Microneedling, or the controlled “puncturing” of the skin into the dermis layer can have multiple beneficial applications. First, let us take a look at the various layers of skin and what lies in each.
The Wound Healing Process.
As mentioned earlier, there are 3 layers of skin- epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis or subcutaneous. The epidermis is the top layer of skin that is approximately 0.1 millimeter, the thickness of a piece of paper. This layer is continuously shedding and replenishing. The next layer of skin is called the dermis and is anywhere from 0.3-3 millimeters in thickness. This layer is where blood vessels, hair follicles, oil glands, sweat glands, and collagen reside. The hypodermis or subcutaneous layer is a layer of fatty cells that lie in between the dermis and muscles and varies in thickness from 1.5 – 4 millimeters according to each individuals’ percentage of fatty tissue as well as location on the body.
When slicing or tearing of the skin occurs- either intentionally or accidentally- down into the dermis layer, this incites moderate injury to the body and the immune system often over-reacts in a rushed, chaotic fashion. Blood vessels are cut, causing blood and plasma to rush to the site of injury and form a clot for protection. Underneath the clot, the body is busy clearing away damaged cells and flooding the area with a crazy and often surplus network of collagen and fibrinous tissue. This fibrinous tissue is tight, stiff, and lacks the blood flow, balanced amount of collagen, and color (melanin) of healthy skin.
When puncturing the skin in a slow, controlled manner down into the dermis layer, this has proven to actually stimulate the production of collagen in a nice, orderly amount and fashion of networking. Minimal amounts of that hard, fibrinous tissue is produced. In addition, blood flow is often times restored to the once avascular tissue, as well as color (the presence of melanocytes – resulting in melanin). Each of these factors directly affect the feeling and appearance of scars. I like to say microneedling the skin is similar to aerating the yard!
Here are some before and after photos of microneedling results used in scar reduction therapy as well as collagen stimulation therapy which results in the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines.
Scar camouflage is the process by which pigments are deposited with a micropigmentation machine (tattoo gun) directly into the scar tissue for the purpose of creating a more even skin tone appearance.
Here are some before and after photos of scar camouflage performed using micropigmentation.