When it comes to the pursuit of flawless skin, we’re living in an exciting time of new treatment options. That said, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the seemingly endless products and therapies on the market. Camille’s dermatologist, Elizabeth Geddes-Bruce of Westlake Dermatology, helps us navigate those options to discover our best skin, and is a fan of both laser treatments and microneedling to help patients get smoother and brighter with that youthful glow. We sat down with Dr. Geddes-Bruce to talk about the differences between two of the hottest skin resurfacing treatments around: microneedling and laser therapy. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out:
featured image via pinterest
Fundamentally, how are laser treatments and microneedling different? Are they often used to addressed the same problems?
There’s a big difference between laser treatments and microneedling and it all comes down to how the two treatments work. By design, lasers use light as energy. This allows lasers to have a specific target to treat in the skin, such as broken red veins or brown spots, without damaging surrounding unaffected tissue. It’s a very selective treatment. While microneedling is the mechanical method of creating thousands of tiny channels of injury all over a treatment area that force the skin to heal. The results are not selective to a specific problem, but you can see improvement in many issues by nature of causing collagen regeneration and skin turnover. Both treatments can be used to address certain types of cosmetic concerns, such as acne scarring and rejuvenation. While other issues, like broken red blood vessels, really need a laser to fix.
What are the pros and cons of microneedling?
Pros of microneedling include a relatively quick recovery time (about a day or two of a light sunburn appearance) and less potential side effects. It’s also safe to use on all skin types. The cons of microneedling are that the results are often subtle. It can take numerous microneedling treatment sessions to achieve the results you desire, and still, some conditions are best treated with a laser.
What are the pros and cons of laser treatments?
In the hands of an experienced physician, laser treatments can often provide quicker, more dramatic and long lasting results than microneedling treatments. But with that greater reward comes greater risks. Because lasers deliver heat to the skin we see more side effects (such as temporary darkening or bruising) and longer downtime due to post-treatment swelling and redness. Lasers can also flare certain medical conditions so it’s important to have a thorough consult with a professional before diving in.
Do you suggest that patients try one first before trying the other? (and if so, which one?)
If you’re looking to be more proactive about taking care of your skin, microneedling is a quick and easy way to do so without much risk. On the other hand, if you have a specific problem you would like to address, it may be the case that you are better suited for a laser treatment to meet your goals.
Can these treatments be used effectively together?
Absolutely! We can target specific issues with a laser and then perform microneedling for all over skin rejuvenation on the same day. Or, you can alternate treatments on a monthly basis or so. It all depends on what you are trying to address.
Who is an ideal candidate for laser treatments and microneedling?
An ideal candidate feels empowered to ask questions regarding their treatment. They prepare for the procedure and commit to doing their part during recovery. More generally, patients need to be free of active infections, rashes, or acne in the treatment areas. They also need to avoid sun exposure pre and post procedure as this increases side effects.
Anything else we should know?
Microneedling is often being combined with PRP (platelet rich plasma) to boost results and speed up healing time. It’s referred to as the “vampire facial.” This involves drawing the patient’s blood and spinning it quickly to separate the red blood cells from the yellow plasma, which is full of platelets and growth factors. The plasma portion is applied to the skin during microneedling, or injected directly into the treatment area.