As a skincare junkie, you know I’m into this. I love anything in the skincare // clean beauty world, because we’re striving for #eternalyouth over here. If you follow me on instagram, you probably know I’m boarderline obsessed with Dermaplus - a cult favorite dermspa here in SF. I’ve been seeing Lizzy there for facials for 4 or 5 years now and as a creature of habit literally cannot go anywhere else. I have Lizzy and Andrea (the owner and magic maker of Dermaplus products) to thank for the status of my skin. Without them, I have no doubts that my hormonal acne would be running my life.
I get a lot of questions about how I keep my hormonal acne flare ups under control and seem to have for the most part clear, even textured skin. My secret? GREAT products, and regular facials. You cannot underestimate the power of a regular, intensive, extraction-filled facial. I’m not talking about a spa-like, relaxing rub my face down with all the oils and products kind of facial. I’m talking about a get in there and extract, extract, extract, glycolic it up, zap it up kind of facial. This is Lizzy’s specialty. I also got hooked on doing laser genesis after each facial after they so kindly gifted me one to try out the experience (I’m hooked and pay for them now…LOL).
What does laser genesis do you ask?
It’s a 30 minute treatment that utilizes a laser (no UVA/B rays) to soften fine lines and wrinkles, shrink pores and decrease or eliminate redness found deep within the dermis. Laser Genesis has been proven to stimulate the creation of new collagen. It’s basically the no // low recoup version of micro needling. Yields some but not all of the effects of micro needling, doesn’t hurt, and has literally 5 minutes of downtime. I swear incorporating seasonal laser genesis sessions + switching my toner to January Labs daily brightening tonic — my skin texture has changed completely…and for the better! The combo of the two plus frequent facials are a game change.
A questions I get asked a lot it: what treatment should I do to clear my skin up?
My answer — invest in great products first (read this post for some of my top hormonal acne picks). Then, with any budget you have left over go for a treatment (by try to pick something you will be able to keep up on a semi regular basis. An arsenal of great products that jive with your skin that you use everyday will get you a lot further than one fancy treatment. Remember, you’ve got to work with what you have where you’re at!
Now onto the 411 on mircro-needling!
Micro-needling is an effective treatment in addressing problematic skin and also can reduce fine lines // wrinkles // things that come along with aging. The dermaroller is a cylindrical shaped drum, studded with very fine needles. It is a medical device used in CIT/SRT (collagen Induction Therapy/Scar Reduction Therapy) to break down old scar tissue and stimulate skin cells to proliferate. This cell multiplication results in the formation of new tissue layers of elastin and collagen fibers in addition to new capillaries for an improved blood supply.
The dermaroller used at a med-spa is different then the ones for home use. The needles puncture deeper and it applied with more force. At the med-spa I got to they give you a less intense at-home roller to take home for post-care 2 weeks after the treatment.
They also have very precise pre and post care instructions. In my opinion, the treatment is 20% of the process the other 80% is prep and recovery. The most time you spend caring for your skin before and healing it after, the more benefits you’ll reap from the service.
What I did to prepare for my micro-needling treatment:
Starting a month before…
I starting incorporating a vitamin c serum in my morning routine (after toning, before moisturizing and SPF). If you’re wondering which serum I use — I’m using the c plex from derma plus. The c plex is different from a straight up vitamin c serum in that it’s blended with magnesium abscorbyl phosphate, a water-soluble derivative of Vitamin C, which easily penetrates into skin cells and releases L-ascorbic acid. Its deep absorption allows for powerful effects without over stimulating sensitive skin types. This makes it perfect for sensitive, acne prone and rosacea prone skin types — like moi!
I also up-ed my retinol gel use from every other evening to every evening and kept my nurse, Valerie, up to date with my breakout situation, as well as had a consultation with her to go over my current supplement and skincare routine and to take special photos of my face so we could track results.
Two days before…
I made sure I wasn’t eating too much sugar and was getting adequate fluids (this is typically easy for me — but important to make a conscious effort when it’s cooler outside).
Did my morning skincare routine (cleanse, tone, vit c, moisturize) minus SPF and went into the spa for numbing before the roll happened. They make sure you’re adequately numb before starting.
Now onto some of the questions I received!
Does it hurt?
It doesn’t not hurt. HAHA. They numb your face with an external numbing gel before you start. You’re in the spa//office for a while because of that. It takes about 45ish minutes for it to sink in and take full effect. During that time, you’re going over forms, care instructions, and just relaxing.
Before she got going she microneedled the numbing gel into my face with a take home roller (doesn’t go as deep). This was also helpful in letting me understand what the experience would kind of feel like — to be honest, this is when I got a little nervous. I’m not a blood or needles person and even though this part didn’t hurt, the sensation gave me the heebie jeebies.
After I was fully numb, she brought out the real deal roller. My eyes were closed the entire time for fear of passing out, so I couldn’t tell you what it looked like. Again, it didn't hurt (though I have a v high pain tolerance), it just felt v uncomfortable. Especially along my forehead and in the space between my nose and cheek. The worst part IMO was the forehead. Since there isn’t along of “cushion” there, the noise it makes is BRUTAL. I think next time I go I’m bringing noise cancelling headphones in attempt to block it out.
How long does it last?
I’m not sure if this question was talking about how long the treatment takes to get done, or how long the benefits of the treatment last — so I will answer both!
The treatment time they a lot is about 2 hours. That said, there is a lot of talking, time spent with numbing cream on your face, etc. The actual roll probably lasts 25-30 mins.
In terms of benefits — they continue to take hold until approx 12 weeks out. This treatment improves your skin the more you do it (as do most treatments). Most people will see reduces redness and acne scaring in the first go, but sometimes 2-3 sessions are recommended to better results. It honestly depends on the health of your skin, what your problem areas are, and how religious you are about your skincare regimen.
How much does is cost? // Is it covered by insurance?
Full disclosure, I was gifted this treatment — I pay for everything at my dermspa normally (aka spend all my money there), but because I share about them so much this was their way of saying thank you. Typically this service costs $550. Keep in mind you need to prep properly which includes incorporating a retinol (approx $150 if you get the real deal behind the counter gel) and vitamin c serum (approx $80).
Depending on your skin status, it could be recommended to get rolled 2 or 3 times in a 6 month period to see full effects. It’s important to ask that question. If you don’t have the budget to do multiple rolls and that’s what your skin would need, I would suggest spending your money on day-to-day products until you’re ready for it (spend to make it count!).
Unfortunately, it’s not covered by insurance…that I know of! That said, if you got the treatment done at your dermatologist maybe there is a way you could finagle something. Always worth a shot! That said, make sure you check reviews // have friends who have had good experiences wherever you choose to get it done.
Did you have your own blood spun and needled back in or use the filler?
Nope on both counts. This was just a normal micro-needling treatment, meaning it was literally just the roll. The action of the roll getting really deep in your skin (my eyes were closed by it was bloody) breaks down old scar tissue and stimulates your skin cells reproduce faster than normal. The result? New layers of elastin and collagen fibers = more youthful, plump, glow-y looking skin.
The “own blood spun” is in reference to a prp facial — aka a vampire facial. It’s not just the blood from your arm that gets rolled into your face. First, they spin the blood to separate the platelets, then roll it in.
What’s the difference between micro-needling and the vampire facial?
The vampire facial is the same process as micro-needling but with an extra step — drawing the blood, running it through a centrifuge device, and then the platelets will be rolled // injected in throughout the facial. The thought mentality is the same with both treatments, that said, there have been many studies that show PRP facial assists even more with wound healing process due to the seven fundamental protein growth factors that are actively secreted by platelets.
Both treatments have a downtime of a few days. So be prepared!
I break out (very badly) mainly on my my chin right before my cycle. What do you suggest for a skincare routine?
Great q! I would check out my post on keeping my hormonal acne in check. I outlined what’s worked for me. I will say above all having a toolkit of great products that I use on a daily basis and regular facials are my baseline. Those two things combined are enough to keep my face in check. The laser genesis // other treatments are more on the preventative // hopes of #enternalyouth side of things.
What the after-care process looks like:
The evening of the roll…
I rinsed my face with warm-hot water. This was weird for me because I ALWAYS wash with cold water to reduce inflammation. The goal here though is to increase inflammation as much as possible. And let me tell you my face was SWOLLEN!! Looking back at the after photos I took was scary. I stayed clear of the mirror right after my treatment because I had to drive home, knew my face had been a bloody mess, and faint at the sight of blood. I really just thought I was going to be red, I did NOT expect the swelling — but it’s totally normal and part of the process (I’m writing this on the second day out and I’m still a bit swollen).
After rinsing my face. I applied a hydrating sheet mask and then did nothing! Oh except made sure my pillowcase was fresh.
The days after…
I’ve been washing with a gentle cleanser (both am and pm) in lieu of my normal cold water wash in the morning and hefty benzoyl wash at night. An addition to that, all I’ve been doing is applying some vitamin c serum (though I’ll be honest, I forgot to do that today…whoops) and letting the leftover gel from my sheet mask sink into my skin 2-3 times a day.
It’s been kind of refreshing to give my skin a break from my usual regimen and just let it do it’s healing thing.
I got the treatment done on Wednesday afternoon and I’m sitting here typing this on Friday morning.
My redness has gone down considerable as has my inflammation, but I still look rounder than usual (HAHA) and red // orange. My face also feels tight and dry (though this may be partially due to the gel I have drying on my face). The itch factor is also beginning. Itching is normal in a healing process, but I have a hunch the next step of the process is going to be some peeling (we itch for a reason). The hardest part for me the past 2 days has been staying out of the sun. It’s been beautiful here and Hansel (the dood) is itching (no pun intended) to go on a hike because we’re in the country recouping.
Looking at the take care instructions, here’s what happens next:
Day 3 out from the treatment (aka tomorrow)…
I get to restore my normal skincare regimen — retinol included!! If you know, you know. Retinol is MAGIC.
2 weeks post roll…
I can take a beach vacation and be out in the sun (taking safe sun precautions) — sooo, where are we going people?
I’m also supposed to start dermarolling with the at-home roller they sent me home with after my treatment. Due to my history with needles (though this roller doesn’t make you bleed), I’m a wee bit nervous to try this one at home alone. I think I might need to have someone over for moral support the first night this happens. If you were wondering the dermaroll happens post cleanse — pre evening skincare product regimen.
Around this time is when you schedule your post-roll facial! Helps the skin shed its last layers for real deal glow. I’m seeing Lizzy 1.5 weeks out from my treatment (next Saturday) for a full facial — though if your budget is tight, you can totally get away with a mini for a quick clean up and some extractions :)
Hope this was informative! I’m so excited to share more of my skincare adventures with you.
P.S. Dermaplus may or may not be offering a vamp facial in the very near future so get excited!
P.P.S Because a photo is worth a thousand words — here are 7 of them tracking progress from day of to 1.5 weeks out after my post microneedle facial (all #nofilter).