The Microneedling Patch: An Answer to Dark Spots and Cystic Acne?
Updated: Jun 17, 2019
Two notorious skincare problems just met their match.
Microneedling: The Trend
Even my esthetician has tried and loved the microneedling skincare trend. The treatment takes place at the dermatologist's office, where your skin is numbed and then punctured by an electric device containing twelve tiny needles that stimulate skin cell regeneration. Downtime lasts one to two days, and a few sessions can treat everything from dark spots and acne scars, to hair loss and sagging skin.
The controlled-injury technique yields greater collagen and elastin production, both of which are key for preventing wrinkles. It also breaks down existing scar tissue, thereby fading hyperpigmentation and improving texture.
Once the initial inflammation subsides, a plumper, smoother, more even-toned complexion is revealed. Treatments like PRP (platelet-rich plasma — as used in the so-called "Vampire Facial") — can be practiced in conjunction to expedite recovery times for results are literally glowing.
The treatment also boosts skin absorption, making subsequently applied active ingredients even more impactful in treating skin concerns.
Hence the beauty of the just-dropped microneedle patch, which uses non-invasive microneedle technology in dime-sized patches to deliver results that were formerly unattainable from home.
These patches, created by beauty pioneers from brands like Peace Out Skincare and Get Rael, create micro-channels in the skin that funnel targeted actives straight to the source. I've tried them and can confirm that they do so gently; it's completely pain-free. This is how beauty brands have made it possible to spot treat cystic acne and dark spots, two notoriously hard-to-target skin concerns.
Shrinking regular pimples, which break the surface of the skin, is easy comparatively. Applied over a breakout, a product like Mighty Patch Hydrocolloid Acne Absorbing Spot ($12) flattens the zit, vacuuming out its contents in mere hours. But hydrocolloid patches only work on pimples that come to a head at the surface of the skin.
Sufferers of cystic breakouts were always left hanging. Deep beneath the surface of the skin, a flare-up wreaks havoc on self-esteem for weeks at a time. (I'm speaking personally.)
The best short-term solution to a cystic zit requires an appointment at the dermatologist's office for an anti-inflammatory injection such as cortisone. That should flatten it in one or two days, but is a pain to schedule and can cost hundreds if paid out of pocket. Taking the drug Spironolactone, a diuretic that makes you pee out excess testosterone, is another option, but takes a few weeks to take effect and cannot be taken when pregnant. Finally, you can head to the derm for treatments of costly Photodynamic Therapy. (Or all three in conjunction, which I would recommend.)
Even after cystic acne heals, lingering acne scars can leave dark spots of complexion-marring hyper-pigmentation to contend with. Adding to the problem, some of the best skin lighteners on the market (i.e. hydroquinone) are controversial for being toxic.
The in-office solution? Series of IPL laser treatments, micro-needling, or professional-grade peels — all of which cost time and money. To treat scarring from home, you can invest in a topical serum, like the French Patyka Dark Spot Correcting Serum ($83) or luxury line Eighth Day Skincare Dark Spot RX ($160), which uses bio-identical stem cell proteins to impart serious hydration to the skin. These will take longer to work but will do so using non-invasive means.
Microneedling patches take DIY skincare to new territory. Used in conjunction with brightening vitamin C during the day, they are absolutely worth your consideration. Nothing works as quickly as the shot, but sometimes it takes weeks to get some face-time with your doc.
Get Rael Microneedle Technology Acne Healing Patch ($12) addresses the very real gap in the current skincare market.
Until now, the only worthwhile topical, at-home option for cystic acne was Renée Rouleau's Anti Bump Solution ($48). The serum reduces healing times by 50% using lactic acid, which works better than any other product but ultimately still takes weeks to resolve.
I just popped on a Get Rael patch to wear while writing this. It feels "sticky" when you apply pressure to the patch, but is totally painless. Contained within the little healing dot is anti-inflammatory salicylic acid, naturally astringent tea tree oil, and hyaluronic acid, which prevents excessive drying. You gently press the spot for five seconds to create the microchannel, then wait at least two hours before removing it so the active ingredients can work their way in.
Once clear, Peace Out Dark Spots ($28) uses the same sub-dermal micro-needling technology to lighten the hyper-pigmentation left behind. It also improves skin texture, starting in two weeks.
Containing skin brighteners like licorice root, niacinamide, and tranexamic acid, the dots are intended for use twice per week, for six hours at a time, and for two+ weeks consecutively.
I can't speak to the results just yet, but I can attest to the need for products like these. True to form, Peace Out Dark Spots sold out at Sephora in a week. The brand is now a four-time Sephora best-seller for their targeted treatments for acne, pores, dark circles, and now dark spots.
Lastly, at-home microneedling derma-rollers do exist, including versions made by skincare companies I know and trust. They help to maximize the efficacy of anti-aging serums and to promote the natural healing process by causing regulated inflammation.
That being said, I prefer to leave the beauty tools and invasive treatments to the professionals. I've had reactions too many times not to play it safe when it comes to my face. For now, I'll be sticking to my clear crystal roller by Hora Skincare, and, of course, the new micro-needling patches by Get Rael and Peace Out Skincare.
Have you tried micro-needling patches? Tell me on Instagram!
This post may contain affiliate links for which I receive a small commission. Emphasis on small.