What is micro-needling or collagen induction therapy?
Micro-needling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive, non surgical and non ablative procedure for skin rejuvenation. It involves the use of a micro-needling device, (mechanical or electronic) to create controlled skin injury which in turn ‘helps the skin help itself’. Skin needling provides results similar to laser resurfacing and chemical peels but at a fraction of the cost and with minimal downtime. Each fine needle punctures the skin and creates a tiny channel or micro-wound to the dermis. This controlled micro-injury triggers the body to stimulate fibroblasts and growth factors to fill these micro-wounds with the production of new collagen and elastin. In addition, new capillaries are formed.
A course of Dermapen Micro-Needling treatments leads to a reduction of scars and stimulates skin rejuvenation with improved skin texture, firmness and hydration. Creating controlled dermal damage without the removal of the healthy epidermis, as with other resurfacing techniques, means there is rapid healing time and the preservation of protection from the environment.
There are various needling devices and at Kate Kerr London we use an electronic skin micro-needling machine known as ‘The Dermapen’ . The Dermapen is an FDA approved device that is proven to be less uncomfortable, with minimal to no downtime and provides greater results than a roller. The added advantage of the pen is that the depth of the needle penetration can be altered during treatment. This enables us to provide a truly bespoke treatment plan to minimize discomfort and maximise results around sensitive and not so sensitive areas. The tip of the pen is small, allowing it to pass closer to the eyes and nose for a more effective treatment in these areas that are of great concern to many. The vibration of The Dermapen helps to confuse the brain which helps to minimize pain.
What effects does the Dermapen have on the skin?
- Helps improve acne scars
- Minimises large pores
- Treats alopecia (when used in conjunction with a topical treatment)
- Aids in the penetration of active ingredients
Typically 4-8 treatment sessions are required with treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart. However, individual needs and results will vary. To get the best results from a Dermapen treatment it is important that patients complete the full recommended course. Collagen growth continues for up to a year after your last needling procedure so a ‘top up’ treatment course once per year will help to continue this collagen stimulation for continued results and long lasting effects.
During the initial consultation a treatment plan is set and desired results are determined. A skincare regime consisting of Vitamin A acids, Growth factors, Hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C are prescribed to enhance the treatment and protect and hydrate the skin to achieve the best results. Before and after images are taken to monitor progress.
Collagen induction has been used for many years for the treatment of scarring and skin rejuvenation. The most common technique used to date is the Dermaroller. This is a mechanical device which uses approximately 200 surgical steel micro-needles on a roller which is rolled up and down the treatment area. Needle length is generally 1.5mm and the skin is treated four times in a ‘Union Jack’ pattern. The results of the Dermaroller have been extremely good to date, however the procedure is painful and can leave the skin very red for many days, post procedure. The Dermapen uses the same principal but rather than using a rolling action, the Dermapen moves the needles in and out, vertically, at a rate of about 1000 times per second. This avoids the ‘micro-tearing’ injury that can be caused due to the rolling technique of the Dermaroller.
A study carried out by London Professor, Tony Chu at Imperial College and Hammersmith Hospital, on acne scarring, showed that patients found the Dermapen was much less painful and had a shorter downtime than the Dermaroller. Dermatologists felt that the device was easier to use and enabled difficult areas to be treated with ease. Most significantly, the study showed a superior reduction in scar depth after a single treatment.
A numbing cream is applied to clean skin and left to work for a minimum of 45 minutes. The needling takes anywhere from 20-60 minutes depending on the area treated. The face normally takes around 20 -30 minutes.
Day 1: Erythema and red appearance. Severity varies between people.
Day 2: A red or pink hue persists like a moderate sunburn. Swelling may be more noticeable on day 2, especially in the morning but reduces as the day goes on.
Day 3: Skin may still be slightly pink. Swelling has usually subsided.
On subsequent days the skin may feel tight and dry.
Your normal, skincare regime can be resumed again after day 3 with more active products being introduced after day 5.
Appropriate skin care will be recommended on the day of your treatment to help accelerate the healing process, protect the skin from the environment and enhance your desired results.
It is very important to follow the advice of your practitioner carefully after treatment to help make the procedure as successful possible, reduce the risk of complications and to speed up the inflammation process.
Important points to remember:
- Use a minimum broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 (preferably 50) and try to avoid the sun
- Only use mineral based foundation or Lycogel for the first 24 hours
- No use of saunas or steam rooms until the skin has returned to normal
Since the Dermapen does not use thermal heat (unlike IPL & lasers) it is safe to use on all skin types and all skin colours. There is no risk of post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. If you have active acne this must be cleared before a course ofDermapen Micro- Needling can be commenced.
Principally, there is no difference. Both models have the same mechanism of action, with the only difference being needle length. The medical needles used at Kate Kerr London are up to 1.5mm long while the home roller is not more than 0.3mm.
The longer needles of micro-needling cause micro-trauma in the skin inducing collagen and elastin production to help improve:
- Scars and stretch marks
- Skin texture
Home care rollers are much shorter and are used to:
- Minimise pore size and help reduce oil levels
- Help reduce wrinkles and fine lines due to the greater penetration of active ingredients
- Open wounds, cuts or abrasions to the skin
- Had radiation treatment within the last year
- Areas of the skin that are numb or have a lack of sensation
- Those pregnant or breastfeeding
The importance of a consultation
Before commencing any skin treatment it is important to have a thorough consultation. ALL skin and skincare concerns will be taken into account before a treatment regime and home care advice is recommended. By visiting Kate Kerr London you can be sure you are getting the most extensive experience across a wide range of treatments to help you achieve the results you are looking for.
Kate’s knowledge and experience as a skin specialist enables her to treat most skin concerns but she will always make the appropriate referrals when necessary.