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Will micro-needling help acne scars?

Vic says…I’d like to know what you think of micro needle therapy to reduce acne scars? It says it also stimulates cell regeneration, reduces wrinkles, reduces pores, adds collagen. I’m not too sure… I think it does more harm than good, they are sharp needles after all. But my daughter wants to reduce her acne scars.

The Beauty Brains respond:

It sounds crazy but poking holes in your skin can actually help!

Collagen Induction Therapy

Poking your skin with a needle studded roller is technically referred to as Percutaneous Collagen Induction Therapy (or CIT). CIT has been used by dermatologists for the last decade or so as a way to reduce wrinkles and scar tissue without significant side effects. Basically, the process involves numbing your face and then poking it with fine needles a few millimeters long. These micro perforations trigger increased collagen synthesis which can fill in wrinkles and help heal scars. Other benefits include improved skin tightness, reduced acne scars and stretch marks, as well as improved scar color.

Amazing, isnt it? Here’s how it works: The needles cause an inflammatory response which triggers a complex series of reactions involving chemotactic factors, neutrophils, and fibroblasts. This process leads to the creation of new skin cells that promote collagen deposition. But here’s the catch: for this procedure to be effective the the needles need to be at least 1.5 mm and have a diameter of 0.25 mm. So, because of potential side effects (not to mention potential pain), only a trained dermatologist should administer the procedure.

DIY Danger

The distinction in needle length is an important one: some companies who make these rollers are very clear about the difference between the professional models for medical use and the home models for cosmetic use. But other less scrupulous companies blur the difference and imply that the home model will provide all the benefits of the medical treatment. Some are even so bold as to state that their needle rollers will cure cellulite and baldness. I’m surprised no one is marketing this technology as a breast enlargement treatment!

The Beauty Brains bottom line

Poking your face with needles (when done by a trained professional) is a legitimate treatment to increase collagen. But the Do It Yourself version is another story all together. If the roller has the proper type of needles to be effective then it is a medical device that should only be used by a trained professional. And if it uses smaller needles, then it may be safe for you to use on yourself as an exfolliant, but it won’t provide the same collagen stimulating effect. So either way, when it comes to DIY face needling, let the buyer beware!

References:

Derma-Roller FAQ’s: http://www.derma-rollers.com/24/derma-roller-faqs

Oral Maxillofacial Surg Clin N Am 17 (2005) 51 – 63 Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Collagen Induction Desmond Fernandes, MB, BCh, FRCS(Edin) The Shirnel Clinic and Department of Plastic Reconstructive Surgery, University of Cape Town, 822 Fountain Medical Centre, Heerengracht, Cape Town 8001, South Africa

American Academy of Dermatology 67th Annual Meeting March 6–10, 2009 P3514 Skin collagen induction and photoaging Gabriella Fabbrocini, Department of Dermatology University Federico II of Naple, Napoli, Italy; Antonella Tosti, Department of Dermatology University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy; Giuseppe Monfrecola, MD, Department of Dermatology University Federico II of Naple, Napoli, Italy; Maria Pia De Padova, MD, Ospedale Privato Nigrisoli, Bologna, Italy

 

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Audrey C. August 7, 2014, 10:07 pm

    This post is really timely! I just received a dermaroller two days ago for review purposes. I’ve only used it twice, but since reading this, it seems like it won’t have much effect since the needles are only 1.0mm in size. I’ll give it a go for a few more weeks though.

  • Eileen August 8, 2014, 9:29 am

    I have read that the in home dermarollers supposedly promote better product penetration but that they are not a substitute for the dermatological procedure. Dermatological dermaroller procedures usually require 3-4 treatments spaced approximately 6 weeks apart. My son had it done and it did a wonderful job of smoothing out the acne scares he had, but it definitely wasn’t an in-home type of procedure.

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