What is Digital Skin Needling?
Essentially skin needling is a localised, alternative form of derma-rolling (which sounds a lot less scary, doesn’t it?) Though both methods use tiny needles to prick the skin lightly (which encourages collagen renewal), derma-rolling uses hundreds of needles packed onto a roller that is moved gently across the skin. A little clumsy, but effective. Digital skin needling however is far more precise, as it only uses a single needle, much like a tattoo.
This allows me to get the effects of this clever little treatment into areas unreachable by derma-rolling, or more accurately target problem areas. Imagine you have wrinkled skin under your eyes, but not on your cheeks. Derma-rolling may hit both, but as your cheeks look smoother than before too, the improvement to your eye wrinkles becomes less noticeable.
If I am able to target those wrinkles individually however, then the effect should blend well with the rest of your face, making the improvement seem even more impressive than it actually is.
Compared to other treatments such as chemical peels and some laser treatments that work on the entire skin, skin needling leaves parts of the skin and dermal layer perfectly intact. This means skin is able to heal much faster.
What is involved in the skin needling treatment?
The process is fairly simple. An ultra-fine needle is attached to a small device the size of an electric toothbrush. I then move this device across the problem areas, the fine needle rapidly pricking your skin.
The depth and width of the needle used determines the effectiveness of the treatments. For medical skin needling which produces the anti-ageing benefits needles of between two and three millimetres are necessary. This might sound like a lot, but go and grab a ruler or tape measure and have a look at what three millimetres (not centimetres!) actually looks like. It’s honestly a lot less scary than it sounds.
That said, you will need to factor in recovery time. For a 3mm treatment, I’d advise setting aside a week for recovery. For a 2mm treatment, 48 hours would suffice.
Cosmetic skin needling with a 1mm needle is possible, but is more used to absorb other topical treatments, has no real anti-ageing effect of its own and heals rapidly.
Skin needling can be employed safely on skin of all types and colours, and carries no risk of pigment change or post inflammatory hyper pigmentation. This is because the epidermis, and in particular the melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) within it are left intact.
Does skin needling work?
Skin needling is mostly used to treat scar tissue such as stretch marks, as it stimulates collagen regeneration. This means stretch marks not only reduce in size, but regain the natural colour of the skin, effectively camouflaging what little remains.
The enhancements are usually visually noticeable within four to eight weeks, and will continue over the following months, gradually providing further improvements.
The treatment can also be used to reduce enlarged pores and expression lines such as those around the eyes, mouth and on the forehead. It’s worth bearing in mind that deeper lines will require more regular treatments, but can still be reduced.
When used to treat scarring, the results can last up to seven years. When used to reduce the signs of ageing, effects will last on average about twelve months.
A single treatment can produce noticeable results. That said, if you aim to achieve the best results, a programme of two to five treatments spaced two to three months apart would be substantially more effective.