The actress Glynis Barber has written on her blog about how well micro-needling works for her, which prompted the Mail to call me and ask for a short piece about what micro-needling is and how it works. Here's what I wrote:
Micro needling, as Glynis Barber says, sounds scary and it can be - it depends who is doing it and what they are using. When I first tried the treatment nearly 10 years ago, the doctor wielded his Dermaroller -- a roller covered with ultra-fine 3mm stainless steel spikes -- with authority and a heavy hand. He rolled it back and forth across my cheeks and forehead and - ouch - across the bridge of the nose until, even though I had been well smothered beforehand with numbing cream, I felt I couldn't take any more. Glynis was lucky to be treated by the lovely Marie Reynolds who has a light touch and the latest, digital version of the needling treatment whose needles are less than a millimetre long. (That really doesn’t hurt, because the nerves in the skin lie 1.5mm below the surface.)
So why on earth would any sane person wants to do this? Because it is a guaranteed way to make the skin look smoother, fresher, less wrinkled and generally younger and it involves no toxins, injectable fillers or high-tech lasers. Compared to other skin-refreshing treatments, it's a relative bargain, at around £200 a treatment.
‘Medical needling is a wonderful, completely natural anti-ageing treatment that helps the skin to help itself,’ says Dr Stefanie Williams, medical director of the Eudelo dermatology clinic in London.
How the treatment works is brutally simple. When the needles pierce the skin, they create thousands of tiny wounds which the body races to repair by releasing growth factors (substances which help with the healing process) and creating new collagen, the firming protein that supports the skin. Dr Williams also favours using longer needles and a firm hand and put me through a course of treatment (you need three or four to see proper results) so I know it works.
But you can get great results with lighter treatment, too. ‘Deeper doesn’t always mean better,’ says Magda Szczukiewicz, medical aesthetician at The Cosmetic Skin Clinic. ‘We use Dermapen, where the needles can be adjusted from 0.5mm to 3mm and find it is kinder to patients and gives extremely satisfactory results.’
There are even home versions of these ‘derma pens’ with much shorter needles, which cost £50-£100. They don’t traumatize the skin into self-renewal but making all those holes in your skin means that any high-tech anti-ageing potion that you apply afterwards, such as a moisturising hyaluronic acid or a skin-stimulating peptides serum, will be absorbed deeper and have a greater effect. A bit like aerating the lawn with spiked shoes to get the fertiliser down to the roots.
Even better news for the squeamish is a new home-use treatment called Radara with spiked stick-on patches that you smooth on around the corners of your eyes. These spikes are so short - 0.5mm - that they only feel like bristles yet used with a special anti-wrinkle serum, they claim to reduce crows feet wrinkles by up to 35% in a month. It costs about £200 but it's an easy way to grab onto the trend and get results without pushing yourself through the pain barrier.
And here's the piece in the Mail