What happens to our skin when we age? Look at the skin of children and teens, it has plumpiness, elasticity when pulled, tight, has shine to it, has uniform color and no wrinkles. The plumpiness comes from the subcutaneous fat and proteoglycans in the skin such as Hyaluronic acid, elasticity comes from the Elastin fibers, tightness comes from the collagen in the thick dermis, shine comes from the thick epidermis, skin hydration and proteoglycans such as hyaluronic acid, uniform color comes from the healthy functioning of the skin pigement cells called melanocytes and lastly no wrinkles are due to combination of all the things above. As we age, all the components of the skin atrophy, thus our faces deflate like tires out of gas. The subcutaneous fat decreases and the collagen fibers which hold the subcutaneous fat become thinner. This leads to sagging of our faces as if they are being pulled down by gravity.
Microneedling is the latest scientific technique to slow down and even reverse aging of the skin. This is a scientific method of stimulating epithelial cells, melanocytes and fibroblasts in the skin. Collagen and elastin form the framework of the skin matrix and rest of the skin components are dependent on this matrix for proper functioning. As we age, the long collagen fibrils in the skin start fragmenting and it’s not replaced by the fibroblast leading to collapse of the scaffolding of the skin. This leads to sagging, wrinkling and thinning of the skin.
I don’t believe in heat damage to the skin with Lasers, Radio-Frequency, Cold Plasma or Ultrasound Devices as a way to slow down or reverse aging.
Cosmetic Practitioners around the world are using controlled heating of dermis and subcutaneuous tissues to stimulate the Fibroblasts to make Collage which thickens and tightens the skin. However, the basic science research shows that heating of skin leads to free radical damage, removal of dead tissue caused by heating also causes free radical damage, dead tissue caused by fractional laser leads to inflammtory response by Macrophages, Neutrophils and Lymphocytes which in turn leads to free radical damage, heat application to skin tiggers Heat Shock Proteins which lead to deposition of Type 1 collagen and not Type 3 collagen and the tissues which regenerate after heat application to the skin dont have the elasticity, hydration and plumpiness of the skin of a child!! For more details, see the wound healing section.
Microneedling involves creating thousands of micro-holes in the skin. This achieves many objectives.
- only about 5% of the cosmetic products penetrate the skin due to the epidermis which forms a strong barrier. The thousands of holes in the skin produced by microneedling allows more than 80% of the cosmetic products to enter the skin. This way we are able to deliver all the essential building blocks of collagen, elastin and proteoglycans which are the major components of skin
- microneedling produces micro-injury in the epidermis thus releasing growth factors involved in skin healing. These growth factors stimulate the fibroblast to lay down new collagen, elastin and proteoglycans, thus creating a young healthy looking skin.
- the skin healing response to microneedling is similar to fetal skin healing and dissimilar to adult skin healing. The skin healing response to heat injury by laser, radiofrequency and ultrasound is similar to adult healing which in turn leads to formation of abnormal scar like collagen.
- The results of microneedling thus take time such as 6 months because it’s trying to recreate young skin but the results of heat treatments like laser, ultrasound or radiofrequency quicker because they produce effects by abnormal coagulation of the skin proteins
SkinPen is a medical grade, state-of-the-art microneedling device designed to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and scars on the face and body. SkinPen allows for controlled induction of the skin’s self-repair process by creating thousands of precise micro-injuries in the dermis, automatically triggering new collagen synthesis without causing scar tissue formation.
The variable depth (.25mm to 2.5mm) of SkinPen and the cordless design provide significant versatility to create change in many areas of the body, including the face, neck, chest, arms, hands, legs, abdomen and back. The actual procedure typically takes 30 minutes depending on the size and number of areas treated and the severity of damage on the skin and results in little to no downtime for the patient.
Benefits of microneedling:
- scars including stretch marks
- wrinkles and sagging skin
- sun damaged skin, sun spots, actinic keratosis
- melasma, hyperpigmentation or uneven pigmentation of the skin
What to expect:
- consultation with Dr. Uppal
- 1 month of skin preparation for microneedling
- after the first microneedling procedure, you will be given the post microneedling skinfuse system by SkinPen which includes 5 products which have to be applied to skin as directed till the next microneedling treatment
- there will be 3-4 microneedling treatments spaced every 5 weeks
- after completion of the microneedling treatments, you will be given directions on how to take care of the skin and come back for yearly microneedling.
- The process of transformation of aged skin to a younger healthy skin takes months and typically more than 6 months