Mention microneedling to anyone who hasn’t microneedled and you’ll get an “ooh, ouch, oh, please be careful!” I’m not surprised, to be honest – it’s the reaction any normal person would have when you tell them you are about to go home and roller your face with a special roller that has hundreds of tiny little spikes on it.
Microneedling (not to be confused with micro-blading) is one of those “buzzy” new techniques the entire beauty industry seems to be talking about. It’s even been suggested as the “key to looking younger for women over 40”. The treatment involves a gadget with teensy needles being rolled over your face to create little punctures. The theory is that this encourages your skin to go into “repair mode”, thus stimulating collagen and elastin to plump up and firm. A friend described it as “like aerating a lawn”. The needles’ length can vary from 0.2 to 3mm, so incredibly tiny compared to a traditional needle.
You can get microneedling done professionally, 2-3 sessions are normally recommended and depending on your tolerance/the strength of treatment, some people may experience pinprick bleeding and bruising lasting for a day or two.
You can also go the DIY route and treat yourself to an at-home device. Word is, it isn’t as “strong” as the professional treatments, on account of the needles being much shorter (around 0.3mm and under) than in-salon treatments, but if you do it frequently (skincare expert Kerry Benjamin advises that you can use at-home rollers multiple times a week, up to daily) it will do the job just as well.
For my road test, I tried the GloPRO roller, which costs £199 and promises to make skin firmer and smoother in 30 days. You have one roller head for your face and can also get a smaller one for lips and a bigger one for your body (which I didn’t try, as I have a little patch of psoriasis on my arm and they suggest you avoid microneedling on irritated/weakened skin. It’s worth mentioning that you should avoid rolling over spots, too, as this could spread bacteria).
Microneedling is one of those 'buzzy' new techniques the entire beauty industry seem to be talking about. It’s even been suggested as the key to looking younger
Once you have “rollered” over clean skin for around 60 seconds, you should apply a skin-boosting, wrinkle-zapping serum. The idea being that, after rolling, any skincare will be able to penetrate deeper into your skin, boosting its efficacy. According to Benjamin, it’s best to choose a nourishing serum with ingredients such as peptides (which strengthen and encourage elastin) or hyaluronic acid (hydrating). Benjamin also recommends avoiding anything too potent, like retinol or vitamin C, as it could cause irritation post face roll. I’ve been rolling a couple of nights a week and then using No7’s famous Protect & Perfect Intense Advanced Serum, which claims to reduce the look of wrinkles in two weeks and which, I have to say, lives up to the hype. Also worth having a look at is The Ordinary's hyaluronic serum and the 100% Squalane Oil from new brand Garden of Wisdom. Both are great for hydration and come in at under £10. But, if you're worried about what to to use, some micro-needling brands like GloPRO and Stacked Skincare provide their own serums.
So, does microneedling make your face bleed? No. Does it hurt? Not really, although it does depend on your pain threshold, I suppose. I did wince when I first tried it – I am a complete wuss and had visions of my skin being sandpapered off – but after a minute or so of fairly-consistent pressure I peered at my face, and nary a mark or pinprick! Sensation-wise, I would compare it with pressing (not scrubbing) your face with wire wool, although that’s still not a brilliant comparison, because it really depends on how hard you press. For this experiment, I did try pressing very hard on one occasion and it still didn’t draw blood, but you can apply as much pressure as you feel comfortable with.
Did it make a difference? Well, yes, I think it did. It didn’t erase my wrinkles, and I can’t honestly say that it made me look 10 years younger because I see my face everyday so wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t expect friends to notice such a little change, either – although one did go as far as to ask me if I’d had Botox, but only after I’d started telling her about the gadget, so I’m not sure if she was just being polite. I certainly didn’t wake up one morning and have a “ta-dah” moment, and I’m conscious that the serums aren’t going to turn things around overnight…
However, it definitely made me look healthier. I can see a glow on my face that I’m sure wasn’t there before I started this experiment three weeks ago. The lines and wrinkles may be still there, but I look fresher and my skin looks plumper and more hydrated. For a minute or so spent rollering a couple of nights a week, my face seems to like what I’m doing – and for that reason, I’m sold.