Microneedling: Save Money & Your Skin
To be honest, I didn’t really get into skin care until Covid-19 hit. I was 25 years old during the first quarantine here in France, and noticed my skin looking dull and even a little wrinkled in places, particularly on my forehead and around my eyes. I started using better products and following a short routine that became rather long because, why not? No matter what products or combinations I used, I couldn’t repair the pesky lines. So, as any good Millennial would do, I started Googling solutions to this problem. It was then that I came across several solutions, including facial peels, botox, microdermabrasion and microneedling. I had already had a few peels in the past and found they left my skin glowy and plump, but didn’t ever have any long term impact on the fine lines. I read some less than positive reviews about microdermabrasion and decided not to go that way. I felt it was a bit too soon for botox, not to mention it was out of my price range.
Finally, I decided I would try my luck with the less expensive, less risky procedure of microneedling. I had read that the best time to start was in your mid to late twenties. Due to Covid restrictions and a busy schedule, I didn’t actually begin the treatments until I was 27 and now I wish I had started earlier! Let met explain…
WHAT IS IT?
Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a cosmetic procedure that involves pricking the skin with tin sterilized needles. The small wounds on the skin cause the body to produce more collagen and elastin. This helps to smooth out the skin, fill in fine lines, get rid of acne and scars, improve hair growth, minimize signs of sun damage, etc. Overall, the procedure is not invasive and very quick, usually lasting between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the area treated. Personally, I have my whole face treated, which lasts about 30 minutes. My aesthetician offers a red light treatment and sheet mask, following the microneedling, so the whole process takes 50 minutes to an hour.
The treatments can be done by a doctor or an aesthetician. However, it’s important to make sure you trust the person doing the treatment and make sure they are using new, sterilized needles. In other words, just like you wouldn’t get a tattoo at a sketchy tattoo parlor by an unexperienced artist using opened needles, you wouldn’t let just anyone perform this procedure on your face, am I right?
IS IT FOR ME?
It really depends on what you are looking for. In my case, I wanted an affordable, sustainable and natural solution for fine lines and wrinkles; however, the technique can be used to treat other things, as well.
As I mentioned above, you should look into microneedling if you have:
- Acne scars
- Sun damage
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Hair loss
- Dark spots
- Stretch marks
- Reduced skin elasticity
However, there are also some profiles and skin conditions that would not react well to the treatment. Those who have these conditions or habits should ask their doctor or aesthetician before getting the procedure!
These may include:
- Extremely dry skin
- Weakened immune systems
- Clotting/Bleeding disorders
- Taking Accutane or other similar prescription drugs
Anyways, it’s not an invasive procedure but, when in doubt, ask!
DOES IT HURT?
I suppose this really depends on your pain tolerance. To start, a numbing cream is usually applied to the area before the treatment. This helps prevent any serious pain. Of course, the skin on the face is one of the most sensitive areas on the body. That being said, in my experience, there still is a bit of discomfort during the short treatment. Particularly around the eyes, nose and temples, you may feel some extra sensitivity. For example, my eyes ALWAYS water when these areas are being treated and I sometimes have the urge to say “aye!”. I’ve been known to compare it to the first outlines of a small tattoo. On the other hand, it’s done and over so quickly that I think just about anyone could get through it!
In addition, it’s important to know that, depending on your skin type, it can take from 4-10 days to completely heal. You may have some peeling or redness in the first few days. I usually try to schedule my appointments on a Thursday or Friday, when I know I won’t have to work or see people for a few days if my face is red and irritated.
So, to clearly answer the question, the procedure is more uncomfortable or irritating than painful. It’s up to you to test your tolerance! The after-effects are really painless and more concern the visual aspect or appearance than irritation or pain. Check out my tips below for some advice to make microneedling easier, more effective and less irritating!
SAVE MONEY & YOUR SKIN
From someone who has tried hundreds of creams and serums, facials, peels and techniques, I really think microneedling is the first truly effective treatment I have done, especially when it comes to lasting effects. On top of that, it is an affordable & preventive botox replacement! I spend about €120/session. My sessions last around an hour, in total, including: the cleansing & prepping of the skin, the main procedure, a calming face mask and infrared light exposure & relaxing arm massage.
For me, this price includes:
- The hour-long session
- A week’s worth of micellar water
- 5 collagen face masks
My aesthetician is super nice and extremely knowledgeable. She recommended 5 sessions over 5-6 months to begin, and then a follow up session every 6 months after. She explained that the results will be more visible after the 5th session, but will be better maintained if you continue the treatments.
In my opinion, it is a much cheaper and less risky solution to the problem of fine lines and wrinkles. It costs about a third of the price of botox and, even though it’s better to start earlier, the treatment frequency decreases to only twice a year after the first 5-6 months. It is a natural solution that has almost no negative side effects, unlike botox or fillers that can go very wrong or give an unnatural appearance.
Fun fact! My aesthetician, Dan, is from China. She explained that in her home culture, women begin microneedling in their early twenties as a preventive procedure for wrinkles and dull skin. She explained that she often has clients over the ages of 35 and 40 here in France who hope to reverse the signs of ageing. While microneedling can improve the skin, deep wrinkles are much more difficult to work with than fine lines and surface wrinkles. In other words: for best results, start as soon as you can!
MY MICRONEEDLING TIPS!
Here is my comprehensive list of advice and recommendations for your overall microneedling experience, including some of my favorite products for pre, during and post-session!
- Don’t use any harsh skin products or exfoliants for 1 week before your session! It can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the needles. This includes any retinols, exfoliating cleansers & brushes, skin peels, etc.
- As a general note, ALWAYS wear sunscreen on your face during the day, preferably 50+ SPF. Even if it’s not hot and sunny, the UV rays can really hurt your skin, cause fine lines and counteract the procedure! Here are a few brands I use:
- Drink a lot of water to prep your skin before the procedure. Hydration is key! This goes for post-session (and, really, all the time), as well.
- Avoid wearing makeup to the session. As I said, your eyes may water and, obviously, any foundation, bronzer, etc. will have to be removed before the procedure. I recommend a few drops of vitamin C serum, some jojoba oil and a light sunscreen moisturizer before you head to your session! Here are few of my faves:
- Stay out of direct sunlight for the week leading up to your appointment! Especially in the summer, even a slight sunburn could be reason for cancellation.
- Don’t take any anti-inflammatory medication before the appointment! This could cause more bleeding and prevent proper healing of the tiny wounds.
- Schedule your appointment on a Thursday or Friday evening (depending on if you work Fridays or have the option to take a long weekend) to give yourself a few days to heal, following the procedure.
- Schedule a late-morning or afternoon appointment. As a yoga & pilates instructor and avid trail runner, I recommend this so you can get a last sweat in before the session. You should limit exercise and sweat for up to 5 days after the procedure. Sweat can cause bacteria growth and infection and can prevent proper absorption of serums used during the procedure.
- Wear something comfortable so you can be at ease during the procedure.
- Relax your face during the session! Sometimes you will have the urge to squint or tense the muscles in the face. This makes it more difficult for the person doing the procedure but it could also cause them to let up the pressure or skip over some areas, which could have an impact on your final results.
- Ask to take a break if you need a few seconds of reprieve from the needles. It’s better to ask to stop for a moment than to squirm around or scrunch your face during the procedure. This isn’t advice to scare you away from the procedure, it really is just in case!
- Bring small earbud headphones so you can listen to music, in case there isn’t any playing in the room. It’s a nice distraction.
- Ask for some tissues at the start so you can hold onto them and dab your eyes if they start watering, like mine do!
- Bring your own/ask for sunscreen at the end of the session to make sure you’re protected for the rest of the day before you head outside!
- Don’t wash or touch your face for 24 hours in order to let the serums soak in and the wounds heal.
- Use micellar water and not tap water to wash your face for the 5 days following the procedure, just to be on the safe side and ensure results. Here are the ones I use!
- Wash your face 2 times/day. No more & no less, to make sure you are keeping your skin clean without drying it out.
- Don’t use any facial massage tools for 3-5 days following the procedure. This includes gua shas, rollers and any other brushes.
- Limit your makeup during 2-3 days following the session. I tend to go au natural for the first 3 days if I can. If not, I try to get away with using only mascara and mineral bronzer/blush if I’m going out and absolutely need it! I recommend using Bare Minerals powder foundation, blush and bronzer, etc. Here are the ones I use!
- Use concentrated Vitamin C, Collagen & Hyaluronic Acid serums once you can wash your face. I do my routine in this order:
- Wash with micellar water or micellar lotion
- Air dry
- Hydrating toner (or bougie sheet mask)
- Collagen, vitamin C & hyaluronic acid serum (alternating)
- Eye contour cream or gel
- 50 spf sunscreen (if it’s daytime and I’m going outside).
- If you want to be extra bougie, add a natural concentrated serum mask! I do this every day for 5 days following the procedure to help rehydrate and add extra collagen.
- Avoid Alcohol & greasy foods for 5 days! These can have a negating impact on your skin following treatment. I’m not sure how much it can impact it, but I really make an effort to eat fruits, veggies and protein and avoid all things greasy to make sure I’m getting all my money’s worth of every treatment! Oh, and of course drink lots of water!
- No sweating or intense exercise for 3-5 days following your session. This is a heartbreaker for me but it’s important to avoid infection and promote healing in the skin.
- Sleep on a clean pillowcase to make sure your skin heals properly. I recommend using a silk one!
- Schedule your next appointment in advance if you can! This way you can make time for it before your agenda fills up. Like I said, the first 5 of appointments should be almost monthly.
- Check with your aesthetician about discounts on packages! You might get a discount for a 5-pack of sessions and some places (like my go-to salon) allow you to pay the discounted price in installments, so it’s definitely worth it!
REVIEW: BEAUTY ELITE (NANTES)
Where to begin… My first experience with microneedling was at Beauty Elite salon in Nantes. I had done quite a bit of research to find a place that seemed reliable and that offered the services I was looking for. Beauty Elite was my first choice and really exceeded my expectations. Not only is the salon clean, cute and trendy, the staff are very kind, especially the owner and my preferred aesthetician, Dan. She took the time to show me that all of the needles were sterile and unopened. She explained the procedure to me and answered all of my questions, as I was a bit nervous the first time and didn’t know what to expect. The prices are affordable and competitive with the other salons in Nantes. Like I said, I did quite a bit of research before deciding to go with Beauty Elite and I don’t regret it.
As I mentioned, the procedure is not painful but can be irritating or uncomfortable, at times. Dan always asks if everything is okay, if I need a tissue, a break, etc. During the first session, I requested a higher level of pressure to really get deep into the skin and she was able to do so safely.
My review of the treatment, itself: I saw some small, immediate results following the first and second sessions and some deeper, lasting results after the third, fourth and fifth! My overall concern were fine lines and wrinkles that were starting around my eyes and on my forehead. These areas already seem smoother, and there’s an added benefit of glowy, plump skin on my whole face and neck! I think of it as a preventive treatment, as I don’t currently have any deep lines; however, I have seen examples of patients being treated for acne scars on Beauty Elite’s Instagram account and those results are really amazing, as well.
I’m living the “broké”-bitch-life (abroad). A twenty something-year-old optimistic cynic, lover of new cultures and self-care addict, I’m here to teach you that “doing it all” (and then some) really is possible!
Get in Touch
I’m always looking for new ideas and suggestions for things to write about my trips, faves & business! Hit me up for collabs, content, questions & more.