No pain, no gain.
It seems there’s nothing we won’t do in the pursuit of good skin. From K-Beauty inspired 10-step morning routines, to Sunday night masking dates, we’re willing to invest significant time and money into our complexions. (Need more proof? The Estée Lauder Companies just posted their highest quarterly net sales ever, with the skincare category leading the charge.)
But are we willing to stick a needle in our face? It seems the answer is, yeah, absolutely. If the rise in clinics offering needle-based treatments, and the emergence of at-home needling instruments is anything to go by, we’ve gotten over our squeamishness around the spiky thingies and are just thinking about the end result: glorious, glowing skin.
Have we spiked your interest? Here’s what you need to know before going under the needle.
Aka, the Kim Kardashian facial, aka the blood facial, aka, what the hell is this? It’s called a PRP (platelet-rich plasma) facial, and, put simply, it’s a “treatment that uses your own blood to regenerate the cells of the face for smoother, tighter skin,” explains registered nurse and Privée Clinic director Natalie Abouchar.
To get more technical: blood is extracted and placed in a centrifuge machine, where platelets are separated from red blood cells. “The platelets are then injected into the skin, and this process causes an increase in collagen and elastin, and regenerates all connective tissue including the skin, bone, ligaments and muscle,” says Abouchar.
The treatment takes around 60-90 minutes, and can be administered as a standalone or paired with needling (if you feel like you haven’t had enough pointy things jabbed into your skin). A series of 3-4 treatments is recommended, with maintenance appointments every 6-12 months.
Best for: those with acne scars, open pores, fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, dull or dehydrated skin.
Side effects: Pretty much what you would expect from a cosmetic treatment – redness and swelling, which should subside after approximately 24-48 hours, and bruising, which may take longer to fade.
Need to know: “PRP is for all skin types, however the client must be in good general health and not on any medication affecting the platelets (such as blood thinners),” says Abouchar. It’s also not recommended for smokers (not a problem for you, because you don’t smoke!).
“Micro-needling is a blanket term for collagen induction therapy and skin needling,” explains Take Off Skin & Body owner Erin Laird. There are different devices, but generally each has multiple, miniature, super-fine needles that glide over the face, superficially puncture the skin’s surface. This trauma encourages the body to boost its own natural collagen and elastin production processes.
Expect the session to last around 20-40 minutes, and micro-needling can be combined with LED, micro or enzyme services, depending on your treatment plan.
“Optimum results are seen over a course of multiple treatments, depending on your concern and the desired result, and the great thing about micro-needling is that you keep seeing results post-treatment because of the collagen stimulation,” says Laird.
Best for: Micro-needling can benefit a number of conditions, including fine lines and wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores. It also works as a general pick-me-up when your skin is looking and feeling meh.
Side effects: Downtime is minimal, with most redness reducing after a few hours. You may also experience a temporary sensation, akin to mild sunburn (not that you know what sunburn feels like!).
Need to know: About those at-home devices–not really a good idea. Aside from the fact that at-home tools don’t operate at the same or consistent depths as professional tools (which can vary or limit results), there’s the germ issue. “Creating a sterilised environment like we do in the salon is very difficult at home,” warns Laird. “We use single-use needles, and our therapists are specially trained and know how to create a sanitized setting, as any kind of contamination can very easily lead to infection.”
Have you tried either of these treatments? If so, what kind of results did you see?