Close up of Black woman's face receiving facial treatment
I Tried It

Everything You Need To Know Before Your First Microneedling Appointment

Your skin looks great, my best friend says to me on FaceTime. Of course, we all know FaceTime doesn’t make skin look its best, especially without great lighting. So the compliment was well received since I’d wrapped a microneedling appointment a week earlier. There are tons of skincare treatments on the market. This treatment is, in my opinion, worth every penny.

Like many Black women, I have a recurring skin condition: hyperpigmentation. I know there’s no such thing as perfect skin. But looking at a new dark spot after every breakup is frustrating. So after some research and watching tons of YouTube videos, I was ready to take the plunge with the same pro I trusted to inject Botox into my forehead and crow’s feet for the first time.

So here’s how my appointment went.

What is microneedling?

“Microneedling is a procedure where a device with sterile needles is used to make precise microchannels in the skin, which stimulates collagen,” Allie McAllister, NP-C, DCNP, founder of The Atlanta Injectors at Lemmon Avenue Atlanta, tells xoNecole. Unlike the at-home microneedling options, in-office needles range from 0.5–2.5 mm and penetrate deeper into the skin, creating tiny wounds that will eventually help yield firmer skin and a reduction in fine wrinkles, enlarged pores, pigmentation, and scarring.

You may be wondering if this treatment is safe for dark skin. The answer is yes. Because microneedling only punctures (they’re microscopic, btw) the surface layer of the skin, this treatment won’t create scarring.

Close up of Black woman's face

Skin numbing pre-microneedling session

Courtesy of Bianca Lambert

So, what should you expect at a microneedling appointment? 

Before your first appointment, you may have some pre-microneedling jitters. Don’t worry. The process is pretty painless because the first step is face numbing. After the skin is cleansed and the cream is rubbed on, it takes about 20 minutes for your face to numb. It’s a strange feeling that will last a few hours post-appointment.

Next, your practitioner will apply a serum that can be hyaluronic acid, a topical vitamin C, and your own plasma-rich protein from your own blood (think: the vampire facial). I just went with hyaluronic serum. Once my skin was numb, the needling began. I mainly felt nothing except in the areas around my nose and outside of my face. But it wasn’t more than a little pinch.

As the needling happens, the most alarming part is the pinpoint bleeding. It’s not normal to have a pen gliding across your face that can produce tiny points of blood on your face. Don’t be alarmed. It’s actually a good thing. “Pinpoint bleeding is a great sign that the microchannels are deep enough to stimulate collagen,” McAllister tells us.

Close up of Black woman's face

Skin during the microneedling process

Courtesy of Bianca Lambert

How do I take care of my skin after my microneedling appointment?

After treatment, your skin will need to be taken care of very gently. That means gentle cleansers and no activities. “We ask our patients to use gentle skincare and avoid acids, exfoliants, or retinoids of any kind for a minimum of five days post-procedure,” McAllister shares. And if you’re tempted to skip sunscreen: don’t. This step is essential to your skin healing because the skin is more susceptible to hyperpigmentation from sun exposure. And that would defeat the purpose of your treatment.

Black Girl Sunscreen

Fenty Beauty Hydra VIZOR

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

You may experience some dryness or peeling. I did, especially on days one and two. But that’s normal. “Peeling and dryness are very common after microneedling procedures,” McAllister explains. She recommends Revision’s Hydrating Serum or CeraVe Healing Ointment after a gentle cleanser to give the skin a dose of hydration. I used the Shani Darden Cleansing Serum, SkinMedica HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator, and Tatcha Indigo Overnight Repair Serum in Cream Treatment.

How many microneedling treatments do you need to see results? 

The number of treatments needed will vary from person to person, but at minimum, four sessions are recommended four to six weeks apart for the best results with yearly maintenance three to four times a year.

What’s the cost of microneedling?

The cost will vary depending on location, but it can range from $350 to $900 a session on average. However, this also depends on the area size you’ll be receiving the treatment.

Close up of Black woman's face

Skin a week post-microneedling appointment

Courtesy of Bianca Lambert

My Takeaway 

Microneedling isn't a skincare overnight fix. But the results, even after one treatment, are stellar. My skin was plumper, the texture smoother, and I could see a slight difference in my dark spots that live along my cheeks and jawline. I’m looking forward to more sessions to get even better results!

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