Warnings Against At-home Microneedling

Warnings Against At-home Microneedling | RefinedMD, Los Gatos

Warnings Against At-home Microneedling

Microneedling is renowned as a minimally invasive procedure that works by encouraging your body to produce more collagen, and it’s a favorite treatment at RefinedMD. Unfortunately, the recent lockdowns led to a number of people trying to recreate in-office procedures at home—using dangerous products and approaches. Refinery recently published an article warning about the risks of DIY microneedling after quarantined people tried desperately to achieve the results they were used to getting at their dermatologist’s office.

The process of microneedling (sometimes known as dermarolling) seems pretty straightforward. How difficult could it be? A handheld device with hundreds or thousands of needles is rolled across the skin. Micro-injuries occur that are invisible to the naked eye (or should be!), which makes the body rush blood to the “injured” area. Blood is full of growth factors and platelets, which are necessary to heal your body but are also absolutely fantastic for your skin. At the same time, injuries make the body create more collagen and hyaluronic acid at the damaged site. Collagen and HA are our organic “fountain of youth,” and unfortunately we create less of it as we age. Tiny, controlled injuries from microneedling can change that. But what happens when those injuries aren’t controlled by a professional?

The Reality of Microneedling

Microneedling is one of the many beauty treatments that have been rising in popularity in recent years with no sign of slowing down. In fact, microneedling has increased 1,500% in Google search results in the past year. There are many reasons microneedling in particularly continues to soar in demand. For starters, it’s very minimally invasive with no downtime. You might experience some slight redness from an in-office treatment, but you can immediately get back to your daily activities after a session. The treatment, when professionally performed, is quick and comfortable.

Many people are drawn to microneedling because it’s totally natural. It completely depends on your body’s natural healing powers to yield results. Those who shy away from any “foreign” injections or topical treatments are usually on board with microneedling. Plus, microneedling also complements a wide range of other treatments and is a great add-on. Social media also plays a role in microneedling trends, with influencers and celebrities sharing before and after photos that reveal just how well microneedling works. Finally, there’s the recent lockdown situation. A lot of people used this time at home to pamper themselves. Self-care is very important, but treatments that should only be performed by a pro are something you don’t want to risk with an at-home job.

Microneedling Gone Wrong

It’s easy to confuse cosmetic epidermal-needling and clinical dermal-needling. These are two totally different treatments. The so-called “microneedling” devices you can legally get for home use (epidermal-needling) have needles between 0.1 mm – 0.3 mm in depth. These devices are largely useless, though they may help your skin care products seep in a little deeper. A professional clinical dermal-needling device has needles between 0.5 mm – 1.5 mm on average. Some microneedling devices have needles as long a 3 mm. These devices are only available to dermatology clinics and should only ever be used by a professional.

The goal of the deeper devices is to actually create micro-wounds to kickstart skin rejuvenation. However, sometimes a professional-depth roller makes its way onto shady online sites for purchase by the general public. The wrong technique with these rollers or using deeper needles on certain parts of the face can lead to serious damage, scarring, and hyperpigmentation. If you create an “open wound” with these deeper rollers, you’re also putting yourself at risk of an infection.

There’s also the issue of quality when it comes to the devices. Unregulated tools might be made with low-quality imports that have misinformation on how to use the device or manufacturing details. Researching the actual professional-depth rollers isn’t much help, because creating “knock off” rollers isn’t that difficult when the target audience is non-professional at-home users. The needles themselves can also pose a risk. Proper professional-depth rollers are made from certain materials like surgical steel or titanium. Weaker materials can lead to needles bending, but the needles are so small you likely wouldn’t notice. Bent needles can cause severe skin damage.

An Unfortunate At-Home Microneedling Incident

Refinery talked to “Lydia,” who bought what she thought was a professional-depth device online. It had positive reviews and before and after photos. “It was so painful because I didn’t use a numbing cream and obviously I was bleeding, but I kept going because I assumed it was meant to feel like that.” Now, she says her skin feels like sandpaper and she has “scratch marks” on her forehead.

Microneedling can and does yield great results, but only when you trust a professional with the treatment. Find out more about treatments like microneedling from the pros at RefinedMD by calling (408) 688-2082.