For people familiar with the treatment, Microneedling has become one of the most popular skin resurfacing procedures for tackling wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and other signs of aging.
But what exactly is microneedling?
What is Microneedling and What is it Used For
Also known as micropuncture or collagen induction therapy, dermal rolling, cosmetic dry needling, and percutaneous collagen induction, microneedling involves the use of tiny needles to create precision micro-perforations where the dermis and epidermis meet. The result is controlled wounding that stimulates collagen and elastin production and skin renewal and repair. It is also often used to prepare the skin for topical ingredients, as the micro-perforations allow skincare ingredients to more efficiently penetrate the skin.
Microneedling alleviates fine lines and wrinkles, repairs sun damage, lifts and tightens skin, improves the appearance of scars, and reduces the size of pores. It is therefore the desired esthetics procedure for addressing:
- Acne, chicken pox, and surgical scars
- Wrinkles around the eyes and lips and on the forehead
- Sun damaged skin
- Dull skin
- Rough skin texture
Microneedling can also be performed on the body to address issues such as stretch marks and scars.
Traditional microneedling tools include stamps and rollers on which needles, arranged at fixed depths, are attached. Although these devices are still widely used, many of today’s estheticians gravitate toward automated microneedling devices that feature adjustable needles on a pen-like wand. These programmable devices allow estheticians to choose the depth at which the needles penetrate the skin, thereby customizing each procedure to a client’s specific needs.
Performing The Microneedling Procedure in Your Esthetics Practice
Before a microneedling procedure is performed, the skin is cleaned with alcohol and collagen-stimulating topical products are applied. Depending on the patient’s comfort level, a numbing agent may also be applied. After the microneedling process is complete, any number of hydrating and/or healing topicals and masks may be applied to assist in the skin’s recovery.
Some of the topicals applied prior to treatment include hyaluronic acids, vitamin E, antioxidants, and peptides, all of which hydrate, fortify, and rebuild the skin.
For some patients, the application of alpha/beta hydroxy acids and retinols a few weeks prior to treatment help prepare the skin for treatment.
Following the microneedling procedure, clients may experience slight redness and swelling, although downtime is usually minimal. Microneedling can be performed every 4 to 6 weeks until the desired effect is achieved.
Client consultation is an important aspect of this procedure. Those with active acne lesions, skin cancer, or any other serious health issues are not candidates for microneedling.
What Estheticians Need to Know About the Legality of Microneedling Devices
According to Skin.com, although microneedling has proven to be an efficacious procedure for improving the skin, it is “fraught with legal issues.”
In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) examined several microneedling devices to determine if they conform to government regulations. The FDA found that microneedling devices with needles longer than 0.3 mm must be classified as a Class 1 medical device. As a result, the FDA has implemented cease and desist actions against several companies selling microneedling devices longer than 0.3 mm for esthetic purposes until further notice.
In short, under FDA guidelines, estheticians can only use microneedling devices of less than 0.3 mm and only those that do not make medical claims. If a device is less than 0.3 mm but makes medical claims, it also cannot be approved for sale or use.
In addition to using only microneedling devices that conform to FDA standards, you must ensure you are operating within the scope of your esthetician state license before performing a microneedling procedure. Because the esthetics industry in the U.S. continues to be highly fragmented, requirements vary considerably from one state to the next.
For example, in Washington State, only master estheticians are permitted to perform microneedling, while in California, microneedling is considered an invasive procedure by the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and is therefore not allowed to be performed by licensed estheticians under any circumstance.
In Florida, licensed estheticians are allowed to perform microneedling, while in Utah, master estheticians are allowed to perform microneedling, provided the needle depth does not exceed 1.5 mm. General supervision by a licensed healthcare provider is required if the needle penetration exceeds 1.5 mm.
Advanced Esthetician Training in Microneedling
If you are legally allowed to perform microneedling under your esthetics license or if your license requires you to complete a microneedling program, you can find a host of training programs and courses through esthetician schools, as well as through manufacturers and distributors of microneedling devices. Microneedling is not included in any initial esthetician program leading to state licensure.
Courses and programs in microneedling prepare estheticians to:
- Identify the clinical uses of microneedling
- Demonstrate treatment protocols and the proper use of microneedling devices
- Understand formulations and ingredients of topical products used with microneedling
- Identify contraindications
- Understand liability issues
- Explain pre- and post-treatment care
- Demonstrate proper documentation