Like a lot of derms, New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, MD is a fan of microneedling but, as she shared on social media yesterday, she’s not about to get behind the “BB Glow trend of microneedling semi-permanent makeup”—aka, “microneedling makeup” movement that is having a moment.
“BB Glow products can contain up to 42 ingredients, including pigments and preservatives, which are NOT meant to penetrate the surface of the skin,” Dr. Bowe said in a post that illustrated foundation penetrating the skin via an in-office microneedling treatment. “Many of the ingredients are non-degradable and persist in the skin. Microneedling these ingredients into skin can lead to immunologic reactions such as granulomas where you introduce foreign substances into the skin and your immune system tries to wall them off. This can potentially lead to disfigurement! Microneedling makeup, even if it is part of the BB Glow trend, into skin is also a setup for infection!”
Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD strongly agrees to stay away from this one and says that, while the concept of microneedling foundation into the skin, at first glance, may be “intriguing and perhaps even ingenious from the naive public’s point of view—because it is, in effect, creating a superficial tattoo with makeup—it is actually potentially quite dangerous.”
“Just looking at the enormous ingredient list on a foundation’s packaging should give one pause and make one wonder about the safety. When microneedling is correctly and safely performed, it is done so by using topical glides specifically formulated for its use, typically a hyaluronic acid, or using the patient’s own plasma as the glide. When correctly done, it is a procedure that stimulates new and healthier collagen production, thereby improving skin’s texture, pigment, and wrinkles by stimulating the natural healing properties within the skin. It certainly was never designed to microneedle any type of makeup—let alone foundation.”
Plus, she points out, not only is foundation not regulated for injection into the skin, but it, likewise, is not cleared or safe to be used in microneedling.
“Microneedling foundation into the skin is fraught with numerous possible side effects and complications, some of which may at the very least be difficult to treat and reverse, and at worst, may be permanent and disfiguring. These complications may include scarring, infection, irritation, chemical toxicity, and inflammatory reactions, to name a few. Remember, just because something can be done, does not mean it should be done or that it can be done safely, and this is certainly true about microneedling foundation into the skin.”
The bottom line, Dr. Honet stresses: It is simply not safe.
Saddle Brook, NJ dermatologist Dr. Fredric Haberman concurs and lists a long list of negative outcomes: “Microneedling foundation is not safe and can be very dangerous,” he says. “It can lead to many complications, including disfiguring ones. These complications may include inflammation, immunologic reactions, irritation, infection, foreign body reactions, scarring, and infection.”