Acne is one of the most common skin conditions in the world – and one of the most frustrating – with millions of Americans affected well into adulthood. However, for most people with moderate-to-severe forms of acne, clearing up active breakouts is just half the battle. The acne scars that remain can be even more difficult to remedy than the breakouts themselves and can mar a complexion for a lifetime.
Acne doesn’t just scar complexions – mental well-being takes a hit too. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne sufferers are more likely to develop low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. Some of the patients we see for scarring feel frustrated that they are unable to leave the house without makeup despite their active acne being under control.
That’s why acne sufferers past and present will be pleased to hear that advancements in dermatological technologies now offer an incredibly effective treatment for scars that encourages the skin to heal itself: microneedling. Keep reading to learn all about the in-office, doctor-administered procedure, whether your skin is a good candidate, and what to expect at your first visit.
Microneedling – What is it?
Microneedling is a non-invasive technique that uses tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the dermis that stimulate collagen production. It is safe for all skin types and requires little to no downtime post-procedure. Microneedling has proven to be a safe and effective treatment for those suffering from acne scars that are looking for a non-invasive option.
Using the SkinPen, tiny needles are used to create micro channels in the skin. These channels allow for active ingredients to penetrate the skin deeper than traditional applications. Depending on the skin issue being targeted, the active ingredients paired with a microneedling procedure may differ.
Microneedling facial with hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is a powerful active ingredient that helps skin to retain moisture more effectively. Young and healthy skin produces high levels of hyaluronic acid which keeps skin strong, durable, and plump. When we age, our intrinsic levels of hyaluronic acid drop and our skin becomes weaker and more susceptible to signs of aging.
Given its moisture-retaining and plumping qualities, when topical hyaluronic acid is combined with microneedling it accelerates the collagen deposition to be able to fill in acne scars and improve overall texture of the skin. This makes hyaluronic a great active ingredient to pair with microneedling for patients looking to improve the appearance of acne scars.
Microneedling facial with a tissue-stimulating serum and growth factors
While this facial has been recently popularized through social media, Spark Health has been offering this treatment to our patients for years and with great results. We offer two levels of tissue-stimulating and facial treatments—a microneedling facial with healing tissue-stimulating serum derived from your blood and a microneedling facial with this serum, plus added growth factors.
Both facials start with the healing tissue-stimulating serum, which is derived from your blood. Prior to the facial, a small sample of blood is taken from the patient’s arm and is spun on a centrifuge to separate out a clear serum composed of your body’s special healing cells. These cells serve to increase collagen production and are the foundation for repairing and regenerating damaged skin.
The combined power of microneedling and your body’s own healing cells supercharges collagen production and provides a laundry list of benefits, which include reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin tone and texture, improving acne scars, and eliminating age spots, melasma, and discoloration.
For a super boost to aid in skin repair and slow the signs of aging, growth factors can be added to the healing cell serum during microneedling. Our highest level of microneedling includes all the benefits listed above, plus natural growth factors that aid in the repair of damaged skin and provide additional firmness and elasticity. This powerful combination, coupled with IV nutrient therapy specific for skin repair and radiance, is perfect for patients looking to hit the ‘reset’ button on their skincare with a non-invasive treatment that delivers lasting results.
Microneedling as a treatment for acne scars
The advantages of microneedling over other more invasive treatments is that it is very well tolerated, involves minimal downtime and has little to no side effects. Specific to acne scars, microneedling is uniquely positioned as an effective treatment as results are permanent once the scar has filled in.
When working with acne scarring, we typically recommend three microneedling sessions spaced about four to six weeks apart for best results. The initial treatment is stimulating the immune response in the body and continues over the next four to six weeks while collagen is being produced to even out the skin’s tone and texture.
The procedure itself starts with cleansing and applying a numbing cream to the face to make it a comfortable and pain free experience for patients. Once your face is cleansed and numbed, a serum, composed of either hyaluronic acid, a healing tissue-stimulating serum which is derived from your blood, and/or growth factors, is applied to the face and microneedling begins. The actual microneedling facial takes about 30 minutes for the face. While the face is the most common area for microneedling, it can also be done on other acne-scarred body parts such as the neck, chest, and back.
Patients will experience redness right after the treatment and will look like they have a mild sunburn over the next 24 to 48 hours. There can be some peeling of the skin a few days after microneedling which is a normal part of the healing process. Keeping your body properly hydrated and your skin moisturized will help to minimize the peeling.
Within a week, you will notice a healthy glow and improvement in skin texture and tone. Within four to six weeks, you will see the formation of new collagen. For the best results with acne scarring, additional treatments may be necessary to see a more noticeable change in skin texture and tone.
If you are ready to rid yourself of acne scars once and for all and achieve the glowing complexion you desire, schedule a consultation with one of our naturopathic doctors today. Located in Solana Beach in San Diego County, CA, Spark Health Integrative Medicine takes a collaborative approach to natural medicine, partnering with patients to help them achieve their unique health and wellness goals. Give us a call or email us to book an evaluation today!
Article written by Georgette Topakas