So often, what’s hot in skin rejuvenation involves new energy-based devices to smooth, tighten, and tone, but currently what’s new is old: microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT). Derived from ancient Eastern practices, modern medical microneedling has advanced over the past several decades from the more basic, original techniques to a precise, cutting-edge therapy specially tailored to your skin’s needs. Dr. Hausauer has an extensive background in the scientific principles and clinical applications of microneedling. She has become one of the leaders in this burgeoning field — teaching other healthcare providers across the country as well as authoring journal articles and a textbook on this subject.
How does microneedling work? Does it damage the skin?
Microneedling uses a mechanical device called a pen with attached acupuncture-sized needles to create tiny columns of injury that stimulate collagen and elastic fiber production as they heal over time. In expert hands such as Dr. Hausauer’s, the minute needles do not traumatize the skin like a large cut or scrape but instead kick-start your body’s own regenerative mechanisms. Basically, microneedling aims to thicken the skin, making it more youthful and pillowy.
What does microneedling treat? Is it effective?
The applications of microneedling are manifold and varied. There is growing medical literature supporting its use in the treatment of acne, surgical, and traumatic scars; fine lines, such as “smoker’s lines” around the mouth and “crow’s feet” around the eyes; stretch marks; skin laxity, enlarged pores; and uneven skin pigmentation and tone. Microneedling also creates tiny holes allowing drugs to penetrate the skin’s tough, external barrier, called the stratum corneum. By adjusting the depth, pattern, and spacing of the needle pricks, we can target each of different skin conditions in different individuals precisely.
Can microneedling be combined with other treatments? What is microneedling with PRP?
Microneedling can be done in isolation or together with other treatments, such as platelet rich-plasma (aka PRP), a component of your own blood rich in growth factors, stem cells, and other signaling molecules, to further boost its benefits. Clinical studies show that microneedling alone can be helpful for scars, fine lines, and stretch marks but when combined with topical applications and/or injections of PRP, the results are even more impressive, likely because the growth factors in PRP are big, bulky molecules that usually sit on the surface of the skin when added to creams or other medications, however the microneedle pores allow them to penetrate more easily and turn on important cellular regeneration pathways.
Additionally, microneedling may be part of a more extensive and multidimensional treatment plan using lasers, soft tissue fillers, and BOTOX® cosmetic. All are available at Aesthetx.
Am I a candidate for microneedling? Why not use laser or chemical peel?
Safe and effective when performed by a qualified physician.
Unlike many lasers that use heat and light to resurface and rejuvenate the skin, microneedling is cold and, so it is safe for people with skin conditions that flare after heat and sun, like melasma, or whose skin has more natural pigment and darkens unevenly, like those with skin of color. It can also be done on all parts of the body including off the face where the skin generally heals more slowly and where lasers and chemical peels carry higher risks.
If you have ongoing skin infection or inflammation; a history of keloids or delayed and abnormal healing; tattoos in the treatment area; current/recent use of Accutane® or similar medications; or other medical conditions, please notify Dr. Hausauer, so we can adapt our treatment plan appropriately.
What is the process for microneedling? How do I prepare? What should I expect afterward?
Thinking about thousands of tiny needles pricking your face sounds like Medieval torture, but in truth, microneedling is quite painless and simple. Many find it more comfortable than commonly used lasers. When you arrive at the office, we numb your face with a thick layer of topical lidocaine ointment. Then, the skin is cleaned thoroughly and during the procedure, you only feel vibration and pressure more than discomfort. At the end, your skin is red, warm, tingly, and slightly swollen, like a moderate sunburn. If done in combination with PRP, this is the time that all the growth factors and signaling molecules can absorb into the skin.
Once you go home, only apply the skin products provided by Dr. Hausauer and the Aesthetx team, because those tiny pores are closing up, so it is important to prevent infection, allergic reaction or other unwanted complications, all of which are extremely rare. After 24 hours, it is okay to resume wearing mineral sunscreens, make-up, and gentle skin products. Avoid harsher products such as acids, retinols, or retinoid topicals until your physician instructs otherwise.
This sunburn-like reaction usually persists for 3-4 days depending on the intensity of treatment and is worse during the first 48 hours. Petite coffee ground- or cayenne pepper- like, speckled bruises are not uncommon, especially on thin skin around the eyes, over the forehead, or along the nasal bridge. They usually resolve within a few days, and any stubborn bruising or redness can be cleared quickly with the help of one of Aesthetx’s lasers. Some notice a fine peeling 2-3 days after treatment, leaving glowing, dewy skin beneath.
Voila! Minimal downtime, maximal results.
Is it done in one session or multiple?
To achieve optimal results, this procedure is best done as a series of three to six treatments, depending on your skin and concerns. Less often, you may choose to do a couple treatments a year for maintenance. You can repeat microneedling with or without PRP every 4-6 weeks, no sooner to allow sufficient healing time between sessions.
When do I start to see results?
Results may be noticeable as soon as you heal from the treatment, as the redness subsides and fine sloughing of skin resolves, but long term scientific data suggest that effects become better and better over six months. This is the time it takes for your body to produce new collagen and elastic fibers. Be patient. After a couple weeks to months, you will notice more buoyancy, resilience, and evenness to your skin. Doing a series of treatments compounds these beneficial effects.
What are the side effects?
In the office, you will have pinpoint bleeding. This is expected and often desired, because it releases the necessary nutrients to kick start healing. Bruising and redness is by far the most common side effects and generally resolves within a week. Dr. Hausauer can adjust the microneedle depth and treatment intensity to limit these risks, depending on your goals and schedule.
Occasionally, redness lasts for longer than expected. Lasers and other treatments can help speed its resolution. Diligent sun protection is critical to prevent development of brown spots and uneven pigmentation. There is also a low risk of allergic reaction or infection after microneedling, but these complications are rare in expert hands and have largely been reported after treatment at medspas, not physician offices.
How long do the results last?
The goal of this procedure is to boost your body’s intrinsic rejuvenation processes, so the results are permanent and long lasting. There is nothing artificial or synthetic used. It can’t dissolve or wear off. Having said that, your skin continues to age and change throughout the course of your life, so we can design a maintenance plan and discuss combination therapies. A good at home skin care regimen is critical for enhancing your results and is an integral part of all our dermatologic appointments at Aesthetx.
Why chose to see a board-certified dermatologist for microneedling? How is this different from treatment at a spa? Why Dr. Hausauer?
Importantly, medical microneedling—either with or without PRP—is more sophisticated and precise than the treatment offered in spas that use over-the-counter rollers administered by non-physicians. In California, there are laws in place to ensure that you see a highly skilled medical provider for more in-depth and thus, effective treatments. Note:
- Spa and home needling devices use shorter needles, typically 0.2 mm or less, compared to those in a physician’s office which are usually longer than 1 mm and reach the deeper layers of skin where collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastic fibers reside
- Spa and home needling devices may be cheaper and flimsy, causing more trauma to the skin and a higher risk of side effects
- Spa and home needling devices are often combined with skin care products intended to be put on, not in, the skin. Hausauer has cared for many patients with complications from aesthetic procedures referred from across the United States. She works tirelessly to avoid such problems.
Dr. Hausauer began her investigation into this field of microneedling while training at one of the top ranked residency programs in the nation. She worked with a dermatology luminary and was the first in that department to apply microneedling therapy clinically. Armed with this knowledge, Dr. Hausauer has since lead several research trials on the subject. She trains other providers on the complexities of microneedling for facial rejuvenation and scar revision, among other topics, and is chief editor for the upcoming medical textbook PRP and Microneedling in Aesthetic Medicine, the first book on this combination topic. Dr. Hausauer takes great pride in this procedure and helping her patients achieve a well-rested, youthful radiance.
Bottom line: in the right hands, microneedling is affordable, safe, and multipurpose with less downtime than many high-tech therapies. Knowledge of skin biology and how it impacts this procedure make Dr. Hausauer an authority in the field.
Schedule an in-depth consultation for microneedling orto learn more about the procedure, contact Aesthetx by visiting here or calling (408) 559-7177.