Microneedling VS Laser Resurfacing
When lasers were first introduced for cosmetic enhancement the ablative CO2 was the only method available to treat wrinkles, acne scars and aging skin. Technological progression from full ablation to fractional resurfacing has reduced some of the negative side effects, but there are still many limitations. Microneedling on the other hand has fewer limitations, side effects, and downtime.
How does each procedure work? The premise of most rejuvenation procedures is to create some type of controlled injury to a specific layer of the skin and promote the body’s natural healing process. In return, as the skin rejuvenates the results are seen in the reduction of wrinkles, scars, hyper-pigmentation and other skin concerns. Both Fractional Resurfacing and Microneedling work in a similar fashion by creating micro-injuries to the skin, but they do it in different ways. Fractional laser uses a 10600nm wavelength of light that is attracted to water and the heat from the light creates thermal injury to the skin. This thermal injury is actually a burn to the skin and is the major drawback to this procedure. With any type of burn comes a risk of infection, scarring, pigmentation changes, long heal time and presents limitations on what skin types can be safely treated. Besides the risks listed above, most patients would prefer not to go through the intense process and pain associated with a fractional CO2 procedure.
Microneedling, on the other hand, creates micro-wounds through mechanical injury from needles oscillating up and down as the pen is glided across the skin. The benefit of these types of micro-injuries is that they close within 60 minutes and are not caused by thermal (heat) reaction. Thus, skin needling has a short healing time, is suitable for treatment of all skin types with many more conditions from a diverse demographic.
Microneedling can take multiple treatments to achieve the outcome of a single laser resurfacing, but the reduced risk, minimal discomfort and downtime will leave you elated.
Who is a Good Candidate for Medical Microneedling?
Any person that is looking to improve their skin can consider Medical Microneedling. The procedure can be safely performed on almost all skin types, with an array of skin conditions and all Fitzpatrick skin colors can be treated.
Concerns that can be treated with microneedling treatments:
Mild to moderate acne scarring.
Fine lines and wrinkles (great for around the mouth and crow’s feet).
Loose, lax skin.
Skin tone and texture.
Sun Damaged skin.
Hyper-Pigmentation (darkening of the skin).
Hypo-Pigmentation (loss of pigmentation).
Hair Loss (by stimulating the blood supply to the follicle it can increase hair growth).
Microneedling can also treat sensitive and fragile areas including around the eyes, on the neck and the backs of the hands that can be too risky with other procedures.
Derma Roller VS Microneedling Pen, what's the difference?
The microneedling pen technology produces consistent needle depths that allow for precise treatments with the ability to adjust to different levels on specific areas of the face and body. The oscillating motion of the needles creates less superficial skin trauma, thus a shorter heal time and more effective results.
Comparison of using a microneedling pen to the derma roller:
Microneedling Pen Precise needle depth
Small diameter to treat hard to reach areas
Sterile single use disposable tip
Reduced cross contamination risk
Vertical stamping reduces trauma
Derma Roller • Unnecessary skin trauma • Cross contamination risk • Difficult to use at exact depth • Unable to treat small areas • Cleaning, storage & needle damage
Who should NOT have this treatment?
Have any history of keloid scars. (in the area being treated).
Eczema, Psoriasis, Active Acne, Rosacea, or other chronic skin conditions (in the area being treated).
Actinic (Solar) Keratosis.
Diabetes. (delayed wound healing).
Have used Accutane (isotretinoin) within the last six months.
Have open wounds, cuts or abrasions on the area being treated.
Are pregnant or breast feeding
Have had radiation treatment to the skin within the last year.
Have any kind of current skin infection or herpes simplex in the area to be treated.
Scleroderma; Blood clotting problems; Collagen vascular diseases; Cardiac abnormalities; Immunosuppression;
Before the procedure.
Avoid Retin-A products (retinoids), topical antibiotics, hydroquinone, and benzoyl peroxide 3 days prior to treatment.
No acids or exfoliates should be used by the client, 24 hours before the treatment. Any topical that may dry or irritate the skin. (Eg. Alpha Hydroxyl Acid – AHA or Beta Hydroxyl Acids – BHA)
No prolonged sun exposure to the area being treated, 24 hours prior to the treatment. (Microneedling should not be administered on sunburned skin)
No IPL/Laser procedures for 7 days prior to microneedling. (CO2 must wait 3 months)
No waxing, depilatory creams or electrolysis 7 days prior to the procedure.
No shaving the day of the procedure
On the day of the treatment, you should keep your face clean and do not apply makeup if possible.
Is Microneedling good for Melasma?
In addition to genetics, hormonal activity seems to be the most suggested reasoning for the occurrence of melasma. Pregnancy, contraceptives, hormone treatments and hormone replacement therapy can all be responsible for hormone fluctuation. Studies have suggested that estrogen can stimulate the cells to produce more melanin. Therefore melasma is also called “pregnancy mask.”
Microneedling is an ideal treatment for this condition because it only creates minor trauma to the skin, which reduces the chance of complications. This procedure is generally more effective with less risk than comparable laser treatments.
It is very important to understand that melasma is a very hard condition to treat, so you really have to be patient and have realistic expectations when it comes to treatment. Results will show, but not overnight, as long as you follow the post care instructions and have a good home care protocol to help the process. Lightening home care products and sunscreen are a must for treating this skin condition, no exceptions. A combination of year-round daily use of home care products with several pigment-inhibiting ingredients, consistent broad-spectrum sun protection, regular professional microneedling treatments along with chemical peels can provide an immense improvement of this stubborn condition. It is also important to understand that if you are prone to hyperpigmentation and melasma, you may always be susceptible to recurrence.