Microneedling: Enhancing skin’s appearance through collagen induction therapy


By Caitlin Summers

Issue: Mar/Apr 2019

Confidence, grace, and wisdom are just a few attributes that come with age. Now in my 30s, and more confident, graceful and a bit wiser (than in my 20s), I think about aging and skincare.   

Tanning beds, sunbathing and acne really take their toll on our delicate skin, leaving scars, wrinkles and sun spots. Dr. Srdan Babovic, a plastic surgeon at Olmsted Medical Center, says microneedling helps patients boost confidence and is backed by science to improve the look of skin by reducing the appearance of fine lines, pigment changes and acne scars. Dr. Babovic and his team perform this treatment using an FDA-approved Dermapen. Dr. Babovic believes that using science and data are important when choosing the right treatments. 

 

WHAT IS MICRONEEDLING?

Microneedling, also called percutaneous collagen induction therapy (PCIT), is the procedure of taking very fine needles and using them on the surface of the skin, creating micro-punctures. This process aids in the production of collagen, which is a protein our bodies produce naturally. Dr. Babovic says, “Naturally, with aging, skin gets thinner. You’re losing volume from your cheeks.” Using microneedling to produce collagen helps the skin get thicker, and over time reduces the lines and wrinkles.

Microneedling can be done with vitamin C or platelet-rich plasma (PRP). Dr. Babovic says the difference between using vitamin C versus PRP is what he is trying to achieve for the patient. He notes that vitamin C is often better for patients with acne scars. When used with microneedling, PRP can produce three- to five-times more collagen, which works better for fine lines or texture changes.

Microneedling is also sometimes done in tandem with a procedure called intense pulse light (IPL) therapy, typically to reduce redness caused by rosacea.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT YOUR FIRST TIME

Although there aren’t many risks involved, Dr. Babovic and his team ensure that each patient’s medical history is thoroughly reviewed. Since microneedling involves creating small punctures in the skin, he notes, “You have created skin injury, and that can get infected if one does not adhere to strict procedural guidelines.”

Dr. Babovic and his team make sure the equipment and the surface of the skin is sterile before beginning treatment. Once prepped, a numbing cream is applied to the face and left for about 20-30 minutes. In this time, if PRP is used, the blood is drawn from the patient and spun down in a centrifuge separating the red blood cells and leaving the PRP. After the skin is numb, the PRP is applied and the needling begins. The entire process takes about 60 to 90 minutes.

 

CARE AFTER TREATMENT

Dr. Babovic doesn’t recommend his patients plan a night out after the treatment. Although you’ll feel like you’re glowing, your skin will be red and raw. Don’t worry, most of this goes away by the next day, apart from some slight redness and flaking. Patients should also avoid putting on makeup until the next day. 

As always, don’t forget moisturizer and sun block. If you’re looking for the fountain of youth in a one-time treatment, then this isn’t for you. Dr. Babovic states the typical recommendation for the best results is about four treatments—once a month for four months, then maintenance treatments every six months.

 

MAKING AN APPOINTMENT

Dermapen or microneedling is a multi-benefit treatment, whether it’s for acne scars or fine lines. At Olmsted Medical Center this treatment costs $350 per treatment, the PRP is an additional charge. If it’s your first time being seen in the plastic surgery department, you’ll pay a $200 consultation fee that is a one-time only payment if you are seen at least once a year. To make an appointment for your consultation call 507-529-6740.

  

Caitlin Summers is a freelance writer and an advocate for women’s health.