AKA “Percutaneous Collagen Induction” (PCI) or “Collagen Induction Therapy” (CIT)
What is Medical Microneedling and how does it work?
Medical Microneedling is a non-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment that utilises the skin’s own ability to regenerate and heal itself. The upper layers of the skin in a minimally invasive manner, activating the body's own repair process, resulting in the production of collagen and elastin fibres, and leads to improved blood flow in the skin. This results in a reduction in the appearance of scars, lines, and wrinkles.
What equipment do you use for Microneedling?
Dr Lauren uses two types of Microneedling devices: a dermal roller and a professional electronic needling system (Xcellarispro-Twist produced by Dermaroller®)
The Xcellarispro-Twist is a handheld pen-like electric device with a sterile, disposable tip that contains 6 very fine needles that can be controlled to a depth of up to 2.5mm. Unlike other devices available, the Xcellarispro-Twist has active needle retrieval which avoids the microscopic tears and tissue damage that can occur with other electronic needling devices that are glided across the skin.
Unlike dermal rollers, which use the same length of needle all over, the Xcellarispro-Twist can be customised for different parts of your skin and for different indications. The Xcellarispro-Twist also has needles that penetrate the skin at 90 degrees and therefore can be less damaging to the skin than other micro-needling devices which sometimes penetrate the skin at an angle.
Different Serums can also be used throughout the Microneedling procedure which can aid in specific skin complaints, such as anti-ageing, pigmentation, and hair restoration.
What conditions can be treated or improved with Microneedling?
Microneedling is known to improve many aspects of the skin including, but not limited to:
Mild to moderate acne scarring;
Fine lines and wrinkles;
Loose, lax skin;
Poor skin texture and enlarged pore size;
It is used mainly on the face but can also be used on the arms, abdomen, thighs, and buttocks.
What are the benefits of Microneedling?
As Microneedling stimulates your own body’s collagen production and circulation, it can be used for a variety of skin complaints (outlined above).
Microneedling doesn’t burn your skin (like IPL/laser), dissolve it (like chemical peels), or abrade and scrape it (like dermabrasion). It can be used to treat sensitive and fragile areas that are difficult to treat with other procedures. These areas include the eyes, the neck and the back of the hands.
Microneedling is also unique in that it works with all skin colours and types whereas traditional methods like lasers and chemicals work best for only lighter skin types.
Microneedling dramatically increases the effectiveness and penetration of active ingredients in topical preparation. I will sometimes make use of this by adding topical serums to the procedure, which will greatly improve the outcome.
Is the procedure painful?
A numbing cream is applied to the skin for 30-45mins before treatment. Some people may experience some discomfort during the treatment but most people tolerate the procedure very well.
Advice prior to treatment
For seven days prior to treatment, avoid blood thinning over-the-counter medication such as aspirin, or ibuprofen-based medications, Omega-3, Vitamin E, Garlic, St. John’s Wort, Ginkgo Biloba. If you are prescribed a blood thinning medication such as aspirin or an anticoagulant by your doctor for a cardiovascular condition, then please check with your doctor prior to stopping the medication.
For two weeks prior to treatment, avoid waxing or chemical depilatories in the area to be treated.
For one week prior to treatment, avoid excessive sun exposure or the use of sunbeds.
For 48 hours prior to treatment, avoid using topical products containing retinol, AHA’s (eg glycolic acid), acidic or “active” ingredients.
For 24 hours prior to treatment, do not drink alcohol to avoid extra bruising.
On the day of treatment, arrive to the clinic with a clean face and free of make-up.
What can I expect when I have a treatment?
After the anaesthetic cream has been removed, your skin is thoroughly cleaned and the Microneedling device is used across the area requiring treatment. It usually takes about twenty minutes to perform the treatment to the whole face. During the process the skin may feel warm and tight, but it shouldn’t be painful. For better results Dr Lauren sometimes adds a topical serum during the procedure. The serum soaks into the skin directly through the micro-punctures and stimulate a variety of healing and rejuvenating processes. After the treatment, the skin is cleaned and soothing post-treatment cream is used to hydrate, heal, and protect the skin.
What can I expect directly after the treatment?
Most people will notice redness and mild swelling, similar to a slight sunburn, immediately after the treatment and this can last from a few hours to a day or so depending on the depth of the treatment. Tiny traces of the microneedles are closed within hours. There may be slight pinpoint bleeding and/or bruising. For quite deep treatments the skin may feel dry and itchy for a couple of days and there may be a little flaking. Very rarely, some people can break out with a few spots after treatment. This is caused by the release of toxins and old collagen fibres from below the surface of the skin, which is good.
You are advised not to touch the skin for a few hours. On the evening of the treatment, you can shower as normal and clean the skin with either water or a simple cleanser. Any dryness or flaking can be treated with a simple moisturising cream or hyaluronic acid. You can use mineral makeup the next day. Usually, you don’t need to take any time off and can resume normal work and social engagements the next day.
What will happen in the days and weeks after treatment?
Microneedling results and skin healing results are very individual. It’s impossible to give a definite time frame for results. However, after the first few days you should notice your skin looks a little plumper and firmer. The rejuvenation process that goes on under the skin will continue for a further six weeks during which time you will notice the skin should appear firmer, more refined, smoother, and more rejuvenated, and the luminosity of the complexion will improve. Pigmented areas may lighten, and acne scars should appear smaller and shallower. Visible skin improvement can continue for up to twelve months following a treatment series.
What should I avoid after treatment?
Retinol, AHA’s (eg glycolic acid), acidic or “active” ingredients should not be used for 2-3 days after treatment to allow for maximum healing. You should avoid make-up for 24 hours as the skin will absorb the chemicals in the make-up. Direct sun exposure is not recommended for the first 48 hours, and at least SPF 20 sunscreen should be worn for the first few weeks after every treatment. You should also refrain from exercise, hot tubs, and saunas for 48 hours.
Are there any risks to the procedure?
Microneedling is an extremely safe treatment. If you take any medications that thin your blood such as aspirin, clopidogrel or warfarin you have a higher risk of bruising from the procedure. There is a very small chance of infection of the skin following treatment and a very small chance of scarring, particularly with aggressive treatments.
Am I a candidate for Microneedling?
Microneedling can be safely performed on all skin types and all skin colours. As the epidermis, and in particular melanocytes in the basal area, are left intact, there is minimal risk of pigment change or post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.
Microneedling is also suitable for those with sensitive skin. As the treatment promotes new collagen and elastin, it is helpful for those with delicate, sensitive skin because it will cause thickening of the skin and thus reduce sensitivity.
However, Microneedling is not suitable for patients who:
Have used Roaccutane (Isotretinoin) within the last six months;
Have Eczema, Psoriasis, active Acne, Rosacea, or other chronic skin conditions in the area to be treated;
Are wanting treatment for scars that are less than six months old;
Have had facial Botox or fillers injected within the last six weeks;
Have had a chemical peel within the last two weeks;
Have open wounds, cuts, abrasions, sunburn, or active skin infection in the area requiring treatment;
Have had radiation treatment to the skin on or around the area to be treated within the last year;
Are prone to Herpes Simplex or Zoster infections as treatment can trigger breakouts;
Are pregnant or breast feeding;
Have raised moles, warts, or lesions within the area to be treated;
Have any history of keloid or hypertrophic scars, or are prone to poor wound healing;
Have a history of Scleroderma, or Collagen Vascular Disease;
Have a history of Immunosuppression.
How many treatments will I need and how often can they be repeated?
The number of treatments required will depend on how each individual responds to the treatments, and the extent of the damage at the beginning. For fine lines and wrinkles, we recommend at least 4 treatments. For treatment of scars or stretch marks, it can take up to 6 treatments. Deeper lines and wrinkles may also need up to 6 treatments.
There should be a minimum separation of 4-6 weeks between treatments.