In an increasingly Goop world where at-home remedies are no longer just a trend, consumers are also searching for at-home solutions to conditions like scarring, alopecia, cellulite, fine lines and wrinkles. Enter, alternative dermatological treatments that are rising to the challenge like light + laser therapies and microneedling. As with any kind of new at-home venture, especially where needles or lasers are involved, product safety is the biggest FAQ. We’ve put together everything you need to know about at-home and in-office microneedling treatments, including how it works, if it hurts and if they’re safe (spoiler, yes).
What is microneedling and how does it work?
Microneedling uses needles to create vertical exfoliation channels in the skin. When needles glide over the skin, they cause tiny micro-injuries, igniting the skin cells to produce new structural proteins, such as collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans, which form the structural matrix that keeps your skin tough, taut and flexible. This helps to provide your skin with improved access to oxygen and nutrients, meaning cell volume is restored from the inside out making skin look plumper and younger, huzzah!
Where/how do I do microneedling treatments?
In-Office: Microneedling treatments administered in an office setting by a professional, doctor or licensed esthetician, run anywhere from $100-$700 per treatment. The needles, like the price tag, are also larger, which is why a professional is required; they’re typically 1.5mm-3mm and it’s not uncommon for skin to lightly bleed during treatment.
At-Home: Needles on at-home devices are tiny (literally “micro”) and can target fine lines, wrinkles, scarring and dimpling without causing visible surface disruption to the skin, i.e. no bleeding. Most manual at-home devices are singular in benefit, but GloPRO® features additional LED red light therapy and microcurrent technology to enhance cellular turnover.
Does it hurt?
In-Office: At a clinic where bigger human-operated microneedling machines are used that contain longer needles, the dermatologist will typically administer topical painkillers such as lidocaine and prilocaine to numb the skin before performing the procedure. Most patients who have tried in-office microneedling report pinprick-like stinging as the needles are applied, but generally say it is only mildly painful and very short-lived at that.
At-Home: With at-home microneedling tools, the needle lengths range from .2mm-1.5mm and are totally painless with the sensation being likened to an exfoliating scrub. The shorter needles mean you can perform daily treatments with zero downtime and get the same results rather than waiting for the skin to heal after an office visit.
Is it safe?
Doctors have conducted several studies analyzing microneedling devices and procedures for any possible side effects or complications. Their consensus has been that microneedling is the safe beauty trend that keeps on giving. As with any needle-based device, if you have any skin ailment histories or highly sensitive skin, consult your derm before regular use or perform a patch test on an area of skin before using all over your body. Typical side effects are a mild flush of the skin, but don’t worry, this means it’s working! Any flushing fades quickly, but this is why recommended use is nighttime before bed.
Do you see results?
With multiple clinical trials over the past decade, microneedling has in fact been shown to be quite effective in managing a range of dermatological conditions. Patients (and their doctors) have noted reductions in scars, blemishes, wrinkles and pits, and improvements in skin smoothness, tautness and elasticity after just a few rounds of treatment. A consumer study using GloPRO® found that after one month of use three times per week, more than 90% of users reported improvement in skin’s firmness, youthfulness and skin tone.