Article Medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections.
Skin Needling: How it works
Skin needling is a non-laser treatment for acne scarring.
Skin needling uses minute punctures to the skin using precision medical micro-needles attached to a highly-engineered roller to induce collagen growth. Collagen growth is the key to skin repair.
There is less risk of skin pigmentation changes compared to laser treatment, and this is particularly relevant for patients with olive or darker skin colouring.
Skin needling is a leading clinical choice for acne scar reduction. It has been performed for many years, and has gained a lot of credibility.
Victorian Cosmetic Institute most often uses a cylindrical roller with micro-needles that are rolled over the skin after adequate local anaesthesia to numb the skin. This method was popularised by Dr. Desmond Fernandez, a well-known and regarded plastic surgeon, and is faster and more effective than other methods of skin needling.
- Anaesthetic is injected into the skin prior to the procedure. The procedure is sometimes performed with other methods of sedation.
- The skin-needling roller is then passed over the treatment area multiple times
- Skin needling can be used to improve the above skin conditions with less risk of skin pigment changes, especially with olive/darker skin types that commonly occur with laser treatment
- The recovery time is usually 7-10 days
- Usually 2-5 sessions are required for the optimal results
- Home skin needling kits are a less aggressive option for daily use.
Skin needling: before and after treatment
More detail about Skin Needling
The micro-needles cause thousands of stimulating dermal “injuries” to the skin. This induces a natural response that produces new collagen. The production of new collagen continues for up to 12 months after the procedure. Depressed acne scars, wrinkles, skin texture and tightness are all improved as a result.
At Victorian Cosmetic Institute, we are qualified and trained to use needles up to 3mm, which are the longest needles available for skin needling. There are a variety of skin needling procedures offered by various clinics which differ in degrees of intensity. However, experience has lead VCI to recommend skin needling treatments on the more aggressive side of the spectrum. We achieve better results with fewer treatments.
Read more about very comprehensive information about acne scarring.
What are the side effects of skin-needling treatment?
Generally, you will experience some redness of the skin for up to one week after the procedure and time off work may be needed at this time. There is also a large amount of swelling that can persist for a few days. For about 24 hours post skin needling, there may be some weeping/oozing of the skin. A dressing is applied for 24 hours to help with this. If you are prone to cold sores, the healing area may become infected if you have a cold sore breakout during this period. Bacterial infection is also possible but very unlikely. As the skin is not removed, scarring is extremely rare. Some people develop milia (small white dots) on the skin as it heals. These can be removed easily. Also temporary acne-breakouts may occur after treatment.
What areas can be treated?
The face, hands, neck, back and chest can be treated with skin needling, but most commonly the face is treated only.
Skin Needling Case study 1. Male acne scarring
This patient presented for skin needling for acne scarring on the cheeks. He also had some generalised volume loss in the cheeks. He had a total of 3 skin needling treatments combined with fat transfer to the cheeks. The results were very significant, and the acne scarring was dramatically reduced. The time period between the before and after photos are about 6 months.
Skin Needling Case study 2: Female Acne scarring
This female presents to Victorian Cosmetic Institute with concerns about her acne scarring. She had a total of 3 skin needling sessions over the period of approximately one year. The after photo shows a picture of her skin approximately 6 months after the last skin needling treatment. As can be seen, there is a dramatic improvement in skin texture and a reduction of the acne scarring.
Skin needling Case study 3 - Asian female acne scarring
This patient presented for treatment of acne scarring on the cheeks with skin needling. She was of asian background. A total of two skin needling treatments were performed over the course of 1 year, and the results were seen above.
Skin Needling Case study 4: Female Acne scarring
Skin needling patient diary
Am I a suitable candidate for skin needling?
VCI offers home-skin needling to complement our treatments
The skin needling treatment offered at Victorian Cosmetic Institute with the 3mm skin rollers is strictly an in-clinic procedure. However, we do offer skin rollers with 0.2mm needles that can be used on a daily basis at home. There is no downtime associated with their use, and any redness experienced post treatment is usually very transient. Although, not as aggressive as the in-clinic version, these rollers are still effective when used regularly. They also are useful when used just prior to the application of skin care products such as topical retinoids (vitamin A). The needles create very small holes in the skin to help the penetration of skin care products and therefore their effectiveness.
Skin needling compared with Fraxel laser or fractional carbon dioxide laser
The Fraxel and fractional carbon dioxide lasers are lasers that have a ‘fractionated’ delivery of laser energy to the skin. In other words, the whole skin surface is not treated. Individual columns of laser energy are fired into the skin, each penetrating up to 2mm. This stimulates collagen production and helps with problems such as as acne scarring, wrinkles and pigmentation. With darker skin types especially, there is a chance that these laser treatments can cause post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which are areas of skin that have become darker than the surrounding skin due to the laser.
Why should I choose Victorian Cosmetic Institute as my provider of skin needling?
The doctors at Victorian Cosmetic Institute will carefully assess the condition of your skin and your suitability for the procedure. We take ample time to prepare your skin for the procedure to make it as comfortable as possible. We use only the highest quality skin rollers to ensure the results are maximised.