Doctors Answer the 10 Most Common Microneedling Questions

Doctors Answer the 10 Most Common Microneedling Questions featured image
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This article first appeared in the Spring 2023 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Microneedling is quite the multitasker, which is why it has become a popular request in dermatology offices. “Microneedling is a minimally invasive cosmetic treatment that improves fine lines, acne scars, pore size and skin texture over a series of four to six or more treatments,” says Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen L. Behr, MD. “The microneedling procedure produces tiny ‘micro’ channels or wounds which the skin repairs with new collagen and elastin production. Microneedling devices consist of multiple tiny, sterilized needles used to puncture the skin and result in collagen and elastin induction to give smoother, more glowing skin.”

To take the treatment up a notch, there is also radio-frequency energy microneedling, aka RF microneedling. To help you better understand microneedling, top dermatologists and plastic surgeons from across the country answer the most common reader questions.

  • Kathleen L. Behr, MD is a board-certified dermatologist in Fresno, CA
  • Kimberly J. Lee, MD is a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, CA 
  • Macrene Alexiades, MD is a board-certified dermatologist in New York
  • Tami Buss Cassis, MD is a board-certified dermatologist in Prospect, KY
  • Beth Goldstein, MD is a board-certified dermatologist in Chapel Hill, NC

How can I boost the results of my microneedling treatment?

“Microneedling of any kind is an opportunity to apply anti-aging products like growth factors that will penetrate better through the needle punctures,” says New York dermatologist Macrene Alexiades, MD. “When you combine microneedling with topicals, you have a shot at some collagen building. I typically apply a lab-based, highly potent hyaluronic acid with standard microneedling, and PRP with RF microneedling.”

How should I take care of my skin after my treatment?

“Stay out of the sun and avoid scheduling any major events for a week,” Prospect, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD advises. “Use gentle cleansers and great hydrating products that will help stimulate healing. I really like Alastin’s formulas. Also, don’t worry if you look a little scary—it’s normal. The skin heals and you will love your results.”

Who should avoid microneedling?

Those who have active inflammatory acne, active bacterial or viral infections such as cold sores, or active inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis or rosacea should avoid microneedling. If you are on a blood-thinning medication, consult with your doctor first. “If you have sensitive skin or already ‘perfect’ skin, I wouldn’t recommend microneedling, as it will incite inflammation,” adds Dr. Alexiades.

Can microneedling mess up my filler?

According to Chapel Hill, NC dermatologist Beth Goldstein, MD, the tiny needles do not go deep enough to disrupt the results of fillers or neurotoxins. “However, we recommend that patients wait at least two weeks after neurotoxin injections for microneedling, and about one month after filler,” she says. “At the two-week mark, your toxin is at its best and cannot be manipulated by any swelling that can occur after microneedling. Hyaluronic acid filler patients will actually have the benefit of advanced collagen stimulation with microneedling.”

Can microneedling also help with hair loss?

While microneedling with PRP can be used to address hair loss, Beverly Hills, CA facial plastic surgeon Kimberly J. Lee, MD finds it more effective when PRP is injected directly into the scalp, which allows it to penetrate deeper. “Because the hair isn’t shaved with PRP, microneedling can sometimes be a little bit cumbersome and uncomfortable,” she explains. “By injecting PRP into the scalp, it can spread to adjacent areas of the scalp for improved results.”

Is it safe to microneedle at home?

Though some at-home microneedling tools claim to be safe, most doctors don’t recommend them. “At-home rollers are only 0.1 millimeter in depth and require someone to have the knowledge of cleansing their skin properly before using them,” says Dr. Goldstein.

What to use before and after microneedling?

“Patients with a history of cold sores should take antiviral prophylaxis to prevent a breakout from the microneedling trauma,” says Dr. Behr. Post-procedure, stick to a very gentle skin-care routine. “Skin should be washed with a gentle cleansing agent, moisturizer and sunscreen for a few days after the procedure,” she adds.

How long does microneedling last?

“To prepare for microneedling, the skin is cleansed, and topical numbing is applied for about 30 minutes,” Dr. Behr says. “The procedure depth and number of passes can be tailored to patients’ comfort and concerns. The end goal during the procedure is pinpoint bleeding. The procedure is usually tolerated very well, except for a few sensitive areas or after multiple passes. Depending on the number of passes and areas treated, the procedure takes 15 to 60 minutes.”

How long does microneedling take to heal?

“Expect a very minimal downtime,” Dr. Behr says. “Slight redness is normal for about 24 hours.” 

How long does microneedling take to show results?

“Maximum results from microneedling are seen after about three months when the body has had time to repair the wounds and produce new collagen,” Dr. Behr says. “Results are long-lasting since it is the body’s own collagen and elastin that is produced. As we age, we do lose collagen, so maintenance treatments help battle this natural loss.”

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