This treatment involving thousands of tiny needles is loved by Jennifer A, Brad, Angelina and Kim K. I had to try it...
When you think of a facial, it’s most likely you imagine lying back in a scented haze, drifting off with your thoughts – perhaps letting out the occasional snort as you drift a little too far into snoozeland – while a deft-handed facialist works her magic to leave you with that dewy post-treatment glow.
At no point does a topical anaesthetic and thousands of pricks to the face and neck enter the vision.
But this is the treatment – Collagen Induction Therapy aka microneedling – that a bevvy of Hollywood’s hottest c’lebs swear by. I’m not expecting to see Jennifer Aniston the next time I look in the mirror, but if I can perk up my skin and perhaps knock a few years off in the process, then I’m in.
Microneedling involves pricking your face and neck area to create thousands of controlled micro-injuries. These itty bitty pokes start up the skin’s natural healing process, which spurs the production of collagen and elastin – basically your BFF in the fight against ageing.
But I’ve got two bits of good news. One: microneedling works. And two: there’s no need to dash up to Harley Street for this treatment; I was treated by the very gorgeous Rachel at The Cobham Clinic which offers most most up-to-date version of microneedling – the brand new SkinPen Advanced Microneedling Facial. This medial grade and turbocharged microneedling procedure produces up to 98,000 pricks per minute, compared to a paltry 18,000. The more jabs, the more dramatic the results.
And yes, I can confirm that after just one treatment my cheeks felt fuller, my skin felt more even and the red patches I get around my nose and on my forehead had all but disappeared.
So let me tell you what’s involved. Firstly, if you’re put off by the jab thing, don’t be. I’m not particularly partial to needles, and I barely flinched during this procedure. It’s not at all painful and is only minimally invasive.
Rachel, of course, was brilliant. She explained exactly what was about to happen so that nothing came as a surprise. Then she got to work cleansing my skin thoroughly before applying a topical anaesthetic to my face, neck and décolletage. It’s a chemically cream and rather strong-smelling so you’ll want to keep your eyes closed and breath through your mouth when it first goes on. It produces an odd sensation, especially as the anaesthetic starts to take effect (about 40 minutes).
When we were sure I was suitably numbed, Rachel tested my face with the SkinPen to determine which depth to set the device. The SkinPen has a 14-tip needle head which can be set to puncture the skin from 0.25 to 2mm. For me, it was mostly set to 2mm, reducing the depth for more sensitive areas such as around the nose.
It’s not a relaxing procedure, but neither does it hurt. At best you’ll feel a slight vibration, at worse it feels like a light scratch with a long fingernail. The needling process took about 30 minutes, after which Rachel placed a cooling wrap over my face. The procedure will leave you looking like you’ve caught a mild dose of sunburn, and the skin feels a bit that way too, quite warm and tight.
Everyone will differently, but it’s pretty safe to say that you won’t leave the clinic looking particularly pretty. Top tip: book an appointment for later in the day so you can go directly home, and take your sunnies.
Recovery, too, will be slightly different depending on the person and their skin type. My skin is fair and on the sensitive side, so I was glowing quite bright in the hours post-pricking. By the next morning I looked sun-kissed rather than sun-burned. By the third day the redness had disappeared, but my skin felt dry and flaky. Within a week and the results were in.
Will I be back? Hell yeah. I’m not expecting to look 20 years younger. But I’ll settle for 10.