Skin needling, also called microneedling therapy, collagen induction therapy (CIT), and percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), is a minimally invasive skin-rejuvenation procedure that involves the use of a device that contains fine needles. The needles are used to puncture the skin to create a controlled skin injury. Each puncture creates a channel that triggers the body to fill these microscopic wounds by producing new collagen and elastin. Through the process of neovascularization and neocollagenesis, there is improvement in skin texture and firmness, as well as reduction in scars, pore size, and stretch marks.
PCI has proved to be a simple and fast method for safely treating wrinkles and scars. Because the epidermis remains intact, the procedure can be repeated safely and is also suited to regions where laser treatments and deep peels are not typically performed. PCI therapy is now becoming widely used as a treatment for photoaged skin to improve the skin’s appearance and quality, and to improve or even prevent scarring by going deeper on some areas where skin damage requires a more aggressive approach.
Patients should be advised that multiple treatments will be necessary. The number of needling sessions depends on the individual skin condition. Three or four treatments may be recommended for mild to moderate acne scarring, whereas deeper scars and stretch marks may require upward of five treatments. An interval of 4 to 6 weeks between treatments is typically recommended. “Microneedling is a safe, chemical-free method that triggers new collagen production,” “Because it can be performed on all skin colors and types, it is sometimes the preferred treatment over laser as there is no risk of burning the patient.”
Washington DC-based dermatologist Cheryl Burgess, MD, is a big proponent of microneedling and has seen positive results with darker skin types. “In my experience, there is minimal postinflammatory hyperpigmentation,” is being used for acne scars, fine lines, skin tightening, and shrinking pore size. “What patients like about it is that there is little to no downtime. Some redness may occur immediately after treatment, but it usually subsides by the next day,” she says. “It can be used all over the body, but the face, neck, and chest are the most treated areas.”
In most cases, a topical hyaluronic acid (HA) peptide gel is applied to clean skin to help the tip glide across the skin while delivering topical HA deep into the skin. As the tip is applied to the skin, thousands of superficial micro-channels are created every second.