How Deep Microneedling Can Damage the Skin

Microneedling is one of the latest skincare trends. This blog has everything you need to know about the treatment, from what it is and how it’s performed, to the potential dangers.

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling, or dermarolling, is a procedure that uses fine needles to puncture the skin. It has widespread benefits when used as a transdermal drug delivery system. However, in recent years it has become a skincare trend.

Microneedling always requires a dermatologist or other trained medical professional for administration as the equipment needs to be effectively sterilised. Home microneedling also carries the risk of increased damage as a result of pressing too hard and ripping the skin. It’s also likely to cause unnecessary irritation.


Microneedling as a Drug Delivery System

Most over-the-counter serums and vitamin facial creams aren’t working as advertised. This comes as a result of the skin’s initial protective barrier, the stratum corneum. This layer acts as a barrier for any molecules trying to pass through the skin. Most molecules become trapped on the skin’s surface, and are unable to penetrate through to reach the site of action.

Microneedling causes tiny punctures in the skin, which act like simulated pores. This creates a new route to enhance the delivery of the drug¹ allowing it to pass through the surface barrier. This method can deliver vitamins and nutrients into the skin, and has future prospects in insulin delivery², among other things.


Why You Need To Be Careful With Aesthetic Deep Microneedling

Deep microneedling, also called collagen induction therapy, is a skin rejuvenation procedure which uses the microneedling technique. The needle facial treatment works by taking advantage of the skin’s natural self-repair process.

Each puncture triggers the body to fill the newly-produced wounds by stimulating the production of new collagen and elastin. Collagen is a natural protein that plays a vital role in anti-aging and strengthening the skin. It also benefits skin elasticity and boosts hydration.

The trauma from the microneedling prompts a deeper layer of the skin, known as the derma, to rebuild itself.

It’s reported to temporarily decrease the visible signs of aging, by tightening the skin and creating a natural glow. It’s also been used to treat skin conditions such as acne, scars and stretch marks.

The treatment however relies on your skin having a healthy response; stressed skin is left susceptible to serious damage.


Initial Side Effects of Aesthetic Microneedling

There are common after effects following treatment. It can take days and even weeks to heal, depending on the nature of the treatment.

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Dryness and flaking
  • Peeling
  • Reaction to topical medications used during treatment

Patients Who Are At Higher Risks of Serious Complications

Any patient suffering from a condition that affects natural skin healing is at higher risks of suffering serious complications from aesthetic microneedling.

Microneedling can be seriously damaging to those with:

  • Sunburn
  • Diabetes
  • Keloid scarring
  • Sensitive or impaired skin
  • Eczema or dermatitis
  • Deep skin tones
  • Unstable skin types
  • Autoimmune problems

Smokers are also at higher risk. Those who have had a topical treatment (such as peels or laser) in the last 12 weeks are also at risk.

Aesthetic Microneedling Can Lead to Premature Ageing

Instead of stimulating collagen production, microneedling can cause mechanical damage to the skin’s collagen supplies. This happens when it’s not performed properly. The needle tears down the collagen fibres and this leads to degradation.

As we age, the ability of our bodies to produce collagen slows down and eventually stops, meaning that once destroyed, it is difficult to replace.

This doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe for young people to receive deep microneedling though. It’s also not a free pass to destroy the collagen you have. If your body has to produce more collagen because it’s been destroyed, your bodies ability to make more will decrease at a rapid rate.

Microneedling as an anti-aging treatment also requires multiple treatmentsit’s not a quick fix. Repeated treatment desensitises the receptors responsible for the signalling of collagen synthesis. This can be hugely detrimental to your bodies collagen supplies and lead to premature aging, as well as the thinning and sagging of the skin.


Other Serious Risks and Complications

Infection is a common side effect of deep microneedling and the complications can be serious. Infections aren’t always obvious either and some look visibly more subtle.

One example of this is skin loosing its ability to heal due to infection. This arises when the body’s immune system is holding the infection in partial check, but lacks the ability to get rid of it completely. In this instance, inflammation takes place beneath the skin’s surface and leaves the skin susceptible to new infection, as well as damage from free radicals.

Even without side effects, your skin can take days or even weeks to heal depending on how deep the needles pierce your skin. In this time, your skin is left vulnerable and susceptible to external damage from pollution and other toxins, as well as infection.

Microneedling can also lead to microscopic skin scarring. Whilst the scars may not be visible, the damage caused by the scars soon will be. The scarring becomes worse and worse the more you undergo the treatment. The more scar tissue present in your skin means less space for collagen, elastin and other essential proteins associated with healthy skin to adhere.

Repeated application of excess pressure with microneedles puts clients at risk of developing scars and/or hyperpigmentation. Any treatments which uses microneedles that are too long or too thick will also leave patients at risk as a result of excess skin trauma. Tram track scars are common with microneedling.³

Any procedure that results in damage or stimulation of melanocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis can also cause pigmentation issues. This is of particular concern for those with deeper skintones.

Dermoi’s Stance On Microneedling

When done in the right way, microneedling can be a great treatment option for skin rejuvenation as it is minimally invasive, non-ablative, and keeps the skin barrier intact. However, certain facials use microneedles in an aggressive way and this can cause facial scarring and pigmentation issues. Control of the microneedle depth and procedure is essential, therefore a credible source for microneedling treatments is required.

Dermoi's Chief Scientific Officer Eve Casha

How To Get The Benefits of Microneedling, Without The Damage

Vitamin infusion treatments, when carried out by expert dermatologists will deliver effective anti-aging results, without damaging the skin.

Dermoi partnered with industry leader Osmosis Beauty to offer an anti-aging vitamin infusion treatment.

Dermatologist Dr. Ben Johnson created Osmosis Beauty. Osmosis treats all skin conditions by reducing inflammation and inducing wound repair. As a result of their patented liposomal delivery system, products deliver active ingredients deep into the skin with proven ground-breaking results.

The vitamin infusion treatment instantly rejuvenates, tightens and protects the skin. It’s been proven to stimulate cell turnover, dermal remodelling, and even skin tone and texture due to the unique delivery method.

Pure active powders are also added to brighten age spots and reduce inflammation. They also provide extreme antioxidant protection. Galvanic technology, ultrasonic stimulation, vibrational massage, and red LED light therapy are also used to healthily increase penetration of the active ingredients.

Find out more about Dermoi’s alternative microneedling treatment here.

Author: Sam Pennington


  1. Waghule, T., Singhvi, G., Dubey, S., Pandey, M., Gupta, G., Singh, M. and Dua, K., 2019. Microneedles: A smart approach and increasing potential for transdermal drug delivery system. Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, 109, pp.1249-1258.
  2. Wadhwani, A. and Jana, B., 2019. Microneedle – Future prospect for efficient drug delivery in diabetes management. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 51(1), p.4.
  3. Pahwa, M., Pahwa, P. and Zaheer, A., 2012. “Tram Track Effect” After Treatment of Acne Scars Using a Microneedling Device. Dermatologic Surgery, 38(7), pp.1107-1108.
  4. Cohen, B. and Elbuluk, N., 2016. Microneedling in skin of color: A review of uses and efficacy. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 74(2), pp.348-355.