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My Skin Needling Journey, what I wish I had known about the risks

Skin Needling: Could It Be Ruining Your Skin?
  • enlarged pores
  • loss of elasticity
  • orange peel texture
  • delicate, fragile skin
  • accelerated ageing

This was my experience after having two skin needling sessions.

Hi, my name is Sarah, and I have put together this article in the hope that it might help you to heal your skin if you have experienced a poor outcome after a skin needling treatment.

My Skin Concerns Before treatment.

I’m 42 and was trying preventative maintenance to improve my skin texture and help reduce the visible signs of ageing on my face.

I had some friends who had micro-needling with PRP and had fantastic results. When I researched it, it seemed like the more natural and safe alternative to botox or fillers.

I did a lot of research and found a med spa in my area, and I was asked to come in for a consultation.

My First Treatment

On the day of the treatment, my skin was cleansed with an alcohol pad, and numbing cream was applied to my face an hour before.

My skin was treated with dermastamp and PRF, which delivered a vibrating stamp-like motion, which creates a series of microchannels.

These channels were filled with platelet-rich fibrin (PRF), and I was advised to leave it on overnight as it releases growth factors that are thought to stimulate stem cells to boost collagen and elastin.

I was also told it was okay to apply my vitamin C serum, which I now realise was a big mistake.

The first treatment seemed to go well; in the first week, my skin looked plump and tight, and my lines were less pronounced; now, I now understand this to be the swelling due to the trauma that was done to my skin.

My Second Treatment

When I arrived for my subsequent treatment, the nurse commented on how good my skin looked, and at this point, I had to agree.

However, right after the second procedure, my skin reacted very differently; it was tight and red, had an uneven texture, and seemed very fragile.

My skin type has always been dry, but almost overnight, it became oily, my pores enlarged, and I started to break out, something I had never experienced before, and the surface of my skin had this strange orange peel texture.

I called the med spa and told them about my concerns. No pictures had been taken, which was concerning, so I had no physical proof. I was refunded for both treatments, but I wasn’t offered any further treatments other than a course of peels which I fortunately declined.

I reached out to Samantha from the Naked Chemist after reading about the comments from others on her article microneedling beware, which looks at the potential side effects.

Samantha had a lot of experience treating skin after poor microneedling procedures. She agreed to give me a consultation where she explained the treatment protocol that should have taken place, which you can read in the article dermarolling 101.

My Aftercare Advice

When I think back to my consultation, it was really lacking, and my aftercare was minimal.

Samantha explained the importance of pre-consultation, and the skin needling before and after process, to ensure a positive outcome,

Why? Because as she explained, this treatment breaks down your skin’s protective barrier function and disrupts the delicate microflora that makes up the acid mantle which keeps your skin’s pH healthy; because these have been impaired, you are exposed and vulnerable to whatever it comes into contact with.

If not treated correctly, it can lead to a range of unusual conditions appearing, which was the case with me. Previously I rarely had breakouts, now, it seems to be the new norm, and the strange enlarged pores, orange peel texture, and delicate skin was worrying.

To Conclude. The naked truth

Looking back and after conducting my research, I realise there were a lot of red flags.

The person doing the treatment was a nurse, not an aesthetician, and I felt she didn’t have an in-depth knowledge of the skin.

It’s ironic. I went into the treatment to turn back time, yet it had the reverse effect; my lines seemed more defined, and my skin was delicate and fragile.

It has been a distressing time, but hopefully, with the guidance of the team at the Naked Chemist, I am now on the journey to skin healing.

Samantha explained the importance of using high molecular weight hyaluronic acid to initiate my healing. Now that my skin is improving, I can introduce gentle, non-irritating products containing skin-identical ingredients to replenish and further repair my impaired barrier function.

Later down the road, I can think about introducing actives such as Vitamin A and Peptides to reduce the orange peel texture and help with age-related issues.

Still, nothing too strong, and especially not Vitamin C, because as Samantha explained, there is new research coming through that suggests when it is used after skin needling, it can trigger an immune response that can lead to granulomatous scar tissue (1), I find this so surprising, because I was told to continue using my Vitamin C serum, which did not help with the outcome.

If you are considering having this treatment, let this be a warning, my advice is to remember that your skin is the first thing people notice about you; it’s the biggest organ on your body, so it deserves extra TLC.

Do not rush into evasive treatments that can do irreversible damage down the track; do your research well, so you are knowledgable and use an experienced aesthetician who understands skin.

I hope this article and my journey are that starting point. I wish you the best of luck.

17 thoughts on “My Skin Needling Journey, what I wish I had known about the risks

  1. Ash says:

    A fascinating case study into a very controversial treatment. I had a terrible out come after having this treatment, thank you Sarah for alerting people to the negative side effects.

  2. Olivia James says:

    I had a course of microneedling and my skin has lost all elasticity and my pores are enlarged and the texture almost oily. I would if never ever had this treatment if I had known!

  3. Vidhi says:

    Hi Samantha,

    I did microneedling 1st session 2 months back. My skin was clear then as I was on antibiotics which I stopped a week before the treatment. I have rosacia and I have dandruff and small red bumps on my scalp which I don’t know is close to dermatitis. I hence believe my skin has flared up with whiteheads and acne after microneedling. I have had acne since 14 years but have been able to control it through diet and medication. This flare up however is not getting treated and I made a mistake of using some products like retinol. I’m very scared that I might have permanently damaged my skin as I read in your article about granulomatous dermatitis. I’m currently on Minoz OD 100mg & benzoyl paradoxide. Please advise on what I can do about this.

  4. kelley Schweers says:

    I did microneedling RF a week ago but I’m noticing the skin under my eyes is starting to feel like tissue paper. What products would you recommend?

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi Kelley

      Thank you so much for reaching out. Bio lipid and fortify and ceramide balm will all help to heal your skin. Your skin needs to be kept well moisturised and hydrated – Quench and or H20 are also great examples of products that will help in this delicate area. Samantha

  5. Tyra Regan says:

    I used an oil called Cacay oil which is suppose to be high in Retinol. on the 6th day I used my derma roller and then put the oil on. well I burned my skin very badly. fine lines popped out around my eyes. got a big blister by my lip and my skin was so dry and burned. I looked 10 years older. so upsetting. its been 2 months now. I am 56 years old. my skin is still dry. I was gonna do the morpheus 8 treatment which involves micro needling and radio frequency but now after reading this I think I will change my mind. Also was gonna buy the clare blend mini which works your muscles using radio frequency. now am worried about anything. What products of yours would you suggest please. I also have jowls which I wish I could get rid of . Thank you.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi Tyra. Sorry to hear about your skin and thank you for reaching out. We would recommend Fortify barrier repair cream, DNA Age-Delay and Bio lipid complex in the first instance – these contain skin-identical ingredients that will help to rebuild your skin and replenish what is missing. if your skin is super dry then Cermaide balm is also a great place to start. Yours in skin health Samantha

  6. Maria says:

    A skin aesthetician introduced me to skin needling a few weeks ago and told me I just needed one session to fix all my scars because according to her, they were shallow.

    I really couldn’t fathom how injuring your skin is supposed to heal it but I decided to risk it after overwhelming reviews from the internet and watching several videos, including one from a local vlogger whose acne-scarred skin actually became much smoother in 2 years after undergoing 3 dermapen treatments and 1 fractional laser session. Plus, it was more affordable than any other treatment that claims to target acne scars. This is the only site I’ve found that has actually contrasted all of the other positive opinions on microneedling.

    Regretfully, I did undergo microneedling but it didn’t really change much. Some scars seem to be less noticeable but only because the area itself is generally rougher. The aesthetician purposefully tried to bruise the areas of my skin with acne scars because according to her, it would be more effective. I hope that it won’t leave any significant negative effects since I’m only in my mid-20s and she only used up to .5 mm depth since I was too scared of the pain.

    That said, I really just want to get rid of my acne scars but all the creams and oils I have tried has not helped other than reducing pigmentation. I’ve tried consulting with local dermatologists twice but they seem to end up just recommending me more generic creams and toners from their clinic. I know they’re generic because they also try to sell the same products to my friend who has an entirely different skin issue. They even prescribe whitening creams and anti-aging creams when I specifically asked about acne scars and acne scars only. They did not even discuss the types of scars I have and always called them blank term “scars”. But they did recommended diamond peel, which is also did not have any result on me. And of them recommended microdermabrasion and/or laser, which I have yet to try since I can’t afford it.

    This is more of a rant than anything else. Most of my acne scars are my fault because I don’t resist the urge to scratch and pick my skin. I don’t really have the right to care about my skin because I’m just a poor accountant from a third world country. But thanks for the article because at least now I can avoid damaging my skin further.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi Maria

      We actually love rants because its information that our readers can see and make their own choice of whether they then want to go under the needle, so thank you in a kind of pay it forward way we really appreciate you reaching out. Fortunately, you did not do to much damage to your skin, maria have you considered phenol peels? To be carefully administered by a dermatologist, they can be very intense but can have good results you just need to do your research really well before undertaking such treatment for your acne scarring.https://thenakedchemist.com/phenol-peel-whats-the-deal/

  7. Mary says:

    Hey Samantha,

    I’m curious as to why our bodies wont continually synthesize collagen and other proteins that aid in “younger looking skin”? Could you please explain why that natural ability can be depleted over time? I’m referring to #2.

    Respectfully,
    Mary

    • Samantha Miller says:

      The hard, insoluble, and fibrous protein that is collagen in our body makes up one-third of the protein in the body, acting as supporting structures, anchoring cells together, giving skin strength and elasticity. Mary there are at least 16 different types of collagen, but 80 to 90 percent of them belong to types 1, 2, and 3 which have many different structures and functions. The overall collagen content per unit area of the skin surface is known to decline approximately 1%/ year by year. Why the body won’t continually synthesise is it is complex, the degradation occurs by various matrix metalloproteinases, serine and exposure to solar radiation – this article is a good read…https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/

  8. Myrthe says:

    Dear Samantha,

    Thank you for your reply. I think it’s a very good thing you write articles about this destroying treatment to make people aware, I wish I had read about it before.. Did you receive more e-mails from sufferers who got nerve pain because of this treatment? They should forbid these kind of treatments.

    Kind regards,
    Myrthe.

    • Samantha Miller says:

      Hi Myrthe
      The list of side effects is endless from nerve pain to permanent pock marking and destroyed collagen-permanent sagging skin, to infections. a result of this treatment, please read the comments in my article micro needling beware! Go get a biopsy and second opinion ..and find a good skincare specialist who is mature and been in the industry for years, who has a holistic view point, not one that pushes invasive treatments.I wish you all the best with your skin. Samantha

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