Here at Frenshe we’re always on the hunt for new beauty treatments, products, expert advice, etc. Today we wanted to touch on microneedling, which you’ve likely heard of or seen online by now. For those who aren’t familiar with microneedling aka derma-rolling, the process uses small needles to prick the skin and encourages collagen production and cell turnover. The process can be done at-home and more invasive treatments must be done at a dermatologist’s office. Many people credit microneedling for helping with texture, elasticity, and even hyperpigmentation. We spoke to board-certified Houston-based plastic surgeon, Dr. Camille Cash, to spill on everything you need to know about the in-demand treatments.
Frenshe: What are the benefits of microneedling?
Dr. C: Microneedling is an increasingly popular procedure to treat a range of concerns including complexion irregularities, laxity, scars, and signs of aging. Microneedling works by creating small and controlled micro-injuries which activate the body’s natural wound-healing response, triggering the release of growth factors that are key in accelerating skin-cell turnover and the production of collagen and elastin.
And while microneedling alone can be an effective treatment, RF-microneedling treatments such as InMode Morpheus8 have become far more popular as the combination of radio-frequency energy with microneedling offers exponentially greater benefits and applications of use.
F: How does at-home microneedling differ from in-office treatments?
Dr. C: While microneedling rollers can be purchased by the general public, RF-microneedling devices cannot, and for good reason. Medical-grade equipment such as InMode Morpheus8 requires hours of intensive training and practice before it can be used. RF-microneedling reaches deeper levels of the dermis than an at-home roller can and emits therapeutic levels of radiofrequency energy for noticeable and clinically proven results. And while RF-microneedling is minimally invasive, the treatment requires medical grade numbing cream AND an analgesic to be tolerable. At my practice, Pro-Nox™, a safe 50 /50 mix of Oxygen and Nitrous Oxide, is included in all Morpheus8 packages.
Even if opting for microneedling alone, the clinical setting lends itself to clinically proven results. In addition to using equipment and topicals available exclusively to medical professionals, the controlled and comfortable environment enables practitioners to safely perform treatments at deeper and more efficacious levels of intensity.
F: Does microneedling at home come with any risks? Does in-office microneedling have any risks?
Dr. C: At-home microneedling comes with many risks. Using at-home roller devices can be painful and often the tools are not sterilized properly resulting in infections. Improper and/or over-aggressive use of the device can lead to a host of problems including hyperpigmentation and scars. Though imperceptible to the naked eye, needles found in at-home devices are prone to becoming blunt and bent which increases the risk of tearing the skin. The quality and integrity of the needles used in medical-grade equipment are held to a higher standard and unlike something that can just be picked up at a store, medical-grade devices require hours of intensive training and practice before use. And while many of the aforementioned hazards from at-home devices are minimized by seeing a highly qualified professional, there are still risks involved which is why treatment always begins with a thorough and documented consent form review. There is always a possibility of developing hyper- or hypo-pigmentation, especially for people with darker skin, which is why many of our patients are placed on an Arbutase regimen prior to the treatment.
F: Does one offer better results than the other?
Dr. C: RF-microneedling offers superior results over microneedling alone. RF-microneedling treats many conditions not addressed by microneedling. These include hyperhidrosis (excess sweating), vaginal rejuvenation, and small amounts of fat reduction in areas like the submental region.
F: For in-office treatment, what does recovery/downtime look like? Any side effects?
Dr. C: Proper sun protection is ALWAYS important but it’s especially crucial to avoid intentional and direct UV exposure during the post-procedure healing process. Patients will need to discontinue the use of retinol products 7 days before and after treatment.
Possible side effects from Morpheus8 include changes in pigmentation (hyper- or hypo-pigmentation), texture (crusting, blistering, scarring), and tenderness. While these risks are rare and often temporary, mild to moderate erythema (redness) and swelling up to 3 weeks during the healing process are normal. Some minor pinpoint bleeding can also occur but typically resolves quickly. It is generally safe for a patient to apply makeup to mask these issues 1-3 days post-treatment. One thing that we always advise patients is to plan well in advance if seeking treatment to look and feel one’s best for a special occasion such as a wedding or reunion. This is to avoid the risk of having prolonged side effects present on the day of a big event and to ensure enough time and treatments to achieve full results.
F: How often should you try microneedling for best results at home? How many in-office treatments for the best results?
Dr. C: We do not recommend microneedling at home so, zero. For in-office RF-microneedling of InMode Morpheus8, 3 treatments spaced a month apart is standard, with the final result several months after the last treatment. However; the number of treatments recommended and required will vary depending upon a patient’s starting point and goals. Maintenance treatments are also typically recommended to preserve the quality of results.
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