Microneedling Depth Guide Through Areas & Concerns Being Treated

By PMUHub Editorial Team| Last updated on March 31, 2023
microneedling depth guide
⏱️ 8 min read

Microneedling is a very beneficial and minimally invasive treatment – when done correctly. To avoid pain and complications during and after the procedure, you need to choose the appropriate needle length – how deep you’ll poke the skin.

Which needle will be used depends on several things:

  • Skin type
  • Skin texture
  • Area being treated
  • And which skin imperfection you want to work on.

This microneedling depth guide is meant to help you understand how to choose the appropriate length based on the area and problem you’re treating. Let’s get into it.

The Importance of Proper Microneedling Depth

Microneedling works by creating purposeful skin injuries so that during the healing process, the skin concern you’re targeting is worked away by the body’s natural processes. But if the skin is punctured too deep, it can get damaged – for good.

Tailoring needle length to the specific area you’re treating and according to the goals you wish to achieve is the key to getting the best results and painless procedure.

Different face areas have very different properties, and in some parts, the layer of subcutaneous fat is thicker than in others.

Bony areas are the most sensitive ones as the skin is thinner. This means you need to use shorter needles. Which is exactly why it’s crucial we choose the proper needle length for each area separately.

Microneedling needle length ranges from 0.10mm to 3.00mm. Each of the increments between that has a different purpose.

0.1 mm – 0.25 mm

These are also called nanoneedles. They’re the best size for beginners and those doing the treatment by themselves.

The purpose of microneedling with this length is to help boost the absorption of serums and other skincare products. They don’t reach as deep so they can’t really fight major skin concerns, but they can help with issues like enlarged pores.

Because of this, they pretty much don’t require any downtime and the recovery is very fast so it can be used up to even 3 times a week!

Some skin experts don’t even consider this microneedling, but rather nanoneedling.

0.5 mm – 1 mm

This length is most often used for facial microneedling as it’s suitable for most regions. But more on that later.

0.5 mm is the most universal length and usually a go-to for most technicians as they can be used for almost any skin issue. These needles penetrate deep enough to show results even after a single session.

1.5 mm – 3 mm

These needles reach deep, so they’re only used for more extreme cases like deep acne scarring and deep wrinkles.

Most often thought, this size is considered unfit for the face and is mostly used in treating body-specific concerns like stretch marks and cellulite.

The importance of proper microneedling depth
Image source: Freepik

Microneedling Depth Guide Based on Goals

The needle needs to be able to penetrate to the depth that’s necessary for jumpstarting the healing process.

But here’s the catch – it’s all about balancing between going deep enough to trigger the process, but not so deep as to damage the skin and possibly lead to infection or other problems.

So here’s a quick overview of the needle length according to which skin problem you’re looking to solve.

DISCLAIMER

Our microneedling depth guide provides only the general guidelines – only an expert can determine the proper, safe way to perform the treatment with certainty.

Microneedling Depth for Collagen Production

Microneedling is often referred to as a collagen induction therapy because the injury is caused on purpose to trigger collagen and elastin production. This is mostly why this treatment is closely associated with anti-aging.

To get the most out of the procedure, use a 0.5 mm – 1 mm length.

Microneedling Depth for Wrinkles

Fine lines and shallow wrinkles react great to this treatment. They can be treated with 0.5 mm needles, as that’s enough to trigger collagen production.

However, for deeper and more pronounced wrinkles the needle length can go as high as 2 mm.

Microneedling Depth for Large Pores

Enlarged pores are a problem that is very easy to resolve. You don’t need to go deep at all and even 0.25 mm needles can get the job done.

Microneedling Depth for Acne Scars

Microneedling to get rid of acne scars is one of the biggest reasons to choose this treatment.

The necessary microneedling depth for acne scars depends on the severity of the scarring. It can go from 0.5 mm, up to 1.5 mm for deep scars.

While most in-office treatments will be done with a 1 mm device, for home treatments, 0.5 mm is the deepest you can go without risking damage. Performing the treatment incorrectly can lead to more scarring and hyperpigmentation.

For extreme cases, up to 2.5 mm length is used but these are then considered clinical treatments and are done by medical professionals.

microneedling depth guide for microneedling for acne scars
Image source: Instagram @moa.academy

Microneedling Depth for Hyperpigmentation

Hyperpigmentation is a very common skin concern. It can appear after any inflammatory process or as a result of unprotected sun-exposure. Many people have it and wish to get rid of it.

Well, luckily for them, microneedling is great in treating hyperpigmentation. You don’t need to go too deep, 0.5 mm to 1 mm is more than enough as discoloration is usually close to the surface layer of the skin.

Microneedling Depth Guide Through Different Areas

Although looking to solve specific skin concerns is the motivation behind getting this treatment done in the first place, you also need to pay special attention to the area that you’re looking to treat.

Some areas just aren’t suited to the needle length recommended for the particular concern and need multiple sessions of shallow penetration. The progress might be a bit slower, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

So when choosing the needle length, you have to think about the area you’re about to treat. Thicker skin requires slightly deeper penetration to get optimal results.

Here’s a general microneedling depth guide according to the area you’re looking to treat.

Forehead

This area is often treated for wrinkles so the length is picked according to their severity. The range is from 0.25 mm – 1 mm.

The strokes should go upwards and in a criss-cross motion. Make sure you don’t use too much pressure.

Microneedling Depth Guide Through Different Areas
Image source: Freepik

Between Eyebrows

For this area, the length can vary from 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm, as this area tends to have deep-set wrinkles.

Work in an upward direction and pull the skin taut while applying light, even pressure.

Around the Eyes

You can use 0.25 mm if your goal is to boost serum absorption and rejuvenate the skin in this area.

If your goal is to minimize fine lines and achieve anti-aging properties, 0.5 mm is the safest option.

But professionals sometimes go as long as 1 mm. This depends on the severity of wrinkles.

This area is delicate so you need to make sure you are using very light pressure and avoid dragging the needles against the skin. Hold the loose skin taut and move towards the hairline.

Read more on how microneedling under eyes works.

Cheeks and Cheekbones

Cheeks are a bit fattier, so the needles can be just slightly longer, up to 1.5 mm. Your strokes should be in criss-cross motion, going outwards – towards the sides of your face.

Then from the ears you should be moving upwards, going over the cheekbones as well.

The Nose

The nose is probably the most difficult area to microneedle. Not only because the sides are hard to reach, but the skin is very sensitive here, so you might feel a bit more discomfort compared to the rest of the face.

So on the nose, the needle length shouldn’t exceed 0.5 mm, if you’re trying to provide painless treatment. But the recommended needles are 0.25 mm.

Move upward, towards the forehead.

Around the Lips

There has been quite a stir when microneedling lips became a trend, because many experts spoke out against microneedling the pink part of them. You can read here why.

However, just because lips are off-limit, doesn’t mean the area around them should be ignored. This is one of the first areas where fine lines become visible.

In the small fleshy area between your cupid’s bow and nose, gently make upwards motions, then cross sideways motions towards the outsides of your face. You can do this with 0.25 mm to 1 mm needles.

Chin and Jawline

In these areas, you can use a bit more length (up to 1 mm) as these areas aren’t as sensitive. Use criss-cross motions and go from the bottom of the jaw upward, towards your cheeks.

Make sure you don’t go over the same area multiple times as this can overwork the skin.

The Neck

For the neck, some people go as long as 2 mm. But the recommendation is to use 0.5 or 1 mm needles.

If you’re using 0.5 mm, there will be less irritation, less discomfort, and it’s generally safer not to go too deep.

1 mm needles are used for sagging skin or to seriously boost collagen production, but prepare for some discomfort.

Body

Body microneedling is mostly done to reduce the visibility of stretch marks or cellulite.

For stretch marks, you can use 1.5 – 2 mm and for cellulite you’ll need to go a bit deeper with a 2.5 – 3 mm needle.

On the skin of the body, it’s totally safe to go as high as 3 mm, but this depends on the area. Generally, it’s recommended to start out with 1.5 mm needles for the first couple of sessions, and then you can gradually increase.

microneedling for stretch marks
Image source: Instagram @splendour_aesthetics

For Hair & Beard Growth

Microneedling can stimulate the hair growth as well, so it’s often used on the scalp and beard.

Starting out with a 0.5 mm, you can build up to as long as 2.5 mm on your scalp which will help increase overall thickness of your hair. But not all areas of the scalp are equally fatty, so adjust according to discomfort.

As for facial hair, 0.5 mm to 1 mm needles are a good choice for reaching optimal results.

What About Dermaroller Depth?

With a dermaroller, you can’t adjust the length of the needles. Most derma rollers available for at-home use have 0.5 mm needles, as you can’t really do much damage with them.

Apart from this limitation in terms of depth, the dermaroller is considered inferior due to the angle at which the needles enter the skin – it’s more aggressive and it carries a greater risk of tears.

Plus the needles on a dermaroller tend to be a bit thicker than the needles in a microneedling cartridge. They resemble pins more than needles.

So in case all you want to achieve with microneedling is better product absorption, a dermaroller works fine. If you want to work on a specific issue, dermapen microneedling is the way to go. But get it done professionally!

Although there are certain dermapens available for at-home use, you really shouldn’t be doing this by yourself. But if you go for it nevertheless, do your research!

You can begin by checking out our Complete Guide on Microneedling at Home and Guide on How to Avoid Common Risks of Microneedling.

In Conclusion

Microneedling is one of the most beloved facials out there because of its ability to help with a wide variety of skin issues – naturally. But only if you know how to treat them properly.

Choosing the appropriate needle length is crucial. When done incorrectly, it can be quite risky.

Our microneedling depth guide provides only the general guidelines – only an expert can determine the proper, safe way to perform the treatment with certainty.

Cover image source: Freepik

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