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What is microneedling? An expert weighs in on the anti-aging treatment

Everything you wanted to know about microneedling for anti-aging.

Sylfirm X Radiofrequency Microneedling. Image via XCite Technologies.
Sylfirm X Radiofrequency Microneedling. Image via XCite Technologies.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

If you're like me, my years long struggle with acne has led me to constantly researching new skincare tips and procedures to improve my skin long-term.

Microneedling happens to be one of the treatments I recently started looking into, as it's become a popular choice in recent years for targeting skincare and anti-aging concerns. I wanted to dig deeper into the skincare trend, so I got in touch with Dr. Julia Carroll, a board-certified dermatologist, to learn more about the microneedling process and its pros and cons.

What is microneedling?

Microneedling is a treatment that can be used all over the body to treat hyperpigmentation, scarring and stretch marks.

While microneedling itself is a generic term referring to tiny needles that puncture the skin to induce collagen production, there is also a newer, more advanced procedure called radiofrequency microneedling. It combines tiny needles with radiofrequency energy to target problem areas or overall skin.

Beautiful senior woman at the spa getting a rejuvenation treatment on her face - beauty concepts
Microneedling can help with visible signs of aging such as pigmentation, broken capillaries, scarring, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. (Getty Images)

Microneedling anti-aging benefits

While increasing collagen production, thus leading to firmer skin is a huge benefit, microneedling can also help with visible signs of aging such as pigmentation, broken capillaries, scarring, sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles.

"Though microneedling alone can provide a noticeable improvement in your skin, adding radiofrequency to it creates more impressive and longer lasting results," stated Carroll. "Radiofrequency boosts the effectiveness of microneedling by delivering controlled heat energy directly to the dermis to target collagen more directly."

It's a treatment that Carroll recommends for anti-aging, since it stimulates collagen production and targets skin laxity, leading to tighter, younger-looking skin.

"In my opinion, [radiofrequency microneedling] is much more effective with respect to colour, collagen production, hyperpigmentation, melasma, scarring and acne," said Carroll.

Should you try microneedling?

The treatment often has little to no downtime, and unlike certain procedures such as a laser, microneedling can be performed during any season. However, Carroll doesn't recommend the treatment for anyone who currently has a tan, so being protected from the sun before and after treatment is essential to recovery.

Always make sure to speak to your dermatologist or general physician to ensure microneedling is the right treatment for you.

Amp up your skincare at home

While microneedling treatments are best left to the professionals, there are things you can do at home to keep your skin looking its best afterwards.

Carroll recommends hydrating serums and moisturizers with ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, peptides, and ceramides. Active ingredients that should be avoided are retinol, alpha and beta hydroxy acids, vitamin C, and other exfoliants that could be harsh on the skin.

For a selection of hydrating products that are worth adding to your skincare collection (with or without microneedling), scroll through below.

Hyaluronic Acid: CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid

CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Image via Amazon.
CeraVe Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Image via Amazon.

Lightweight, hydrating and has 3 essential ceramides to protect skin barrier, your skin will love this after microneedling.

$27 at Amazon

First Aid Beauty Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid

First Aid Beauty Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid. Image via Sephora.
First Aid Beauty Hydrating Serum with Hyaluronic Acid. Image via Sephora.

First Aid Beauty's hyaluronic acid serum is perfect for hydrating skin after microneedling.

$52 at Sephora

Peptides: The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum

The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum. Image via Sephora.
The Ordinary Multi-Peptide + HA Serum. Image via Sephora.

The multi-peptide is a lightweight serum that improves multiple signs of aging. It's great for reducing wrinkles, improving tone and texture.

$18 at Sephora

Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Firming Moisturizer

Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Firming Moisturizer. Image via Sephora.
Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Firming Moisturizer. Image via Sephora.

Drunk Elephant's polypeptide moisturizer improves tone, texture, and firmness using a combination of peptides, amino acids, and pygmy waterlily.

$89 at Sephora

Ceramides: COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream

COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream. Image via Amazon.
COSRX Balancium Comfort Ceramide Cream. Image via Amazon.

From the popular Korean brand, COSRX, this ceramide cream will lock in moisture and protect your skin from external environmental irritants which is especially important after microneedling.

$35 at Amazon

Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum

Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum. Image via Sephora.
Glow Recipe Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum. Image via Sephora.

Glow Recipe's skin-soothing serum has ceramides and antioxidant-rich avocado to reduce redness and irritation.

$58 at Sephora

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