Experts Say You Should Never Microneedle at Home
Microneedling is a popular and bloody beauty technique that has sprung to fame in recent years thanks to YouTube and a little nudge from the Kardashians.
It’s essentially repeatedly stabbing yourself in the face to look younger. The patriarchy strikes again.
The dermaroller procedure uses tiny needles to prick the skin, and claims to create new collagen and skin cells for firmer, smoother skin.
The process has become so popular that you can now buy dermarollers online and carry out the procedure at home, but experts are warning that this could be incredibly dangerous.
Experts say the tiny needles can snap and become embedded in the skin (Picture: Getty)
Skincare specialists are warning against people dermarolling at home. They say microneedling could cause significant damage if it isn’t carried out by experts.
The worry is that the boom of seductively affordable at-home products are convincing more and more people to try microneedling on themselves, without taking any of the proper precautions.
What does microneedling actually do?
When used correctly, dermaroller treatments help freshen and smooth the complexion, boosting collagen production by using microneedles to create tiny pinpricks on the dermis layer which provoke a restorative response from the body.
The technique has been recommended to treat all kinds of different skin complaints, including enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation and scars – and scientific studies have helped to back up the effectiveness of the treatment when administered by skilled practitioners.
‘Buying a cheap dermaroller online can really damage your skin, rather than improve it. Dermarollers and micro-needle treatments need to be done professionally by someone who has trained extensively in this area, and we strongly advise people to not be drawn in by the cheap price points and accessibility,’ says Farzila Allarakha, an aesthetic practitioner at Neo Elegance.
‘Microneedling is a form of controlled wounding that is designed to initiate healing within the skin,’ Farzila explains.
‘It is a long term, in clinic, treatment and it can take up to a year to see a difference. This is not a quick fix treatment at all. ‘It involves the insertion of tiny needles into the skin, they need to be sterile and technique is key. If there is a failure to administer the treatment effectively, it can result in many serious skin and health issues, including necrotising fasciitis.’
What is necrotising fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but serious bacterial infection that affects the tissue beneath the skin, and surrounding muscles and organs (fascia).
It’s sometimes called the “flesh-eating disease”, although the bacteria that cause it don’t “eat” flesh – they release toxins that damage nearby tissue.
Necrotising fasciitis can start from a relatively minor injury, such as a small cut, but gets worse very quickly and can be life-threatening if it’s not recognised and treated early on.
Early symptoms can include:
- A small but painful cut or scratch on the skin
- Intense pain that’s out of proportion to any damage to the skin
- A high temperature (fever) and other flu-like symptoms
After a few hours to days, you may develop:
- Swelling and redness in the painful area – the swelling will usually feel firm to the touch
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Dark blotches on the skin that turn into fluid-filled blisters
Microneedling works by encouraging the skin to make more collagen. The pinpricks from the roller cause a slight injury to the skin and that in response, the skin makes new collagen-rich tissue.
This new skin tissue is then smoother and more even. The extra collagen can also help the skin to look and feel firmer and more bouncy. And the short-term results are all pretty immediate.
Dermarolling at home is attractive because it’s cheap and convenient (Picture: Getty)
With so many benefits it isn’t surprising that women are jumping on the microneedling trend – and if you can do it without making an expensive appointment at a fancy clinic, then all the better.
But without the regulation and expertise of a dermatologist, the procedure can easily lead to scarring and complications – and when it comes to your face, you really don’t want to get this one wrong.
‘Given the nature of the treatment, a sterile, professional environment is required to avoid infection while a numbing agent is often beneficial to ensure a pain-free application for the patient,’ Dr. Aarti Narayan-Denning tells Metro.co.uk.
Dr. Dr Aarti Narayan-Denning, from Reverse Time clinic has some pretty scary warnings for people tempted by at-home options.
‘The home user is more likely to miss the contraindications, such as a breakout of herpes (cold sores), rosacea, acne, skin cancer, or thin skin from steroid use – and end up with infection and scarring,’ she explains.
‘The FDA is expected to soon regulate home microneedling devices. Many devices bought online are not of surgical grade.
‘Studies have shown that such needles cause tiny tears in the skin rather than the finely controlled injury that triggers healthy healing. There is also the risk of flimsy needles breaking off and getting embedded into the skin – a major risk for scarring and infection.’
And aside from the dangers, Dr. Narayan-Denning says the at-home microneedling options don’t produce the best results for your skin.
‘Not only this but professionals often offer combination therapies such as radio frequency and PRP to amplify and extend the results along with a medically-proven skincare regime.
‘Over the counter derma rollers are also generally insufficient when it comes to impairing the barrier function of the skin and therefore having a substantial, visible result for the patient – so the risks certainly outweigh the benefits.’
So if you do want to emulate the Kardashians, it might be best to leave this one to the experts. It’s really not worth messing up your face for the sake of a temporary facial boost.
By Natalie Morris
This article first appeared in Metro UK.