This is a beauty procedure that goes by many names! Microneedling, dermarolling, mesotherapy, collagen induction therapy (CIT), and percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), to name a few.
They all refer to a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of a device that contains fine needles. The needles are used to puncture the skin to create a controlled skin injury. The devices may be rollers or stamps, with needles of various diameters and lengths generally ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 mm.
Each puncture creates a channel that triggers the body to fill these microscopic wounds by producing new collagen and elastin.
Microneedling remodels the skin by creating thousands of microscopic channels through the skin, increasing the formation of new tissue by activating the body’s wound healing cascade (hemostasis-inflammation-proliferation-tissue remodeling).
The micro-channeling causes the release of growth factors that promote healing and the deposition of normal woven collagen rather than scar collagen. The fibroblasts are responsible for collagen production. The exact mechanism how this happens is complex and not yet completely understood. New collagen and elastin forms. As a result, there is improvement in skin texture and firmness, as well as reduction in scars, pore size, and stretch marks.
There are clinical studies that prove the efficacy of microneedling for the improvement of scars. A 2014 double-blind randomized trial showed that 4 microneedling treatments improved the appearance of acne scars.
In another study, twenty blinded biopsies taken from 10 different patients from various parts of their bdy demonstrated an average increase in new fibers of 206%, in one biopsy a 1000% increase was recorded.
The procedure can be performed by doctors, aestheticians or at home, and is very cost effective when compared to other procedures that use the same principle of creating micro-wounds, like fraxel laser therapy. It can be done on areas of skin that may not be suitable for peeling or laser resurfacing, such as around the eyes and mouth, hands, and chest.
Another application of microneedling is to increase the penetration of active ingredients into the skin. Serums containing Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and/or Retinol are specially beneficial for this application. Therere are quite a bit of clinical studies showing improved dermal penetration of topical ingredients by this procedure.
Obviously, puncturing the skin involves a degree of discomfort. If you have considered microneedling, but did not pursue it for fear of the associated pain, reach for a tube of Topicaine®.
Dermatol. 2014 Aug;150(8):844-9.Efficacy of a needling device for the treatment of acne scars: a randomized clinical trial.Aesthetic Plast Surg. 2015 Feb;39(1):129-33.
Mesotherapy with an Intradermal Hyaluronic Acid Formulation for Skin Rejuvenation: An Intrapatient, Placebo-Controlled, Long-Term Trial Using High-Frequency Ultrasound.