I Tried Candela Matrix Pro: A First-Hand Review of the Innovative Microneedling Treatment

I Tried Candela Matrix Pro: A First-Hand Review of the Innovative Microneedling Treatment featured image
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Ever since I was a young teen, my skin has been one my biggest insecurities. I struggled with painful, cystic acne for most of my teens and early 20s, experimenting with everything from Epiduo to doxycycline and medical-grade facials, and only found long-term clarity after taking the plunge and going on Accutane last year. Even after my skin was cleared thanks to a tumultuous journey on isotretinoin, my journey to skin confidence was far from over, as I was left to deal with years of accumulated acne scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Nowadays, there are dozens of options on the market for combatting uneven tone and texture, from peels to lasers and, of course, microneedling. As someone who, until months ago, had never gotten any sort of cosmetic treatment done, I was hesitant to try anything involving needles. But, after seeing the incredible before-and-after images of patients who underwent treatments with Candela Matrix Pro’s microneedling device, I was immediately sold. So, when the company offered to let me try the device, it was a no-brainer. Ahead, everything you need to know about Candela Matrix Pro, from my personal experience pre, during and post-treatment to what the experts have to say about the device.

Featured Expert

  • Marisa Garshick, MD is a board-certified dermatologist based in New York

What Is Microneedling and What Is It Used For?

Microneedling has gained immense popularity in recent years as a non-invasive treatment for an array of skin concerns, from hyperpigmentation to skin laxity, fine lines and wrinkles. Using dozens of tiny needles, microneedling devices puncture the skin and cause minuscule amounts of damage, prompting the skin to increase collagen production, cell regeneration and more. Essentially, microneedling is a minimally-invasive, low-downtime treatment used to rejuvenate the skin from the inside out.

Nowadays, microneedling treatments also come with an array of attachments that help supercharge your experience, most notably that of radio-frequency technology in tandem with microneedling treatments. By adding radio-frequency technology to microneedling treatments, the skin-rejuvenating benefits are enhanced, addressing even deeper signs of aging like fine lines and sagging and even post-acne marks.

How Is Candela Matrix Pro Different From Traditional Microneedling?

Candela Matrix Pro is truly an innovator in the world of microneedling, as it features the thinnest needles on the market that deliver short-pulse radio frequency to the skin in collaboration with one-of-a-kind Depth Intelligence technology that allows for different needles on the applicator to penetrate to different depths at the same time, meaning less passes are needed and the treatment is quicker, more effective and less painful. To harness the true benefits of Candela Matrix Pro, its recommended you receive three treatments about three to four weeks apart, and for my sessions I went to New York dermatologist Marisa Garshick, MD.

As Dr. Garshick explains, “In general, the Candela Matrix Pro is a great option for anyone looking to improve textural changes on the skin while also tightening the skin. By stimulating collagen production, it helps to improve the appearance of acne scars, pores, fine lines and wrinkles.” When I first went to Dr. Garshick, I expressed that my main concern was less about signs of aging and more about minimizing my post-acne marks, and she reassured me that Candela Matrix Pro would still be a great fit for my skin needs. “Unlike other treatments that may be considered for acne scars, the downtime with Candela Matrix Pro is minimal making it easy to do anytime of year,” Dr. Garshick explained.

Treatments and Downtime: How Many Treatments of Candela Matrix Pro Do You Need?

As, Dr. Garshick noted, Candela Matrix Pro’s innovative Depth Intelligence technology, short-pulse radio frequency infusion and ultra-thin needles make the downtime post-treatment remarkably minimal—it’s almost like the microneedling equivalent of “lunchtime laser.” While each patient is different, it’s recommended that you receive three to four treatments spaced out about a month apart in order to really help enhance your collagen production, and with each session the post-treatment downtime is really just a few hours of redness that subsides by the next morning (in my experience), making it a great option for even the busiest of people.

First Hand Testimonial: My Experience With Candela Matrix Pro Microneedling

Before and During Treatment: What to Expect

I began my Candela Matrix Pro journey in December of 2023, and I will admit that going into my first session I was scared—having dozens of needles jabbed into your face over and over is worrisome no matter how thin the needles may be! But, mere moments into the treatment I knew there was nothing to fear. Before you even begin the session, you sit with numbing cream over your whole face for 45 minutes to an hour, so by the time the treatment begins you can’t really feel much anyway.

In total, the microneedling itself only takes about 15 minutes to complete, so the longest part of the treatment is the pre-procedure numbing. In terms of pain level during treatment, I’d rank Candela Matrix Pro around a five out of 10—for the most part, it’s just a brief, pricking sensation but definitely nothing unbearable. Depending on the area of the face and the depths that your provider is pushing the needles in, some areas do hurt a bit more than others. For example, the majority of my post-acne marks are on my cheeks, so Dr. Garshick opted to go a bit deeper in those areas and I felt a bit more pain, but I would classify the sensation as a whole as more of discomfort than anything overtly “painful.”

Immediately Post-Treatment: Downtime and Aftercare

The best way I can describe the minimal downtime post-Candela Matrix Pro treatment is that after each session, I left the office and immediately went to some sort of event (a work dinner, a Broadway show, even a first date). While my face was definitely a bit red directly after the treatments, its nothing that low lighting and strategically placed hair can’t hide. In terms of pain, there was really no soreness or post-treatment pain in my experience, but my skin did feel tingly and a bit raw on account of the residual numbness and teeny tiny wounds across my skin.

I got all three of my treatments in the evening, and each time the redness had completely subsided by the next morning (see below). In terms of post-treatment skin care, Dr. Garshick advised me to not put anything on my skin for 24 hours after each treatment, which was weird as someone with a carefully curated and extensive skin-care routine, but it made sense since my skin was essentially healing from small amounts of trauma. Also during the 24 hours post-treatment, I was advised to avoid strenuous physical activity and excessive sun exposure, but none of that got in the way of my day-to-day, so the downtime was pretty much non-existent. After the 24 hours were up, Dr. Garshick recommended gentle skin care for a few days, during which I opted for gentle, skin-healing products like RescueMD’s DNA Repair Complex ($88) and CeraVe’s Hydrating Facial Cleanser ($19).

In the days following my treatments, my skin felt a bit rough and almost sand paper-y in some places, but there was no significant dryness, flaking or peeling like you would experience with treatments like chemical peels or even certain lasers. All around, I found the process to be easy and painless from start to finish.

Immediately after first treatment
The morning after first treatment (12 hours later)

Three Treatments Later: The Results

One thing about microneedling is that you have to commit to playing the long game in terms of results, as it really does take three treatments and several months to see the full benefits of your now enhanced collagen production, and the results get better with time. Looking back on the images of my skin before I began Candela Matrix Pro treatments versus now, I’m thoroughly pleased by the reduction in redness and post-acne marks on my skin—specifically my cheeks—and I also think my skin overall looks firmer and more youthful. In the weeks following my last treatment, I’ve gotten the most compliments on my complexion I’ve ever gotten, specifically on how smooth my skin is and how my freckles stand out, which I believe is largely due to the fact that there are significantly less red marks and areas hyperpigmentation standing in the way of my natural glow.

Before Candela Matrix Pro Treatment
After three Candela Matrix Pro treatments
Before Candela Matrix Pro
After three Candela Matrix Pro treatments

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