WATCH: #TheBeautyCollective - Everything you need to know about micro-needling - The in-vogue cosmetic procedure with proven results

A micro-needling procedure involves using a device with fine needles to create controlled micro-injuries on the skin's surface. Picture: BTI Joburg South.

A micro-needling procedure involves using a device with fine needles to create controlled micro-injuries on the skin's surface. Picture: BTI Joburg South.

Published Aug 18, 2023


Johannesburg - Modern beauty has become a culmination of mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, which all work concurrently for you to be your best self. And with the continuous demands of daily life, some self-care goes a long way to help you look and feel your best.

Social media is flooded with the latest beauty tips, some untried which could be dangerous and downright obscure. The Beauty Collective (TBC) seeks to provide tried and tested beauty and lifestyle tips and advice. From skincare, haircare, makeup as well as nutrition, fitness and mental health, this is your guide to elevate your inner as well as outer beauty.

I have been a skincare fanatic and enthusiast for as long as I can remember.

This passion was partly forced upon me because I have suffered from acne and subsequent scarring and pigmentation from my very early teen years. And while this has been mentally and physically draining, the journey has also led me on a quest to constantly look for ways to improve the condition of my skin.

Now, several decades later and well into my 30s, I finally found a treatment that has improved the appearance of my face in a way that I have never seen before - micro-needling.

This is a cosmetic technique or treatment used to improve the appearance of the skin by stimulating collagen production and enhancing the absorption of topical products applied on the skin.

It is non-invasive, has minimal downtime and is safe for all skin types and races. The procedure includes using a device with fine needles to create controlled micro-injuries on the skin’s surface.

And for my very first micro-needling session, a procedure which is widely in vogue in the skincare industry, I was fortunate enough to be treated at the Beauty Therapy Institute (BTI), an educational institution founded by veteran, Sandy Fuhr.

During the micro-needling session at BTI Joburg South in Winchester Hills, I was in the capable hands of skincare specialist Noxolo Luyanda as well as the guidance of Genevieve Jaftha, the health and skincare educator at the facility.

BTI Joburg South skincare specialist Noxolo Luyanda and health and skincare educator Genevieve Jaftha. Picture: Karishma Dipa.

I have tattoos but I am terrified of needles and the thought of being injected multiple times on an area as visible and as sensitive as my face left me nervous and shaken.

But after just a quick chat with Luyanda and Jaftha, much of my fear disappeared as they spoke me through the entire micro-needling process and what to expect. They assured me that the procedure had minimal pain and that the ultimate reward of improved skin would be worth it.

And weeks after my session, they were absolutely correct. But before I get into that, this is what the entire process entails.

It begins with a thorough consultation which addresses skin type, conditions and concerns, as well as medical history.

BTI education facilitator Noluthando Mkhize added that any contraindications a client may have that could restrict the treatment would be discussed before the treatment.

Then, the first step of the actual procedure is to cleanse the skin thoroughly in order to remove any make-up, oils or debris.

“This is also to ensure the treatment area is clean and ready for a micro-needling treatment,” Mkhize said.

The therapist, who was Luyanda in my case, then applies a topical numbing cream to the treatment area to minimise discomfort during treatment.

“This is left on for a specified time, based on manufacturer’s instructions, to take effect,” explained Mkhize.

Then, once the area is numb, the micro-needling treatment is conducted and the device used at BTI is the SKN-Pen device or Derma pen 4 Pro.

“The depth of the needle length for penetration is adjusted based on the skin concerns being treated,” Mkhize added.

Meanwhile, a gel or serum product chosen to benefit the skin’s needs will be applied. In my case this was hyaluronic acid (HA), a natural substance found in the fluids in the eyes and joints and is used as a beauty product which enables the skin to retain moisture.

Luyanda used a HA serum in order to sufficiently moisturise my skin and to combat the subsequent drying of my face which occurred as a result of the micro-needling.

A Hyaluronic Acid (HA) serum is applied to the face prior to the micro-needling session. Picture: BTI Joburg South.

And with my face moisturised with an HA serum, Luyanda then gently glided the micro-needling device over my skin.

“This creates micro-controlled punctures in the skin,” Mkhize said.

From my personal experience, the numbing cream used prior to the actual micro-needling meant that I barely felt the tiny needles being injected into my face but I did feel a sensation on the more bonier areas, like the forehead, chin and cheek bones. It might have been uncomfortable but for me, the pain was definitely tolerable.

“The skincare professional therapist then conducts post-treatment procedures such as a calming or soothing cream or serum or a rescue balm to the treated area,” Mkhize explained.

“This is the ideal time to further enhance the penetration of beneficial skincare products, as the micro-channels created on the skin by the needles allows even more improved absorption.”

And just after the micro-needling session, my face was red, sensitive and it peeled almost immediately, which I was told was a good sign as my skin was reacting well to the treatment and was already stimulating collagen production.

I was told that while it looked like I was sunburnt following the micro-needling treatment, this was perfectly normal and that it would recede after a day or two. This was definitely the case for me as my skin’s condition returned to normal after about two days, although the redness remained for a few more days, which I was told, is to be expected.

“It is also essential to follow the instructions given by the skincare specialist, which may include avoiding certain skincare products that would aggravate the condition, not wearing make-up, avoiding sun exposure and intense physical activities for a few days,” Mkhize said.

And because I wanted to reap the full benefits of micro-needling, I did as I was told which included staying out of the sun and not wearing make-up for the next five or so days. I replaced my face wash, which included exfoliating beads, with something more gentler for the next week. During this time of recovery, I was also advised by Jaftha and Luyanda to use a Vitamin C and HA serum, which I definitely think sped up the healing process.

Meanwhile, Mkhize explained that the results of micro-needling treatments can vary depending on individual skin conditions and that multiple sessions may be recommended for optimal results, spaced several weeks apart. But I can already see a significant improvement in my skin after about a month of my very first micro-needling session.

This includes much of my pigmentation lightening with some disappearing totally. My skin also looks more glowing, radiant and youthful and it is so much softer and firmer. Another thing I noticed was that the products that make up my skincare regime also appear to be working so much better after my micro-needling session and I can feel it absorbing so much better and getting to work so much faster.

For this reason, I look forward to my skincare routines both day and night and because the condition of my face has improved to levels that I never, ever, experienced before, I am more eager to make sure that I look after it as best as I can. This includes never skipping my skincare routine, no matter how tired I am, not leaving the house without sunscreen, making sure I drink enough water and trying to eat as healthy as I can.

Karishma Dipa with skincare specialist Noxolo Luyanda. Picture: BTI Joburg South.

I am so thrilled that despite my fears of needles, I went through with the micro-needling because honestly, my skin has never looked or felt better. I am also thrilled that I chose BTI, particularly the Joburg south branch, as I got the chance to work with the incredibly talented Luyanda and Jaftha, who were so patient and helpful throughout the process. I am also happy to have chosen BTI to have this procedure because it gives aspiring beauty practitioners and specialists the chance to perfect their crafts. The educational facility has 20 colleges in Africa and they specialise in beauty, nails, massages, make-up and advanced aesthetics.

And if you don’t believe me about the vast benefits of micro-needling, here is Mkhize’s full breakdown:

– Stimulates collagen and elastin production to support the skin's firmness and elasticity which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leading to a more youthful looking complexion

– Improves skin texture and skin renewal

– Effective in treating acne scars, enlarged pores and rough skin texture. It can also reduce the appearance of surgical scars and stretch marks

– Enhances product absorption through the micro-channels created by the tiny needles during treatment

– Improvement of hyper-pigmentation by helping pigmentation caused by sun damage, age spots and melasma to fade

– Boosts the turnover of damaged skin cells and stimulates the production of new, healthier skin cells