Over the years I’ve done hundreds of hours of research on skincare ingredients and treatments. One thing I’ve found is that the treatments and ingredients that are proven to be effective often take a while to show results. Skincare is truly one area where having patience pays off.
Microneedling is one of those treatments that take a little time to really pay off but is totally worth the wait because it increases collagen in your skin. Increasing collagen is crucial to reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, preventing sagging skin, and smoothing out skin tone.
How Long For Microneedling Results?
On average it takes one to four weeks to see initial results from microneedling. Your skin may continue to improve for up to 3 months past your final treatment. Depending on the current condition of your skin you may need up to 6 microneedling sessions total to achieve your desired results.
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about when to expect microneedling (sometimes spelled micro needling) results.
How Many Microneedling Sessions Do I Need?
You will most likely start to see results after your first treatment session. The question of how long it will take to get your full results will depend on how many sessions you need to address your skin concerns.
If you have relatively young skin with little damage, you may only need one session to improve skin texture and see reduced pore size.
But let’s say you have acne scarring you want to fade or you’re looking to increase long term collagen production, you could need up to 6 sessions, and then continued maintenance sessions to see the best results.
Stimulating new collagen growth in skin takes at least a month, and will get better over time if the treatment is repeated. That’s why it’s necessary to continue to do maintenance microneedling treatments every few months if you want to maintain the desired results. Otherwise, the results of the microneedling treatment will eventually fade away.
Microneedling isn’t really something you do to look good for a one time event like a wedding or award ceremony. If you’re looking for something to give you glowing skin for a big day I’d recommend a hydrafacial.
Microneedling is better for someone who is looking to correct long term skin concerns like acne scarring or fine lines. It gives excellent results but it takes time to work.
I’ve written all about how often you should be microneedling here. Check it out to find out the best frequency and why microneedling too often is going to give you worse, not better, results.
What Is Microneedling?
During microneedling, tiny needles are used to make small wounds in the skin. Your skin naturally stimulates collagen production as part of the healing process. The needles are usually between .1 and 3 mm in length.
Shorter needles are for home use and longer needles should only be used for in-office procedures by a professional. A numbing cream is usually applied to the skin before in office procedures to help make you comfortable.
Microneedling is frequently performed on the face, although it can be used elsewhere on the body – usually to target stretch marks or scars. Microneedling is particularly effective on acne scars.
As a home treatment microneedling works well as long as you keep your expectations in check. For home use stick to short needles of .1 to .5 mm in length. Because you’re using shorter needles at home, it won’t stimulate collagen production like longer needles will.
As a result, you won’t see the same results on acne scarring or fine lines as you would with professional microneedling. It is great for improving skin texture and helps reduce excess oil production though.
You can find derma roller type devices that you roll over your skin as well as stamp type pens that puncture your skin with multiple needles at once.
When microneedling at home be careful not to pull on or tug at your skin and be very careful of skin infections. Always disinfect your handheld device every time you use it.
If you have active breakouts you are not a good candidate for at home microneedling as you may spread acne bacteria across your face, making the situation worse.
Consult with a skincare professional before microneedling if you do have active acne or other skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema.
Benefits of Microneedling
Benefits of microneedling include:
- Increased collagen production
- Reduced appearance of acne scars
- Improved skin texture (pores, smoothness)
- Reduced excess oil production
Microneedling is one of the treatments that has been proven to increase collagen production. Collagen serves as one of the main building blocks of our skin. Sadly, collagen production starts to decrease in our 30’s and our skin slowly loses the scaffolding of those building blocks. The end result is sagging skin and increased wrinkles as we age.
Microneedling is a top choice of treatment for those who want to fade acne scars and/or improve the texture of their skin.
According to this page from the American Academy of Dermatology, microneedling is effective for depressed acne scars, but not necessarily for raised ones often called keloid scars. That’s because the increased collagen production could lift up keloid scars further. Note that on the page they refer to microneedling as collagen induction therapy.
Microneedling is suitable for any skin type, but it has one benefit in particular for oily skin. Microneedling is effective at reducing the overproduction of sebum that makes oily skin shine. Not only will your skin look better, but it may also help with acne breakouts since excess sebum can clog pores.
A huge benefit of microneedling over laser treatments and chemical peels is that it is safe to use for darker skin tones. An unfortunate side effect of some cosmetic treatments is that they can cause hyperpigmentation on dark skin. Thankfully, microneedling does not cause this and is a good choice for all skin tones.
If you’re considering a chemical peel, check out my article comparing microneedling and chemical peels here. It should help you to figure out which will work best for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can you shower after microneedling?
You can and should shower after microneedling. Use a mild cleanser on your face and wash it very gently. You always want to be careful of infection. Be careful even with a washcloth, make sure it’s clean and you touch your face very gently.
PRP Facial Vs Microneedling
PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma. In a PRP facial (sometimes called a vampire facial) your blood is drawn and then spun in a centrifuge to remove what they don’t need (like red blood cells). Then a microneedling treatment is started and during the treatment, your own blood plasma is applied to your skin. The plasma will penetrate the skin due to the small wounds from the needles and stimulate cellular turnover. The idea is that you get better results than just microneedling alone.
One of the main benefits of PRP facials is that the platelets and growth factors in the blood plasma speed up the results you would get from regular microneedling. So if you’re really anxious to see results it might be a good choice. If getting blood drawn makes you nervous, then definitely not a good idea.
Microneedling pen vs roller
A microneedling roller is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve included the derma roller I use below and you can see from the picture how you can just roll it across your face. A pen is mechanical and it moves the needles up and down as you move it across your skin. You can get good results with either one so there’s no clear winner. Rollers are less expensive so could be a good choice if you just want to try it out and see how you like it.
The derma roller I use:
I have not used a microneedling pen, but from what I read and see on Youtube, Dr Pen is one of the most liked:
How long does microneedling take?
If you are microneedling at home it should only take a few minutes. However, you’ll need to disinfect your device so add in a few minutes for that. Probably plan to spend about 10 to 15 minutes total.
In a professional setting microneedling commonly takes about 30 to 45 minutes. You may see redness and slight swelling so it may not be the best treatment to fit in over a lunch break.
Botox vs Microneedling
Botox works by preventing muscles from contracting in specific ways to form lines and wrinkles. Other injectables such as Dysport, Xeomin, and Myobloc work the same way. They are very effective at reducing wrinkles, even the deep ones across the forehead or between the eyes.
If wrinkles are your primary concern, I’d recommend botox over microneedling. However, if you want to fade acne scars, reduce oil production, and increase collagen in your skin, go with microneedling.
Final Thoughts On How Long For Microneedling Results
Microneedling can give visible results with little recovery time, unlike some more invasive procedures. However, for optimal results you will most likely need a series of treatments, so you’ll need to be patient. Like most things, it’s worth the wait to get the best possible outcome for your skin.
If you’re interested in fading age spots, reducing sun damage, increasing collagen and elastin production, and more, there are a variety of treatment options available. Take a look at some additional articles below that you may find helpful:
If your goal is a brighter complexion both microdermabrasion and hydrafacial can be helpful.
LED light therapy is one of my favorite at home treatments. It’s very gentle and provides subtle results. But it’s easy to use and can be pretty inexpensive.