What is the Right Microneedling Depth? Deeper Isn’t Always Better

Client undergoing microneedling

What is the Right Microneedling Depth? Deeper Isn’t Always Better

What is the right depth for microneedling? It’s a question that requires some explanation, but in short, there is no single, universally optimal microneedling depth. The “right depth” is determined by many factors, including the concern being treated, severity of the concern, area being treated, individual tolerance and individual response. Because there isn’t a one-size fits all needle depth, the appropriate needle depth must be determined by a skilled and experienced microneedling aesthetician.

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling (sometimes called “collagen induction”) is an effective non-invasive cosmetic procedure that involves using fine needles to create small, controlled punctures in the skin. These “microinjuries” kickstart the body’s skin healing mechanisms, reorganizing old collagen fibres and producing new collagen and elastin which results in skin tightening. Microneedling is also effective for breaking down scar tissue and is sometimes used to improve the absorption of topical medications and skin products thus maximizing their benefit.

Source: “Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons”, Aashim Sing and Savita Yadav, 2016, PubMed.

Misconceptions About Microneedling Depth

Misconception: Deeper microneedling gets better results.

Reality: While longer needles are sometimes used, they are not necessarily “better”. There is a generally agreed upon effective depth range (0.10 mm to 3 mm), although the length of needles chosen within that range is determined by the severity of the concern, area being treated, the person’s discomfort tolerance and response. Additionally, manufacturers of microneedling pens and rollers may differ on the recommended needle lengths for treating various concerns.

See “Microneedling Depth Guide Through Areas of Concern”, at PMU Hub for more information.

Misconception: Deeper needling produces more collagen.

Reality: While there is some correlation between the depth of needle penetration and collagen production, deep needling isn’t always appropriate. In his “Commentary on: Micro-Needling Depth Penetration…” , Des Fernandez, MD found that “1.0 to 1.5 [mm] is a very effective depth to achieve good results” and that “overtreatment and excoriation of the epidermis becomes a real danger when trying to do skin needling at 2.0 mm or more with these vertical mechanical needling devices.”

Source: “Micro-Needling Depth Penetration, Presence of Pigment Particles, and Fluorescein-Stained Platelets: Clinical Usage for Aesthetic Concerns” for more information.

Misconception: Deep needling is needed to enhance the absorption of skin product penetration.

Reality: While the study “Use of microneedle device to enhance dermal absorption” shows that there is a correlation between needle length and product penetration, even a shallow depth of “0.2 mm was shown to considerably increase dermal absorption of Rhodamine 123 [a dye used as a test agent] in ex vivo human skin samples”.

Misconception: There are no risks to deep microneedling so why not go for it?

Reality: Microneedling, like most aesthetic treatments, carries some risk of post-treatment side effects, most of which resolve in several days. Deeper microneedling causes more skin injury and can increase discomfort, recovery downtime, and the risk of post-treatment complications. Read about microneedling healing and risks at WebMD.

Misconception: Deeper microneedling is always more painful than shallower treatments.

Reality: Pain tolerance varies from person to person. When longer needles are used, some people experience no additional discomfort while others will experience more pain. Other factors such as the skill of the technician and the use of numbing creams can reduce discomfort.

Microneedling at Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic

Halcyon Cosmetic & Skin Clinic offers microneedling for a variety of skin concerns, including: fine lines, enlarged pores, rough or uneven skin texture, dull skin tone, acne scars and surgical scars. Our clinic is located in Port Moody and convenient to Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.

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