So you’ve seen a few lines and wrinkles creeping in, maybe a sag here or there where there wasn’t before, and you want to do something about it but the idea of injections or cosmetic surgery seems too extreme, or maybe just too darn soon. Let’s face it, you might be wanting to keep the heavy guns up your sleeve for later when you’re really desperate – and besides, have we really seen the best of what modern science can do in the pursuit of the elixir of youth (note every Hollywood actress that has gone from wow to bizarre at around the age of 48 – a very hard balance to strike me thinks!)…
So for all you ladies looking for a natural, pain free and relatively non-invasive approach to anti-aging, what are your choices? There are a myriad of creams on the market making many claims which can be very confusing. There’s laser, or microdermabrasion – all reasonable alternatives worth a shot – but the not so new kid on the block that’s making a bit of a resurgence, is skin needling. So what is it, and why does it work (and yes, the answer is… ‘it does work’).
Skin needling has actually been used in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years to help maintain a youthful complexion. The traditional approach involves needling Acupuncture points on the face to influence troublesome areas, as well as using body Acupuncture points, often at the feet or hands (one end of the meridian) to increase Qi and Blood flow in the channels so as to influence and invigorate what’s at the other end (i.e. the face).
Fast forward to modern times, and scientific research into this ancient practice has shown that skin needling actually helps trigger collagen production. By producing microscopic wounds in the skin it causes the body to ‘heal’ itself by laying down collagen and elastin and other good stuff via the body’s natural inflammatory processes. This causes the area to become tighter and thicker over time – handy when the skin on our bodies, and particularly our face and hands, grows looser and thinner as we age due to the loss of – you guessed it – collagen!
These days it has become popular to use a little implement called a dermaroller for skin needling, and I use this in clinic in conjunction with more traditional Cosmetic Acupuncture techniques to enhance results achieved. A dermaroller looks a little like a mini lawn aerator, and is a roller with thousands of tiny needles which is, you guessed it, rolled over the skin to create thousands of microscopic wounds. This of course allows you to cover larger areas, rather than simply targeting select wrinkles and scars, and get a better overall result when using skin needling for anti-aging purposes.
It doesn’t hurt because the needles on a roller for the face are only 0.5mm long, which is all that is needed on the facial skin as it so thin. If you’re using dermarolling on parts of the body like the legs for stretch marks, or for scar tissue repair, then you’re looking at longer needles, but for anti-aging purposes on our beautiful noggins, that is long enough.
I personally have been using a dermaroller every 2-4 weeks on my face and neck for the past 12-18 months, and have noticed a gradual improvement in my skin’s texture and pore size, tightness and wrinkle depth. I also notice when I leave it for closer to 4 weeks, that my wrinkles start to look deeper and more obvious. I feel that my skin continued to slowly improve over a 12 month period, and now I am just at the maintenance stage – trying to stay the hands of time. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t look 21, or even 25 (well, I like to think I could pass for that), but I’ve definitely knocked a few years off and am hoping to hold it there for as long as possible. One thing I’ve noticed is that I have had a few comments recently on how nice my skin is, which believe me is odd since I’ve always been porous and prone to break outs! Looks like my best years are ahead of me (I hope!).
For me, this approach is perfect – not too extreme, not too invasive or time consuming, and I am very happy. It’s not for everyone of course, but if you get out and chat to beauty therapists and the likes, you’ll start to hear lots of good feedback on results. Combine that with some body Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to work on your inner health and well being, and then you’re really cooking with gas!
Tanya Kane is a licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Practitioner who works from Banora Point on the Tweed Coast, specialising in fertility and pregnancy care, women’s health, and Acupuncture for anti-aging.