Microneedling – Do You Really Need a Qualified Doctor? Is Microneedling at Home Just as Safe and Effective?

microneedling Inland Empire, acne, acne scars, sun damage, wrinkles, scars

Microneedling is a popular and effective way to rejuvenate skin.  Every month, thousands of people search for information on microneedling in Inland Empire, where I practice.  If you’re thinking about having this done to improve acne scars, wrinkles, rosacea or stretch marks you’ll want to read this article.  This inexpensive, minimally invasive treatment can help improve all of these skin problems.  Some will tell you that you don’t really need a specialist like a facial plastic surgeon, plastic surgeon or cosmetic dermatologist for effective microneedling.  You can purchase a roller and do it yourself at home.  Is that a good idea?  Please consider some facts.

acne, microneedling, Inland Empire, Skinpen
Before & After microneedling using the Skinpen. Compliments of Elizabeth Steigner

Microneedling:  Generally Safe and Effective

Studies and real-life results demonstrate that microneedling can improve a number of skin conditions.  Wrinkles, stretch marks, acne scars and other scars all respond to this minimally invasive method.  Microneedling can also effectively rejuvenate dull or aging skin.  It is a considerably better option for darker complexions, often avoiding the discoloration caused by other methods.

Microneedling, when done correctly, pierces the skin at a 90 degree angle.  The needles penetrate deeply enough to cause minor injury to lower skin layers.  This spurs the skin into repair mode.  It can stimulate production of both collagen (which anchors skin) and elastin (which helps skin stay firm and elastic).  Studies have found a 400% increase in collagen and elastin 6 months after treatment.  Interestingly, collagen fibers form in the matrix pattern seen in healthy skin rather than the parallel pattern found in scar tissue.

Microneedling can provide good results after 4-5 treatments.  For some conditions, it can allow genuine improvement without the downtime and discomfort of ablative lasers.  However, it is important to note that these good outcomes have been primarily seen in doctor’s offices or medical spas closely supervised by qualified physicians.

Can you save money with DIY microneedling at home?

microneedling at home, microneedling rollerThere is no question that microneedling rollers designed for home use cost less than microneedling performed by medical specialists.  However, this is one more example of the adage:  “You get what you pay for.”  Microneedles used by physicians are considerably longer than those generally offered for home use.  Getting the length right matters.  Needles that are too short cannot achieve the same results as professional-length needles.  Needles that are too long can injure the skin.

In its article, “The FDA May Soon Regulate At-Home Microneedling on the Skin,” Allure Magazine quoted Dr. Patricia Wexler, a New York City dermatologist featured in New York Magazine‘s “Best Doctors” issues.  Dr. Wexler said about this procedure:

Home devices do not give the same degree of sterility, or uniformity of application.  The at-home user may also not be aware of contraindications, such as herpes infection, an acne breakout, a psoriasis flare, a rosacea flare, an open wound, and active skin cancer, or recent chemotherapy.

Keloids (raised scars) can also be a contraindication, which is why Dr. Wexler stresses that any wound has the potential to create a scar.  Dr. Shari Marchbein a practicing dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at New York University School of Medicine also warns:  

Additionally, if an inappropriate technique is used, or if the needles are not sharp enough, there is a risk of causing superficial tears to the skin.

Since any wound can create a scar, and at-home microneedling rollers can cause wounds, does it make sense to save a little money to make your skin look better in a way that risks making it look worse?  Read on.      CONTACT Dr. Machida Inland Empire, CA 

The Right Microneedling Technique by a Qualified Doctor Avoids Infections and Allergic Reactions

microneedling Inland Empire, Skinpen, acne, scars
Skinpen microneedling performed by Cathy Resnick, LE

Microneedling is generally quite safe, so safe that some may feel there’s no risk of an infection from needles that small.  Unfortunately, there is.  Health magazine recounted an incident where people were infected with HIV after microneedling with Vampire Facials, which work patients’ own processed blood into their skin.  The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reported:

NMDOH is investigating two cases of HIV infection among VIP Spa clients who received injection-related procedures at the VIP Spa between May and September 2018.

How could two microneedling patients having procedures that utilized their own blood get HIV infections?  Both tested positive for the same HIV sub-type, indicating that they received it from the same source.  This raises suspicion that the spa ignored manufacturers’ warnings and tried to clean and reuse microneedles.  But there’s no reliable way to sterilize them.  It appears likely that trace amounts of one patient’s blood were left on the microneedling device, and then injected into the next patient’s skin.  It’s no wonder that the New Mexico Department of Health warned:

Any persons desiring cosmetic services involving needle injections should verify the services are being provided by a licensed medical provider.

JAMA Dermatology reported on three patients who developed prominent, long-lasting facial rashes after a vitamin C preparation was spread on their faces before microneedling.  Untreated areas had no rash.  Two of the three patients eventually responded to weeks of treatments.  At the time of publishing the third still had her rash

Clearly, if you want microneedling that’s both safe and effective, it’s important to choose the right physician.  You definitely don’t want to do this at home.

Safer and Effective Microneedling in Inland Empire

microneedling Inland Empire, acne scar Inland Empire, acne scars, skin rejuvenation, acne, Skinpen
Microneedling using the FDA-approved Skinpen. Compliments of Cathy Resnick, LE

At STC Plastic Surgery in Inland Empire, California, we regularly perform microneedling to help patients improve their skin in a variety of ways.  We use new microneedles for each patient.  We never reuse them.

In addition, we avert allergic reactions like the ones described above by avoiding spreading preparations on patients’ faces to be injected by the FDA-approved Skinpen device we use.  We don’t offer Vampire Facials, so there’s no risk of HIV.  I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.

If regular microneedling isn’t enough to help an individual patient improve acne, wrinkles, loose skin, stretch marks or scarring, we also offer laser treatments and Renuvion.  One of these modalities will be right for you.

CONTACT Dr. Machida Inland Empire, CA

Please share this article using the links below:

About Dr. Brian Machida, MD, FACS

Dr. Brian K. Machida, MD, FACS is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon. He has an exceptional level of experience, having performed ( read more )

Articles by Dr. Brian Machida, MD, FACS

Cure Camera Face and Zoom Neck: The Ultimate Way to Look Better on Zoom

Do you want to look better on Zoom? Many find that webcams show them at their worst. How can you get rid of Camera Face or Zoom Neck? Inland Empire, California expert facial plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Machida tells you how [Read More]

How to Look Better and Feel Better During the Pandemic

Can you feel better – and look better during the COVID pandemic? Expert facial plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Machida tells you how – based on solid research. [Read More]

Protruding Ears and Ear Deformities – Should Teens and Adults Consider Ear Surgery – Otoplasty?

Protruding ears and ear deformities bring a lifetime of teasing and embarrassment to many. There are social and economic consequences as well. An expert facial plastic surgeon explains why Otoplasty – ear surgery – makes sense for many, and how teens and college students can afford it. [Read More]

The Facelift Price – Is it a Good Economic Investment?

Many who are considering improving their appearance wonder: Will a facelift help me, not just aesthetically and emotionally, but economically as well? You’ll want to read what years of research reveals. [Read More]

Turkey Neck – What’s the Most Reliable Treatment?

The dreaded Turkey Neck – loose neck skin or visible V-shaped neck [Read More]

Excess Neck Fat – What’s the Best Solution?

Too much neck fat isn’t good for your health or your looks. An expert facial plastic surgeon shows the best ways to streamline your neck at any age. [Read More]

Is Now the Best Time for a Facelift?

Is it safe to get a facelift, neck lift or blepharoplasty during the COVID-19 pandemic? It may be the best time for a procedure, according to highly experienced facial plastic surgeon Dr. Brian Machida, who taught for years at USC’s medical school. Find out why in his research-based article. [Read More]

Acne Scars – How Can You Successfully Treat Them?

Bothered by acne scars? Which acne scar treatments are effective? Inland Empire, California expert Dr. Brian Machida discusses some excellent treatments for mild, moderate and severe acne scars. One even works for darker skin. [Read More]

Fillers – Getting the Most from Fat Transfer or Bellafill, Radiesse and Voluma Injections

Fillers to restore facial volume are very popular. Is Juvederm Voluma, Radiesse, or Bellafill best for you? Or is fat transfer using the BeautiFill fat grafting system a better option? Inland Empire expert Dr. Brian Machida gives you the facts. [Read More]

Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery) and a Facelift – Should You Have Them at the Same Time?

Should you consider having a facelift and blepharoplasty together? Each can do a great job of helping you look younger. Is it a good idea to have a facelift and eyelid surgery at the same time? An expert facial plastic surgeon from Inland Empire, metro Los Angeles California shares his insights. [Read More]