Microneedling may provide a viable alternative to lasers in certain clinical situations, according to Mara Weinstein Velez, M.D., who spoke at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) annual conference in April. Dr. Weinstein Velez is a New York-based dermatologist in private practice at Schweiger Dermatology Group.
Microneedling has received considerable hype in dermatology publications, but some physicians question overly exuberant claims due to inadequate clinical evidence needed to establish the technology as a viable therapeutic option for improving the appearance of skin. Without research and treatment guidelines, application techniques may differ significantly among physicians.
“In the clinical setting, most of us in the United States use the automated pen. Many people perform multiple passes, using different depths to treat different locations of the face and body. It’s a fuzzy line,” Dr. Weinstein Velez says.
“Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is a major concern for patients with darker skin types when using laser devices, mainly because lasers generate heat,” she says.
For more on microneedling: RF microneedling applications
But in microneedling, the technique works through mechanical manipulation without heat, reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation by significantly downregulating melanocyte-stimulating hormone in the postinflammatory healing response.1 One study showed that at 12 weeks, microneedling increases epidermal thickness and spurs collagen remodeling in scars.2