I’m always looking for new ways to prevent aging from showing up on my skin and improve my overall glowey-ness. In an effort to hold off on the more invasive stuff for as long as possible – I’ve begun to explore options that help the skin regenerate from the inside out. Enter – microneedling.

Microneedling is a stimulating treatment where countless tiny needles are inserted into the skin to promote collagen production and resurface texture. It’s known to be great for anti-aging, pore refinement, and scars. 

For my first foray into the method, I went to Michelle Graves – originally my resident acupuncturist and herbalist – she’s a licensed expert in Chinese medicine and applies the best of what both the East and West have to offer. Her microneedling treatments are just as holistic – from assessment to recovery. 

My goals for microneedling were simple – I wanted my skin to be more plump, even, and smooth. As an olive-skinned person of Southern European descent, my issues aren’t so much with wrinkles as they are with collagen loss and getting that tired skin look. 

My experience and the result surpassed my expectations – here’s how it went:

First up: Numbing the face 

Some people, ahem Kourtney Kardashian, have famously claimed to skip this step although I’m uncertain why. Michelle applied a numbing serum to my skin – and because she takes a holistic approach to everything – she does an acupuncture treatment while the cream takes effect. 

Next up: The add-on acupuncture treatment 

Michelle did a Chinese medicine tongue assessment on me which guided the focus of the acupuncture. Surprise – my tongue showed I was having issues with anxiety. She did a trifecta of needle applications at 3 meridian points intended to help anxiety, calm the spirit, and balance hormones.

Then: The real needling begins 

Since it was my first time, we chose the most gentle setting for the electronic microneedling pen that was used. Note: some practitioners use a manual derma-roller device – although the pen seemed to operate much more quickly with more coverage and more needle pokes than a manual device might be able to.

How it feels  

Before the treatment began, Michelle asked, “Have you ever gotten a tattoo?” While procedure was relatively pain free – with a few uncomfortable spots where the skin is closer to the bone on the forehead and nose – the sensation is eerily similar to the vibrating tattoo needle – without the pain. We covered the full face, and neck too – an area of genetically-driven turmoil for me. It’s common to have some bleeding through the procedure, although mine was minimal. If you do bleed, do not fear – it’s totally normal.

The recovery 

Right afterward, Michelle applied a calming mask which helped with redness and heat. Later on the day, I definitely got more red and warm. It subsided by the following day and for the next few my skin was drier and a little flaky. According to Michelle, this is totally normal as the skin sheds and rejuvenates. 

By day 4, I was feeling the glow. By this day you can expect the redness and any textural/flaking healing to be subsiding. 

The results 

I’m really happy with the change in my skin I’m seeing after the first treatment. The texture is noticeably smoother and more even – it has an almost luminescent translucent quality in place of the more tired look I went into the treatment with. It’s safe to say I’m sold on microneedling and will be incorporating it into my life going forward. 

Before & After

Notes on aftercare

While you’re healing after treatment It’s important to hydrate, stop any retinol use for at least a few days, moisturize, and protect your skin from the sun. While I was healing, I doubled up on my Osea Hyaluronic Serum applications throughout the day.  

Keep it up

For long term results, it’s recommended to have a set of treatments completed monthly – the number of treatments determined between you and your practitioner. A study done in 2008 actually showed that skin treated with four microneedling sessions spaced one month apart produced up to a 400% increase in collagen and elastin six months after completing treatment.

To find out more about working with Michelle Graves for microneedling, you can reach her here. Have you tried microneedling? What did you think?

Stefania Romeo

Stefania Romeo

Stefania Romeo is the co-founder of Virra and co-host of the ’This Life Explains It All’ podcast. Prior, Stefania led teams and programs at Uber and BuzzFeed. She is currently based in San Francisco, CA.

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