For men and women who would like to improve the look of scars and fine lines, improve their complexion, or encourage hair growth without surgery, microneedling offers a minimally invasive solution that’s convenient and effective. While the procedure has been available since 1994, it has recently experienced a surge of popularity for its versatility and the results it is able to achieve for patients with a range of concerns. Philip Schoenfeld, MD, FACS, is pleased to offer microneedling at his award-winning practice Renu in Chevy Chase, MD.
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What Is Microneedling & How Does It Work?
Modern microneedling, or collagen induction therapy, is a somewhat recent advancement in skin rejuvenation. It uses the body’s natural response to controlled dermal injury. A device equipped with tiny needles is rolled along the skin to create thousands of micro-perforations in the upper dermal layer. This creates a series of very small wounds in the dermis and stimulates the body’s healing processes. This generates growth factors in the skin, new collagen production, and new blood vessels to help heal and repair the skin. The result of this therapy is improved skin texture and tone.
Who Can Benefit from Microneedling?
Microneedling can be used to treat a wide range of skin concerns and hair loss, making it an appropriate option for a wide range of patients. People with any of these concerns who are in overall good health may be able to benefit from microneedling.
Acne Scars, Non-Acne Scars & Stretch Marks
Microneedling can help reduce the appearance of “ice pick” acne scars, non-acne raised scars, and stretch marks. Depending on the protocol that the practitioner uses, a series of 3-5 treatments spread out at 2-4 week intervals may result in 50-80% improvement in the appearance of acne scars on the face. Non-acne scars and stretch marks can also improve as a result of microneedling, although the improvement for these issues tends to vary more as scars are extremely unique.
Wrinkles & Fine Lines
Another popular use of micro needling is in skin rejuvenation and to improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. These problems originate in the deeper layers of skin as a result of long-term cumulative sun exposure, and age-related changes. The optimal treatment protocol is typically 3-6 treatments either bi-weekly or monthly to get maximum improvement in wrinkles and fine lines.
Another frustrating condition that can be improved with microneedling is melasma. Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that causes dark patches to appear on the face. It is very common in pregnant women. In addition to the skin rejuvenation effects of the microneedling, vitamin C can be delivered to the skin to help remove the melasma spots. Vitamin C, however, should not be applied right after the microneedling treatment is done or could result in scarring and other unintended results.
Finally, male pattern hair loss can be treated with microneedling. One study followed the application of microneedling and subsequent Rogaine treatment. The study showed that after 12 weeks of application, those that had gotten microneedling had an 80% increase in results due to enhanced delivery of the minoxidil to the hair follicles. As microneedling creates little wounds, it also creates growth factors to heal the skin and that is thought to promote hair growth in those areas with the application of the minoxidil.
A consultation with Dr. Schoenfeld will allow you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. While the treatment is an excellent choice for many patients with a range of skin types, Dr. Schoenfeld can help you decide whether or not it’s right for you. He will ask you a series of questions about your goals, health history, skin type, and any skin reactions you’ve experienced. Be sure to come prepared with questions of your own so you can get the information you need to determine whether or not microneedling is the best treatment for you. Dr. Schoenfeld will be happy to help you find an alternative treatment if microneedling is not appropriate for your situation.
The Microneedling Procedure
Before each microneedling session, the skin is thoroughly cleansed to avoid introducing makeup particles or pathogens. Since the treatment creates small wounds, this helps to minimize the already small potential for an infection. A numbing medication is then applied to the skin and sits for about 30 minutes prior to the procedure.
Once the medication has numbed the skin, the technician passes the microneedling roller across the treatment area, causing tiny micro-injuries in the skin. Once the entire face has been treated, the technician removes any pinpoint blood from the skin’s surface and places a cooling mask on the face for about 20-25 minutes. The face will be red after microneedling but will feel fresh, healthy and aerated.
Microneedling Before & After Care
Before having a microneedling treatment, it is important to take the necessary precautions, including protecting the skin from sunburn or suntan. Microneedling should not be done right before a big event or when you will need to wear makeup. It is recommended that makeup should be avoided for two weeks after microneedling to prevent any artificial chemicals from entering the body through the skin’s surface. Hydrocortisone cream should be used 4 hours after the procedure and for another 2-3 days after the procedure. A non-chemical, mineral sunscreen should be used for at least the first week after treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do at-home microneedling with a derma roller?
We do not recommend at home derma rolling as it can put individuals at risk and predispose you to an infection. Exercise caution and choose an experienced professional to perform the treatment instead.
Are there any risks?
The risks are kept to a bare minimum by having the procedure done in a sterile office by an experienced and reputable practitioner. Since microneedling carries a small risk of infection, it is best to seek out a skilled plastic surgeon’s office for your treatments.
How good is microneedling at improving a scar?
Results vary depending on the protocol that the practitioner uses and the characteristics of the scar. A series of 3-5 treatments spread out over 2-4 week intervals can result in 50-80% improvement in the appearance of acne scars on the face.
Who is not a good candidate for microneedling?
Anyone with active inflammatory acne should not undergo microneedling, as the procedure will drive more bacteria into the skin and lead to additional scarring. Individuals who have had recent sun exposure should also not have microneedling. Since a suntan is a damage response, microneedling could further affect the skin. Wait at least 3 weeks after significant sun exposure to get a microneedling treatment.
How many treatments do I need to see results?
Sometimes a single microneedling session is effective, but oftentimes bi-weekly or monthly repeat sessions are needed for up to six treatments to achieve optimal results.
Is microneedling recommended in conjunction with other treatments and products?
Yes! Microneedling creates tiny channels in the skin that allow for better delivery of topical ingredients like antioxidants and collagen-boosting serums. Used alone, many antioxidant serums are not very effective as they lack the stability and are not able to break through the skin barrier. However, applying them after having microneedling done can make them much more effective.
How do I choose the right clinic for microneedling?
Choosing a reputable medical spa is crucial to ensuring the best results for a microneedling treatment and keeps any risks to a bare minimum. At Renu by Dr. Philip Schoenfeld, the surgeon and his staff take great pride in providing a safe and relaxing space for our clients while ensuring the best results possible. To schedule a microneedling consultation today with Dr. Schoenfeld in Chevy Chase, MD, give us a call at (301) 652-RENU (7368).