There are so many anti-aging skin products on the market it can be almost impossible to separate truth from hype. We’re bombarded with celebrity skin care “systems” offering results that often seem too good to be true. Prices can range from $19.95 TV specials to $350 for an ounce of night cream sold at an upscale boutique. For anyone with less-than-perfect skin, or those looking to maintain a youthful glow, consulting a physi- cian to help navigate the options might be a good idea. And for anyone considering the next step—facial rejuvenation or cosmetic surgery—a doctor consult is a must.
Using a new procedure called “micro-needling,” Dr. James Marotta, of Marotta Aesthetics & Laser in Smithtown, helps skin generate collagen production by making tiny perforations just beneath the skin’s surface. It may sound strange, but purposely “damaging” the skin is actually beneficial in this case. “The skin is our natural protective barrier,” Marotta said. “It’s difficult for topical agents like growth factors or retinoids, which stimulate collagen, to penetrate the protective layer of the skin.”
Under Marotta’s care, his staff of trained nurses performs the procedure using the Eclipse MicroPen Elite ($500 per treatment). By creating small puncture marks that stimulate the body’s repair mechanisms, growth of newer, healthier skin with more collagen and elastic fibers is trig- gered. “These small needle holes also provide a way to deliver biologically active collagen- inducing compounds into the deepest layers of the skin, where it really counts,” Marotta said.
Proponents say micro-needling produces little or no discomfort for patients and is very safe. Side effects and reactions are extremely rare and the patient has virtually no down time. Mild bruising may occur in about one percent of patients, but adverse reactions such as skin infections or severe swelling are extremely uncommon.
Marotta’s practice is one of few on Long Island that offer micro-needling. He has been treating clients with it for a year for a number of conditions, including wrinkles and sagging skin, UV damage from the sun, stretch marks, uneven pigmentation and scars caused by accidents or acne. Previously, the most common treatments for these included lasers or chemical peels. This newer technique makes it possible to have the procedure in the morning and go back to work the same day, with no one the wiser (after a light dusting of makeup).
Dino Aspromatis, a representative for Eclipse Aesthetics, which manufactures the medical-grade Eclipse MicroPen Elite used in this procedure, called it “a catalyst for the body to heal itself.” The addition of PRP, or platelet-rich plasma, can create results that last up to a year. For this procedure, also known as a “Vampire FaceLift” ($1000 per treatment), the patient’s own blood is extracted and spun to separate out the plasma. The Micropen allows the injection to penetrate deeply into the skin, inducing more collagen production for better results. The skin adjacent to the trauma starts a “healing cascade” process. Aspromatis said that after a video of Kim Kardashian having the Vampire Facelift went viral, demand for the procedure has gone through the roof throughout the country. Marotta has seen an increase in requests for micro- needling simply because his patients are so happy with the results.
Most of Marotta’s patients receive three to six treatments over a period of several weeks. One patient we spoke to was very pleased. “I had five sessions and saw subtle changes. And I love the fact that this is reviving my own collagen. I’ve even had two procedures done with my own plasma.” The results weren’t instant, but even her husband has noticed a difference. She said that although her skin is sensitive, the discomfort was minor and she had only a small amount of swelling. “I didn’t see overnight results,” she said, “but over time I saw improvement in my skin. I believe in taking care of myself and this is something I’ll continue to do.”
Aging skin is a concern for many, but the thought of going under the knife for a facelift is a serious consideration. As an alternative, micro-needling offers the promise of youthful skin through an effective, non-invasive method. Those looking to reverse the damage from sun, wind, the elements or other scarring may take this step towards looking and feeling better without having to undergo serious surgery.