Microneedling and the Application of Serums

microneedlingIt stands to reason that one would think that during or after a microneedling session the application of topical serums could yield better results. Many serums or “cocktails” are available for purchase by estheticians that are designed to target specific skin conditions and form a component of the treatment.

In fact, when the skin is opened with a microneedling device, those serums can be considered to be introduced trans-dermally rather than topically. This then takes needling into a medical sphere that estheticians are not licensed to be within. Studies have shown that many reactions and issues can be caused by the transdermal introduction of products.

Such reactions could be allergies, photosensitivity, inflammatory response, granulomas. Of course, we hope that the companies who produce such serums for this purpose will have been responsible in their selection of ingredients and preservatives, but how can a client know? How can an esthetician unless she or he has researched the potential for individual ingredients to cause an unwanted response? It is critical to remember that ingredients in skin care products are largely studied in a lab and not on a large cross section of the human population.


closeup of skin
closeup of skin

At the end of the day absolutely nothing should be applied to the skin after microneedling other than the patient’s own plasma, purified growth factors in a hyaluronic acid base or, simply, high molecular weight hyaluronic acid. In fact, one must even be careful of the product used to wipe the skin after service. It should always be a sterile cloth moistened with distilled water.

I have never been personally convinced that purified growth factors lead to proportionally better results for the increase in cost. It is a consumable for me that costs $60 at wholesale, and that has to be passed on to the client. I am happy to become convinced with unedited photos.

Microneedling works literally because of the healing cascade that is initiated by the treatment. It is a collagen induction treatment that precipitates the growth of new collagen proteins within the skin. The cascade is complex and extraordinary, and it is the body that is taking care of this. Simply applying a serum at the time of service is unlikely to lead to any great additional advantage since the skin continues to restructure and heal for the entire month post service and will go on to do even more work over a period of months.

If we analogize that taking a vitamin once a month will yield any value for our body, then maybe the same logic to a serum at service could cause a client to pass on this part of the treatment. A prudent provider would not want to take risks.

Anyone wanting to learn more should look up the work and study of Dr. Lance Setterfield. He is the author of The Concise Guide to Dermal Needling and works to ensure that microneedling is a service that remains widely available in spas and clinics, without requiring a medical practitioner, because it holds tremendous value for clients seeking to improve the health of their skin.