Bowie using the MicroPen on Gerry Cupido’s face.

The mere mention of needles makes most people queasy. So when I heard about the latest beauty treatment trend, called microneedling, my first reaction was, “No thank you, that’s not for me”

Microneedling, also referred to as collagen induction therapy, is a skin rejuvenating procedure that promises to treat wrinkles, pigmentation, scars (including acne scars) and stretch marks.

The treatment introduces fine needles using a micropen. The micropen is a tool with 12 really tiny needles in the tip.

These needles poke microscopic holes in the top layer of the skin. The theory is that in doing so the dermis is encouraged to produce new collagen which then generates new skin cells, resulting in the skin becoming thicker, plumper with a more youthful appearance.

Even so, you’re probably wondering why any sane person would voluntarily have tiny holes poked into their skin. It was when celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian started doing it, that more and more people became curious about this new rejuvenating treatment.

Amy Bowie is a medical therapist and owner of Pulse Dermatology and Laser. (Picture supplied)

I recently met with Amy Bowie, a medical therapist and owner of Pulse Dermatology and Laser, who convinced me to try the procedure. After sharing my skin concerns (pigmentation and fine lines), Bowie suggested that I give microneedling a go. 

When she started explaining what the procedure entailed, all I heard was needles - 12 needles - and pain threshold. Noticing my apprehension she asked whether I had tattoos. Because I have three, she assured me that if I could tolerate that pain, I wouldn't have any problem getting through this.

Before Bowie even picked up the dermapen (she used the Eclipse MicroPen), she applied a numbing cream to my face. I felt the effects within five minutes, especially around my lips. Once my skin was sufficiently numbed she started with the procedure.

Eyes tightly shut and fists clenched, I braced myself for the first contact of the MicroPen tip with its 12 needles. After a few seconds she stopped to ask me if I was feeling any pain.

Bowie using the MicroPen on Gerry Cupido’s face.

“On a scale of one to 10, what would the level of pain rate?” she asked. My response was, “one”. I barely felt a thing. To me it felt like she was gently rubbing a toothbrush in small circular movements all over my face. With that out of the way, I was able to relax and happily continue.

Twenty minutes later and the needling process was over. She then covered my skin with a Mesoestetic anti-stress face mask "to calm the skin" and popped me under red and yellow LED lights to "aid cell regeneration and minimise down time". The treatment was concluded with a fast skin repair and some SPF50 moisturiser.

I left the salon with a spring in my step, happy with the fact that my skin was already glowing and, from what I could feel - since my face was still numb - it was silky smooth.

Now you’re probably wondering what I meant by “down time”. One of the questions Bowie asked before we started was if I was going anywhere after the treatment, or if I had plans for the next few days.

She advised that it would be better if I wasn’t planning to leave home since there are a few post treatment side effects that I needed to be aware of. The one was a bit of redness, the other peeling.

I braced myself for the worst as I headed straight back to the office. With my face still numb, I merrily continued with my day until two hours later when I felt my face heating up. I quickly realised that the anaesthetic was wearing off.

Soon it felt like my face was on fire. When my colleagues started commenting on how red my face was I whipped out a mirror and was shocked to see that my face was now cherry red. By the time I got home my face looked and felt like I had spent all day in the sun. So the “bit of redness” was an understatement.

The next day the redness had subsided, but that’s when the peeling started. I looked like a reptile shedding old skin. This didn’t look good, hence Bowie's recommendation to stay home for a day or two, but it was apparently a good sign.

A new layer was being produced as the old skin was peeling off. The peeling process lasted three days. Thankfully Bowie was always a phone call away to talk me through concerns. With the uncomfortable part behind me, I looked forward to fresh, glowing skin.

Three weeks later and the texture of my skin already feels softer and tighter. My pigmentation has lightened slightly and my skin appears brighter.

Would I do again? Definitely. Do I recommend the procedure? I would highly recommend it, unless you have a very low pain threshold.

Pulse Dermatology and Laser salon in Durbanville. (Pic: Herman Agenbag photography)

About the salon

Pulse Dermatology and Laser, pioneers in non-surgical aesthetic treatments, offer an unrivalled menu of medical aesthetic treatments. Options available are bespoke peels and facials, advanced fat removal and body sculpting treatments, anti-ageing treatments, as well as advanced treatments for acne and of course, pain-free hair removal. Dr Nel is available upon request for medical procedures such as botox and fillers.

Bowie has extensive experience in the industry, including working internationally with a list of top A-listers as well as training and working alongside world renowned medical dermatologists and plastic surgeons.