"You're kidding..." I said, peering at my skin in the bathroom mirror, the morning after rolling 540 microneedles across my face. My incredulity stemmed from the fact I'd spent two weeks battling blemishes, using every product in my skincare arsenal to try and get the red spots, scars and blackheads to back the hell off. Nothing had worked, from salt water to salicylic acid, and I was tired of piling on foundation, having given it up for the past few months. I'd been reading about microneedling and heard devotees (Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow included) wax lyrical about its impact. Sure, anything involving the word 'needle' sounds unnecessary and scary, but this little guy was a manageable-looking at-home option that I was willing to try.
So after throughly double-cleansing, I slowly rolled my Swiss Clinic Skin Roller back and forth over my chin, cheeks and forehead for several minutes. I felt a slight pricking sensation but, in all honesty, it wasn't painful and was even similar to the drowsy, relaxed feeling you get when the hairdresser washes your hair. Next up, I applied a few pumps of the accompanying Rejuvenating Serum before sterilising the roller (a super important step considering the needles puncture your skin). I let the serum sink in, before applying the rest of my nighttime skincare routine, and hoped for the best.
Frankly, I wasn't expecting much change. But I woke up with plump, fresh, less angry skin, and the pigmentation caused by my blemishes had noticeably faded. I only needed a lick of concealer to get my skin looking clear, which was a marked change from the heavy-coverage foundation I'd been relying on. I've been using it twice daily since my initiation, and now there are almost no signs of the breakout left. So how does this spiky little tool work? "Though only very thin, the skin is made up of three layers: epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous. By penetrating the epidermis with very fine needles, the small wounds created encourage the body’s natural healing response and renew the skin cells," Kate Whitling, non-surgical training manager at The Harley Medical Group, explains. "As the skin repairs itself, the collagen production and elastin is triggered, giving an almost immediate plumped and rejuvenated effect."
The Swiss Clinic Skin Roller is an at-home tool, with the 0.2mm needles creating micro-channels that absorb 300% more of the accompanying serum's active ingredients than if the serum was used alone. "It would be crazy not to combine the treatment with a topical product like a serum," skin expert and owner of Advance Skin Treatments, Debbie Thomas tells me. "The at-home devices are normally 0.2-0.3mm long, and are targeted to help with the penetration of products, making your home routine more effective. However, for the whole face, and if you have very problematic skin or really need the regenerating effects, it is better to get these stronger treatments done with a professional," she explains. "The needles are longer at 0.5mm and are for professional treatments only, because you don’t want to risk damaging your skin at home. These needles need to be in the hands of a professional."
"As we age, we continuously lose collagen and we estimate that between the age of 20 and 40 the skin loses up to 50%," a spokesperson from Swiss Clinic tells me. Alongside collagen production, what are the other benefits of both at-home and professional microneedling? "It helps reduce fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, helps to soften the skin's surface, stimulates blood circulation, improves skin elasticity, reduces enlarged pores, evens out skin tone, makes your skin more resilient, and preserves skin, thus slowing down the ageing process."
Whether you're in search of plumper, youthful-looking skin, or want to reduce fine lines and blemishes, don't let the tiny spikes put you off: microneedling is the place to start.