This page describes my ongoing experience with treating all types of depressed (pitted) scars
(very deep, shallow, ice-pick, boxcar and rolling) on my face using skin needling.
I am not giving medical advice in any way but merely sharing my experience to help others.
If you have any comments, questions or are in London (UK) and would like to meet then please do send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
It is important to remember that nobody has a magic formula.
You are just selectively damaging your skin and hoping your body will repair the skin better than it was before.
The cosmetics industry is full of people who just want your money so do be careful.
Other common terms for skin needling include needling, self-needling, medical skin needling, micro-needling, dry needling, tattoo needling, intradermabrasion, skin abrasion, and collagen induction therapy (CIT).
Based on my experience with my scars I now believe precise skin needling can be an effective, long lasting treatment for wrinkles, fine lines, surgical scars, acne scars and chicken pox scars.
Over the years I have tried many different things out of desparation:
No material benefit.
Massaging and squeezing the scars into shape
I have not tried laser treatments as I have dark skin. Laser treatements can lead to hypopigmentation, or the loss of skin color, in darker skin.
Little benefit. Dermabrasion helped to smooth out the appearance of my scars a little. It did this by removing dead skin cells in the surrounding skin.
Unfortunately, in the following weeks when the surrounding skin produced more dead skin cells the scars become prominent once again. I had to do the treatment again and again.
Derma Rollers and Stamps
Moderately effective. It is a general purpose tool for covering large areas quickly and easily.
It treated areas that didn't need treating while only partially treating the problem scars.
Since it removes the dead skin cells in the surrounding area it creates the illusion of significant improvement until
the surrounding skin produces more dead skin cells making the scars prominent once again. It was effective for very shallow scars and can be used to achieve an overall improvement.
Using Hypodermic needles
Moderately Effective. However, as these needles are hollow, I had to puncture the skin many times to compensate.
Hypodermic needles slash the skin rather than puncture and so it is not the ideal tool.
Using thick sewing needles
Effective. This technique relied on completely destroying the scar tissue. It resulted in improvement but took longer to heal delaying repeat treatments.
Tattoo needles (without ink or machine)
Tattoo Needle Method
In my experience regularly needling individual scars precisely using tattoo needles is the most effective way to improve deep scars.
Most clinics only use rollers and so you really only have three choices: self-needling, going to a tattooist or a beauty salon that does semi-permanent makeup or is willing to do it.
The trouble with commercial solutions is that unless you are very lucky most practioners are more focused on the money rather than your well-being. They also tend to want to hurry up the process.
Ideally, if you know someone who cares deeply about you then they will be willing to do it for you and spend as long as it takes to needle each scar properly. More importantly they will provide emotional support.
Before / After Pictures
While the before/after pictures shown on various sites are helpful they tend to represent the very best outcomes and not the average.
The angle, distance and lighting conditions used when taking before/after pictures are rarely identical.
In addition, the condition of the skin can make scars look very bad on some days and good on others.
For example if you use a lot of moisturising cream then the surrounding skin will be very soft but the scars will remain hard making the scars look worse.
If you dry out you skin using a lotion say, Savlon, then the skin will be taught and your scar may be less noticeable.
While a needling session may produce better (or worse) results I assume I am getting a 4% improvement on average. This assumption is based on many years of experience. Since it is not possible to see a 4% improvement I am always dissapointed and often loose heart. However, I remind myself 4% x 24 months = 96% improvement.
Self Needling Preparation
These are now commonly available and are very convenient to work with.
Alternatively you can use cotton pads soaked in antispectic lotion (e.g. Savlon Antiseptic Liquid)
Disposable Latex gloves
Liquid Skin (e.g. Germolene New Skin)
Disposable sterlized round tattoo needles from a well known brand and reputable supplier.
I prefer round shader (or liner) size #8 (0.25mm diameter or "000" bugpin size ) tattoo needles with 18 needles as it enables me to needle a scar just a few times.
Make sure they are sterilised using E.O Gas and CE Marked and approved for use in Europe.
For larger scars I find it much easier working with more needles and so I use 42 needles but this is only available in size #12.
Sharps bin for safe needle disposal
Waterproof Concealer makeup (e.g. Dermacolor, Dermablend, Keromask, Covermark or Veil)
The emotional stress caused by having my face constantly red and/or pigmented quickly disheartened
me and made me give up many times. I initilally used normal makeup but this only improved it slightly.
I then learnt to apply concealer makeup to conceal blemishes properly.
I went to a camouflage makeup expert to blend the exact colour to match my skin color and show me how to apply it properly.
Skin Lightening Cream (e.g. Fade Out)
I use a (safe-ish) skin lightening cream regularly. I would prefer not to use these creams but since my skin pigments easily I have no choice.
Even though skin needling is quite painful I prefer not to use an anesthetic cream as it delays the body's response.
Treating scars using readily available tattoo needles is extremely cheap.
A standard tattoo needle only costs about 25 pence in the UK! The total cost of all materials used to do one treatment by myself is about £1.
In contrast the other treatments cost £200 or more per session and they are not as effective!
Self Needling Method
I needle on the the first sunday evening of each month. Evenings are better as the swelling will have died down by the morning
Wipe skin clean with antiseptic wipes
Open new needle(s)
When needling scar tissue you will hear a popping sound. In addition the scar tissue will feel harder when you run your finger over it.
Needle the scar until you stop hearing the popping sound and all the hard skin is softened up by needling
Stop bleeding by pressing down on wound site using antispetic wipe or cotton soaked in antiseptic lotion
Carry on until you have needled all the scars
Dispose off needles properly
Apply liquid skin
Apply concealer makeup
A few days later start applying skin lightening cream before the concealer
I remind myself everyday that 4% improvement x 24 months = 96% improvement
Repeat the above steps the following month