You may have heard of microneedling and immediately cringe at the word needle. So many times when we hear that awful word, we’re reminded of those epic doctor and dentist appointments of years past. But microneedling, a term used for collagen induction therapy, is becoming a vastly popular way to enhance and rejuvenate the skin. For even more collagen boosting ante, a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is added as a topical treatment in conjunction with microneedling to help promote faster healing. I know what you’re thinking? Needles plus plasma, oh my! But the entire process is very cutting edge and the results are exciting. Let’s examine these two techniques closer to give you the entire 411 on this fun facial procedure.
During the last ten years, microneedling has undergone a transformation. Once used to only rejuvenate the skin, it is now being used to treat a wide range of skin conditions including acne scarring, sun damage, to treat stretch marks, to speed up drug and vaccine therapy, wrinkles and sunspots; and to treat burn victims. So what makes this technique work so well? Microneedling is a procedure that is most often performed in your dermatologist’s office. It is a minimally invasive procedure that requires a special instrument, known as a dermaroller, which uses small microfine needles to deliver controlled piercing of the skin when rolled vertically, horizontally and diagonally over the face. The coolest part? When the roller is used on the skin it doesn’t actually break the top layer of skin. Some research suggests that the microneedling tricks the body into thinking it’s injured causing the cells to bounce into action to repair the injury. What we know for sure is that when these small needles puncture the skin, it tells your body to begin producing collagen and elastin to fill in the blanks. It not only stimulates collagen production and skin tightening, it also allows moisturizers placed on your skin post-treatment to permeate the skin easier than before offering a boost in the beauty benefits within the product.
Before you agree to the procedure your doctor will give you a rundown of the results you can expect to see, as well as, tips for treating your skin before or after. Usually treatment will start with a vitamin cream that’s applied topically to the skin for about a month before the procedure. This cream is usually made with vitamin A (to control cell differentiation) or C (to promote normal collagen production) and applied twice a day. On the day of the procedure, your face is numbed with a topical anesthetic. The skin is then stretched by the dermatologist and rolling occurs. Your doctor is trained in the technique of which directions to roll and where to stop on the face. After the procedure is complete, you’ll use saline to keep the area clean and moist and ice to help soothe the skin. You may look a little sunburned for up a day or so and you may have some dead skin flake off during the first week. Treatment will need to be done several times over the course of about 6 months but results can last for several months after. Results you may see are tightening of the skin, increased firmness, plumpness in the face, the reduction of scarring and wrinkles, and a reduction in overall pore size. At-home microneedling kits are available but the needle size is much smaller and results are not as dramatic as the in-office treatment.
THE REAL DEAL WITH PLATELET-RICH PLASMA
Bursting onto the beauty scene is also the platelet-rich plasma process. In your blood, you actually have a liquid known as plasma which also contains red and white blood cells, proteins and platelets. In these platelets are high concentrations of growth factors which help the blood to clot and the body to heal after injury. The process of platelet-rich plasma has been used to treat injuries in athletes and to speed healing in muscle-related injuries, in arthritis and in broken bones. Lately the idea of using PRP in the world of dermatology is an exciting frontier. Though it can be used as a lone treatment, PRP is super effective when used in combination to help heal the skin after beauty treatments like microneedling or treatments with hyaluronic acid. Certain studies are also seeking to find out if injecting the PRP (as is done during sports injuries) may boost the results. So how does this super plasma work? It starts by having your blood drawn. Next, the platelets are separated from the blood using a differential centrifugation process that concentrates the platelets and growth factors into a concentrated plasm that is added back into the blood. This centrifugation process is essential to creating the most potent form of the PRP. The concentrated PRP is then applied to the skin in one of the ways mentioned above. It goes on to promote skin rejuvenation and increased collagen production at the site of application. It’s pretty innovative stuff when you consider that it’s your own plasma working to increase healing in your body. Treatments usually last around an hour. It usually takes a few treatments over the course of about three months but you can see results for up to two months following treatment. Treatments are not at all painful but may go along with procedures that are mildly abrasive which may lead to more recovery time or more painful outcomes.
You need not be afraid of trying microneedling or applying a PRP treatment to your skin. Though the process is new and innovative, it’s also proof that the keys to healing our bodies may lie within our own selves and that’s a great feeling to trust. When you’re talking to your dermatologist about the best treatments for your acne scars, sun damage, wrinkles or age spots, definitely take a minute to bring up a discussion of microneedling used in conjunction with a platelet-rich plasma experience. Combining these two powerhouse treatments can definitely up your beauty ante and provide you with results that you’ll be excited to share. It isn’t easy for anyone to start the process of aging when collagen and elastin begin to breakdown leaving parts of the skin wrinkled or saggy. Thanks to modern technology, we’re learning each day about the positive effects of treating these breakdowns with collagen induction therapies like microneedling or platelet-rich process. They are just two of the amazing options available in the wide horizon of aesthetic care. Don’t you want to be able to say you weren’t afraid to step out into the new beauty frontier? And you’ll be stepping out there with your absolute best face forward.