Welcome to Month of Me, where every day in January we’ll be publishing a new fashion, beauty, or wellness article featuring a first-person account of shaking up an old habit, pushing beyond a comfort zone, or simply trying something new. Follow along for 31 days of storytelling, including what it’s like to quit alcohol for 80 days, try Beyoncé's very strict diet, or completely overhaul your closet.
Name: Samuel Schultz, video producer, Who What Wear
Why did you try it? I've been dealing with an onslaught of acne-related issues for the better part of a year. I went from having the clearest skin to having consistent breakouts seemingly overnight. Because of my darker complexion, hyperpigmentation is my real problem. Even with daily sunscreen use, a small pimple can leave a brown spot on my face for months. Because I'm dealing with such regular breakouts, that means consistent hyperpigmentation. These issues have sent me on a journey of trying product after product with unsuccessful results and arguably more irritation than before.
I've had some success in the past keeping breakouts at bay using Glow Recipe's Blueberry Bounce Cleanser ($34) and the brand's Avocado Sleeping Mask ($49) nightly. I'm also well-versed in my retinols, and the Shani Darden Texture Reform Serum ($95) was my skin's best friend for a while. However, now that my breakouts have reached a breaking point (no pun intended), I wanted something that could help my skin fend off the breakouts and heal from hyperpigmentation from within.
After a lengthy discussion with Samolitis on all things acne, we determined micro-needling could yield the best overall results for someone in my position. While micro-needling is commonly used to treat wrinkles, it can also vastly improve scarring and hyperpigmentation and, in the long term, reduce your pore size to help keep acne at bay.
How did you prepare? Preparation was light. I simply shaved my face and made sure I wasn't using any active ingredients like retinol or vitamin C a few days before the treatment.
What happened during the whole process? An RN lathered my face with numbing cream, which was actually quite comfortable. After waiting approximately 30 minutes for the numbing cream to take effect, I was then taken to a room for my procedure. Samolitis showed me the tool she'd be using and dove right in. Because of the numbing cream, I only felt a little pressure but definitely no pain. I was very comfortable!
Any challenges? I was given an aftercare package from Facile and instructed to use the sunscreen and moisturizer they provided in lieu of my normal skincare routine while my skin was healing. After three days, I returned to my routine and also started using the BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner ($80) to keep my skin bright and the Mara Algae + Moringa Universal Facial Oil ($72) to keep my skin extra hydrated during these colder months. And most importantly, sunscreen—I've been loyal to Facile's Tinted SPF ($45) since my first appointment at the facility. It's a full-coverage, zinc oxide blend.
Any surprises? Prior to the procedure, I had done some self-extractions on my skin (never recommended, FYI). What can I say? I was breaking out pretty bad, and it was the holidays. I just wanted them to be out! I was concerned that this would change my treatment a bit, but Samolitis said it was okay to go over the extracted areas. So long as the pimple isn't an active pustule, the treatment can actually help reduce post-inflammatory pigmentation. Another surprise was how minimal the bleeding was. My skin only bled a small amount.
How did you feel afterward? What kinds of changes did you notice? My skin felt tight immediately after, and once the numbing wore off, it felt as though I had a small sunburn. Not the most comfortable feeling but completely manageable. I was actually surprised that I wasn't redder and more inflamed after the treatment. I was told the redness would last up to three days and would be the worst on day one. My redness had disappeared almost completely by day two. I did opt for some infrared light therapy the following day to ensure I was healed up by New Year's Eve and because I just love Facile so much. They offer treatment for everything and anything.
What did you like about it? Overall, I liked how comfortable it was. You wouldn't normally think that a procedure which consists of hairpin-size needles dragging over the skin would be a "comfortable" experience, but it was really quite painless. I also like how proactive it is. Micro-needling encourages the skin to produce more of its own collagen and become stronger from within. The results are fairly immediate. I could see a vast improvement in my skin texture and overall brightness after about a week.
What did you hate? Acne scarring is difficult and certainly not pleasant. The price of micro-needling is generally high. I don't have a ton of deep-rooted scarring since acne is a relatively new battle for me. If you're someone with bad acne scarring or frustrating wrinkles, multiple treatments can quickly become quite costly. I've had success with at-home products for treating my hyperpigmentation and scarring on a lighter scale. Talk to your dermatologist or a trusted skin source to really determine if this will provide results!
Would you try it again? Absolutely! Micro-needling is more successful the more you do it. Samolitis recommends three to four treatments depending on your specific issues and sometimes more treatments if the scarring is especially bad. I plan to get at least two more rounds to maximize my results.
Any advice for someone who is thinking about trying it? Go for it! Micro-needling addresses a wide range of skin concerns and is less invasive than many lasers. I would especially encourage this for darker skin tones to treat hyperpigmentation. One of my concerns is if this treatment could adversely cause more pigmentation given my darker tone, but I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it allowed me to turn around some spots I would normally have had to deal with for months.