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microneedlingA new skin care treatment on the scene is microneedling.  Microneedling is a device that has tiny needles set in a roller that is passed over the skin.  The procedure can be done manually or using an electronic device.  This treatment is used to improve wrinkles, scarring, loss of elasticity, photodamage and hyperpigmentation.

The insertion of the needles in the skin creates “micro injuries”, depending on the depth of the needle in the skin.  Estheticians outside of a medical setting may use needles 0.25 millimeters in diameter with a penetration of 0.25-0.5 millimeters.  Needles used in a medical setting may be as fine as 0.07 millimeters which can reach deeper into the skin (through the epidermis to the top layer of the dermis, the papillary tissue).  Individuals who have a tendency to hyperpigment may not be good candidates for this treatment because it may increase melanocyte production causing more pigmentation.

Post Treatment

Whoever performs this treatment needs to have advanced training and a thorough knowledge of product ingredients.  Because of the wounding to the skin, hyaluronic acid is the best product to use following the treatment.  Ingredients to avoid:

  • Fragrances (including those used for product preservation)
  • AHAs or BHAs (alpha and beta hydroxy acids) may cause over stimulation or burn marks where the needle has penetrated the skin
  • Sunscreens – not used as a part of the treatment itself, but can be used after the treatment to protect the skin
  • Photosensitizing chemicals
  • Essential oils
  • Dyes or color additives
  • Vitamin C
  • Emollients/moisturizers with petrochemical by-products

Who can perform this treatment?

Many states stipulate that microneedling is outside the scope for estheticians.  In some states an esthetician may be required to have a license in permanent makeup, tattooing or electrology.  Ask your skin care therapist if their professional license allows them to perform this treatment outside a medical setting.  Inside a medical setting, this treatment may be performed by a physician or registered nurse.

Also ask if the equipment they are using is FDA-approved, not all machines are.  The rollers used are for single-use only.  A roller should never be reused (even on the same client).  Using a new roller at each treatment prevents cross contamination.


Schmaling, S. (2014). Skin Deep, “Microneedling: It’s popular, but is it right for your?”, p. 14-21. Retrieved September 4, 2014.