Microneedling, or derma rolling – the application of lots of miniscule pin-pricks across your face – is skincare's latest trending treatment. I can see eyebrows shooting up from here. Why on earth, you ask, would anyone do that voluntarily? Alas, it's popularity has grown on account of its alleged ability to kick-start collagen production, generate new skin cells and reduce the look of scarring. By creating controlled punctures in skin, it prompts our cells to supercharge their ability to repair and rejuvenate for a fresher, plumper-looking complexion. The question is, is it as scary as it sounds, does it actually work and is it worth it? Team Pool nominated me as guinea pig (kind of them) – here's everything I learned.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO BEFOREHAND
Before the actual treatment, I was invited to the clinic for a skin assessment and to talk through any problem areas such as scarring or uneven texture. I was advised to avoid excess sunlight and overly harsh products (those with a high level of active ingredients like salicylic acid, retinol, glycolic acid and vitamin C), which can sensitise skin, for the week leading up to the treatment.
WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
Before the treatment takes place, you'll have a numbing cream applied to your skin and left to sink in for around 50 minutes to an hour to remove discomfort. Next, a soothing cream is applied to take down any redness and provide a smooth surface for the needles to glide across. The practitioner will begin by running the needles across your skin methodically – in my case, they used a pen device that goes into skin vertically rather than at an angle, which is less painful than a roller. A shorter needle is used around delicate areas like under your eyes, any areas with spots will be skipped to avoid spreading bacteria and any area with scarring will be targeted more. The soothing cream is then removed, before moisturiser and SPF are applied.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
It takes around an hour and a half from start to finish. The treatment itself only takes about 20 minutes to complete, but the numbing cream adds around an hour extra.
HOW LONG IT LASTs AND WHAT RESULTS YOU CAN EXPECT
The results can take two weeks to a month to see, as the treatment works on improving your cell turnover, which happens over time. If you just want a skin refresh, you need only go once – as each treatment should help reduce scarring and generally improve skin condition and plumpness – but to maintain results, you could decide to return every three to six months depending on your skin type, condition and problem areas.
HOW MUCH DOES IT HURT?
This depends on your pain threshold, but I would personally rate it a two out of 10. To me, it felt like an electric toothbrush being run over my skin and the numbing cream took away the pain. I could feel it slightly more on bonier areas like my forehead and nose, which I'd rate as a three out of 10.
WHAT'S THE AFTERCARE LIKE?
Your skin will be slightly more sensitive than normal, so use a cleanser and moisturiser with gentle ingredients (again, no harsh active ingredients) for a week. SPF must be applied daily, excess sunlight is best avoided for a week and anything that causes excess sweating, ie the gym, steam rooms, saunas or hot showers, should be avoided for 24 hours. It's also advised that you switch to mineral make-up like Bare Minerals that won't clog pores and allows skin to breathe.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
I went to The Harley Medical Group where the treatment costs £245, but this may vary depending on which clinic you choose and on your location.
I noticed my skin looked fresher pretty much immediately after the treatment – it probably helped that I skipped make-up for an entire week after, since I was terrified of filling my newly punctured skin with gloopy foundations, so I concentrated on using a gentle moisturiser and a thorough cleanser instead. I don't suffer from much scarring or uneven texture, but I do have one large chicken pox scar by the side of my nose that was given extra attention by the practitioner on the day. I think it helped to decrease the depth and width of the scar slightly and made make-up apply more smoothly over the top, though it didn't get rid of it completely. Overall, I think this would be a treatment to consider if you were particularly concerned by areas of scarring or wanted to try something more hardy to smooth the texture of your skin, but for regular days, I'll be sticking to sheet masks in order to look fresh faced.
Elle's treatment was by The Harley Medical Group