects are seen 3 to 4 months post procedure.
Plays Well with Others
The best news? For those with mild to moderate skin conditions and/or age related concerns, medical micro-needling is quite cost effective when compared to other resurfacing procedures or surgical intervention. It has the potential to make noticeable improvements to a patient’s overall appearance, and as newer “injectables” are discovered, may one day revolutionize how skin is tightened and lifted.