Microneedling devices are a breakthrough device to induce collagen inside the skin. Microneedling devices have given us an option other than lasers and microdermabrasion to reduce acne scars.
Acne scars are usually the after effect of adolescent acne which has left numerous pits and scars on the face. These tend to cause significant psychological and mental distress to the patient. Treatments with lasers tend to burn the epidermis and may lead to pigmentary changes whereas other gentler techniques may not give satisfactory results. Microneedling devices offer a safe treatment for acne scars.
First the patient is counselled regarding the procedure. After this, local anesthetic creams are applied as a thick coat all over the face. Next the patient is asked to wait for 1 hour for proper anesthetic effect to take place.
After an hour the patient is put on the operating table. Consent is taken. Then the anesthetic is wiped off using a sterile cotton. The face is sterilised with povidone iodine solution. Absolute sterility is imperative in this procedure. Next the dermatologist takes a sterile microneedling device whose length varies from 1mm to 2 mm. He rolls the microneedling device in 4 directions all over the face. Care should be taken to be gentle as too much rolling would lead to pigmentary changes. After the rolling an icepack is applied to the face and washed off. Post procedure bactroban cream is applied for 5 days. Sunscreen use is compulsory after microneedling device.
Follow ups are repeated every month and the process is repeated at least 8 to 10 times. PRP can also be injected into the skin along with the microneedling procedure. Another device that can be used is the dermapen where the length of the needles can be varied from .2mm to 2 mm. There is an almost 1000 fold increase in collagen deposition using a microneedling device. Several studies have shown how microneedling can be a safe alternative treatment to laser resurfacing.
Lasers tend to burn the outer layers of the skin. The resultant scars may be better but in its place pigmentary changes may appear as the epidermis has been destroyed. The melanocytes that have been destroyed by the heat of the laser regenerates in a random manner. This may lead to considerable pigmentary changes in the patient. We may have to perform chemical peels and dermabrasion to remove or reduce the pigmentation. Microneedling plays a very significant role in improving acne scars.