Microneedling - should you DIY?

We can wax at home, give ourselves a manicure and a facial.

Perhaps we don’t cut our own hair but we can DIY treatments.

Some of these things might better be done by the professionals but how far do we go with the DIY?

Just because it’s available, does that mean we should do it?

Microneedling falls into this grey area category.

It’s a skin rejuvenation treatment - sometimes called collagen induction therapy or skin needling - and here’s how it works:

Using either a dermaroller or dermapen, tiny needles are used to puncture the skin, causing a small trauma or micro injuries, that results in inflammation.

This all happens so the skin can heal itself and regenerate, calling on skin cells to reboot.

Here’s what it’s meant to achieve

It aerates your face so products penetrate deeper down into the skin and work better.

It increases collagen production, improving the texture of your skin, evens out your skin tone and decreases the appearance of fine lines. It can also be used to improve acne scarring and reduce pigmentation.

So should you DIY microneedling?

I asked Dr Christopher Lee, the medical director of Cosmos Clinic in Canberra what the difference is between having the treatment done professionally versus doing it at home.

He says the main difference is between beauty grade needling and medical grade needling.

“With beauty-grade needling, the maximum depth of needles is 1mm which is not enough to break the barrier of the skin and cause infection,” he says.

“Medical grade microneedling is done by doctors and nurses who are trained in infection control and prevention because the needles can penetrate up to 2.5mm deep and disrupt the skin barrier."

Because the needles penetrate deeper, it can hurt, so a topical anaesthetic is applied to numb the pain. These creams are prescription only from a doctor.

“In skilled hands, the trauma from microneedling should be micro and there should not be excessive bleeding or bruising potentially causing irreversible damage to the skin,” Dr Lee says.

There’s also the risk of infection if you use the wrong or a poor quality roller, also possibly causing permanent damage to the skin.

You shouldn’t have this treatment done, or DIY if you have active acne, any blemishes or rosacea.

The after effect

Your skin will look a little red after the treatment, but Dr Lee says most of that is gone within 24 hours and the rest within two days.

Stay out of direct sunlight and moisturise and use sunscreen. Avoid AHAs such as retinol for a couple of days afterwards.

Unfortunately the results aren’t instant as new collagen takes around 3 months to form. You’ll probably need at least 3 treatments.

The final verdict

Dr Lee says you can DIY but you won’t get the maximum benefits.

If you want to do it at home and buy the needles online, make sure they’re only beautician grade and Dr Lee says buy them from a trusted seller rather than off places like eBay.

He recommends the DIY needles are no longer than 0.5mm, even though you can buy them longer.

Being pregnant, I can’t have the treatment done but it is one I have added to my to do list, but will be seeking out the experts.  I’ll start saving because it’ll cost around $400 to $600.

Main pic: Readers Digest