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Microneedling Before and Afters: See How It Can Tighten the Neck, Smooth Scars + Regrow Hair

Plus, find out everything you need to know about the procedure and if it's right for you

Let’s face it: When it comes to keeping our skin looking glowing and youthful, there’s only so much creams and staying out of the sun can do. As collagen and elastin naturally decline with age, fending off sagging and wrinkles takes more effort. Enter microneedling, the procedure that uses teeny tiny needles to create teeny tiny injuries in the skin that, once healed, result in a smoother, more youthful complexion. What’s more, those pinpricks can also act as channels that help rejuvenating potions effectively penetrate, upping the benefits.

Microneedling has been around for a long time, but it’s recently been brought back into the spotlight thanks to the media buzz around InMode Morpheus8, a treatment that uses a combination of radiofrequency and microneedling to supercharge the results (click here to learn more about Morpheus8). But there’s a reason doctors have long relied on it before that: Microneedling can take years off the skin of the face and body, help smooth scars and even help trigger new hair growth. Find out how it works, who it’s best for and what to expect from the procedure.  Plus see the microneedling before and after photos that prove how well it works.

What is microneedling?

Derma rollers for microneedling
Anna Efetova/Getty

“Microneedling uses multiple small needles to cause a controlled trauma to the skin. This in turn tells our body to send in our repair mechanism,” says Adrienne O’Connell, DO, doctor of aesthetic medicine and president of Laguna Beach Aesthetics. Once called Collagen Induction Therapy, it “leaves the skin healthier, plumper and tighter,” she says.

Dr. Ann Karp, DO, a board-certified dermatologist at the Skin Institute of New York, explains this is because the repair process stimulates collagen and elastin production, “resulting in skin rejuvenation, improved texture and reduced appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and scars.” And, according to a 2022 research meta-analysis, it does all this safely and effectively with little downtime.    

But microneedling can also be used to make other treatments more effective. “By creating tiny channels through the skin, it allows us to infuse serums and active ingredients more efficiently for better results,” explains Dr. Marina Peredo, aNYC-based board-certified dermatologist specializing in aesthetic, laser and surgical dermatology. This is the case with hair loss treatments using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from your own blood cells, for example. 

It’s also the case with Morpheus8, which uses hot needles and radio frequency to target the deeper layer of the skin. “What makes it different is the depth of penetration of the needles on the face and body, which makes it very customizable and extremely effective,” explains Dr. Andrew Peredo, a board-certified plastic surgeon. “It can treat wrinkles to fat, depending on the depth and energy levels used.”

The benefits of microneedling

Woman microneedling at home

“Microneedling is an excellent treatment at any age depending on a patient’s skin concerns,” says Dr. Andrew Peredo. “Young patients in their 20s and 30s that may have acne scars and large pores are great candidates.” Also great candidates? Patients in their 40s through 60s. “They have different needs and concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and skin laxity.”  So what exactly can microneedling do?

1. Diminish wrinkles

It stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, improving skin texture, firmness and elasticity, helping to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time.

Related: Collagen for Women: Adding To Your Smoothie May Make Skin Look Years Younger

2. Reduce scarring

It can diminish the appearance of acne scars by breaking up scar tissue and promoting the growth of new, healthy skin cells. It’s effective for reducing the visibility of other types of scars, like surgical scars.

3. Even skin tone and texture

It helps in reducing dark spots, sunspots and hyperpigmentation by prompting the skin to produce new cells and enhances skin texture by smoothing rough areas and reducing the size of pores.

4. Improve circulation

It stimulates blood flow and circulation, contributing to a healthier, more glowing complexion.

5. Stimulate hair growth

By improving blood flow to the scalp, it promotes the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to hair follicles and stimulates dormant hair follicles, encouraging the production of hair growth factors, potentially leading to thicker, stronger hair. It also creates micro-channels in the scalp that enhance the absorption of topical hair growth products like minoxidil or other growth serums, increasing their effectiveness.

Related: This $9 Skin Care Tool Is Study-Proven to Help Hair Grow in Thicker and Lusher

Plus, according to Dr. Marina Peredo:

  • It’s minimally invasive with quick recovery and short downtime
  • Safe for darker skin tones
  • Can treat a variety of skin conditions from acne to skin laxity

Are there cons of microneedling? There are some:

  • Has to be delivered by a licensed and experienced physician or nurse to avoid complications
  • Not an option for patients with a tendency to form keloid scars
  • Not compatible with certain skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and flat warts. 

What’s a microneedling procedure like? 

Woman receiving microneedling treatment

To prep, first, you’re advised to stop the use of retinol, vitamin C and other actives a week before to avoid sensitivity. At your appointment, a numbing cream is applied to clean, dry skin and allowed to take effect (up to 60 minutes). Then the skin is “stamped” with a microneedling pen that glides over your skin. If your doctor is infusing your skin with a serum or plasma, it’s applied during this time. Afterwards, a cooling mask may be applied to calm any irritation, but you can still expect to feel a bit tender. And you’re advised to use a gentle cleanser and sunscreen and avoid harsh skincare products and makeup in the days following. 

The amount of sessions you’ll need depends on your goals and the severity of the issues you’re treating, but you can typically expect somewhere between three and six. 

What’s microneedling recovery like?

“Recovery varies depending on many different factors. Typically, healing from microneedling usually takes about 24 to 48 hours,” Dr. Marina Peredo says. “With Morpheus8, you will experience some inflammation and redness immediately post-procedure.” And with all microneedling, results can be seen typically after three weeks, and improvements continue up to three months.

How much does microneedling cost?

There’s a wide range when it comes to the price of microneedling, depending on the provider (from $100 to $700 per session), but for most, you can expect to pay about $300 per session. Microneedling with PRP is a bit more (think $500 per session), and Morpheus8 is priced similarly — according to RealSelf, you may pay $500 for a single treatment session for a small area to $4,000 for a series of treatments.

Microneedling before and after photos

1. Microneedling before and after for face and neck

On the face, microneedling is used to reverse signs of aging and scars, specifically acne scars. “Initially, you may notice some visible improvements within a few days of your first treatment, such as glowier, smoother and brighter skin,” says Dr. Karp. However, she reminds, “The full effects of microneedling, including collagen production and skin tightening, typically take several months to fully manifest.” 

Microneedling before and after
Morpheus8 lower face
morpheus8 neck microneedling

2. Microneedling before and after for the body

While microneedling is not as common for the body as it is for the face, Morpheus8 has renewed interest in the procedure below the neck to address skin laxity and even the appearance of cellulite. Again, expect results to take weeks to months to show their full glory. And you’ll have to avoid strenuous exercise for 24 to 48 hours after your procedure. 

microneedling body before and after

3. Microneedling before and after for hair loss

The procedure is sometimes called upon to help reverse hair loss by helping actives like minoxidil known for hair rejuvenation penetrate the scalp. Dr. Karp explains that while the minoxidil would be used daily, “a microneedling treatment here and there can help amplify results.”   

It’s also sometimes used with PRP, plasma extracted from a patient’s own blood, which was shown in a 2021 study to be effective at treating androgenetic alopecia. In fact, 66% of patients showed very good results, and most required only four sessions.  

However, you’ll have to manage your expectations, as hair loss is notoriously difficult to treat. “There are many types of hair loss and microneedling isn’t the right choice for everyone,” warns Dr. Karp. For instance, if you are losing hair from iron deficiency, you need iron supplementation, not microneedling.

Microneedling at-home devices

If you want to get some of these benefits at home, you might see some results with a DIY device, though your before and afters won’t be as dramatic as the ones here showing in-office procedures. Dr. Karp says when shopping, “I would look for one with stainless steel needles that are of good quality.” And make sure to thoroughly clean it between uses. Some we like:   

at-home stacked skincare simple microneedling tool
Stacked Skincare

Stacked Skincare Microneedling Tool (Buy from Stacked Skincare, $89)

Kitsch Micro Derma Roller
Kitsch, Ulta

Kitsch Micro Derma Roller (Buy from Ulta, $14)

Beauty ORA Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System 0.5mm - Purple/Black (1 Piece) derma roller
Beauty ORA/Dermstore

Beauty ORA Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System 0.5mm (Buy from Dermstore, $38)

Related: 11 Best Dermarollers for Women Over 50 to Make Skin Glow

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For more before and after stories, click through these stories:

“I Tightened My Turkey Neck Without Surgery — Now I Feel More Confident Than Ever!”

Mini Tummy Tuck Before and Afters: The Results of This Procedure on Extra Ab Flab Can Be Dramatic

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