How microneedling works to boost collagen production for skin

Microneedling is a process of inserting tiny needles into your skin to produce collagen. Read on to know how this technique helps your skin.
A hand holding a syringe
Microneedling is the technique of piercing the skin with tiny needles in order to reduce occurrence of acne and wrinkles. Image courtesy: Pexels
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 17 Apr 2024, 12:00 pm IST
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Collagen is very important for our skin care, and microneedling is an effective technique that promotes its production. Tiny needles are used in microneedling in a way that skin becomes smooth, firm as well as acne and wrinkle-free. With this technique, collagen and new skin tissue is generated, making the skin look fresher and healthier. Microneedling may also work to reduce acne scars and hyperpigmentation.

One of the advantages of microneedling is that it is not an elaborate procedure, and can be done easily. However, a few sittings of microneedling might be required before you can see good results on your skin.

What is microneedling?

Microneedling is a popular cosmetic procedure that people are opting for these days to enhance the appearance of their skin. As one ages, the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines or even visible scars become common. “The endgoal of this treatment is to achieve smooth and youthful skin, restoring a radiant complexion and boosting confidence in individuals seeking to address common signs of aging and skin imperfections,” dermatologist Dr Priyanka Kuri tells Health Shots.

Through microneedling, tiny needles prick the top layer of your skin. This controlled injury triggers your body to repair itself, boosting collagen and elastin production.

Microneedling can also be used for hair growth. It causes micro-injuries to your hair and stimulates the new cells to grow and also stimulates the stem cells as well. “You can do it weekly once or else along with the PRP (Platelet-rich plasma), it’s an adjuvant treatment for hair growth as well. It helps in all types of hair fall like telogen effluvium or androgenetic alopecia as well,” says Dr Kuri.

A woman with acne
One of the best benefits of microneedling is that it helps in eliminating acne from the skin. Image courtesy: Pexels

Rf microneedling or radio frequency microneedling can also be done to help refresh the skin. It helps with acne scars and ageing symptoms. If you have fine lines, then this procedure can work for you.

What does microneedling do?

The procedure of microneedling involves the use of a specialised equipment with tiny needles, which create tiny, delicate pricks on the skin. “These tiny pricks stimulate the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, which act like superfoods for your skin,” says Dr Kuri. Through this rejuvenating process, one can achieve smoother and fresher skin that looks youthful. The American Academy of Dermatology Association states that microneedling can reduce scars and dark spots on the skin because of the way the skin heals after the procedure.

What are the benefits of microneedling?

1. Removes wrinkles and fine lines

Microneedling boosts the production of collagen, helping the skin to diminish wrinkles and fine lines. This study, published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, claims that four sessions of microneedling on facial skin, in a span of a month, can remove wrinkles and other lines from the face.

2. Acne scars

The controlled injury triggers healing, filling in acne scars for a smoother texture. The American Academy of Dermatology Association also states that microneedling is effective in fading acne scars from 50 percent to 70 percent.

3. Stretch marks

Microneedling stimulates collagen to improve stretch mark appearance, making them less noticeable. This study, published in International Open Access Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, suggests that stretch marks on thighs as well as abdominal areas can be reduced by microneedling.

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4. Removes large pores

One of the biggest benefits of microneedling is that it can make your skin look clearer by removing pores. By tightening the skin and boosting collagen, microneedling shrinks enlarged pores for a refined look. A study, published in Indian Dermatology Online Journal, supports this claim.

5. Stimulation of hair growth

Microneedling creates micro-injuries on the scalp, which triggers the body’s natural healing response. This stimulates blood circulation to the hair follicles and encourages the growth of new hair. A study, published in Dermatology and Therapy, suggests that microneedling can aid hair growth in alopecia patients.

Risks of microneedling

Even though there are benefits, one needs to exercise caution when it comes to microneedling, especially for people with delicate and sensitive skin.

1. Skin irritation

This is the most common side effect. Redness, swelling, and tightness occur immediately after the procedure. These typically resolve within a few days. This study, published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, states that microneedling can lead to temporary skin irritation.

A woman's hair
Microneedling stimulates hair growth in Alopecia patients. Image coutesy: Pexels

2. Bleeding and bruising

Deeper microneedling treatments or those performed on sensitive skin areas may cause some minor bleeding or bruising. This is usually temporary and should fade within a short period. A study, published in Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, suggests that this risk is lower in patients who have never been on blood thinners.

3. Infection

Microneedling creates tiny wounds, and improper sterilization of equipment or aftercare practices can increase the risk of infection. Choosing a qualified healthcare professional and following proper aftercare instructions are crucial. The study mentioned above, also claims that since microneedling is a technique that breaks into the barrier of the skin, the chance of getting an infection is prevalent.

4. Scarring

In rare cases, microneedling can lead to scarring, especially for those with a history of keloids (raised scar tissue). Consulting a dermatologist beforehand is important to assess your risk. While the risk of scarring is low, it can happen, states this study, published in Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

5. Allergic reaction

Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the topical numbing cream used during the procedure. Discussing any allergies with your doctor beforehand is important.

What are the home microneedling devices that can be used?

Microneedle rollers: These are small devices you hold and roll across your skin. They have many tiny needles on a roller.

Microneedle pen: These look like regular pens but have needles in a cartridge. They’re easy to use and more precise than rollers.

Microneedle patches: These are stickers with tiny needles that you apply to specific areas of your skin to target and treat your concerns.

• Microneedle stamps: These are like handheld stamps with needles. You press them onto your skin to treat your issues.

Derma rollers: They are equipped with long needles and are used for more intense treatments like wrinkles and deep scars. They work like microneedle rollers.

Can you do microneedling at home?

Yes, you can. But before attempting microneedling at home, one needs to follow the below mentioned steps:

Cleanse thoroughly: Prepare your skin by washing it with a gentle cleanser.
Sanitise the device: Sanitise the device according to the manufacturer’s instructions to properly sterilise your microneedling tool.
Glide gently: Roll the device or use the derma pen according to instructions, applying minimal pressure.
Soothe and moisturise: After treatment, calm your skin with a fragrance-free moisturiser.

It may be best consult a dermatologist before attempting to do microneedling at home, says Dr Kuri.

What are the targeted areas for microneedling?

Microneedling can be done anywhere on the body. However, there are some point in the body which can be focused on while microneedling. Thee areas on your face include between your eyebrows, on your forehead, under your eyes, and cheeks. You can also focus on neck, arms, abdomen as well as your legs. The procedure helps with scarring, burns, enlarged pores as well as stretch marks.

How much does microneedling cost?

The amount you have to pay for microneedling sessions varies according to your needs and the area you want to target. It also depends on how severe your skin problem is. The average cost per session, in the US, would be $100 to $700 per sitting.

How to prepare for microneedling?

If you have microneedling sessions coming up, it is important to calm your skin down. Make sure to not do anything painful on your skin in the days leading up to your session. So no exfoliation, shaving or waxing. Also, discontinue all acne medication, avoid any antibiotics for your skin. Also, try not to take over the counter pain medication. Besides this, make sure to apple sunscreen whenever you step out before your treatment.

Steps for microneedling

The following are the broad steps to be taken during microneedling:

  • Numb the skin: If you are wondering does microneedling hurt? Yes, it can. But you can use a numbing cream for this one. This will help you deal with the poking sensation. The cream needs to be left for about 15 minutes.
  • Needle the area: Wipe the cream and start the procedure. the device would need to be guided in straight lines, from up to down. Do this till you have needled the whole area.
  • Wipe the blood: Don’t get alarmed, but your will find tiny droplets of blood as you go along. Make sure to wipe these simultaneously. Clean one area, before you move to the next.
  • Repeat on next area: Follow the same procedure on the other parts of the entire area that you want to focus on, one by one.
  • Soothing masque: Now, clean your face with an anti-septic solution and apply a soothing masque to calm your skin down. This will also help your skin look healthier as it contains hyaluronic acid and moisturiser.

What to expect after microneedling?

One day after microneedling, your skin will start the exfoliation process. This can make your skin look dull. This will go on till about two to four days after treatment. You skin can also be a bit swollen after the procedure. It all depends on how sensitive your skin is. You can apply a cold compress to ease the swelling. Skin might feel a bit rough as well, and some light marks may also appear. Even acne -flare ups are common. But everything clears up in a few days.

 How long do microneedling results last?

The period of how long the results last can vary based on factors like your skin type, the severity of your skin problem and even the number of sessions you have undergone. “The results typically span from several months to a year. Some individuals opt for follow-up treatments every four to six months to enhance their results,” says Dr Kuri. To find out what’s best for you and how long it might take to see the results, speak to a dermatologist. After achieving the desired results, proper care is essential to maintain skin health and sustain the results.

What is the care required after microneedling?

1. Cleanse gently

For the first few days after microneedling, use a lukewarm, fragrance-free cleanser to wash your face. Harsh scrubs can irritate your freshly treated skin.

2. Skip the extras

Put those retinol and harsh exfoliating products on hold for at least a week after treatment. Let your skin focus on healing.

3. Moisturise and protect

Apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer daily to soothe your skin. Sunscreen is crucial, use a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher to shield your healing skin from the sun.

4. Sweat less

Avoid strenuous exercise or activities that cause excessive sweating for 24-48 hours. Sweating can irritate your sensitive skin.


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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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