Tough love: should you peel to heal?

Who of their proper thoughts would create wounds on their face with a bunch of needles? The thought could also be outrageous, nevertheless it’s completely acceptable on the planet of microneedling, a process that’s turning into as well-liked as Botox and retinol. And if you, like me, aren’t but snug with the concept of injectables, this may very well be a technique to obtain smoother, tighter pores and skin, with minimal downtime.

How it really works

“It’s popular because [when done correctly], the micro injuries cause a cascade of cytokines — a category of small proteins important in cell signalling — and growth factors to rush to the injury site for repair, thereby increasing collagen production,” says Mumbai-based beauty dermatologist Dr Jaishree Sharad, who was the primary to convey the method to India in 2006. She additionally explains that deeper needle lengths (upto 3 mm) break up fibrous bands within the pores and skin, thereby lowering zits scars. “Lastly, the punctures create micro channels, which increase product penetration by more than 40% as compared to topical application.”

The contraindications

I’d by no means do it at dwelling, since some issues are finest left to specialists. “There was one patient with abscess in two places because she didn’t sanitise the tool properly and another developed tiny holes in the skin, caused when the device is rolled excessively in one direction.” But if you nonetheless insist on doing it your self, Dr Sharad advises you discard the device after one use. “Women with acne scars can begin in-office treatments in their 20s, and for anti-ageing begin in your 30s,” she says.

A snapshot of Rai’s recovery

Even within the physician’s workplace there are occasions when the process may have adversarial results. “I don’t treat melasma or active acne with this,” says Dr Meghna Gupta, Delhi-based dermatologist who carried out the process on me. “In active acne, you’re spreading the bacteria, while in melasma, sometimes there’s a good response, but in others it could cause the condition to flare up.”

My expertise

The remedy itself was painless due to the numbing cream. On Dr Gupta’s suggestion, I went for the ‘Cocktail Facial’ that utilised a Nanopure Dermapen “with hollow needles for deeper product penetration”. My ‘cocktail’ was a mixture of retinol, hyaluronic acid and lactoferrin, an ingredient that helps construct a pores and skin barrier and increase elasticity. To deal with shallow zits scars she used a depth of 1.5 mm needles on my brow and a couple of mm on the remainder of my face. We have been finished in what felt like quarter-hour.

Spot the distinction

  • A dermapen and derma curler are totally different. The latter is what we use at dwelling and is hand-rolled, whereas the dermapen is the superior digital system utilized by dermatologists.

My face was unnaturally uncooked afterwards however for that the fault is mine. I had used tretinoin cream the evening earlier than. What was I considering? I knew that sturdy actives together with retinol and AHAS should be stopped just a few days beforehand. Because my pores and skin was already barely peeled with the retinol, the microneedling ‘injured’ it greater than it should have. Thankfully I used to be with my dermatologist so I wasn’t too alarmed. Also, when finished appropriately, extra accidents imply a greater scope for restore — the extra you peel the higher you heal.

Road to restoration

Later that evening, my face began feeling uncomfortably prickly, a sensation that continued until the following afternoon. I’d be mendacity if I mentioned there wasn’t a way of remorse. My pores and skin appeared nice earlier than the remedy. Why did I’ve to do that?

I didn’t wash my face the primary evening and solely used a cica cream to soothe irritation. My dermatologist later added a medicated cream to go as a primary layer below hyaluronic acid, squalene and cica cream. Soon, the redness was brown scabs. I used to be disciplined about being light, saturating my pores and skin with moisture and making use of sunscreen twice a day. Sunscreen is essential, even for long run aftercare. After all, you don’t need to expose that freshly-formed pores and skin to the solar.

The scabs flaked away on their very own on day three whereas I used to be patting on some cleaning oil. The quick distinction: the strains round my eyes and the zits scars did fade a bit. As I write this piece three weeks later, my pores and skin nonetheless seems to be easy, taut and bouncy.

Vasudha Rai

Does it final?

“Microneedling at home is very temporary,” says Dr Sharad. “Electronic dermapens are more advanced.” You can even use dermapens to infuse PRP (platelet-rich plasma), which, amongst different issues, additionally hurries up therapeutic. A pal who tried PRP calls it ‘the gift that keeps on giving’ because the outcomes maintain enhancing upto a 12 months.

“But the real workhorse is radiofrequency microneedling,” says Dr Sharad. “It fades scars permanently and reduces lines for a longer period of time.” It additionally hurts and prices extra: ₹10,000 plus taxes for the Cocktail Facial vs ₹20,000 plus taxes for a session of RF microneedling at Dr Gupta’s Delhi Skin Clinic. But regardless of the elevated ache and value I’ll strive radio frequency subsequent time round. It could not occur very quickly, however it can occur for positive.

The author is The Hindu Weekend’s magnificence columnist

Disclaimer: Consult a dermatologist earlier than starting a brand new routine

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