Update: DermaPen products are no longer for sale, pending the outcome of a re-classification by the FDA. You can read all about it, here.
A little over a month ago, I was approached by a company to try a cosmetic procedure where are trained medical professional uses a DermaPen to help refine your skin. The adventurous chica I am, I took them up on their offer. This procedure may not be for everyone, but certainly doesn't fall into the wacky/fad category like the Vampire facial.
The DermaPen is a device that takes micro needling one step further. Why use any kind of needling device, you ask? Because your skin can look younger and a slightly fresher and scars from acne, etc can be "filled in" by new collagen! The DermaPen allows a trained pro to stamp your skin with a disposable "head" that contains several needles. The pen has the ability to control the depth of each needle, which is key to getting the best result. The stamping motion also causes less trauma to the epidermis by making smaller holes that the holes made by a dermal roller. This means less pain and less downtime.
But how does needling help the skin? Needling can help the skin by causing micro-injuries to the epidermis, which signals the body to produce collagen to remodel the damaged area. This results in firmer skin, a slight improvement in some wrinkles and a very noticeable difference in areas that have been affected by a scar.
There is also one additional major reason to consider a DermaPen treatment. It helps in the absorption of your products while the epidermis is healing. This means that whatever your skincare concern, your products will immediately work better because they will be able to penetrate the skin more deeply and work harder. Products aren't cheap, even at the drugstore. This treatment makes them go farther, which is always a plus.
On to what the treatment is actually like...
I was able to schedule my appointment at the nearby Faces Med Spa, in Lutherville, Maryland. Mary Tatar, a nurse practitioner did my initial consult, as well as my treatment. Faces Med Spa performs a variety of non-invasive procedures, like lasers, IPL and Cool Sculpting to help you look your best.
We started by taking photos of my skin using a special camera and computer which instantly analyzes the images. I normally don't have the ability to do that. I mean, I take photos. But these specific photos were analyzed and produced reports about improvement, immediately. If I only had one of these in my home! Does Visia make a home model for bloggers? They totally should.
Mary then explained to me what I should expect from this treatment and was very, very honest. Would it make my dynamic wrinkles go away (dynamic wrinkles are the ones caused by repetitive movement)? No.
Would it lessen other wrinkles? Most likely. If you have multiple treatments, then you can answer yes.
Would it lighten my melasma? On its own, no. With the addition of quality lightening products, definitely.
Would it help remodel "dents" in my skin from a chicken pox scar and where I had a mole removed? Yes! Yes! Yes!
Would my skin look slightly tighter and younger? Yes! It can even help in tattoo removal.
This treatment does require a small bit of downtime, so if you must be seen and/or photographed by strangers or loved ones, don't get this before a big event. I had to be in a wedding, so I came back the following week for treatment.
The treatment begins by numbing the face with a topical ointment for about 20-30 minutes. After the face has been numbed, the ointment is removed. Mary decided to apply a hyaluronic acid to my face to aid in my skin getting the plumping benefits. We then began the process of "stamping" my face with the DermaPen. While the needle does not glide along your face, one "stamp" is placed next to the previous stamp, ensuring that your entire face is covered, as you would experience with most laser treatments.
She began on my forehead, allowing the needle to reach the minimum .25mm depth. Microneedling at home on my forehead causes me to spontaneously sneeze. Oddly, this did not. In fact, I barely felt it. However, when we covered my chicken pox "dent", I could feel the needle meeting the resistance of the scar tissue. Kind of like slicing into warm butter and hitting a pickle, if I really had to describe it. The needles go through, but there is resistance. She then moved on to my cheeks at a deeper needle depth, followed by my chin, nose and upper lip.
Here is why you don't do this to yourself. There will be blood. That Kim Kardashian Vampire Facial? It will kind of look like that. Kind of. Because you'll never see that, you won't care about it. But if you are squeamish, don't look in a reflective surface while they perform the treatment.
By the end of the day, my face still felt slightly sunburnt and I had developed petechia, which is when little blood vessels burst under your skin. I had several little red dots in different sections of my face. Those dots, which were hidden with makeup the following day, stuck around for about a week. Once they disappeared I was no worse for the wear and started waiting for the remodeling stage to kick in!
One month later, my chicken pox scar is visibly not as deep as it was prior to the treatment. The scar on my chin is dramatically reduced as well. I'm really pleased with the difference!
For my official results, I went back to visit Faces Med Spa and their Visia photography equipment.
My wrinkles have lessened ! Woo hoo!
My melasma has not really improved, nor has my pore size. Mary Tatar kindly suggested a different product to improve my melasma and I've since started on an Obagi C-RX line. It's prescription only, so you'll need to get it from a dermatologist's office.
However my scar indentations (which were not actually picked up by the camera) are visibly improved!
The DermaPen treatment is available in doctors' offices throughout the US. You can find one by visiting their provider referral page. If you are in the Baltimore area, I would highly recommend Mary Tatar and the staff at Faces Med Spa. They were incredibly kind, very knowledgeable and didn't try to push things that wouldn't work for me. The average treatment price starts around $300 and tops out at about $700, depending on Doctor and market. Also depending on your skin, more than one treatment is usually recommended.
I would definitely consider getting this done again to reduce the "dents" as well as the fine lines that are developing.
Have you ever tried this? Would you? Tell me about your experience!
Official disclosure/disclaimer statement can be found here.
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