What Is Microneedling?

Sometimes over-the-counter creams and ointments don’t work as well as you would like if you have troubled or damaged skin.  Instead of endlessly looking around for effective solutions you may want to consult your dermatologist for one of their specialist treatment options.  

Microneedling is a technique where a small, fine needle is applied to the skin to treat a range of skin concerns including: 

  • Acne scars
  • Large pores 
  • Stretch marks
  • Wrinkles 
  • Hyperpigmentation 
  • Other small scar types1,2

In some cases, it can be used to treat medical conditions like alopecia (hair loss) and hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating).3,4

Microneedling is performed by dermatologists and other cosmetic medical professionals.  The procedure may only be offered to you after your skin has been assessed by one of these doctors and has been deemed suitable for microneedling.  As it is a slightly invasive procedure (with the needles puncturing the skin by a few millimetres) it is not suitable for certain skin types and conditions.1

Before going through with any skin treatments you should consider with your doctor what kind might be best for your skin type.  Microneedling treatment can be an effective option but you should be aware of the steps, benefits, risks, and costs beforehand. 


Microneedling is a procedure involving small, fine needles used against the skin.  Microneedling aims  to help skin cell turnover, effectively allowing damaged skin cells seen in acne scarring and aged skin to renew themselves at a quicker rate.  The continuous use of the needle over the area of the skin in question encourages the production of collagen and elastin.  These help to improve skin texture and aids in overall skin rejuvenation.1 

Microneedling treatment can be performed on any part of the body with a troubled patch of skin, though the benefits of the treatment will vary from person to person.  It may also not be suitable for people with specific health conditions or other skin problems.1

The procedure is relatively simple and painless as numbing cream is usually applied before  needling.  Recovery is also usually swift and easy as long as you follow the recommendations given by your practitioner for post-treatment healing.1

Microneedling benefits

Microneedling can improve the condition of your skin if you are looking to:

  • Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles1
  • Reduce the appearance of acne scars and other small scars1
  • Lessen the size of skin pores1
  • Reduce the appearance of stretch marks1
  • Remove patches of hyperpigmentation and even out your skin tone2 

Microneedling can also be used to help topical treatments to penetrate deeper into the skin and work more effectively.2

Skin needling can benefit people with conditions such as hyperhidrosis and alopecia.  For hyperhidrosis, microneedling is used with the addition of a radiofrequency to target the sweat glands beneath the skin surface.  This reduces the excessive sweating seen in hyperhidrosis.3  

For alopecia, microneedling is used across the scalp where hair loss is seen.  New collagen is stimulated by the needling that supports the renewal of skin cells and hair follicles on the scalp so new hair can potentially grow.  Medicated ointments used for hair growth in alopecia may also be able to work deeper within the skin with microneedling.4 

Who gets microneedling?

Microneedling treatment may be recommended to you if you have stubborn skin issues such as acne scars, large pores, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, or stretch marks.  If you have been struggling with alopecia or hyperhidrosis for a while or no other treatments have worked for you, microneedling may be an option.1

However, you should not  receive treatment if you have another condition such as:

  • An irritated skin condition like eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis 
  • Predisposition to form keloid (raised and hard) scar tissue
  • Any blood clotting condition
  • Cancer (or are receiving cancer treatment)1

You also should not  receive microneedling on or around the skin with: 

  • Active acne 
  • Active cold sores (oral herpes)
  • Freckles, moles, or growths that start to appear differently or bleed1

What happens when you get microneedling?

If you are considering microneedling, you will first see an appropriate health practitioner so they can assess the suitability of your skin for microneedling.1

If your skin is suitable, the practitioner will go ahead with the procedure.  Numbing cream may be placed over the treatment area to minimise the sensation of the needles against the skin, though some mild discomfort may still be felt.  The cream usually takes at least 30 minutes to take effect.1

The microneedling device used will depend on the practitioner you attend and the results you are looking for.  Options include a microneedling roller, pen, or pin device, each with slightly different-sized  needles that will yield different results.5

What happens after microneedling?


Immediately after microneedling the skin will usually be swollen, red, flaky, and sensitive to sunlight - though this should be temporary.2  

Once healing has occurred you may not immediately notice a significant difference in the target area after only one microneedling session.  This is because the results vary by person and several treatments are often needed to see big improvements.1

Microneedling healing and risks


Healing usually occurs within a few weeks post-treatment.  To ensure the skin heals in a timely and proper manner you should practise good skin care, for example, keeping your skin clean to prevent infection and wearing UV protective sun cream to avoid sun damage.1,2 


Risks of the procedure are usually minimal and short-term; i.e., skin discomfort and inflamed appearance post-procedure.  There may also be a possibility of infection, bruising, or scarring due to the tiny needles making minuscule openings in the skin's surface.1

Microneedling Safety and Costs


The microneedling procedure is considered safe for all except for  individuals with any of the excluding conditions listed above.  Your health practitioner and microneedling consultant will be able to give you a full brief on the risks and safety associated with the procedure before going through with it.1


The costs of microneedling will vary depending on the practitioner you choose to see.  Initial consultations are usually free. You may be able to get the cost of the treatment covered by the NHS but may need or choose to fund the treatment privately.  One microneedling session from a reputable micro needling practitioner in the UK can cost anything between £100-350.6 

Cheaper, at-home microneedling options such as a derma roller are also available to buy online.  However, they will likely not show the same professional results and may not be completely sterile or handled correctly.  You should always read the safety information and directions of the device before using on  your skin.6


Microneedling is a procedure that can have cosmetic and medical benefits.  It may take multiple treatments to receive the desired effect whether that is to refine the appearance of your skin or treat another medical condition.  It is important to consider if microneedling is the right option for you and to ultimately follow your practitioner's advice and guidance.  This will ensure your skin heals promptly after the procedure and you get the results you are looking for. 


  1. Microneedling: what it is, uses, benefits & results [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023 Feb 17]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/23113-microneedling 
  2. Microneedling [Internet]. Yale Medicine. [cited 2023 Feb 17]. Available from: https://www.yalemedicine.org/conditions/microneedling 
  3. Treat excessive sweating with rf microneedling - harvey, david(Derminstitutemd. Com) [Internet]. [cited 2023 Feb 17]. Available from: https://www.derminstitutemd.com/general/treat-excessive-sweating-with-rf-microneedling/#:~:text=The%20procedure%20is%20painless%20and,the%20functioning%20of%20the%20gland 
  4. Scalp microneedling for hair loss - hhc clinics [Internet]. HHC. [cited 2023 Feb 17]. Available from: https://www.hhclinics.co.uk/hair-loss/hair-treatments/microneedling-hair-loss/ 
  5. Petrou I. Microneedling strategies. 2021 Apr 27 [cited 2023 Feb 17];42. Available from: https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/microneedling-strategies 
  6. Beauty H of. Microneedling cost: is it worth it? Professional versus dermaroller options [Internet]. House of Beauty Camberley | UK Top Rated Beauty Salon – Book Waxing, Nails, Facials, Anti-Wrinkle Injections, Dermal Fillers treatments and more! 2021 [cited 2023 Feb 17]. Available from: https://hob-aesthetics.com/microneedling-cost/
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Amy Murtagh

BSc Veterinary Bioscience - Bachelors of Science, University of Glasgow

Amy is a recent graduate from Glasgow's School of Biodiversity, One Health and Veterinary Medicine with a particular interest in science communication in these subject areas.

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