New procedure offers hope in treating wrinkles, acne

'Microneedling' latest in beauty trends

SAN ANTONIO – Fighting the hands of father time is nothing new, but now there’s a new way to turn back the clock, tighten skin, reduce wrinkles, and help clear up acne scars -- it’s called microneedling.

Tina Zillman, with Skin Rejuvenation Clinique, is an expert aesthetician and beauty educator. She travels the country giving seminars on the latest trends in  beauty, and says microneedling is showing great promise.

"With microneedling, small needles on a roller are moved across the skin to open up the pores. That allows certain products to penetrate the skin and cause beneficial change. It also breaks the skin, causing a wound. When it heals it creates a strand of collagen and actually tightens the skin," Tina Zillman said.

A medical grade roller is used with 2 millimeter needles. Because it punctures the skin, it does draw blood.

"In a medical setting, you will be numbed topically by lidocaine, so you won't feel anything. Afterwards you will feel like you have a mild sunburn," Zillman said.

Debbie Garcia, a regular client of Tina’s, was excited to try it.

“I thought I would try this method to see if it tightened a little bit on my cheeks," Garcia said.

Her face was first covered in numbing cream. After about 20 minutes, Tina started rolling the microneedle around her forehead, eyes, mouth, and cheeks. Tiny pinpricks of blood popped up around the areas treated.

“It doesn’t hurt at all. I feel a tiny sting, but it isn’t painful,” Garcia said.

Microneedles are actually available for home use. The needles are smaller, about .05 millimeters, and they don’t penetrate as deeply as the medical grade ones do, and Zillman warns against potential dangers.

“The idea is to get products to penetrate the skin, but many products today have nanotechnology and already penetrate the skin. You don’t want those pushed further into your skin. There are actually studies that show, if the wrong product gets put into the skin,  it encapsulates into little granulomas that cause bumps on the skin. When those bumps were dissected, they found the product in these areas that were swollen underneath the skin,"  Zillman said.

She added infection from breaking your own skin, and not properly cleaning the roller and needles can be an issue at home.

“It really should be done with a licensed professional who is trained to use it,”  Zillman said.

Another problem, it is not FDA regulated, and Tina says some claims are unrealistic.

"It's being marketed as a treatment for stretchmarks and rosacea, but these are not things it really works on. It does work on sagging skin, wrinkles and acne scarring. It is especially showing great results with acne scars. It can’t be used on active acne, only on scars," Zillman.

Because it does break the skin, patients should avoid makeup for 24 hours. The results improve over time and 3 or 4 treatments are recommended at a cost of about $300 to $500.

“It depends on the amount of skin that needs to be treated and the condition of the skin,” Zillman said.

In the right hands, microneedling is showing great promise for skin rejuvenation. Debbie is all for it.

“I am ready to sign up for the next one! " Garcia said.

For more information contact the Skin Rejuvenation Clinique at www.skinrejuvenation.com.