Over the last few days I've had two people – namely Himself and my sister – doing an awful lot of peering closely at my face and then accusing me of secretly getting Botoxed.
“Wow, you look really well...” (leaning in, eyes narrowing) “I can't see what's different...” (eyes widening, nearly popping out of head) “OHMYGODYOUDIDN'T!”
I hadn't, but I had been along to Renew Aesthetic Clinic's new outpost in Naas for a treatment that admittedly involved lots of needles.
Microneedling was phase two of the pre-wedding skin prep that nurses and clinic owners Sinead and Jeanette suggested when I visited their Harcourt Street location before Christmas, and like a proper little weirdo I've spent the last few months being very excited at the prospect of having a small spiked roller pushed all over my face. (Really, I've been looking forward to having microneedling done someday since first discovering that it was a thing in early 2009.)
It's a non-ablative procedure that promises results comparable to deep peels or laser treatments by stimulating fibroblasts and inducing collagen synthesis, with minimal downtime and less post-treatment sun sensitivity. Suitable for all skin types, microneedling is indicated as a treatment to improve skin texture, restore skin tightness and firmness, and reduce wrinkles, pigmentation and scarring.
I'm originally from Naas so I was selfishly delighted to hear the news that Renew had set up shop in the town, and was able to easily squeeze a microneedling session in between seeing Himself's brand new niece/goddaughter and tea with Mam on a trip home last weekend.
To begin, a topical anaesthetic was applied to my cleansed skin and left for 30 minutes to take effect, during which time I caught up with the glossies and spotted our very own Rosemary looking gawjus in the Irish Tatler social pages. Then it was time to get down to business on my now numb mush. Jeanette removed the excess anaesthetic cream, wiped skin with a sterilising swab, and applied a peptide rich solution for problem skin for transdermal delivery via the micro-channels created by the roller to address my specific skin issues.
Jeanette used the hand-held roller vertically and horizontally across my skin, and while each pass of the roller was pretty uncomfortable, especially on the bonier parts of the face, I found that the slightly disconcerting grinding noise that the head made as it turned was worse than the slight pinprick sensation itself. The actual microneedling process took only minutes.
When it was over, Jeanette took further advantage of the micro-channels by applying an anti-oxidant Vitamin C cocktail, to encourage collagen production, fight free radicals and pigmentation, and reduce any inflammation, before finishing with a high factor sunscreen.
At that point, I decided to have a goo at the roller - I'd declined to see it before the treatment, because it's one thing to know about something in theory and see photos online, quite another to see the actual implement that's going to be used on you In Real Life.
And when I saw it afterwards I was bloody glad I hadn't succumbed to the gory temptation to take a sneaky peek at it in all its spiky glory.
Immediately after the treatment, my skin felt warm and looked quite pink with roller lines in places, especially my forehead, chin, and the tops of my cheeks, but as I had sort of been expecting it to look red raw I was pleasantly surprised. Over the next few hours, I could see the pinkness subsiding with every look in the mirror and I felt totally fine about going out that night with family with just a little (Jeanette approved) mineral powder foundation.
Naked on the Internet! Sorry, Ma.
I could cover it with foundation and concealer the following day, although it took a good 48 hours to go away altogether. While a course of 3 or 4 sessions 6-8 weeks apart is usually recommended for optimum results, lasting up to a year, there's already been a definite and noticeable improvement in my skin's overall appearance. It's subtle, which explains why my nearest and dearest are so busy gettin' all up in my grill and playing spot the difference, but the haggard aspect that it had taken on in the last couple of years has obviously diminished thanks to a softening of lines, a plumping and tof the skin, and a marked decrease in pigmentation. (Or, as Himself succinctly put it: “You look less wrinkly. And more... all the one colour.”)
Mortifyingly close-up pics taken 8 days apart in the same spot, with the same bathroom lighting.
Less than a week on, it looks like microneedling might just be the most effective thing I've ever done for my skin.
I can't flipping wait to see what the effects will be like after another couple of weeks.
I had my microneedling session as a guest of Renew Aesthetic Clinic in Naas, Co. Kildare. Microneedling costs €220 or €600 for a bundle of 3 treatments.