The Guide To Microneedling (Collagen Induction Therapy)

Microneedling is a skin boosting treatment with many skin benefits. It is a popular treatment for a number of skin conditions including acne, wrinkles and scarring. This is because microneedling enhances the quality and texture of the skin. It is also called collagen induction therapy because it makes your own skin cells produce more collagen. The procedure uses microscopic needles to cause tiny holes in the skin. This triggers the healing process and causing collagen production and improved skin elasticity. Microneedling is a common and safe treatment that is gaining rapid popularity in the UK. However, how effective is it really? As with all things skincare and beauty, its important to separate myth from fact. This is the only way to get the best results. In this guide we review what is microneedling and how it works. We’ll also review the benefits and how to get the best results from collagen induction therapy treatment.

What Is Microneedling? 

Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a common cosmetic procedure. It uses tiny needles to improve the appearance of the skin. It can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne scarring and pigmentation in a safe and effective way. The face and neck area are the most popular targets for microneedling treatment. This is mainly because it rejuvenates the skin with little downtime. However, it can also work well on other parts of the body such as the chest, stomach or thighs. There it is usually used to target crepey skin, scars or even stretch marks. In general, microneedling is a professional treatment but there are also at-home devices. These have shorter needles and so only act superficially hence they are safe for use at home. 

How Does Microneedling Work? 

Traditional microneedling uses tiny needles to create punctures in the skin using a device called a dermaroller. This is a hand held device that can contain hundreds of microneedles. These can puncture the skin without causing tearing or damage. Microneedling encourages the skin to create new collagen by causing micro-injuries that make the skin cells respond. This results in the production of elastin and collagen. These can help improve the appearance of the skin by making it thicker and tighter. The treatment is usually performed to all of the skin (e.g. the whole face) rather than just the problem area. This means it can tighten the whole area and give it a more even tone and texture. You can however also have a more limited treatment to target isolated scars.

Microneedling Benefits 

The biggest benefit of microneedling is that it improves the appearance of the skin. It does this by boosting your natural levels of collagen. It can also help to reduce the appearance of scars, fine lines and wrinkles, and pigmentation on the skin. This can leave you with more youthful-looking, smooth and plumper skin.  

It is popular amongst patients with ageing skin. This is because it helps improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as skin elasticity. People with acne scarring can also benefit from microneedling as it helps reduce textured skin and hyperpigmentation. Microneedling can also be used to just boost skin even if you don’t have any problems. This is because collagen induction therapy can give you a smoother and more radiant complexion. In addition, the treatment itself is non-invasive, with minimal pain and side effects, so you don’t need to worry about extended recovery times, unlike other cosmetic procedures such as laser therapy.  

Alternative Treatments to Microneedling with the Same Benefits

There are several non-surgical alternatives that can produce similar results to microneedling or can even augment the effects of this procedure. These include:

  • Lasers resurface the skin and can help with skin ageing as well as scarring and texture. They are a good alternative if you are afraid of needles but beware that lasers are still uncomfortable and may have a lot more downtime in terms of recovery
  • Chemical peels are another good alternative if you want to avoid needles. Like lasers, chemical peels work by resurfacing the skin. They are a good alternative treatment for hyperpigmentation and skin ageing.
  • Profhilo skin boosters are an excellent alternative to microneedling if you’re after the collagen and elastin-producing effects but want fewer treatments. Depending on the type of laser and your concerns, you might need as little as 2 treatments 4-6 weeks apart. As an extra benefit, Profhilo also helps boost the skin’s hydration. It’s a great alternative to microneedling for treating skin ageing or boosting your skin’s radiance.

Is Collagen Induction Therapy Painful? 

Microneedling should not cause you any pain if performed correctly, but you may experience some discomfort during the procedure. At City Skin Clinic, we use numbing cream to reduce this and make the experience more comfortable for our patients. Despite this, you may not be able to tolerate the procedure if you have a fear of needles. If you have concerns regarding needles or injections then you should discuss this with your doctor before you go ahead with the procedure so that they can take steps to help you feel more at ease. If you are feeling uneasy ahead of your appointment,let your doctor know. They will ensure that you are suitably relaxed before starting the procedure. It also helps to keep in mind that this is a safe and common procedure with excellent results. 

How Long Does Microneedling Treatment Last? 

How long microneedling treatment lasts will depend on how much collagen and elastin your skin produces and the extent of your skin concerns initially. This is because those with more minor skin concerns will need less collagen and elastin production to see results and so usually require a course of 3-5 treatments performed 4-6 weeks apart. For more complex concerns such as acne scarring and hyperpigmentation, a typical course can be 8-12 treatments 4-6 weeks apart.

How Long Do Microneedling Benefits Last? 

Usually, you can expect collagen induction therapy results to last at least to 6-8 months but a treatment as little as every 3-6 months can help maintain the results. This does ultimately depend on the rate your cells turnover and breakdown as well as producing collagen. Your lifestyle can also have an impact with factors like stress, smoking and UV damage all causing collagen to break down faster. You will also need to adopt good regular skincare with Retinol and sunscreen. This will ensure that you maintain the benefits and your results are as long-lasting as possible.  

Most microneedling patients choose to top up their treatment every three to six months to maintain the benefits. It is best to talk to your doctor about how often you’ll need a top-up, as they will be able to give you a better idea based on your skin concerns and goals. Whilst there is no such thing as a silver bullet for skin ageing, acne scarring or hyperpigmentation, patients still find options like a course of microneedling preferable over more invasive cosmetic procedures. This is mainly thanks to the speedy recovery time and incredible results.  

What Does The Microneedling Procedure Involve?

Before the procedure, your doctor may recommend that you cease using certain medications and topical treatments. These include topical retinoids such as Tretinoin. This is commonly used for concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation and skin ageing. They may also want to review if you are taking any medications that increase your risk of bruising. Your doctor may also apply a local anaesthetic (such as numbing cream) to help with any discomfort during the treatment. 

During the procedure, your doctor will use a device such as a dermaroller, dermastamp or a dermapen to create microscopic channels (tiny pin-pricks) in your skin. You should let your doctor know if you feel any pain, as the procedure should usually be pain-free. The microneedling procedure itself will usually take around 30 minutes, after which your doctor may apply a serum or treatment to calm the skin and boost the results.  

After the procedure, you may notice some reddening of the skin which should only last a few hours and no more than a day or two. You can usually go about your normal routine straight away. However, you should avoid wearing makeup until the skin fully heals which usually takes a day or two.   

Microneedling Aftercare & Recovery 

After your microneedling appointment, you’ll need to take care of your skin properly. You should use sunscreen at all times for at least a week after the procedure – even during winter. This is because your skin will be more susceptible to sun damage after the procedure, which might result in the effects wearing off more quickly. Your doctor may also advise you to start using certain active skincare products such as retinoids, Vitamin C or exfoliating acids which they may feel will augment the effects of microneedling. You may start to see the initial results of your microneedling treatment within a couple of weeks but the peak effect will be 4-6 weeks after the treatment. This is the time it takes for skin to turnover and at which point you can start to see the benefits of microneedling. 

Can I Use Retinol After Microneedling? 

You will usually need to avoid using retinol or retinoid products for at least 48 hours before and after your treatment. This is because active products like retinol may exacerbate any inflammation or dryness caused by the procedure. It can also make your skin feel more sensitive and hence increased discomfort during the procedure. If you usually use retinol in your skincare routine, you should check with your doctor when to restart it after the procedure. They may suggest that you use less than you would typically and with resuming at a slower frequency than usual to ensure that it doesn’t irritate your skin.  

Microneedling Side Effects 

Because microneedling is non-invasive, there are fewer side effects or complications associated with its use compared to alternatives such as laser resurfacing. As such, collagen induction therapy is generally seen as a low-risk, high-reward procedure if done correctly. That being said, obviously no procedure is without risks. Even in the best hands, there is still the possibility of infection occurring after microneedling, so it is vital to be aware of the signs. 

These include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain

Consult your doctor immediately if you’re concerned you may have an infection as a result of your microneedling. This is the most serious potential risk of microneedling. You can reduce it by going to a reputable clinic where your practitioner will use sterile equipment and work in an aseptic environment. Other risks include scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These can occur with the use of an inappropriate microneedling or an untrained/inexperienced practitioner performs it.   

Microneedling Cost UK 

The cost of microneedling varies but typically reflects the consultation process, the quality of your doctor and the location of the clinic. The cost may also be higher if you would like RF microneedling instead of traditional collagen induction therapy. Always choose a safe, clean and reputable clinic for microneedling. This should be somewhere you can get a personalised treatment as well as aftercare. This will help you get the best quality of care and cosmetic results. It is best to avoid anyone offering discount microneedling, as this can come at the cost of the quality of the devices used or the skill or qualifications of the practitioner. 

In the UK, the cost of microneedling generally ranges from £150-£450 but can be more depending on the type of microneedling performed and the area of the body treated. Make sure that you choose a reputable clinic with qualified and experienced practitioners. That way, you’ll be in safe hands and get the most benefit out of your microneedling treatment. 

Top Tips Before You Book a Consultation for Collagen Induction Therapy

Before having any treatment, book a consultation first. This should be with the practitioner who will do your treatment. They should examine your skin and let you know whether microneedling is appropriate for you and if there are any better alternatives. They should also go through all the risks with you and give you plenty of time to ask questions. Make sure that you leave with a clear idea of the treatment plan including how many sessions you will need, how far apart and the cost.

At City Skin clinic, we are driven by the concept of personalised skincare centred around healthy skin. Through our virtual skin clinic, our doctors offer bespoke skin treatments using actives like Tretinoin and Hydroquinone where appropriate. We treat a variety of skin conditions like acnehyperpigmentationmelasma and skin ageing. Book a virtual appointment or start your online consultation today to start your journey towards great skin starts.