Meet Microneedling – Your Health & Beauty Ally

By Helena Amos, M.AC., L.AC.

Acupuncture is best known for treating ailments like pain, allergies, or anxiety. Every time a needle is inserted into the skin, the body sees it as a “micro injury” and increases circulation to the area involved and the stimulating point. This reaction is beneficial for something like an old injury producing chronic discomfort or for inducing appetite suppression; but it also has implications for skin health and aging. Acupuncture is also an effective alternative method for addressing skincare issues and enhancing beauty. Two of the most popular techniques — cosmetic acupuncture and microneedling — take advantage of the injury response; while they are each fairly different, both methods provide beneficial results.

Cosmetic Acupuncture and Facial Rejuvenation

Cosmetic acupuncture is more in line with the acupuncture practices of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). This treatment often incorporates acupoints on other parts of the body targeting the associated internal organs that are known to correct the underlying imbalances contributing to issues in the face. For instance, there are points that influence imbalanced hormones (endocrine system), or points that clear digestive disorders, both of which can impact skin health, creating premature wrinkles or skin impurities.

There are various techniques within the field of cosmetic acupuncture — everything from threading needles within and under wrinkles to simply using points across the face — but in general, they involve inserting small acupuncture needles into acupuncture points on the skin or into motor points to increase circulation, to stimulate collagen production, and to improve muscle tone. The increase in circulation to the area can help the body fight the bacteria involved in acne or flush out any toxins building up in a lymphatic system. Stimulating muscle motor points is important for facial muscle toning to avoid sagging, and the dreaded second chin and jowls. Ultimately, skin regains elasticity and the face can appear firmer, leading to a more youthful appearance.

With Acupuncture Facial Rejuvenation, there are three mechanisms at work: the benefits to the internal organs; the inducement of collagen production; and the resulting new collagen separating the damaged collagen — like that would comprise a wrinkle, scar or blemish — from the underlying tissue.

Microneedling

Much like its acupuncture counterpart, microneedling is a 2,000 year old time-tested treatment originating in ancient China. Emperors who wanted to live forever used this technique to remain youthful. Simply put, microneedling is the insertion of very fine, thin needles into the skin for the purpose of skin rejuvenation. The process works by the needles creating micro channels in the skin. The channels are effectively small wounds, and the skin’s own repair response is to start producing collagen, elastin, and new skin cells thereby healing that controlled injury that was just created. That in turn makes the skin tighter and smoother. In general, treatments are gentle and painless; the results can be visible after just one treatment, and can be long-lasting.

Microneedling is used to treat and improve conditions like acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, loose skin, skin texture, pore size, brown spots, stretch marks, and pigment issues. Depending on the depth of the needle penetration, the level of skin rejuvenation and the results of the treatment differ. They range from the simple enhancement of product absorption  — typically applied to treat fine lines, pore size, pigmentation issues and sun damage — to the clinical treatment of traumatic scars, moderate wrinkles, and acne scars. Microneedling can also be done on other locations on the body to get rid of scarring and stretch marks. In the case of hair loss, microneedling promotes hair growth. When used on the scalp, it stimulates dermal papilla, or the stem cells in hair follicles, to encourage growth factors. Again, the idea is the body’s natural defenses against these tiny wounds will encourage the healing process and ultimately new hair growth to help reverse thinning hair.

Unlike Microdermabrasion, a harsher form of skin rejuvenation that involves removing layers of skin, the channels created by microneedling allow for delivery of topical nutrients by penetrating the skin; absorption can increase by up to 3000%. For example, when used with microneedling, Hyaluronic Acid, a potent and popular skin care nutrient, holds 1000 times its weight in water, allowing for deep hydration, nourishment and rejuvenation. Apple stem cells, a holistic herbal topical, have shown in studies to promote facial stem cell rejuvenation by over 80%.

Professional microneedling is done with a top-of-the-line, premium Class 2 medical device that looks like a pen. The microneedling pen-like device oscillates to ensure the skin doesn’t tear. For example, all AcuMicro premium needling tips are some of the thinnest stainless steel needles on the market, and designed for single use. You know that you are in good hands with an AcuMicro certified practitioner. Be wary of faulty, vibrating (rather than oscillating) or cheap microneedling devices on the market, and it is never recommended to use devices intended for at-home treatment.

What Is Nano-Needling?

Both the nano- and microneedling treatments use a pen-like device that oscillates a tip up and down to stimulate a skin reaction. They both induce cell turnover, serum infusion and provoke the healing process that results in skin transformation. However, nano-needling works a little differently. Nano-needling only affects the epidermis —  the outermost of the three layers that comprise the skin — treating within the upper .15 mm of the skin. It does use the same type of oscillating motion, but the cartridge encompasses 81 silicone tips. These microscopic hair-like cones separate the cells within the epidermis to allow active products to be pushed into the skin. The benefits of this serum infusion treatment include pigmentation reduction, increased cell turnover, skin rejuvenation and an immediate glow with no downtime. This treatment can be done weekly to exfoliate the skin.

Whether it’s facial acupuncture, microneedling, or nano-needling, all of these skin healing and rejuvenation techniques are steeped in a blend of traditional practice with modern technology. They are equally safe and effective for their indicated treatment area(s), and require neither a huge time commitment during the process (an average appointment time is 30-40 minutes, spaced typically one month apart) nor a lengthy post-procedure recovery or down time. For most conditions, results are seen and felt after the first treatment; research has shown benefits lasting 4-6 years without maintenance. With those kinds of long-term effects, professional acupuncture and microneedling treatments are indeed useful health and beauty allies.

If you’re interested in exploring acupuncture for your health and skincare concerns, schedule a consultation with us to develop a treatment plan. Contact our office: 301-881-2898 or email doctorhelena@gmail.com.

Photo credit: Photo © Elena Kharchenko | Dreamstime.com

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.