Though the name initially may be off-putting to clients unfamiliar with the treatment, micro-needling is quickly becoming one of the most popular procedures for skin resurfacing. Also commonly referred to as collagen induction therapy, it is proving highly valuable in its ability to improve the appearance of fine lines, acne scars and the overall appearance of the skin.
A study of patients treated throughout 10 years with micro-needling showed a 60–80% improvement, a significant increase in collagen and elastin. With these results, micro-needling could prove a game changer for clients. This modality may not be for every skin care practice, but for those offering it knowing specific care protocols before, during and after may be the difference between a satisfied client and an unhappy one.
The process of micro-needling involves using tiny needles to create micro-perforation into the derma-epidermal junction.
This precise stimulation creates very controlled wounding, which stimulates collagen and elastin production as the skin repairs itself. New, healthy tissue surrounds the wounded area, rejuvenating skin. Another tremendous benefit of micro-needling is its ability to allow other skin-building ingredients to more efficiently penetrate the skin, where they can affect cells at deeper levels. These properties may make micro-needling an excellent treatment for aging and hyper-pigmented skin.
Sometimes, professionals will take micro-needling as far as the upper layers of the dermis, but that depth is considered outside the scope of practice for an esthetician. While deeper procedures can help remodel scar tissue from stretch marks or acne, subcutaneous scarring can be caused if pushed too deep. This would be similar in nature to a third degree burn and not the level for estheticians to be entering unless working with a physician.
Another application for micro-needling that nets great results is the treatment of melasma. Since heat irritates this condition and there is no heat component to micro-needling, it’s a suitable treatment for repairing the skin.
Micro-needling is becoming more popular as clients look to more cost-effective skin-resurfacing alternatives that don’t require much downtime. But, as with any resurfacing procedure, proper training and precautions must be taken before introducing the treatment to clients.
With micro-needling, the goal is controlled wounding. It is important to be careful not to bring the skin to the point of bleeding, and to rather keep the stimulation at the superficial level. The barrier function should be kept intact in order to promote optimal healing levels. Also, since this is a fairly aggressive treatment, it is best to be performed on its own, as opposed to coupled with any other therapies. Micro-needling treatments may be contained to specific regions of the skin or performed on the entire face.
As a rule of thumb, clients need to avoid waxing or resurfacing treatments a couple of weeks leading up to the procedure. These also should be avoided following the treatment until the skin has fully healed from the micro-needling.
Clients have shown positive results after their first procedure, and they may return every four to six weeks until the desired goal is achieved.
A couple of other points worthy to note:
Since micro-needling supports optimal penetration of ingredients, hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, epidermal growth factors, antioxidants and peptides applied just prior to the procedure will deliver hydration, and work to fortify, rebuild and heal the skin.
Following the treatment, a milk-based mask paired with a mask containing herbs such as rosemary and basil may be used to nourish, soothe and support the skin. Hyaluronic acid, a heavy water (D2O) and a mineral-based SPF also may be applied to finish.
The effects of micro-needling also may be boosted with the proper home care before and after the client’s appointment. Depending on the client’s skin type and desired outcomes, gentle enzymes, alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acids and retinols may be used prior to the treatment to prepare the skin and deepen the rejuvenation.
Following the treatment, clients may experience some redness and minimal swelling, which typically dissipates within a few hours. Skin may be slightly pink for up to 48 hours post-procedure, but these inflammatory results are a normal response as the skin works to repair itself. This, however, also means proper post-care support is imperative:
**If you experience prolonged redness, warmth, itching, or swelling, please do the following**