Lately, I’ve been geeking out on solid science behind various high-tech skin care procedures. I already wrote about the skin tightening microcurrent device.
Now, it’s time to talk about another, relatively new modality that can help your skin be the healthiest and look the best that it can. The fancy scientific name for it is Collagen Induction Therapy, but you might have heard about it under its more commonly-used name of microneedling.
- What is Collagen Induction Therapy?
- What is the Role of Collagen for Skin Health?
- This is Where Microneedling Can Help
- Not a Hogwash, This is Scientifically Proven
- 5 Reasons to Use Microneedling for Collagen Induction
- 1. Lessening the depth of wrinkles
- 2. Skin Tightening
- 3. Microneedling for hyperpigmentation
- 4. Dermapen for acne scars
- 5. Minimal Risk
- How and Where to Get Your Collagen Induction Therapy?
- At-Home Microneedling
What is Collagen Induction Therapy?
Collagen Induction Therapy or microneedling is done with a small, hand-held roller or a pen-like device with tiny, sharp needles in the tip. These sharp needles are either roller or pressed with high speed into the upper layer of the skin, creating thus tiny injuries.
Sounds scary? No worries, the procedure is minimally invasive and barely noticeable, there is zero blood if used properly.
The tiny holes pierced by the microscopic needles are invisible to the naked eye. However, when the skin is thus injured, it prompts your skin to heal itself by way stimulating the skin’s production of collagen and elastin.
And so the treatment can be very helpful in reducing wrinkles, lines, sun spots, and scars. And it is non-invasive and non-abrasive unlike some other harsher treatments like resurfacing lasers and heavy-duty peels.
What is the Role of Collagen for Skin Health?
Collagen is the protein that gives our skin its structure, firmness, and bounce. When we start aging, we gradually lose the percentage of collagen in the skin. It becomes less bouncy, it starts sagging, lines and wrinkles appear.
There are ways, however, to counter that process. The first one is internal supplementation. Starting in about the mid-20s, when collagen starts depleting, it makes sense to think about supplementation.
RELATED POST: Collagen Supplementation
Externally, Collagen Induction Therapy is the best option to maybe not turn back the clock but to embrace more graceful aging.
This is Where Microneedling Can Help
The benefits of collagen induction therapy include compensating for the natural decline of collagen production caused by skin aging.
A little science on how it actually happens.
The tiny puncture wounds created by the needles signal to the body that an injury has occurred. In response to this injury, the skin’s healing agents, collagen and elastin, start working overtime to heal the injury.
The healing process can be divided into three distinct phases: inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.
Basically, the injury activates platelet growth factors, and these, in turn, stimulate fibroblasts to produce collagen and elastin, the two proteins that keep your skin healthy, strong, and youthful.
Additionally, microneedling improves the penetration of active ingredients of whatever product you’re using during or after the microneedling procedure.
Normally, the molecules of actives are too large to actually penetrate inside deeper layers of the skin. With the tiny holes now present, it is possible to deliver the same ingredients a bit deeper into the skin.
Not a Hogwash, This is Scientifically Proven
I realize it might sound a bit woo-woo. I have seen great results from microneedling personally, but I didn’t want to push only my anecdotal evidence here.
Here is what science has to say.
Percutaneous collagen induction was started in 1997 and has proved to be a simple and fast method for safely treating wrinkles and scars. As opposed to ablative laser treatments, the epidermis remains intact and is not damaged.Percutaneous collagen induction therapy: an alternative treatment for scars, wrinkles, and skin laxity
Several studies – animal and human – have hailed pretty impressive results from Collagen Induction Therapy or (or as the researchers are calling it percutaneous collagen induction of PCI).
The present study showed that PCI with topical vitamins resulted in a 140% increase in epidermal thickness; an increase in gene and protein expression of collagen I, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and growth factors such as VEGF, EGF and FGF7. The collagen fibre bundles were increased, thickened, and more loosely woven in both the papillary and reticular dermis.Percutaneous collagen induction-regeneration in place of cicatrisation?
In layman’s terms, the studies have shown impressive results in the improvement of an aging process that leads to a loss of skin elasticity and integrity.
5 Reasons to Use Microneedling for Collagen Induction
I am a believer and here is why:
1. Lessening the depth of wrinkles
Since collagen and elastin are the two proteins responsible for keeping our skin firm and taut, it makes perfect sense to use microneedling as a wrinkle-reducing procedure.
This systematic review positions microneedling as a safe and effective therapeutic option for the treatment of scars and wrinkles.Microneedling: Where do we stand now? A systematic review of the literature
2. Skin Tightening
For the same reason, several sessions of microneedling can do wonders in terms of tightening the loose skin and can even help against age-related sagging.
CIT therapy sessions can help with sagging or loose skin sessions can help with sagging or loose skin by plumping up the area, which has a tightening effect on the skin as ontrolled dermal wounding and stimulation of the wound healing cascade enhances collagen production.Microneedling: A Review and Practical Guide
3. Microneedling for hyperpigmentation
Hyperpigmentation refers to various pigment irregularities which are most of the time result of photoaging. Hence, the usual term for hyperpigmentation is sun spots or age spots.
Here, as well, microneedling proves very helpful.
It offers a simple and effective treatment for photoaged skin with minimal disruption of the epidermis, thus limiting adverse effects and minimizing downtime.Multiple microneedling sessions for minimally invasive facial rejuvenation: an objective assessment
Getting rid of hyperpigmentation won’t happen overnight, but regularly spaced-out multiple sessions of microneedling have been proven very effective against photoaging.
4. Dermapen for acne scars
When you are dealing with severe scarring from acne, professional microneedling treatments can be a great option. This is due to the fact that increased collagen production and the skin’s healing process speed the skin cell turnover.
When that process of skin cells turnover is too slow, scars remain present and visible. No wonder, little kids heal so well from all kinds of scrapes and injuries, whereas when we get older, we tend to carry our scars so much longer to prove the battles we fought.
However, when it comes to very deep or old scars from cystic acne, at-home microneedling treatments may not be strong enough to heal your skin. It makes sense to seek professional help for these cases.
5. Minimal Risk
Lastly, the final reason for giving microneedling collagen induction therapy a shot is that it is virtually painless, and there are virtually no risks involved in comparison to other more invasive therapies.
Lasers, deep peels, and microdermabrasion are just that – abrasive to the skin. When you strip a layer or more of the epidermis, there is an increased risk of infection and scarring. The complete opposite of what you might be trying to achieve.
Since the epidermis is retained, microneedling has less risk of infection, postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, and scarring compared to other resurfacing modalities.Microneedling: a new approach for treating textural abnormalities and scars
How and Where to Get Your Collagen Induction Therapy?
Collagen induction therapy treatments include “derma roller” treatment and “derma pen.” Ever since this non-invasive way to treat skin aging, irregularities, and scarring became popular, most dermatologists and aesthetician offices offer both treatments as in-office services. Unfortunately, they do not come cheap.
It might set you back anywhere between $100 and $500 or more per treatment, depending on the area to be treated and your geographic location. This price tag is for one treatment only, and, as already mentioned, you need a series of treatments, spaced out by about 2-3 weeks, to actually start seeing the effects of the therapy.
Additionally, since microneedling is a cosmetic or aesthetic, rather than a medical, procedure, no insurance will cover it. Sure, doctor’s offices might offer a payment plan or give you coupons to use. Still, the cost of in-office microneedling can sky-rocket pretty fast.
Unless you are dealing with surgical scars or deep post-cystic-acne scarring, microneedling can be done safely and effectively at home.
The key here is to get the best devices money can buy and to use proper products during and after microneedling to stimulate the skin’s renewal process on the one hand and to avoid irritation on the other.
This is all about the reasons to include microneedling collagen induction therapy in your skincare routine. For now.
In part TWO of this post, I will cover more specific topics about microneedling: best devices, frequency of use, best products to add to the procedure, and microneedling aftercare.
See you there.