Skin Pen is the first and only Class II microneedling medical device on the market that has been studied, cleared and approved by the FDA for treatment of adult facial acne scars. It is great to know Skin Pen has this level of proven effectiveness. However, Skin Pen works on more than just acne scars. Patients see significant improvement in overall skin tone and skin texture with the reduction of fine lines and discoloration as well. It even has shown some benefits in reducing stretch marks.
How does it work?
Skin Pen is a microneedling device that uses a sterile tip containing 12 pinpoint needles to make small controlled minuscule, evenly spaced punctures into the skin. The small wounds created, which sometimes will cause pinpricks of blood to rise to the surface, then induce a wound healing response. This is the key to how microneedling works. Your body rushes in to patch up the injury by growing fresh new collagen and elastin, which gives skin more strength and resiliency. By continuing to simulating collagen production over multiple treatments, the end result is patients will see fine lines and wrinkles disappear, enhanced improvement in skin tone and texture, and even reduction in large pores and acne scars. It’s also great for other skin surface irregularities like crepe skin and stretch marks. The bottom line is, as we age, we lose collagen (1% per year to be exact) and coupled with genetic changes and sun exposure this leads to wrinkles. If we can stimulate collagen production, we can fight off wrinkles and keep our skin firm, plump and elastic, to create what Skin Pen patients refer to as an “overall youthful glow.”
What to expect from the procedure?
Microneedling is a relatively short and painless in-office procedure. When a patient comes in for microneedling the first thing we do is apply numbing cream to the entire area being treated and let it sit for about 15 minutes. As soon as the patient’s skin is numb, we thoroughly cleanse the area and apply a hyaluronic acid-based gel to the skin, which allows the device to glide more easily over the surface. Also, the gel absorbs into the skin and contributes to faster wound healing and to the skin’s more plump appearance after the procedure. A full-face procedure takes about 20 minutes. The Skin Pen microneedling procedure involves three passes over the skin surface in first a horizontal direction, then vertical, and the final pass is performed in a circular motion. Although there may be pinpoint bleeding during the procedure, this is typically minimal and resolves quickly. A layer of hyaluronic acid-based gel is placed over the entire face and the patient is given a supply to continue to apply over the next 24 hours. This will keep the skin moist. The patient will notice redness immediately after the procedure and a slight “sunburn” look that will typically appear the following day. By the second day most redness and peeling is finished and the patient is able to start wearing makeup again (with sunscreen of course), as the fresh healing skin will be more sensitive to sunlight.
When do you see results?
Although many patients do see improvement immediately after the procedure, the full results won’t be visible for up to 4 weeks and will continue improving for up to 6 months. Most patients will complete a series of 3-4 treatments spaced approximately 4 weeks apart. Medical studies have shown that patients see a 45-55% overall improvement in skin. Patients notice that their skin feels and looks smoother. There is also a reduction in fine lines and skin crepiness and patients can see improvement in acne scars, brown spots, and stretch marks, too. Most patients say their overall skin tone and skin texture is noticeably improved.
Are there any risks associated with microneedling?
Like any other medical procedure, there is some risk involved, although microneedling, having been done for many years, appears to have a relatively safe track record with very few adverse effects. Although a numbing cream is used prior to the procedure, some patients will experience minor pain or discomfort during the procedure and a “sunburn” sensation for a day or two afterwards. It is very important that patients follow instructions on skin care after the procedure to prevent infection. The needle holes produced are pinpoint and heal quickly but if not cared for properly can be a potential portal of entry for bacteria. Discoloration can occur temporarily after the procedure, more commonly seen in darker colored skin but typically is temporary and resolves quickly. As microneedling evolves, different substances have been used during the procedure to enhance results, however since absorption is so much greater, there is a potential for allergic or irritant reactions although these appear to be relatively rare. Clinical trials have shown that 90% of Skin Pen patients were happy with their results and would recommend it to their family and friends. This speaks volumes to the safety record of this particular device and why patients who do their research, ultimately chose Skin Pen.
Can microneedling be combined with other procedures?
Absolutely, yes. We recommend that patients come in for a complete skin exam and evaluation to first see if microneedling is right for them and what other procedures may be beneficial to enhance a more youthful appearance. While microneedling can improve overall skin tone and texture and diminish fine lines and acne scars, it cannot fill in or smooth out deep lines or crevices. At Advanced Dermatology, we talk about the 5 R’s to facial rejuvenation: Remove, Redirect, Replenish, Revitalize and Resurface. Non-surgical procedures such as laser hair removal can remove excess facial hair, immobilizers like Botox and Dysport can redirect muscle movement, fillers like Restylane and Juvederm can replenish areas that have lost volume and procedures like microneedling and chemical peels can revitalize the skin. Lasers, like Fraxel and Ultrapulse CO2, resurface deep wrinkles in the skin, but these procedures also require several days of down time and recovery. We use the various methods based on the needs of the patient to give them a more youthful rejuvenated appearance, and most importantly, we are able to do so without having to undergo surgery.