Skin Needling - Natural Collagen Renewal

By: Susan Church, CCPC

What is Skin Needling Ms. Church has been performing Skin Needling for over 16 years. Her articles were published in 1991 in the 'Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals' (SPCP) Newsletters as well as in other publications on these remarkable findings. Ms. Church has also lectured to medical and beauty professionals on numerous occasions sharing photos of burn, scar, cancer, as well as 'everyday' clients that request her services. Skin Needling/ Facial Needling treats light scaring, fine to deep wrinkles. Using a machine for the Skin Needling procedure, the needle cluster is gently inserted into the epidermis and top layer of the dermis. Skin Needling promotes the natural reproduction of collagen and elastin, making the skin feel smoother and tighter. We treat only the area that needs attention. We do not work on any tissue outside the boundaries of the wrinkles and scar tissue as this will make the wrinkle appear even deeper. Skin Needling stimulates the body's natural wound healing reaction to produce natural collagen.


With microscopic punctures in the epidermis, Skin Needling is minimally invasive with little damage to the epidermis. Anesthesia is generally not needed for Skin Needling as it is not so invasive as to cause pain. Skin Needling procedures have minimal 'Down Time' and swelling, and most people return to work the following day.

Depth of Penetration

The insertion of the needle for Skin Needling is approximately .07 mm. but this measurement depends on the severity of the wrinkles and the desired results.

The Hands of Time

    What contributes to wrinkles and the loss of collagen?

   o Sun, and tanning beds

   o Anyone who works outdoors

   o Anyone who likes to 'play' outdoors: volleyball, golf, water sports, baseball etc.

   o Genetics

   o Smoking

   o Unhealthy lifestyles

   o Dehydration

   o People that are Type I and II on the Fitzpatrick scale

   o Sleeping with your face buried in a pillow

Who Will Benefit from Skin Needling?

   o In view of the fact that Skin Needling is a nominally invasive procedure, anyone with fine, medium or heavy wrinkling will experience positive results:

   o People with acne scars, chicken pox scars, and scars from surgery

   o People who have picked at pimples and scabs creating scars and pits

   o People with naso-labial wrinkles as well as smokers and laugh lines

   o People with chest, neck, knee, arm and hand wrinkles

Contraindications for Skin Needling

   o Anyone who is darker skinned and hyper-pigments will need to use a lightening skin treatment for 2 weeks prior to their treatment appointments

   o If you have the propensity to keloid you would not be a candidate for Skin Needling

   o We never work on raised moles, warts or any raised lesions

People who are not acceptable candidates for this procedure are:

   o Anyone that is under medical care that may be on a high blood pressure medication, heart medication, is diabetic, not in general good health, is a poor healer, has an active herpetic breakout, or has just had an invasive laser treatment

   o Anyone that has any type of facial skin disease or disorder that would be a contraindication

   o Anyone who is taking homeopathic, vitamins or herbs that thin the blood

   o Anyone with scars that are less than 6 months old

   o Anyone that has had facial fillers, or Botox, in the past 4 months in their lips or face

   o Anyone who has had facial surgery in the past 6 months

   o Anyone who has had 'PERMANENT' fillers, such as Dermagen or Shark Cartilage injected in the past 6 months would not be a candidate for Skin Needling

   o Anyone that has been using corto-steroids on the treatment area, as this thins the skin's tissue

Tools Used

Skin Needling can be accomplished by using a coil, digital, rotary machine or a manual tool. Although this procedure does not require the power of a heavy duty machine, if you are accustomed to using a coil or digital machine you can turn the power down and achieve successful results. Sterile, single-use needle clusters will depend on the method of procedure, depth of area to be worked on, and condition of the tissue.

Pre-Treatment Management

The skin should be assessed prior to the client's first treatment. The use of skin treatments and/or products both pre- and post-treatment will enhance the client's results dramatically. Sun worshipers and men that have not been on a regular skin care regime would receive greater benefits if they have any of the treatments listed below prior to their Skin Needling procedure.

Several options are available to the clients Pre-Treatment are:

   o Microdermabrasion

   o Peels - AHA's, Glycolic, Salicylic, Malic, Enzyme Peels or Jesners

   o Laser

   o Retin A, Retinol, Renova

Anyone that is prone to herpetic outbreaks needs to be on an antiviral medication prior to their Skin Needling procedure. This applies to each additional procedure as well. For clients that bruise easily, it is advised to consider taking Arnica Montana, Bromaline, or any other anti-inflammatory and anti-bruising product 1-2 days prior to each Skin Needling session and 2-3 days post procedure.

Post Treatment Management

Mineral makeup can be used after the skin has healed. If you use makeup on broken skin, the risk of bacteria entering the procedure area, as well as the makeup filtering its way into the open tissue, can be detrimental by causing darker pigmentation.

After the skin has healed, the use of AHA's will help to keep the top layer of skin softened and sloughed off resulting in younger looking skin. For the first few days our clients use a very light coat of Petroleum directly on the treatment area. This will not only keep the area from scabbing but will keep the skin soft and supple.Using topical Vitamin C, A or E and Collagen producing products are also fantastic for the skin. I have been using Prevage by Allergan (from my Dermatologist Dr. Noushin Parastouk) as it is great for sloughing off and regenerating tissue.

Turning Back the Hands of Time

Our clients report smoother, softer feeling and looking skin after each treatment; noticing creams and lotions penetrate their skin more easily, and their fine lines and wrinkles have softened considerably. Clients with other concerns, such as acne scaring, scars from surgery or injury, do not notice the depressed area. The body's natural collagen is masking the imperfection of the scarring process after each treatment, while it regenerates the natural collagen. We have clients that have seen immediate, long-lasting results, and other clients noticed an improvement gradually over an 8 week period. One of our acne clients said he noticed results 3 months post procedure and his skin kept looking better and better.

Each person's results will vary as their body's NATURAL collagen and elastin regenerate.

Post Procedure Appearance includes:

Day 1 and Day 2 - Depending on how deeply the technician inserts the needle into the epidermis, the tissue may be slightly to moderately swollen, tender, red and bruised, with a slight lymph discharge from the treated areas. Minor itching may occur and the 'needled' tissue may exhibit the appearance of 'cat scratches'.

Day 3 - The treated areas slightly crust and remain faintly pink to red.

Day 4 --The redness and crusting have diminished.

Day 5 -There is barely any evidence of a procedure.

Follow up Treatments

Procedure applications are usually repeated at a 6-8 week intervals depending on the condition of the tissue and desired results.


Technician fees range from $200.00 to $395.00 per 30 minute sessions.

Comparison of Wrinkle Treatments:

Procedure Treatments Needed Fees Per Treatment Total
Skin Needling
1-4 every 6-8 weeks
$250.00 per average session
4 treatments $1,000.00
10-20 weekly sessions
$140.00- $200.00 per session followed by monthly maintenance sessions
First year $2,800.00+ $4,400 for 2 years
Heavy Skin Peels
4-6 peels
$300.00+ per average session
5 treatments $1,500.00
Monthly treatments - 12 treatments
$150.00+ per average session
12 treatments $1,800.00
8-10 sessions
$800.00+ per average session
9 treatments $7,200.00

Post Procedure Aftercare for Skin Needling

Skin plumping products, vitamins or collagen based products can be used after the skin is healed. The use of a 'Total Waterproof Sun Block' is strongly suggested on a daily basis.

Facial Fillers:

After the Skin Needling procedure fills in wrinkles and lines with the body's own natural collagen, the client may still want to have facial fillers in their lips, as well as Botox, to paralyze their glabella, upper forehead and crow's feet.

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Final Thoughts:

To look their best, we still recommend that all clients should consider having Botox to paralyze their muscles to enhance their Skin Needling results. Lip fillers are also highly recommended to plump the lips if the client is requesting fuller, luscious lips. Skin Needling can be dangerous in the untrained hand. Skin could be macerated by overworking of the procedural area and potentially creating scarring. Always consult a trained professional for these treatments. People trying to do these treatments at home will not experience pleasing results. I have learned extensively about the body's natural collagen; our intricacies, along with how vitally important collagen is for our entire body. I suggest that you go to these websites for detailed information on collagen.

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