PRESSING RESET WITH MICRONEEDLING
Updated: Dec 18, 2019
Baby skin. I was reminded of the beauty and purity of new skin when my children were born. As I stared at my new little beings in adoration, I found myself drawn to their silk-like skin, rubbing it against mine and analyzing its every centimeter. Their pores seemed non-existent, and when I lightly pinched their cheeks, I was captivated by their density and ability to bounce back without leaving a trace. I was convinced these children were of a different dimension where their outer shell was created to absolute perfection.
The reality set in as I compared my “shell” to that of a new baby, and the result was an absolute travesty. My skin, adorned with freckles, scars, and wrinkles, lacked elasticity and certainly didn’t bounce back with even the minimum exertion. In fact, the reaction was quite the opposite, causing my skin to flare up as if it were angry and ready to fight. “Do I deserve this?”, I asked myself honestly. I was ashamed to admit the answer was yes, absolutely! My skin deserved to be super pissed at me; I had not only neglected it but also abused it.
I was fortunate to bypass the hormonal acne that my peers suffered from during my teenage years. Clear skin wasn’t something that I ever wished for, because lucky for me, I already had it. What I wanted, was that dark caramel tan that provided the perfect contrast against the neon orange and white bikini I wore. That was the ticket, and I was committed to getting it. At every opportunity, I took my perfectly clear skin to the beach, lathered it up with baby oil, and placed it directly under the sun, baking for hours… If I couldn’t make it to the beach, I would spend my small earnings on unlimited monthly tanning sessions and would use any leftover money to purchase the amplifying lotions to intensify the burn on my young skin.
Ten/twenty years later, I realized that the woman, wife, and mother looking back at me the mirror did not portray the woman I felt like inside. The woman who appeared was tired, wrinkled, and aged. While vanity is not something I have ever denied, this feeling was not just that, it was a misperception. I didn’t look the way I felt, and that bothered me more than I expected. How, I wondered, did these changes happen without me noticing?
That pity party was brief and my exploration to reverse this devastation to my skin became not only a passion but a necessity. I began investing in my skin from that day forward. My bathroom vanity is now adorned with an array of expensive skin care products that aim to achieve my desired, baby-like skin. Though I observed some improvement in using the plethora of serums, I did not find anything that addressed the pigmentation and fine lines to the level that I needed. The lines were deeper than any at-home exfoliator would repair, and the pigment appeared well below the epidermis (the top layer) of my skin. I wanted all of the damage erased and my youthful canvas to return. I searched for more advanced treatments and booked a consultation with my dermatologist and esthetician. They recommended microneedling.
Microneedling, also known as Collagen Induction Therapy has gained popularity as an anti-aging procedure. Some brands, such as Rodan and Fields, even sell at-home rollers for personal use. The treatment I was recommended, however, was more advanced and was required to be administered by a qualified professional. The treatment involves injuring the skin at a micro level with tiny needles, which activate your body’s repair mode by stimulating collagen and elastin formation, the building blocks of skin tissue.
Benefits of microneedling include:
Improvement in fine lines and deeper wrinkles
Reduction in acne scars
Softening of stretch marks
More even skin tone
Lightening of hyperpigmented skin and sun spots
Reduction of pore visibilityImprovement in skin texture (firming and smoothing)
Reduction in broken capillaries and spider veins
Brightening of the skin
CHECK, CHECK. CHECK. With all of my boxes checked, I made the decision to book three sessions, per the recommendation of my dermatologist and my esthetician, both of whom I trusted deeply.
Treatment Day: I arrived early to take full advantage of the anesthetic numbing cream option in hopes of alleviating the pain I anticipated. The esthetician was thorough in communicating protocols and also reviewed the expected results, sharing her product recommendations to apply post-treatment. This was when I was first introduced to Skin Medica, a skincare brand that I am still loyal to today.
To begin, she cleansed my face and removed the last of its impurities. She then handed me a long tube that expelled cold air and I was instructed to direct it toward the areas she was treating. With my skin held tautly, she began gliding a powered microneedling pen in controlled motions across the four quadrants of my face. Despite being numb, I felt the needles drive into my skin, and it wasn’t the pleasant spa experience I was used to when usually visiting my esthetician – it hurt. Then she moved to my forehead, which was the worst. With very little fat in that area, the needles felt strong and deep. She proceeded the treatment across my decollete, occasionally pausing to wipe the blood and apply TNS Essential Serum, another one of my favorite products by Skin Medica. The serum contains human growth factors that supercharge healing and collagen stimulation. With tiny punctures in my skin, the TNS Essential Serum could penetrate deep into the layers of my skin, beginning its reconstruction powers immediately. I got through the sixty minutes (of pain) with breath work, a couple of grunts, and great conversation for distraction. Finally, the microneedling treatment was over, and I felt relieved. The pain, which I would score as a 7 at the highest (on a scale from 1-10), was gone. Hallelujah!
To conclude the visit, the esthetician reinforced the microneedling post-procedure dos and don’ts which included no sweating for at least 72 hours, no sun exposure, and no other facial treatments for at least one month (among other recommendations). When I left the dermatologist’s office, my face was bright red and a little puffy. By the time I went to bed that night, the swelling had subsided, and my face only looked a bit sun-kissed. I watched my skin’s reaction, anticipating the amazing results I hoped for.
In the days following the treatment, my skin felt extremely dry, but the redness had faded by the second day. By day three I was allowed to wear makeup again but still made sure to follow the protocols of cleansing with a very mild cleanser and moisturizing with Cetaphil as often as I could stand. Sunscreen was also clutch during this time as my skin was raw like an open wound, and any sun exposure would have created more damage than I first started with.
Within a month following the microneedling treatment, I started receiving compliments from family members (my greatest and most trusted critics), so I knew it was working. Many of the freckles were gone, the dark freckles were lighter, my skin was soft and smooth, the creepy wrinkles began to fade, and my face, for the first time, emitted that youthful glow that only develops when the skin is healthy. Take a look at the before and afters below and try to overlook the weird expressions I have going on here 😆.
But does it last? My answer to this question is the same as it is to every skin care treatment. Aging is inevitable. We cannot stop it, and over time the skin will continue to age. Microneedling, along with a good skin care regimen, can help reverse the signs of aging and rejuvenate the skin. It’s like pressing rewind and resetting the starting point. It is recommended to keep up with these treatments to continue to reset the clock and continue having fresh, clean skin.
Since this treatment, I have had many other advanced skin care treatments such as chemical peels, microneedling with a roller, Erbium and Luminesce Laser treatments, and I still feel that the microneedling pen provides the greatest results.