Everything You Need To Know About Microneedling For The Body
Microneedling is typically thought of as a facial treatment (it did, after all, rise to commercial fame as a result of the so-called ‘vampire facial’). But the skin resurfacing and collagen-boosting benefits microneedling offers the complexion can improve tone and texture on the body as well. So, how does microneedling for the body work? Ahead, experts sound off on the uses of this procedure for the skin below the neck, who is the ideal candidate, and what to expect from treatment.
First things first — a quick intro to microneedling. Microneedling (a.k.a. collagen induction therapy) is an aesthetic procedure in which the skin is methodically pricked with tiny, sterilized needles. As these needles penetrate the skin (at a depth between 0.25 millimeters to 2.5 millimeters), they cause micro-wounds that trigger the body’s natural healing processes, including collagen production. The result? Refined, rejuvenated, and smoother skin.
Benefits of Body Microneedling
Microneedling is performed on “areas that have been depleted of collagen and elasticity,” says Douglas Monasebian, MD, a double board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon and medical director at Park Avenue Plastic Surgery and Med Spa in New York City. On the face, that means microneedling is used to improve the appearance of:
- Acne scars
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Large pores
On the body, microneedling can have a similar effect. “The most popular areas of treatment for microneedling on the body are the fronts and backs of thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and décolletage,” Dr. Monasebian notes. As such, it’s most commonly employed to treat:
- Stretch marks
- Sun damage
- Uneven skin texture
As we mentioned, the depth of the needles used in professional microneedling range from 0.25 millimeters to 2.5 millimeters, depending on the treatment area. Body procedures often require deeper penetration for best results because the skin of, say, the buttocks and thighs is thicker than that of the face and décolleté.
Ideal Candidate for Body Microneedling
Generally speaking, patients looking to treat skin concerns related to uneven skin tone and texture may be good candidates for microneedling on the face and body. With that said, there are some contraindications to be aware of. As Dr. Monasebian explains, anyone who has taken Accutane or other medications that increase photosensitivity in the past six months should not undergo treatment. Additionally, those taking blood thinners or anticoagulants are not candidates. Another note: tattooed areas should not be treated.
Body Microneedling Treatments
Like microneedling for the face, a series of treatments (think: four to six sessions spaced one month apart) will likely be recommended for best results. Each appointment will take about an hour, which includes topical numbing. Prior to beginning treatment, your provider will give you a set of pre-op instructions to ensure the skin is prepped and ready. According to Dr. Monasebian, this will include:
- Avoiding sun exposure for three days prior to treatment and one week after
- Ceasing use of retinol and retinoids for seven days pre- and post-procedure
- Skipping waxing for two weeks prior to and after treatment
- Not scheduling a chemical peel two weeks before or after treatment
In addition to opting for a gentler face and body skincare routine in the aftermath of a microneedling treatment, Dr. Monasebian says patients should avoid exercise, saunas, and jacuzzis for 24 hours. And, while it may not be as applicable for the body, you shouldn’t apply makeup to the treatment area for 12 hours afterwards.
Body Microneedling Recovery & Results
The numbing agent should mean you won’t feel much during the microneedling treatment itself, but you may experience mild side effects for a few days afterward. “Patients appear red and have minor discomfort after their procedure (similar to a mild sunburn) for the first 48 hours,” explains Samer Jaber, MD, a board certified dermatologist and founder of Washington Square Dermatology in NYC. Results of microneedling for both the face and body are incremental and build with regular treatment.
Talk to your dermatologist or plastic surgeon to find out if you might be a good candidate for body microneedling.