In our VG Rx series, The Violet Files enlists the best doctors in the business to dispense targeted beauty prescriptions. This week: a needle-based skin solution that isn’t Botox.
Written By JESSICA PRINCE ERLICH
Q: WHAT IS MICRONEEDLING, AND CAN IT MAKE ME LOOK YOUNGER?
A: In the anti-aging treatment hierarchy, think of microneedling as occupying the place between supercharged facials and laser resurfacing. “Microneedling is a good alternative to laser therapy, especially for patients with darker skin tones at risk for hyperpigmentation, and those that can’t afford a lot of downtime,” says New York dermatologist Dr. Eric Schweiger of the treatment, which is known to soften wrinkles, shrink pores, and fade brown spots and acne scars.
For the main microneedling event, doctors use an instrument called Dermapen—a souped-up, motorized version of the handheld derma-rollers you may remember from the ’90s (for those unfamiliar, imagine a tiny handheld version of a lawn aerator). The Dermapen contains 12 thin, vibrating needles that puncture tiny holes in the skin to create a controlled injury that triggers healing, ultimately kick-starting collagen production in a fast, safe, and almost painless manner. During an appointment, your doctor sets the depth and speed at which the needles penetrate (shallow for pigmentation and pores, medium for fine lines, and deepest for acne scars), and then glides it across your face in a stamping motion (expect some pinpoint bleeding and slight discomfort after an application of numbing cream).
“The deeper you go, the longer the downtime, but the bigger the result,” Schweiger says. A session can last anywhere from ten minutes to an hour depending on the size of the treatment region (you’ll need to book three to five visits spaced one month apart), with two days of mild redness. Worth it? “When you look in the mirror three months after the initial treatment, you’ll see improvement in texture, pore size, pigmentation, and fine lines, as well as less depth of acne scars. It’s a pretty high satisfaction rate,” the doctor asserts.