Non-surgical facial rejuvenation: Medical Skin Needling
As the name suggests, needling treatments introduce a series of fine, sharp needles into the skin.
There are two different types of medical needling:
- 1. The needles are attached to a sterile roller which is moved over the surface of the skin to create tiny areas of trauma within the skin.
- 2. A cartridge of 13 needles is inserted into a pen device, the needles oscillate up and down creating tiny area’s of trauma in the skin
Both techniques cause damage, which encourages the body to produce new collagen, and elastin, which generate new skin cells to repair itself; the skin becomes thicker, plumper and more youthful.
Medical Skin Needling, also referred to as Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) and Micro-Needling. It aims at stimulating the body’s own collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, stretch marks, skin laxity and scarring such as that caused by acne or chicken pox.
Pioneered by the internationally renowned South African Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Desmond Fernandes in 1997, needling has been combined with other therapies as well as performed on its own, to successfully treat acne scars, stretch marks, fine lines and wrinkles.
Results can take three to nine months to fully appear as the body takes time to generate new collagen. The patient, however, sees continual improvement. The procedure can take from ten minutes to over an hour, depending on the area to be treated. Results last as long as the bodies own collagen, 5-10 years or more. Maintenance is important to prevent the breakdown of collagen.
When can I expect to start seeing results?
Medical needling is an investment in your skins future. The results are not instantaneous as it takes at least 90 days for the collagen & elastin remodeling to take place and start showing results. Over a period of 3-9 months, best results can be seen.
What are the typical areas of treatment?
Medical Skin Needling is performed on full face, neck and décolleté, fine lines and wrinkles around eyes & mouth. The body can also be treated such as the abdomen, back of the hands and arms. Specific areas such as acne scars, most surgical scars including facelift scars, abdominal scars, post liposuction scars, stretch marks and burn contracture scars can safely be treated.
When should one start Medical Skin Needling?
Prevention is better than cure. Our skin requires cytokines and growth factors as key modulators of skin cell metabolism, there levels decreases with the aging process which results in slow cell renewal and defective skin defense systems. Medical Skin Needling stimulates endogenous cytokines and growth factors in the aged skin; they improve skin elasticity and plasticity via accelerated rejuvenating process. The good news is that the latest treatments such as Medical Skin Needling are more effective than ever and treatments should be started sooner when the skin has a much greater ability to rejuvenate. If wrinkles are left and they become ingrained and scar like they are much more difficult. Loss of collagen in the face causes dreaded sagging.
Who is a candidate for medical needling?
Medical needling is suitable for almost all patients, specifically fine lines, wrinkles, loss of elasticity, poor texture, broken capillaries, acne scarring, surgical scars and stretchmarks to name a few. It is not recommended for those with active infections, chronic skin disorders, blood clotting problems & poor healing.
How is Medical Skin Needling done and how does it work?
Medical Skin Needling is done with either a roller that is covered with numerous tiny needles that penetrate the skin by 1mm or using a pen with 13 tiny needles that oscillate up and down penetrating the skin between 1-2mm. Both methods cause tiny puncture impression in the skin. The injury that results stimulates a healing process, which brings about fibroblast stimulation that results in collagen production.
How many treatments will I need?
The number of treatments required depends on how each individual responds to the treatments, and the extent of the damage at the beginning.
Usually roller needling requires 6 sessions, twice a week, where as the pen requires 3 sessions 1 week apart. More sessions might be needed depending on the results achieved.
What are the risks and potential complications from Medical Skin Needling treatment?
In the case of medical grade devices (1-2mm) your practitioner will apply a topical anesthetic to your skin prior to treatment to reduce any pain and discomfort; this usually stays on for 30-40mins.
Side effects or risks are minimal with this type of treatment and typically include minor flaking or dryness of the skin, with scab formation in rare cases. Milia (small white spots) may also form on the skin, which can be removed by the practitioner. Hyperpigmentation (darkening of certain areas of the skin) can occur very rarely and usually resolves after a month. If you have a history of herpes simplex blisters or cold sores, a reactivation of this condition may occur in the treated area and there is the possibility of skin infection any time a skin procedure is performed. However, as the epidermis (outer layer of skin) has only been partially disrupted, this is very unlikely to occur.
What to expect after a Medical Skin Needling procedure?
The skin will be pink or red in appearance for 1 -3 days following medical skin needling treatment, much like a sunburn, with some minor bleeding and bruising possible, depending on the aggressiveness of the procedure, i.e. the length of needle used for the particular indication being treated and the number of passes made across the treatment area. Slight swelling can also be expected in some cases. The skin may also feel warm, tight and itchy for a short while. This should normally resolve in 12 - 48 hours. Special medical foundation called Lycogel can be worn which promotes the healing of damaged skin post treatment.
Post - treatment advice may include:
- Using tepid water to cleanse the face for the first 48 hours following treatment and drying the area gently without rubbing;
- Ensuring that hands are always clean when touching the area treated, to avoid infections;
- Not applying conventional make-up products to the skin for the first 12 hours following treatment, some mineral based make-up products are able to be applied;
- Applying the prescribed skincare products given to according to the regime specifically designed for you;
- Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen product with a high SPF immediately after treatment before leaving the clinic, and when going outside following treatment.