There’s a wide range of things that society has deemed appropriate for the end goal of clear, baby-like skin. For example: a crazy-intense skincare system, Botox, and getting prodded with lasers may sound strange, but are more or less accepted. Vampire facials (ahem, Kim K) fall into a murkier “questionable” category, while feeding your stepdaughter a poisoned apple is a distinctly unacceptable means to an end. So where, exactly, does poking your face with hundreds of tiny needles fall on this spectrum?
If that sounds something out of one of your weirdest nightmares, it’s time for a wake-up call—micro-needling, as this process is called, is very real…and it could very much be the answer to all your skin problems.
We spoke with dermatologist, Dr. Doris Day, and asked her to school us on this terrifying-sounding procedure—including whether or not it actually works (which, if needles and our faces are involved, we really hope the answer is a resounding “yes”).
Keep flipping to find out if micro-needling is for you!
Micro-needling involves using a small roller or pen-like device with tiny needles (the micro-needles, in this case) to puncture your skin for a wide variety of supposed skin benefits (more on that later). Day describes it as a “precise way to create entry points into the skin to help stimulate new collagen and help rejuvenating products and antioxidants work more effectively.” Basically, these needles penetrate your dermis to stimulate your body’s own reaction and healing, which results in elastin and collagen growth.
Plus, all the puncturing is supposed to help all your fancy skin products penetrate better.
Some micro-needling treatments will involve radio frequency energy for extra collage stimulation, while micro-channeling, like the one offered at Gina Marí Skincare, is a form of micro-needling that infuses your skin with a bunch of anti-aging peptides and antioxidants while the needles do their work. One micro-needling session usually costs around $300.
Like we said before—if tiny needles are coming anywhere near our faces, there better be some pretty astounding results. And according to Day, there are. “If done properly by a trained doctor or medical esthetician, [micro-needling] can help improve acne scars, melasma, photo-aged skin, lines, and wrinkles,” she says.
Those with acne scarring and deep wrinkles, especially, may be good candidates for micro-needling, because the procedure allows the needles to penetrate much further than just surface exfoliation. “It is very different from microdermabrasion [because it’s] generally a deeper treatment,” Day says. “I often use it along with other treatments, such as chemical peels and laser treatments, to improve various skin concerns.”
If there’s anything we learned from our DIY sewing phase, it’s that anything involving needles always comes with some sort of risk factor. Day says that there’s risk of infection and scarring, if micro-needling isn’t done properly—so always make sure the office you’re going to follows proper protocol when it comes to disinfecting and reusing skin devices.
So how long can you expect the benefits to last? “Depending on what you’re treating, results can be permanent for issues like acne scars,” Day says. “Other concerns, like melasma and photo-aging, may require intermittent treatments, along with sun protection, in order to have lasting results.”
As invasive as piercing your face with needles may sound, Day says there’s surprisingly minimal downtime required after a treatment. In the same vein, Gina Marí’s Circ-Cell micro-channeling treatment promises immediate results and no downtime.
Stay out of the sun or pile on SPF afterward since you just disrupted your natural skin barrier by micro-puncturing the skin.
What do you think—would you try micro-needling? Have you ever tried it?