Is Microneedling at Home Effective and Safe? Is a Qualified Physician Really Necessary for Microneedling in Inland Empire?

Many people are interested in microneedling here in Inland Empire.  It’s no wonder.  This treatment can effectively improve acne, many types of scars, stretch marks, rosacea, fine lines and wrinkles.  However, some people believe that you don’t need to go to a facial plastic surgeon, plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist or a spa supervised by one to get effective microneedling.  Some people feel you can get great results doing it yourself with an at-home dermal roller.  How safe and effective is at-home microneedling?  If you’re thinking about doing it yourself, you need to read this article.

How microneedling safely gets good results

Real-results and research confirm:  microneedling can really improve your skin.  This method improves acne, acne scars, other scarring, and stretch marks, as well as fine lines and wrinkles without surgery or the discomfort associated with laser resurfacing.  Unlike many skin rejuvenation methods, microneedling works for people with darker skin.  It avoids discoloring their complexion, which can often occur with other skin rejuvenation treatments.

Microneedles need to pierce your skin at a 90°angle to get the best results.  This allows them to cause a tiny injury to lower layers of the skin.  This minor injury touches off your skin’s repair cascade. Collagen and elastin production, both needed for firm, elastic skin, can increase up to 400 percent in time.  And the collagen produced forms the matrix seen in healthy skin rather than scar tissue’s parallel formation.

Microneedling performed by or under the supervision of qualified physicians has proven to get excellent results for some conditions after 4 or 5 treatments.  It can avoid the discomfort and downtime that often accompanies ablative (tissue eliminating) laser treatments.  But can you get these kinds of results with DIY microneedling at home?

Does microneedling at home get the same good, safe results?

Microneedling performed or supervised by experts certainly costs more than doing it yourself at home.  Online retailers who offer inexpensive home microneedling rollers offer savings.  But we’ve all heard the expression, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” That is generally the case with at-home microneedling rollers.

To begin with, microneedles employed by physicians are substantially longer than those in DYI rollers.  That makes a difference.  Medical-length needles penetrate to the lower skin layers, resulting in the greatest increase in collagen and elastin production.  At-home rollers are shorter and cannot achieve the same results.  On the other hand, needles that are too long can cause unnecessary injuries that harm your skin.

Alluremagazine interviewed dermatologist Dr. Patricia Wexler, one of New York Magazine’s “Best Doctors.”  Quoted in “The FDA May Soon Regulate At-Home Microneedling on the Skin,” Dr. Wexler said:

Home devices do not give the same degree of sterility, or uniformity of application.  The at-home user may also not be aware of contraindications, such as herpes infection, an acne breakout, a psoriasis flare, a rosacea flare, an open wound, and active skin cancer, or recent chemotherapy.

When mentioning that raised scars can be a contraindication, Dr. Wexler reminded readers that any wound can potentially cause a scar.  The article also quoted dermatologist Dr. Shari Marchbein, a New York University School of Medicine Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology:

Additionally, if an inappropriate technique is used, or if the needles are not sharp enough, there is a risk of causing superficial tears to the skin.

Think about this:  At-home microneedling rollers can cause wounds and any wound can cause a scar. Everyone wants to save money, but if you want to look better, is saving a little worth the risk of making your face look worse?

Unfortunately, scarring is not the only risk involved in having microneedling done somewhere other than a qualified, properly-run medical practice.

Safer Microneedling at the Right Medical Practice Avoids Allergic Reactions and Infections

Microneedling, done properly by a trained and license professional, is one of the safest cosmetic procedures.  Unfortunately, some may forget:  Anything that punctures your skin can transmit infection.  And though the risk is small in a properly run medical practice, wise physicians still take steps to minimize it.

For example, microneedles should be used once and thrown away.  There is no reliable way to sterilize them.  But not every practice or spa does this.  The consequences of trying to clean and reuse microneedles can be serious.  Healthmagazine related a situation where two clients of a New Mexico spa had Vampire Facials using their own blood.  They were shocked when they later learned they were infected with HIV.  According to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH):

NMDOH is investigating two cases of HIV infection among VIP Spa clients who received injection-related procedures at the VIP Spa between May and September 2018.

But their Vampire Facials used their own blood. How could they get HIV?  Testing revealed that they both had the very same HIV sub-type.  It therefore seems quite likely that they received it from the same source.  This could easily happen if the spa ignored manufacturers’ warnings, as some do, and tried to clean and reuse microneedles. If trace amounts of an infected patient’s blood were left on the microneedling tool, when it was reused it would have injected them into other patients’ skin.

This warning came from the New Mexico Department of Health:

Any persons desiring cosmetic services involving needle injections should verify the services are being provided by a licensed medical provider.

JAMA Dermatologypublished a report on 3 patients with clearly visible facial rashes that came about after a provider applied a Vitamin C cream before performing microneedling.  No rash appeared on areas of their face where the cream was not injected. After weeks of treatment, two of the patients got relief.  The third still had her rash when the article was published.

There’s no doubt that microneedling can safely provide excellent results.  But it’s important to choose a qualified physician who follows safe procedures.  “Don’t try this at home” applies here.

Microneedling in Inland Empire with Safer Practices and Strong Results

At STC Plastic Surgery our top priorities are patient safety and pleasing results.  We use the FDA-approved Skinpen, which can successfully treat acne, acne scars, other scarring and dull, tired-looking skin as well as fine lines and wrinkles.

We follow best practices for patient safety.  We never reuse microneedles. We use fresh ones for each patient.  And we avoid allergic rashes like the ones described above, because we don’t spread preparations on patients’ faces before microneedling.  We don’t offer Vampire Facials, so there’s never a chance of transmitting HIV or any other infections.  They may be trendy, but the case in New Mexico shows they can be risky as well.

If a patient has acne, scarring, wrinkles, sagging skin or stretch marks that are beyond what we can successfully treat with standard microneedling with the Skinpen, we also offer laser and Renuvion. All these modalities have successfully rejuvenated and improved our patients’ skin.  One will be the right treatment for you.