Microneedling has been used by doctors for over 20 years to treat facial scars, accelerate healing and replace scar tissue with healthy skin. Now, this natural process is being used to erase years from our appearance. And with the arrival of RF Microneedling, the effects are even more dramatic.
Why Our Skin Wrinkles and Sags
Our skin wrinkles and sags as we age and no amount of wishing otherwise can change that. We also lose volume in the underlying tissues, which can lead to sunken areas on our face. Our cheeks and temples are especially susceptible to this effect.
All of these things happen because our body produces less collagen and elastin as we mature. Both collagen and elastin are naturally-occurring protein molecules, and they’re essential for maintaining a youthful appearance. They keep our skin firm and elastic.
Collagen and Wrinkles
Collagen forms a lattice-like structure – a fibrous web that supports our skin. If you could remove everything but the collagen from a cell, you would leave behind a collagen framework or skeleton in the exact shape of the cell.
Wrinkles result where fissures form in our collagen lattice. These fissures are created over time by facial expressions, which can break down the collagen. When we’re young, our faces crease and wrinkle only when we make certain facial expressions. Eventually, though, wrinkles that only showed when we were smiling, laughing, crying or frowning become permanent as our body fails to replenish the lost collagen.
FUN FACT: Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body.
Elastin and Sagging
Similarly, a loss of elastin is responsible for our skin sagging. Elastin is like elastic strings that are threaded throughout the collagen lattice. It gives our skin the youthful ability to spring back into shape when at rest. As we age, not only does our skin lose elastin along with the collagen, but the elastin fibers themselves become less elastic. This leads to our skin sagging in these areas.
How Microneedling Works
So where do collagen and elastin come from in the first place? The answer is essential to understanding how microneedling can stimulate our skin to rejuvenate itself.
Our body contains a special type of cell called fibroblasts. We know, it sounds like a sci-fi ray gun. But actually fibroblasts are where youthful, healthy skin starts. And while we could dazzle you with a long explanation and a lot of big words, all you really need to know is that fibroblasts make and maintain connective tissue.
When we get a cut or scrape, our body immediately begins to create a superstructure around the wound from fibrous proteins called fibrin. Fibrin is one of the many things that are made by fibroblasts. After sealing the wound with platelets (the stuff scabs are made of), the fibroblasts go to work creating a framework of collagen over which new skin cells can grow. It’s this process that microneedling stimulates, resulting in skin that doesn’t just look younger, it is younger because it contains more youthful amounts of collagen and elastin! And the best part is, your body did this by itself. The resulting tissues are, well, you. Completely natural. This means zero chance of rejection or allergic reaction.
Collagen Induction Therapy
Microneedling (also called skin needling or collagen induction therapy) uses tiny needles to cause micro-injuries to our skin. These micro-injuries are so tiny our skin surface heals in days, but under the surface, magic is happening. Fibroblasts flock to the injured areas and industriously start producing fibrin, then forming a new collagen/elastin framework. In this way, microneedling actually ‘backs up the clock’ on our skin, restoring more youthful levels of these compounds.
To better understand how microneedling causes the underlying support structure to rejuvenate itself, think about getting a blood test. It’s just one needle, but the fibroblasts don’t just repair that tiny hole. They work to strengthen the surrounding area as well. This is necessary. Otherwise, the newly healed collagen/elastin lattice might tear away from the weaker surrounding tissues.
When we get a microneedling treatment, the needles are spaced just close enough to each other to ensure that the new lattices that form under the surface will overlap. This forms a new framework that covers the entire treatment area, resulting in firmer, more elastic, and more youthful skin.
Because of this, microneedling can not only reduce the depth of wrinkles and fine lines but also lighten scars and discolored areas. This procedure is also very effective for sunken areas such as the cheeks. Finally, microneedling can be used anywhere on the body where more youthful skin is desired, such as the hands, arms, legs, abdomen, back, and neck.
Completely Safe and Natural
As already mentioned, microneedling uses your body’s own healing power to rejuvenate your skin. Nothing is injected, other than a small amount of lidocaine from the cream we’ll rub on your skin before treatment. Included in the lidocaine cream is an antibiotic to protect your skin against infection from any foreign bodies that may have been on your skin at the time of treatment.
What to Expect
If you’ve never had microneedling before, this handy guide will walk you through the process.
- You should avoid exposing your skin to strong sunlight in the 24 hour period prior to your appointment. A sunburn doesn’t necessarily mean we can’t do the treatment, but it will certainly increase your discomfort and perhaps even the risk of infection (which is very small).
- If you’re on autoimmune medication, you should avoid taking it for the 24 hours prior to treatment, as it may weaken your immune system.
- Arrive at our clinic with a clean face and absolutely no makeup!
- If you’ve used Accutane (Isotretinoin) in the past 6 months, you will not be a candidate for microneedling.
- Expect some discomfort during the procedure. We do apply a numbing cream, however, you will still feel some sensation. Some patients describe the feeling as ‘like having sandpaper rubbed lightly across their skin’.
- Your skin may become flushed and hot during the treatment, much like a fresh sunburn.
After Treatment Care and Healing
- Wait at least 4 hours before washing your face.
- The ‘sunburned’ sensation and accompanying red skin may persist for up to 3 days following your treatment. Use a delicate cleanser only during this time, and don’t scrub! You can use a 1% hydrocortisone cream to soothe irritation. Avoid sun exposure, swimming (chlorine! Ouch!), and strenuous exercise.
- Do not take anti-inflammatory medications until healing is complete. Tylenol is OK.
- You may experience some peeling or flaking of your skin in a period of 3 to 5 days after treatment. Do not pick at the loose skin! Do use a gentle moisturizer.
- Your skin may remain slightly reddened for up to two weeks after treatment. Once the sunburned feeling goes away, you can safely use cosmetics to cover this.
- In two to four weeks (everyone is different) you’ll start to see the positive effects of the treatment. Lines and wrinkles will be less noticeable and your skin will be firmer.
How Long Does it Last?
The effects of a microneedling treatment will typically last from 4 to 6 months. You can repeat the procedure as often as every four months.
Effects may continue to increase with successive treatments. Most patients experience the best cosmetic results after three to six treatments. If treating scar tissue, more treatments may be required.
Super Microneedling: Radio Frequency (RF) Microneedling
On the surface, RF microneedling looks and feels just like regular microneedling, but this is definitely a case where looks are deceiving. RF microneedling is not only more effective but dramatically so for some patients.
RF microneedles transmit a radio frequency under the skin at each penetration point. The effect is a little like how a microwave oven works. The radiofrequency harmlessly delivers a dose of heat to the underlying tissues. This means greater stimulation of collagen and elastin production, but the same tiny holes on the surface. Surface healing time is about the same, but the results under the surface can be substantially more effective.
For some patients, RF microneedling also produces faster results, with shorter healing time, and beneficial effects visible sooner.
Can I Have RF Microneedling?
If you’re a candidate for microneedling, and almost everyone is, you can safely have RF microneedling. Not only can RF microneedling rejuvenate your skin, but it can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles, acne and chickenpox scars, and irregular skin tone.
Results Similar to Ablative Laser Skin Rejuvenation!
We don’t offer ablative laser skin treatments here at MagnifaSkin. They carry a much greater risk of complications. We do offer non-ablative treatments, and results from these can be dramatic. However, RF microneedling can have effects so dramatic in some patients that the results are likened to those from ablative laser therapy, but much safer and with a much shorter healing timeframe.
Microneedling and PRP
Platelet Rich Plasma therapy can be used in conjunction with traditional or RF microneedling to produce even more dramatic results. By introducing your own platelet-rich plasma to the treated area, your body has an even greater capacity for generating new collagen and elastin. PRP with microneedling can also be used to treat mild hair loss.
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