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Microneedling: Behind the Scenes

Recently, I had the opportunity to have a session of microneedling done.  I am 32 years old, but have always taken care of my skin, so I often get comments that I do not look my age.  But being my own worst critic, I assess and examine my face almost every night.  I look for clogged pores, new fine lines, and scowl repeatedly to see how deep the lines between my eyes are getting. 

Microneedling can help diminish those fine lines, acne scars, sun spots, and uneven skin tone that I am concerned with.  The whole procedure takes about an hour from start to finish.  At the end, you will be quite red, but in no pain, and the redness will typically subside by the next morning.

I had my microneedling procedure done with Chelsea at Empire Aesthetics in East Syracuse, New York.  Chelsea is a New York State licensed aesthetician with almost 10 years of experience.  At Empire Aesthetics, they use the SkinStylus microneedling pen.  For your treatment, there is either an 11 needle cartridge, or a 32 needle cartridge.  When choosing which of these to use, your aesthetician will first assess your skin type to decide which is best for you and your skin care goals.  

To start, numbing cream will be applied to your whole face, and neck, if you choose to have that done as well.  The numbing can take anywhere from 20 minutes on up.   Once your whole face is numb, the cream will be removed, and a hyaluronic acid will be applied to your skin to help the microneedling pen glide along, and to hydrate through the process.  My face and neck were completely numb through the whole 20-minute microneedling procedure.  While the pen moves across your face and neck, you can feel it in that location, but there is no pain.  For me, all I felt was a vibrating, and almost a tickling sensation.  I was warned that the less fleshy parts, like the forehead, may hurt a little because the bone is so close to the skin, but I still did not feel any pain, I just felt the vibrating sensation even more so than the rest of the face.  

After the whole face is completed, there will be slight “pin-point” bleeding, that your aesthetician will wipe away.  Chelsea applied SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic to my face and neck, followed by sunscreen.  The CE Ferulic, which is a vitamin C serum that also helps improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and brightens your complexion, will also help your skin heal.  It is very important to keep your skin hydrated after microneedling, both by drinking plenty of water and always having a moisturizer on your face and neck.

Immediately after my procedure, my face was very red like a tomato.  That redness minimized to a pink flush after two hours.  Two hours after your procedure, you can cleanse your face and neck with a gentle cleanser and apply the CE Ferulic and a moisturizer (and sunscreen if you will be outside).  Wearing a sunscreen and staying in the shade is very important immediately after having microneedling done, as your skin is still healing, and needs to stay protected.  It is also advised that you do not use any type of exfoliant on your skin for 5 days after.  Exercise should also be avoided for 24 hours.

Pro Tips from Chelsea

The purpose of microneedling is to create micro-channels into the skin to allow full penetration of products. Micro-punctures are created and perceived by the body as damage, this stimulates the release of growth factors in your body that trigger the production of collagen and elastin.

Prior to your microneedling procedure:

  • You can prepare your skin by drinking plenty of water and using SkinCeuticals B5 Gel daily, which is a hyaluronic acid serum that is capable of holding 1,000 times its own weight in water and the body’s natural hydrator
  • If you are prone to cold sores you will require an anti-viral prescription to avoid any out breaks post procedure.

During the Treatment:

I will apply a numbing agent for 30 minutes to make the process as comfortable as possible. The end point I like to see is pin point bleeding, your skin will be erythematous and flushed for the first day. The second day you may be swollen and look like you have a mild sunburn, a cool compress may be applied for comfort. Day three, a pink hue may persist, and the skin will most likely feel dry or lightly flaking. During this time, I would make sure to keep the skin hydrated. I typically suggest a series of six treatments spaced three to four weeks apart for best results to brighten, lighten and tighten the skin.

*Try microneedling with PRP for additional benefits. PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma

The day after I had microneedling done, I was back at my work, where I am a receptionist.  My face was still slightly pink, like I had a sunburn, but nothing noticeable that would draw attention.  I chose not to wear any makeup in the days following microneedling, but that is personal preference, and you can apply makeup two hours after your procedure.  On day three, my usual skin tone was back, with some red spots where Chelsea had paid extra attention with the pen to get rid of some slight sun damage and acne scars I had.  Day three also brought on flaking of the skin, as expected.  

Something to remember after microneedling, especially on the first day, is that your skin is going to be very sensitive to anything you put on it.  I used my daily gentle cleanser (Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel), and that did burn a little when I washed my face.  After cleansing, I also used my same basic moisturizer (Belif The True Cream – Aqua Bomb) that use every day, and that burned as well.  The next day, I panicked and purchased other products because I thought those would be gentler on my skin, but I do not think it was actually my products, but the fact that I had openings in my skin that would have made any product burn on that first day. By the next morning, there was much less of a burning sensation, and much less panic on my part.  Just be prepared for that before you have your procedure.

(Pictures morning after microneedling)

Overall, I loved my experience with microneedling, and plan on having more sessions done.

I am amazed daily with my results!  The majority of the dark spots that I had from acne scarring are now just light pink spots, and those had been present for years with no change despite many serums and masks I had tried.  My skin tone is so much more even than it was before having the procedure done.  I am confident that the future sessions of microneedling will further lighten the remaining dark spots and make my skin tone more even.  After just one session, I am finally comfortable in my 30’s not wearing makeup on a daily basis.  My skin looks great without it, but if I do wear it, it only enhances the great skin I now have! This journey is to be continued….

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