Dangers of Microneedling at Home

In a technologically advanced, and not to mention, expensive world, we tend to seek ways to ‘do it yourself’. Whether it is finding home remedies for health issues, doing tasks for school for my 6-year old, or beautifying myself (because time is always an issue).

That is the truth of our modern, hasty life. But where do I draw the line?

“Oh, I saw someone on Youtube remove their appendix with a scalpel…maybe I should try that!”

One of the most popular aesthetic treatments that can be done in a salon, clinic or medical practice is microneedling. This treatment has been around since 1995 and has grown in its popularity and techniques ever since. It can be used in a broad spectrum of dermatological conditions such as acne scarring, scar revision and wound repair, skin rejuvenation, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores and the transdermal delivery of active ingredients. The possibilities of this treatment are endless. It is a form of Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) which offers clinical results without the surgical costs or inconvenience.

The theory behind microneedling is to make the skin believe that it has received a wound, therefor setting off a healing cascade to produce more collagen. Growth factors are released leading to the synthesis of Matrix Metalloproteinase and the deposition thereof in the dermis. In a study it was shown that 1 microneedling session every 4 weeks for 4 sessions, could improve collagen and elastin synthesis with 400%.

This treatment was nicknamed ‘the poor man’s laser’ as medical devices have become very expensive for practitioners to buy. When this treatment is combined with other treatment modalities such as chemical peels, the effect is magnified.

All this sounds too good to be true. I almost want to run and get my own device. But let’s look at the adverse side effects that can happen if this treatment is not done in a professional environment.

This video was published on Youtube about a lady who is doing her own microneedling at home.

Recognize the dangers of doing this treatment at home?

  • There are no sterilizing/sanitizing techniques before or after the treatment, therefore there is a high possibility of contamination or local infections
  • There is no consideration of medical history that may influence the treatment or products used.
  • A topical numbing solution is used without knowing the adverse side effects of these solutions and the toxicity to the body, being exposed to Lidocaine/Prilocaine/ Tetracaine, etc.
  • A 36-needle cartridge was used which is used for bodywork and scar repair because of the bigger configuration of needles
  • A needle depth that ranges between 1mm and 2.5mm was used during the procedure. Needle depth needs to be adjusted according to areas where skin thickness and sensitivity varies. Researchers described needle depth and penetration. 0.5mm-1mm for fine lines and wrinkles, 1-1.5mm for acne scarring, etc. This is worked way too deep into the deeper dermal layers, causing blood to run over the skin.
  • The ingredients of the product that is used are unknown as well as the benefits or adverse side effects that this may cause after penetration
  • Water was used to lubricate the area. There is a reason we have a waterproof barrier in our skins, so that water and other substances cannot penetrate the skin.

Possible Adverse side-effects:

  • PIH – Post inflammatory Hyper/ hypopigmentation (too much trauma)
  • Erythema – Inflammation! Inflammation causes Ageing!
  • Aggravation of acne
  • Reactivation of Herpes
  • Systemic hypersensitivity
  • Local infections
  • Bruising
  • Release of Interleukin 6&9 may cause scarring
  • Exposure to toxic or irritating substances causing allergic contact dermatitis
  • Numbing cream used – numbing cream gets absorbed into the blood stream, may lead to allergic reactions.

In the last few years, we have seen an explosion of these devices being sold online for anybody to obtain. Whether you are a trained professional or not.

Remember that there are Qualified Professionals that are trained on these devices to work in a safe manner, with the ethical protocol. They have the experience and they know how to deal with adverse side effects. They know how to combine different treatment modalities to give you the best possible results that you could hope for.

If you need any information on these treatments, phone a salon/clinic/medical practitioner near you and ask questions. Ask about the therapist’s qualifications, the type of treatments they offer, the active ingredients that they use. It is important to understand the aftercare after a procedure. Care about your skin and trust your therapist.

‘Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a Miracle’

-Erno Laszlo

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