Does microneedling hurt?

I'm curious how many of the patients say it's painful. Also, how big is the needle?


F, 40, New Jersey

Tags:woman age 35-44 pain

Many patients identify the sensation of microneedling treatment as similar to a mild sunburn. However, as most practitioners apply a topical product to numb the area before the treatment commences, you shouldn't experience any pain during the procedure. Any discomfort is usually only temporary, lasting for a few days. Some side effects include pinpoint bleeding, mild swelling and redness.

The depth of needle penetration is more important than the size of the needle. The depth matters because the needles must penetrate the skin inflicting micro-injuries so that collagen production will be stimulated by wound healing; this is why microneedling is also known as collagen induction therapy.

When microneedling is used to treat aging skin, a needle length of 0.5-1.0mm is often used. Needles that are 0.5mm long cause very little pain. The perception of pain increases as the length of the needle increases, because it penetrates the skin to a deeper level. Some needles can be as long as 3.0mm. Your dermatologist will closely examine your skin type and skin tone to determine the suitable needle length for you to achieve your aesthetic goals.

Most patients find microneedling very tolerable, generally because dermatologists apply a topical numbing cream or anesthesia to the area before treatment. When a comfort cream or numbing agent is applied, there is almost no sensation during the treatment.

Microneedling devices use tiny needles. The needles themselves vary in size and the depth they can reach: some penetrate the skin to a depth of 0.25mm, while others penetrate to 3.0mm deep. Needless to say, needles capable of reaching a deeper layer of skin can cause slightly more discomfort in the post-treatment healing period.

Another factor that may affect post-treatment pain is how many passes the dermatologist or aesthetic practitioner uses during treatment, or how quickly the treatment progresses. Some Dermapens have an adjustable speed.

During the healing process, patients may experience some redness or mild swelling for several days, particularly those with sensitive skin, but almost all report that it’s worth it for the final results. Fine lines are minimized, the appearance of acne scars are reduced, new collagen is produced and skincare products applied following the treatment are better absorbed.

Most of the time, pain is felt after the treatment akin to a mild skin burn. When pharmaceutical compounded anesthesia is applied it greatly numbs the area for around 20-40 minutes, typically the entire length of time for the procedure, ensuring minimal pain.