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Microneedling: Things to consider

18 October 2019

Are you considering microneedling? The procedure may be used for treating acne scars and other skin conditions. But as with any cosmetic or medical procedure, it is important to do your research first.

Microneedling is a procedure where small needles are used to make small holes in the skin. The needles are embedded in a microneedling device, which may also be called a dermal roller or dermal stamp.

Some microneedling devices contain small needles that do not penetrate the skin and are used mainly to exfoliate the skin (remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin).

Consider the risks and benefits

Microneedling can be an appropriate skin treatment when performed by a health professional using a suitable microneedling device. But the procedure has risks too.

Skin redness is common after microneedling, which may last for several days. You should also take extra care to protect your skin from the sun in the days following the procedure.

Microneedling can have other risks, such as scarring or infection. These risks are greatest if microneedling is attempted at home or in any other place without supervision by a health professional or appropriate hygiene controls.

Research the device

The risks and benefits of microneedling are affected by needle length. Needles that penetrate deeper into the skin may have greater benefits but also come with greater risks.

Microneedling devices or procedures that claim only to exfoliate your skin are generally lower risk.

A microneedling device or procedure is generally higher risk if it:

  • claims to treat any skin condition, such as acne scarring, and/or
  • claims to penetrate the skin.

If a microneedling device or procedure makes one or both of these higher risk claims, it must be included on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). If you have any doubts or concerns, you should seek advice from a health professional.

Seek advice from a health professional

Seek advice from a health professional to find out if microneedling is right for you.

Health professionals who specialise in treating skin conditions (dermatologists) are well suited to performing microneedling procedures and providing advice about your skin.

Avoid infection with good hygiene

It's important to do your research before you consider microneedling at home. There are also several steps you can take to help reduce the risk.

Make sure you use a lower risk microneedling device (see above for guidance). It is also important to thoroughly clean your skin and disinfect the microneedling device as directed in the device instructions.

Avoid microneedling if you have cuts or abrasions on your skin, active acne or any other skin condition where you may be at higher risk of injury or infection.

Again, if in doubt, seek advice from a health professional to find out if microneedling is right for you.

Report problems to the TGA

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) monitors the safety of medical devices in Australia, including microneedling devices. If you experience a problem or side effect following a microneedling procedure, please report it to us.