If you ask my friends to share a memory of me that will stay with them forever, it would probably be that time I put on a full face of makeup to go and buy milk.
We were all relaxing one afternoon in sweats when my mum asked us to please go and buy milk from the garage down the road. I went into the bathroom and came out 5 minutes later with a full face of makeup ready to go. My friends could not stop laughing, criticizing and questioning to which I responded, “but what if someone sees me”.
In retrospect, it was rather ridiculous, but to me it made sense. I was not at all confident in my skin because I just didn’t feel it looked good at all. I didn’t have the usual teenage problems, like acne and scarring, but I had redness, open pores, dry patches and just an overall dullness that I thought foundation improved (read: hid). Until recently, I still would not leave the house without something on my face, whether it was CC cream or full on foundation if I was having a bad day.
Around three months back, I was invited by Amina from Amina’s Dermal Clinic to try out Microneedling, a process I’ve heard about, but didn’t know much about.
I agreed to try it out for review and blog purposes, but when that early, Winters morning arrived I immediately questioned my decision: Is my skin even that bad to want to needle it? What if it’s incredibly painful or my skin looks worse afterward? The usual doubt. I had read that it helps refines pores, and if there is anything I could change/improve about my skin, it’s those dreaded pores, so I sucked it up and went for the treatment.
Upon arrival, Amina prepped my skin with cleanser, then applied Emla, a numbing cream, to my face and secured it with some cling wrap for about fifteen minutes to make sure I don’t feel a thing. A lot of others’ that I have spoken to that have been for microneedling elsewhere said that their therapists did not do this process, hence it was extremely painful. If your therapist doesn’t offer this extra (but necessary) step, buy a tube of Emla yourself and apply it before going for your treatment. It’s worth it!
Next, Amina applies Hyaluronic acid and uses a small ultrasound machine to work it in. Hyaluronic Acid in simple terms basically puts moisture and hydration back into your skin in a big way. The ultrasound unwinds collagen and creates channels for deeper penetration, which means it also helps give that “tightened”, anti-aging effect to the skin.
Then comes the Microneedling bit. It’s basically a small, pen-like machine (it’s also referred to as the Dermapen) with a needle on the end (that has to be changed every single time to avoid infection. Make sure your therapist does this in front of you; I’ve heard too many horror stories!). The level of penetration of the needle into your skin is determined by the severity of your skin condition (basically, if you have more scars, acne, and skin damage, the deeper the needle will have to penetrate). I went up to 0.5mm deep, which is very little as my main concern is just dehydration and pores.
After the treatment the first time, I experienced redness and a sort of “bubble” effect on my skin (that looked like an allergy but I knew it wasn’t. I used to experience the same thing with threading and waxing so I knew it was normal for my skin to react that way, although I had to monitor to make sure it went down after 30 minutes). The second time, I was barely red for a few minutes, and my skin recovered a lot quicker.
Final Verdict: I did not see immediate results. I did the treatment on a Wednesday morning, and after following Amina’s instructions perfectly I didn’t feel like my skin looked any different. I didn’t expect to wake up the next morning with no pores (I am realistic and patient when it comes to these types of treatments), so I figured I’d need a few more treatments to actually see results. Except, when I woke up that Sunday around four days post-treatment, my skin was visibly different. My pores were definitely smaller, I was a lot less red especially around my nose and my skin was glowing like I’ve never seen before!
I attended a function that Sunday and the number one compliment I got was: Your skin is looking amazing! I thought so too. For the first time ever, I actually felt confident enough to leave the house without a stitch of foundation on, and my skin condition improved even more after the second treatment.
Now, I barely wear foundation unless I’m attending an event and am very confident in my skin. My pores have not disappeared (although they definitely are minimized) but my skin just looks and feels healthy.
So what is microneedling for?
Microneedling helps with a number of things from acne to wrinkles. One of the most coveted benefits is that it stimulates cell turnover and collagen growth (so basically helps make your skin look younger and minimizes wrinkles). It also helps with scars (especially old acne scars and stretch marks!), acne, dehydration, and pores.
Amina gave me very specific instructions: Do not wear makeup for at least three days (but preferably a week), moisturize three times a day, apply sunscreen frequently even if I’m just in the house, and exfoliate two days after the treatment. Once a week, I should try and use a hydrating mask to up the benefits even more. She warned me that my skin may peel and that’s normal and just means that the layer underneath will be healthy and glowing.
I followed her instructions perfectly, and the number one product that I recommend to anyone having microneedling done is Egyptian Magic (I got it from 27Pinkx). Don’t be deceived by the horrendous packaging, this product seriously aided to my good results, and I can almost guarantee that my skin did not peel because of it. It’s an all natural moisturizer, very thick, rich and hydrating and was exactly what I needed. I would use it every time I needed to moisturize and it helped so much. It’s not a product I would recommend using if you’re going out (all the oils in it could result in sunburn) or underneath makeup because it’s very oily, but it’s something I still use before I go to bed daily.
It’s also essential to use sunscreen and try and apply it at least every 3-4 hours.
Does Microneedling help with pigmentation?
It does in some cases, and the aftercare is essential to make sure the pigmentation doesn’t come back.
Do you break out after a treatment?
Microneedling doesn’t cause breakouts unless you react to the products used. (That’s why it’s recommended to go with a therapist that uses products like Dermalogica where you’re least likely to have an adverse effect). It also doesn’t make your skin “purge” (bring all the debris and sebum to the surface, causing breakouts before seeing positive results) like some facials or treatments do.
How much does a treatment cost?
This varies therapist to therapist. Amina is one of the few that offers ultrasound with the treatment and uses Dermalogica products, so you know you’re guaranteed to not have an adverse reaction to the products. She charges R1200 for microneedling and ultrasound and R1400 microneedling, ultrasound and a Dermalogica facial.
If you have any other questions, feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org!