microneedling for textural scarring

skinSALVATION specializes in clearing your skin of active acne and teaching you how to maintain a clear beautiful complexion. many people (myself included) who have fought the acne battle know that some acne can cause scarring and hyper pigmentation. the work that we do at sS does more to PREVENT textural scarring, however we can definitely correct any hyper pigmentation that can come with acne, sun damage, aging and hormones.

TEXTURAL SCARRING 

there are two types of textural scarring which we call raised or depressed – or peaks and valleys.  raised peaks are scars that feel like bumps on the skin (examples include keloids & hypertrophic scars).  valleys are depressed indents in the skin (like ice pick, or pitted scarring).  both types of scarring can occur when pus (which comes with inflamed acne) sits in the skin for too long, causing it’s white blood cells to eat away at previously healthy follicle walls, or from improperly picking the skin and breaking follicle walls with pressure from your fingers, nails and extraction tools.  this is why keeping inflammation under control, as well as getting regular precise, professional extraction treatments are necessary to prevent textural scarring from forming.
acne and pigmentation have cleared but textural scarring remains.

acne and pigmentation have cleared but textural scarring remains.

HYPERPIGMENTATION SCARRING

the chemical peels that we perform in-clinic, as well as the exfoliating toners and serums that you use at home, all help lift pigmentation that already exists, and helps prevent future pigmentation from occurring. however, these tactics won’t make a huge difference in repairing textural scarring. according to dr. fulton, the best way to get rid of existing acne scars is to undergo the intense medical procedure, dermabrasion. not to be confused with microdermabrasion, which can be performed by an esthetician, dermabrasion is a surgery that must be performed by a dermatologist or cosmetic plastic surgeon. the procedure usually requires anesthetic sedation, and uses a surgical instrument with a diamond disk that rotates around 80,000 rpms. in essence, this disk planes the skin down below the scar tissue allowing the skin to grow back smooth and even. unfortunately, one possible complication of dermabrasion is a flare in acne breakouts, because the pores are being disturbed and over stimulated.  other risks include infection, hyperpigmentation, and not-very-drastic-improvements.

over the last twenty years, skincare professionals have been working on developing less invasive procedures for resurfacing scarred skin.one of these techniques is called micro needling; it uses a small cylindrical roller with fine needles to create controlled punctures in the skin, which stimulate the production of new collagen and elastin (theoretically filling up those depressed acne scarred spots), along with dramatically increasing active product penetration.

WHAT WE’VE LEARNED! 

kim and i recently attended a class about micro needling during the bay area’s annual face & body skincare conference withnumerous companies from around the world exhibiting and educating skincare professionals. 
according to sonia boghosian, owner of biojouvance, for optimal results, patients with acne scars should treat their entire face with thebiojouvance titanium dermal roller (along with a collagen boosting ampoule serum) once per week for six weeks. the needling aspect of the treatment allowed the ampoules to deliver the nutrients directly into the punctured skin.  she confidently promised significant and positive results in textural scarring at the end of the six weektreatment series. after that, you’d maintain the results by coming in for monthly treatments, and can repeat the entire treatment again after six months to one year.  the results however, are:

1. slow going.  remodeling can continue to take effect 9 months after the treatment series

2. are not permanent – you can expect the improved skin texture effects to last about 9 months, before having to repeat the series again.

it’s important to note that the biojouvance treatment protocol was very clear in that the technique, as effective as it is, is NOT in any way supposed to be intense or invasive at all – meaning, no bleeding or bruising should be involved, and that one treatment a week, for 6 weeks, would suffice.  we’ve had clients try this at home with a heavy hand, and ended up with scabs that needed time to heal before they could continue using their clearing regimen, let alone rolling again.
 
in any case, it’s extremely important that the active acne is under control, so as not to undo the effects of the scarring treatments (both textural and hyperpigmentation).  continual active acne can create more inflammation, which would induce more scarring.

microneedling

THE VERDICT

although we have not tried micro needling ourselves, we think that it is a promising solution for those of us who suffer from acne scars. in the state of california, micro needling must be performed by a nurse or doctor in a medical facility. here at skinSALVATION, we are estheticians and therefore cannot include it as a treatment option. however, we do have a client who has (somewhat) successfully performed the technique on himself at home.

below is his detailed regimen that he gave us permission to share with you. please note that this is based on his own individual experience and personal research. the class that kim and i attended gave different directions on how to do the rolling (technique, pressure, products used and timelines). our instructor, sonia, also emphasized the importance of using a good quality roller made from titanium. many inexpensive rollers are made of aluminum which is porous and can harbor bacteria. in addition, needles made from soft materials can break off of the roller inside of the skin – causing even more complications than you bargained for!
 

 


 

hey kim,

Ok, so here are the details of my dermarolling & dermastamping routine:

total time rolling and stamping: 6 weeks (started on May 1 but I was very sick for 2 weeks and did not do any face care during that time)

tools: i ordered the following (with prices from owndoc.com) –

2 mm OWNDOC dermaroller  – $19.00
2 mm DERMASTAMP (35 needles) – $15.00
Suction pump for tethered scars and acne scars – $13.00
Sterilizing agent Chloramine-T (20 g / 0.7 oz) – $4.00
Copper peptide + Hyaluronic acid serum 30 ml / 1 fl. oz. – $19.00
Vitamin C (20 g / 0.7 oz) – $3.00
Vitamin C serum bottle (empty) – $6.00
0.5 mm DERMASTAMP (35 needles) – $15.00
     
       
The copper peptide + hyaluronic acid is optional, but I figured I’d order everything to try it out.

routine: i begin my routine after showering and then proceed with the following –
1) wipe entire face with 70% ethyl rubbing alcohol
2) using the 2mm dermastamp i stamp each “section” of my face 12 times.  i look at my face and divide areas of my face so that I can put more attention to areas with more scarring, thus creating “sections”.
3) using the 2mm dermaroller i roll 12 times in each direction for every section ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGzHhxRfxho )
4) rinse face with lukewarm water and let air dry
5) use the suction device on your face starting one day from treatment (i do this everyday for 1 week)
6) once face is dry i apply retin-a (your skin will burn for a short amount of time)

*the above routine is performed once every 5 weeks.  i also dermastamp using the 0.5mm dermastamp twice a week.  i use the same routine as listed above with the exception of item #3.

** apply retin-a and vitamin c on alternating days and copper peptides once a day if you can remember

to disinfect roller:

1) let roller/stamp soak in warm water and liquid detergent for 30 minutes, and then soak in 70% ethyl alcohol for 1 hour

what else i’m going to start incorporating into my routine:
1) salicylic peel
2) tca peel

     
please note, that retin-a is cloggy, and can be very sensitizing.  so, we recommended to him that he use either an acne-safe version of retinol (check against the cloggy list), vivant’s retinols or skinSALVATION’s a1, a2 or a3 clearing serums (also retinol based).

we also recommended that he could try using barbicide, the universal disinfecting solution used in the industry for cleaning the implements post-rolling and stamping, which you can get at sally beauty supply, and disinfects in 15 minutes.

we will keep you updated with more information about micro needling as we learn and hopefully have some first hand experience. if you have ever received this treatment from a professional or performed it on yourself, please share your experience with us by emailing kim@skinsalvationsf.com.