These past couple of months have been rough for my skin. I started to break out worse than I ever have, even as a teenager. After trying countless creams, face washes and anything I could find in the drug store, I started getting facials regularly and ultimately went on medication, per my dermatologist. That combination has worked wonders -- my skin has cleared up and looks the healthiest it's ever been.
I honestly feel that I owe so much of that to the aesthetician I started seeing for my facials, Anar Dashtsoo, because she tailored the facials to my individual skincare needs and always gave me helpful, manageable tips on how to properly nourish my skin. So when she told me I would be a good candidate for microneedling to help with some of my acne scars, I was all ears. I checked in with my dermatologist and when I got the thumbs up, I had the procedure done by Dashtsoo, who is now a medical aesthetician at the new Javan Anti Aging and Wellness Institute, a few weeks ago.
If you've heard about microneedling (or seen Kim Kardashian's Instagram stories), but you're not quite sure what it is or if you would benefit from the procedure, here's everything I learned:
What is microneedling?
"Microneedling is when we make micro incisions to injure the skin in a controlled manner to trigger the skin to stimulate collagen production, therefore the plumping action to occur," said Dashtsoo.
There are two types of microneedling treatments: one using hyaluronic acid and the other using platelet rich plasma. HA is usually half the price of PRP and is often used for patients whose concerns are fine lines, wrinkles, plumping, hydration and rejuvenation. PRP is derived from the patient's own blood and is rich in growth factors and nutrients and is utilized for various medical treatments, not just microneedling.
Dashtsoo used hyaluronic acid during my microneedling treatment, and then after the procedure I was given a small bottle of it to use on my face over the course of the next 24 hours.
Who should get microneedling?
"Microneedling is a great option for anyone who wants to induce more collagen and elastin in their skin," Dashtsoo told me.
More specifically, anyone who has scars or sunken areas from acne or chicken pox, fine lines or wrinkles, or wants a younger, healthier complexion would be a good candidate for microneedling, according to Dashtsoo. Although microneedling is often done on a patient's face, it can also be used on other parts of the body to help target stretch marks or scarring.
The number of treatments recommended depends on what you are looking to address though, and it's important to consult with your dermatologist, medical provider or skincare professional to see if you are a good candidate and how they will tailor your treatments to your individual needs.
Dashtsoo recommended that I do three microneedling treatments over the course of a couple of months to address my acne scars. She said that for the best results, I should consider getting facials in between each treatment in order to make sure my skin is clean and healthy.
What is the procedure actually like?
The procedure started off with Dashtsoo double cleansing my face in order to get rid of any dirt and makeup. Then, she massaged anesthetic cream onto my face in order to numb it a little to prepare for the needles. Once my face was numb and I was relaxed from the facial massage, Dashtsoo used the microneedling pen, starting at my forehead, and then moving to my temples, cheeks, chin and nose. It mostly felt like sandpaper rubbing on my face, but it did hurt on my forehead and nose -- thankfully, it was pretty quick in those areas! Dashtsoo did warn me beforehand that the procedure would make me "feel something," so I was prepared. After it was done, Dashtsoo cooled my face down and cleaned up the little specs of blood with distilled water.
What is your skin like immediately following the procedure?
Afterwards, my face was extremely red. It looked -- and felt -- like I had the worst sunburn ever. My face felt raw and very sensitive. It was uncomfortable to lie on my side that night and have my face touch my pillow. I would recommend getting the procedure done on a day where you don't have to go anywhere afterwards.
The next day my face was still pink and sensitive. I was instructed to use the hyaluronic acid Dashtsoo gave me for 24 hours instead of my normal skincare products and any time it felt sensitive or looked red. So, every four hours, I put a little bit on my face. I didn't wear any makeup or use any other cleanser or products the next day.
Two days after the procedure my face was no longer pink and it felt much better. I was able to use my normal cleanser, moisturizer and wear makeup.
What results can you expect?
"Patients should expect more collagen and elastic production in their skin," said Dashtsoo. "The skin usually feels tighter and thicker, filling in certain fine lines and wrinkles. Because of the collagen induction, some patients have even seen a reduction of pore size. Keep in mind though, that each individual heals and reacts differently to any treatment and multiple treatments of microneedling are necessary for the best results."
It's been about two weeks now since I've had my first treatment. A couple of days after the treatment, I had two-three small whitehead pimples that went away pretty quickly. Overall, I feel like my skin looks more even. My biggest acne scars on my left cheek look like sunken pockets and they are still visible, as expected. However, I had a small cluster of dark marks on my chin from my recent breakouts that seem to have mostly disappeared. I'm excited to see how my skin looks once my face has fully "healed" itself.