Is Medical Needling The Most Useful Skin–Perfecting Treatment Around?

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The answer – quite probably. And I don’t say this lightly. After Botox, this is the commonest in-office procedure I perform. It involves using a device called a dermaroller on topically anaesthetised skin, and creates multiple tiny punctures through the top layer of the skin, down into the upper part of the dermis, the deeper layer. This creates a multitude of micro-injuries, activating the skin’s healing cascade and prompting the massive release of growth factors from cells called platelets – the things that form a plug to stop bleeding when we cut ourselves.

This procedure is incredibly useful for a number of reasons:

1) Everyone benefits from skin-thickening. Think of folding a piece of card and then think of folding paper –which creases more easily? Exactly.

Thick skin is more resistant to wrinkling than thin skin, which is why our eyes and necks give us away when it comes to ageing. Medical dermaroller therapy, when performed in-office (and that’s specifically what I’m talking about here – not at-home treatments using a device with much shorter needles), causes the new deposition of collagen in the dermis, and thickening of the skin’s outer layer by as much as 40%. Anyone and everyone concerned about ageing will benefit.

2) But that’s not all – medical needling also stimulates new elastin formation. What that means is needling helps restore the skin’s elastic recoil, reducing laxity and sagging – something that’s actually incredibly hard to achieve, even when utilising more invasive procedures.

3) It can be safely used on pigmented skin AND it doesn’t make you light-sensitive, so treatments can continue through the summer. This is because the skin’s top layer isn’t removed and the procedure does not activate melanogenesis, the formation of pigment in the skin. Again, this is in stark contrast to chemical peels and ablative laser therapies, which are higher risk in both darker skin types and when performed during periods of intense UV.

4) As if those benefits weren’t enough, it’s a great treatment for acne scarring. In my practice, that means that it’s the perfect therapy for the tidy-up phase, once we’ve corrected the active acne process; so often, we’re not only trying to minimize the aftermath of acne, but also target the first signs of ageing too. Medical needling targets two birds with one stone.

5) The downtime is incredibly short for a treatment with such high yield – I’ve renamed clinics run on Friday ‘Dermaroller Fridays’. Practically this means you can have a treatment at the end of the working week, recover over the weekend, and be ready for work again on Monday. You’ll look sunburnt straight afterwards and for the next 24 hours but over the course of Sunday, normality  gradually resumes. A weekend off is a small social sacrifice to pay for complexion renovation.

And complexion renovation is really what this is all about – stimulating regeneration of the dermis and epidermis in an entirely natural but longlasting way. This is what makes medical needling so popular with my clientele – and ultimately, delivers a very attainable British kind of beauty, which is based on fantastic skin. 

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    • Sam
    • September 11th, 2014

    Hi Sam,
    Wondering how often you would recommend using a home dermal roller?

    • I’d suggest 2-3 times a week. Start slow and build up to this, especially if applying retinoids afterwards.

    • Olivia
    • October 10th, 2014

    I love reading your blog Dr Sam; always so informative! I have acne scarring, large pores and a generally uneven skin tone so medical needling potentially is a good option. I’m a bit concerned though on how to choose a clinic to get this done. I want to make sure whoever administers the treatnent is properly trained and skilled at risk of doing more harm than good. I live in Ireland so if you have any recommendations, your advice would be greatly appreciated!

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