Developed in France and originally called percutaneous collagen induction, the treatment was first introduced by American dermatologist Charles Runels in 1990.
Microneedling is a procedure involving the use of a medical device that punctures the skin to create multiple microscopic channels in order to deliberately create more space for filler to be injected around areas such as lips, eyes, scars, and nasolabial folds. The microchannels also enable serums and other actives to penetrate deeper into the skin.
In recent years it has become increasingly popular for people seeking non-surgical facelifts or skin rejuvenation treatments.
Microneedling is a procedure in which the skin is punctured with multiple tiny needles to create microscopic channels. This causes localized trauma to the skin and induces a wound healing response. New collagen, elastin, and blood vessels grow within these channels. The process results in the reduction of wrinkles and acne scars, as well as the plumping of facial tissues with new blood and lymphatic fluid.
A 2012 study found that microneedling produces the formation of new collagen at a rate “greater than previously thought.”
In 2015, microneedling was one of the top aesthetic treatments performed in spas and dermatologist offices in the United States. The procedure was offered as an add-on service to other treatments such as microdermabrasion or chemical peels. Another treatment, known as “facial rolling,” is similar to microneedling but does not involve puncturing the skin with needles.
In countries such as France and Brazil, microneedling is used as a traditional acne treatment. Many treatments are given with a topical application of an antibacterial medication, like benzoyl peroxide; combined with an active skin-brightening agent such as vitamin C or vitamin A; and often, a topical steroid and/or anti-inflammatory medication is also applied.
Microneedling has also been shown to be able to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The increasing popularity of the procedure in the U.S. has led to more and more doctors offering it as a cosmetic treatment.
This treatment has been banned in the EU because it hasn’t been shown to be safe.
The risk of infection or scarring is a serious concern and could possibly lead to other complications. Microneedling is also not covered by insurance and may only be covered by a personal injury lawsuit or medical malpractice suit.
Microneedling has been found to cause severe side effects, such as pain and severe bruising, but this can be avoided with the use of microneedling lotion or microneedling needles. In studies involving twins who received microneedling injections, only one twin showed signs of significant side effects while the other twin experienced no side effects at all.
In 2016 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about microneedling, stating that it had not been proven to be effective for cosmetic purposes. Many doctors have also found it difficult to find microneedling products that pass FDA regulations.
Though some medical professionals consider microneedling a way to treat scars, others object to the use of such a treatment on any area of the body. In addition, many physicians are concerned that patients may not be informed that microneedling is a procedure with potential downsides and side effects. In 2012 several dermatologists sued Brazilian physician Ana Carolina Martinelli claiming that her practice of injecting patients with microneedles was unsafe and caused infections.