Microneedling is your all around anti-aging beauty treatment because the formation of new collagen tightens, smoothes and plumps skin while diminishing signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles. It is also perfect for acne scars or stretch marks and areas not easily treated by chemical peels or lasers. The secret lies in the growth factors that promote the formation of collagen and elastin when microwounds are created. The addition of PRP or platelet rich plasma taken from your own blood makes the process of rejuvenation even faster. Improving the look and feel of your skin has now gotten easier and less traumatic (than deep peels and ablative lasers). Microneedling can potentially reduce pore size as well as lift and tone the skin but patient results vary.
Preparing for Microneedling
To have a truly amazing experience, you must have clear expectations. This starts with scheduling your session a week away from any important event where you have to look your best because there might be associated redness, flaking, and peeling - all these before you get the "glow"! Avoid irritants like exfoliants such as retinols, vitamin C, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, glycolic acid, retinoic acid, tretinoin, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, atringents, and alcohols one week prior to your microneedling appointment. These are found in soaps, cleansers, creams, serums, moisturizers and toners.
Don't have the procedure when you have acne because microneedling on active lesions could spread germs and cause a breakout. Also let your doctor know if you are prone to cold sores, shingles (Herpes Zoster) so that you can be prescribed prophylactic Valtrex 3-5 days prior to treatment. If you are under treatment for acne, postpone microneedling until 6 months after cessation of Accutane. If you are prone to PIH or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or keloids, this procedure is not recommended.
What to Expect
Aside from pinpoint bleeding during the procedure, expect some redness too. This is natural because really fine needles have just pierced your skin down to the dermis. You'll probably look like you've had a vey bad sunburn (and feel like it too) but this redness should subside substantially within a day. The procedure requires topical numbing but when that wears off, you might want to take Tylenol. Tylenol won't cause bruising so it's totally fine, You may even take it before the procedure if you are really sensitive to pain. You may also experience skin tightness and sensitivy to touch initially but this should improve in a day or two. By the third to fifth day, most of the redness would be gone.
During the first 24 hours, keep your skin hydrated with Vaseline or Cerave cream. These are non-irritating products. Do not use soap, cleaners, moisturizers, or make-up during this period. Lukewarm water can be used to rinse the face in between applications of Cerave. Continue using Cerave for the first three days.
Sweating is irritating and can cause outbreaks so do not exercise for the first two days after microneedling. There may be slight swelling for a few days and your skin might be a bit rough to the touch. There might be small marks and bruising but underneath, the cells are already starting the repair process which can take weeks. These will slowly fade away.
You can resume your normal skincare routine after three days. Some people find out that they had grown more sensitive to products that were accustomed to using so wait for about 5-7 days before using any product that contains retinol, glycolic acid, Vitamin C, or salicylic acid. Stick with Cerave moisturizer if you can't tolerate other products. You can add Skin Medica TNS Complex to your skincare regimen 48 hours post-microneedling to assist with the healing process.
Breakouts can be prevented but in the event that it occurs, you can go back to your normal routine and just add Salicylic or Glycolic based face wash that you had used in the past without any issues. If you've never used either product, it could cause another breakout. Some suggested products that could work: Clenziderm Salicylic Acid Wash, SkinBetter Oxygen Infusion Wash (with AHA), or AHA/BHA cleanser from SkinMedica.
From the 5th day onward, you may notice some flaking. Resist the urge to peel it off. Your skin will thank you for your prudence. You may use a gentle cleanser or Cerave moisturizer to help with the flaking. Make-up can be worn the third day and non-irritating, non-comedogenic sunscreen (at least SPF 30) should be used after 72 hours.
Glowing skin is revealed at around the 7th day onward. Be patient if it doesn't come as soon for you. It's best to have this done 3-4 times a year. Allow some time between procedures so the skin can complete its process of renewal.
And did you know that there are collagen-boosting food? Aside from staying out of the sun and refraining from skin-toxic habits like smoking, you can assist collagen formation by eating fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acid, lycopene-rich food (red), dark green vegetables rich in Vitamin C, carotene-rich food (orange), berries (rich with antioxidants that scavenge free radicals, soy products (contains genistein), white tea (blocks collagen breakdown), citrus, garlic (contains sulfur), oysters (rich in Zinc), and protein (rich in lysine, proline, collagen).