Is Microneedling Painful? What to Expect

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on August 15, 2022
is microneedling painful
⏱️ 5 min read

If you’ve never heard of microneedling before, the first thing any technician will tell you is that this treatment is very effective for treating a wide variety of skin conditions – and even for hair growth!

Microneedling’s many benefits spark a lot of people’s interest. But many of them get discouraged when they find out how it’s done. Then the most asked question is focused on how it feels instead of what it does.

But to answer the “is microneedling painful” question, first, we have to explain what microneedling is and how it’s done. Let’s get into it.

What Is Microneedling and How Is It Done?

Microneedling is a treatment focused on reinforcing the body’s natural production of collagen. By breaking open the skin barrier via the creation of microwounds, the damaged skin starts a regeneration process to replace the injured spot with healthy new skin.

The production of collagen and elastin is triggered by this process which is why microneedling is sometimes referred to as collagen induction therapy.

There are two techniques of microneedling; it can be done with a dermapen or dermaroller. Dermapen is done with a pen-shaped handpiece that contains a bunch of tiny thin needles inside of it. The device is pressed against the skin and needles pierce through, creating microwounds.

Dermaroller is essentially a face roller covered in tiny needles. The length of needles can vary but regardless of their size, this technique is considered inferior to dermapen because of the angle of skin penetration. Rolling motion makes the needles enter at a slanted angle and leave the same way which creates larger punctures but albeit (a bit) less effective.

Either technique requires a few sessions to show desired results, but improvements can be seen even after the first session.

Learn all about microneedling in our detailed guide: Microneedling – Everything You Need to Know

how is microneedling doneImage source: Instagram @ramona.martiness.official

So, Is Microneedling Painful?

Microneedling is not really painful, but it can be uncomfortable. There are a few factors determining that. Firstly, we have to think about the length and thickness of the needle. The needles differ depending on if you are doing the dermapen technique or a dermaroller technique.

Dermaroller seems to be slightly more unpleasant than dermapen, despite the needles being shorter. The needles of dermaroller are thicker and non-adjustable which makes going over thinner skin and more sensitive areas much more uncomfortable. The dermapen, on the other hand, can adjust the length of the needles as necessary and doesn’t have to puncture deeper than it’s supposed to.

Secondly – the level of discomfort mostly depends on the area of the body microneedling is being done on. Let’s go over each one individually.

Is Microneedling Painful When Done on The Face?

The face has different areas that can be more painful than others. For example, the forehead is quite uncomfortable because the skin is thin and the pressure is felt more. Cheeks are meatier, so to say, so the pain is cushioned by muscles and fat in that area.

is microneedling painful when done on faceImage source: Instagram @glowface_microneedling

Is Microneedling Painful When Done on The Scalp?

Growth factors that promote skin regeneration also promote hair growth so many people use it to help their hair become thicker. A lot of men also use it for their beards as microneedling can help them fill in sparse spots and make their beards fuller.

As far as the pain goes scalp microneedling can be uncomfortable, especially on the temples and the crown. The skin is thinner on the temples and the sensations can be compared to the ones you’d feel on your forehead. Many describe it on the same level as tweezing the eyebrows.

is microneedling painful when done on scalpImage source: Instagram @taiyabasaleem_official

Is Microneedling Painful When Done on The Body?

If it can be beneficial for the face it can be beneficial for the body skin as well, right? Microneedling is very effective in improving skin texture and getting rid of “imperfections” like stretch marks and wrinkles, regardless of where on the body they’re located.

In general, bony areas and areas where the skin is thin are more painful compared to fatty or muscly ones. That is meant to say that the level of pain depends on the body part you are treating. Keep in mind that larger areas and areas with thicker skin require longer needles to achieve results.

is microneedling painful on the bodyImage source: Insatgram @naglarrm

Is Microneedling Painful After Numbing Cream?

If you are worried the treatment will be too painful, you can apply topical numbing cream before the session begins. Numbing cream prevents any discomfort, although this treatment is considered virtually painless.

The sensations of microneedling are often described as tingling, scratching, or stinging. Some people even describe just the feeling of general hotness or numbness in the area treated.

Still, there is a possibility that bony and sensitive areas even bleed a bit. But don’t worry – some pinpoint bleeding just means the needles are reaching the dermis (the second layer of the skin). The amount of bleeding can also depend on the length of the needle and other factors. For example, if you’ve been physically active or used blood thinning medication you might bleed more. So, a bit of bleeding is not a cause for concern.

However, this treatment mustn’t be unbearably painful, even where your skin is more sensitive. If there is an extreme amount of blood it might mean that the technician is doing something wrong.

is microneedling painful after the numbing creamImage source: Freepik

Is Microneedling Painful After the Treatment Is Over?

Your skin was just repeatedly pierced; you should expect it to be tender after that.

Most likely, you will experience some tightness and dryness, and even some itching is possible.
Other normal side effects also include some redness, and even some swelling or bruising.
All of these symptoms should last only for a few days.

If they last more than that, you need to see a doctor. But to prevent the risk of such “gone wrong” cases, make sure you are booking the session with a licensed professional.

After the treatment, you should avoid direct sunlight for the first week and follow your technician’s aftercare advice carefully. You don’t want to risk infections or skin damage and scarring.

So Is the Discomfort Worth It?

Microneedling is perhaps the least invasive skin treatment that can provide a prominent improvement. Great results can be achieved with mild discomfort. The thing is, if you try microneedling and the sensation is too much for you, you can stop at one session and there’s no harm in not repeating it.

Cover image source: Freepik



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