By: Yohana de la Torre, Chief Editor
Skin needling, also called micro-needling therapy, is a minimally invasive skin-rejuvenation procedure that involves the use of a device containing fine needles.
The needles are used to puncture the skin to create a controlled skin injury. Each puncture creates a channel that triggers the body to fill these microscopic wounds by producing new collagen and elastin. Through the process of neovascularization and neocollagenesis, there is improvement in skin texture and firmness, as well as reduction in scars, pore size and stretch marks.
There are three basic phases to illustrate how micro needling works:
• Inflammation: Activated by piercing the dermal tissue, platelets release cytokines and growth factors, which act as signals for the body’s immune system. Neutrophils and macrophages cells are sent in to disinfect the wounds, clear the debris, increase the blood supply and begin the creation of fresh, new cellular and extracellular materials.
• Proliferation: In this stage, the fibroblasts, keratinocytes and epidermal cells continue to divide to populate the areas of damage and secrete growth factors and extracellular matrix, such as elastin and collagen.
• Remodeling: At this stage, the wound has been replaced with new dermal tissues and the newly formed vasculature is now matured. The collagen in the newly formed tissue is now replaced with the stronger collagen and the tissue contracts to cause a “shrink-wrap” effect of the skin.
The latest in micro-needling therapy is known as the SkinPen, and the fervor is thanks to the amazing results it’s giving with little to no downtime, and a significant affordability in price.
“We consider this the next step in micro-therapy,” Bellus Medical CEO and President Joe Proctor told ABC News. “You can get dynamic results with little or no downtime.”
The cutting edge, anti aging micro-skin treatment ($300 – $450 in price) is designed to assist in stimulating your skin’s natural ability to repair itself. The in-office rejuvenation treatment essentially pokes hundreds of vertical microscopic columns of tissue damage into the dermis through the microneedles. This allows the new collagen and elastin to start producing and treating the damaged area in order to make the skin brighter and smoother.
The advanced vertical microneedling technology provided by the SkinPen is different from traditional microneedling dermarollers that can bend, break or even rust, resulting in possible infection or scarring with reuse.
The SkinPen, however, uses adjustable length, disposable straight needles to penetrate at a 90-degree angle. This adjustability allows for differences in skin thickness and skin types. The vertical technology also allows for extra precision and enables the device to be used anywhere on the body, including face, neck, décolletage, abdomen and even close to the eyes.
The depth of the SkinPen needles can be adjusted from .25 mm up to 2.5 mm in length. This variability allows the doctor to adjust procedures based on the patient’s anatomy (skin thickness) as well as the patient’s needs.
Another SkinPen perk is that it can be used on all skin types. Proctor says, “Anyone is a candidate for SkinPen and that is what is so unique about this procedure. When patients have darker skin types, often we have to avoid certain lasers because they can generate heat, which can lead to further darkening of the skin. This procedure is excellent for all skin types and all skin colors.”
After the SkinPen microtherapy procedure, patients can expect to experience effects similar to mild sunburns; typically some redness, tenderness and some swelling. Despite that, there is no significant downtime after the procedure and patients can return to normal activities and conceal most of the mild side-effects with make-up after just one day. In a few days, there will be zero evidence that the microtherapy was performed at all!
Patients must understand that microneedling optimizes skin health and is not intended as a quick fix. Collagen remodeling can take place for up to two years, and the SkinPen should be thought of as an ongoing process, like a fitness routine. SkinPen treatments for general anti-aging results should be scheduled starting with three monthly treatments followed by maintenance treatments twice a year – and for issues related to scarring, six monthly treatments are recommended.
In addition to rejuvenated skin, microneedling also allows for an increase in product penetration. Ingredients, such as vitamins, are able to travel down the columns produced by needling into the deeper layers of skin in order to assist with the cell rejuvenation process.
Some of the most important ingredients to use with microneedling include:
• Vitamin A, which encourages cell turnover and an increase in collagen production;
• Vitamin C, which makes collagen structures stronger, helps reduce oxidation and combats free radical damage;
• Copper peptides to promote the formation of elastin; and
• Zinc, which is required for collagen production and DNA repair.
Doctors stress that proper moisturizers and sun protection, in addition to a healthy lifestyle containing a proper diet and exercise, are necessary to obtain the most dramatic results with SkinPen treatments.
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