I try: a SkinPen® treatment at Megan Dempsey Cosmetic Medicine Clinic

As a long-time beauty editor, I’ve spent decades trialling new treatments and beauty tools, some more invasive (and effective) than others. One that had been recommended to me numerous times that I was yet to experience was micro-needling – in particular using the much lauded SkinPen® device.
No classic, everyday skin treatment tool, SkinPen® is a state-of-the-art, medical-grade, FDA-approved device used during micro-needling sessions to minimise the appearance of fine lines, moderate-to-severe wrinkles, deep folds and scars all over the body. In fact, it is now thought to be the gold standard of micro-needling, so if I was ever going to dip my toe into this reportedly transformative treatment, it was definitely going to be in conjunction with SkinPen® over any other name.
So I was pretty excited – and I have to say, a little nervous – when I arrived at Saint Heliers, Auckland beauty destination Megan Dempsey Cosmetic Medicine Clinic to try exactly that. My nurse practitioner was Sally, who I have connected with a few times over the years at other clinics and could literally spend hours talking to. What Sally doesn’t know about skin isn’t worth knowing, so I knew when it came to SkinPen®, I was in exceptionally good hands.

How does SkinPen® work?
Sally tells me that the incredibly precise device effectively allows for the controlled induction of your skin’s own natural healing process. This is promoted through the creation of thousands of precise “micro-injuries” in your dermis. This automatically triggers the synthesis of new, healthy collagen without causing scars to form, and results can be seen over the course of a few weeks.
And it works quickly - SkinPen® needles cycle at 100 plus stamps per second, potentially creating 1600 plus microchannels per second when moving around the face. The micro-injuries trigger the release of cytokines and growth factors that lead to remodelling of collagen and elastin.

And this results in?
So many things. SkinPen® has been proven to help with everything from reducing the signs of aging - skin texture, fine lines and wrinkles – to improving the appearance of acne scarring, and it’s safe for all skin types, light to dark.

What areas of the skin can be treated?
SkinPen’s® variable needle depth allows for maximum versatility, making it safe and effective to use on many parts of the body, including the face, neck and décolletage.

How does it feel?
This is the bit I had been warned about - SkinPen® can sting. Thankfully, Sally popped a liberal application of numbing cream on my face to make things that little more comfortable, and as the treatment typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the size and number of areas treated and the degree of treatment requested by the patient), it really is over before you know it. There was still a little discomfort in certain areas, but in my years of trying every beauty fix under the sun, it was definitely on the lower end of the pain scale.
Important to the process is avoiding sun exposure and actives like Retin A immediately prior – and naturally, post.

Is there downtime after a SkinPen® treatment?
I’m not going to sugar coat this – immediately afterwards, yes. And that can linger for several days. Sally warned me that I will look like I’d fallen asleep in the sun at midday and she wasn’t kidding – I was terrified my car was going to break down on the way home and I’d given some children nightmares! I immediately used the healing gel she recommended – after popping it in the fridge for an added cooling effect – and by the time 24 hours up I was a lot more approachable.
Having said that, the total healing time post-SkinPen® really does depend on each individual. Most patients have some slight swelling and redness for two to four days following the procedure, for others like me, 24 hours is also normal.

When will I see results?
The natural repair process of your own skin continues to progress through the course of several weeks, and for some you’ll be waiting up to six months following your session to see any real results.
The number of procedures required will be based upon your individual goals and the overall health of your skin, so it’s important to remember that this is no overnight, quick fix. Patience brings rewards by all accounts, so if this treatment plan sounds like one you can commit to, SkinPen® comes highly recommended.

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash


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