Poking Your Face With Tiny Needles Can Make Your Skin Look Amazing

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microneedling-introIllustrated by Anna Sudit.
When considering anti-aging treatments, let's forget about going under the knife and the unpleasant business of injections, lasers, and scalpels. Today, it’s about tiny needles (yes, needles) that firm, lift, and sculpt without requiring any recovery time. Micro-needling is an anti-aging treatment and a great way to build density and restore, balance, firm, tone, and create sexy skin.

Sign me up, I thought when hearing about Townhouse Spa's Circ Cell Collagen Build Facial, a non-abrasive micro-needling treatment that uses short needles to penetrate and stimulate the skin, rebuild collagen, and create “microchannels” for better topical product (i.e., serum) absorption. Needling causes a slight, superficial injury to the skin’s epidermis, and the body responds by producing collagen.

Certainly, there are other forms of needling devices in medical offices, like derma-pens with longer needles used for conditions like pitted acne. A spa treatment like Circ Cell's, though, uses microscopic needles above the nerve with faint sensation.

Read on to learn more about the process and my own experiences with the treatment.

image-1Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
When I arrive at Townhouse Spa, Claire Gross, a certified aesthetician for Circ Cell, gives me the play-by-play for the treatment. First, I receive a cleanse, followed by a gentle supersonic exfoliation (which might also include a light peel or microdermabrasion). Gross uses a non-drying Circ Cell Geothermal Clay Cleanser — with meadowfoam seed oil and a light, refreshing spearmint-basil scent — coupled with a deep-tissue contour massage.

Next, the device is revealed — and the needle-wary shouldn’t worry. It resembles a petite lint roller with small (.25-millimeter) needles; the rolling is performed in crisscross patterns in counts of three around my forehead, cheeks, chin, and neck. This process lasts about eight to 10 minutes, creating a buzzy, warming, stimulating sensation. But, it’s completely pain-free.

Afterward, a freeze-dried collagen mask called Collagen Build 97, used in medical procedures for healing wounds and treating fine lines, wrinkles, redness, dryness, and acne, is applied. After 10 minutes, my redness has faded. My skin looks gloriously healthy, supple, clear, and wrinkle-free.
imageIllustrated by Anna Sudit.
Following a healthy slathering of sunscreen, Gross hands me a roller for home maintenance. She recommends a mix of professional treatments (priced at about $180 and up) and at-home use of my device twice a week, as “results are cumulative, just like working out. You’re not tearing your skin down, you’re building it up.” Individuals with anti-aging concerns and those who receive Botox injections for deeper wrinkles will benefit from skin-density building.

To gain another perspective on the process, I spoke with Dr. Francesca Fusco, a Manhattan-based dermatologist. While she's okay with the procedure itself and the benefits of home rolling, Dr. Fusco says she doesn't feel everyone should use this method — especially those with sensitive skin, rosacea, and bruising. She stresses making sure you're in good hands, and if you're uncertain, reach out to a derm — again, especially if you're in the sensitive set.

Personally, I think there's a case to be made for micro-needling. My soft, dewy complexion lasted almost a week, and I noticed my topicals penetrating with greater ease. With regular home-rolling maintenance and routine visits to an aesthetician, you might also find these firming and rejuvenating results. Of course, it's not exactly cheap, but for me, it means holding off on the far pricier Botox injections...for now.


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