Microneedling and laser treatments are safe and effective options for reversing signs of aging. Although they are both non-surgical and minimally invasive treatments, they work differently to improve the appearance and quality of your skin.
Below is a quick guide to differentiating microneedling and laser treatments to help you determine the best procedure to treat your specific skin concerns.
Microneedling vs. Laser Treatments: Which is better for skin rejuvenation?
The better skin-rejuvenating treatment depends on your skin type, specific concerns, the amount of recovery time you can tolerate, and your aesthetic goals. The first step toward deciding is understanding how each treatment works to rejuvenate the skin.
- Microneedling uses a device with multiple fine needles to puncture the skin and create thousands of micro-wounds. These micro-injuries signal the skin to kickstart the body’s natural healing process, increasing collagen production and promoting skin cell turnover. PRP (platelet rich plasma) is usually combined with this treatment to further stimulate new collagen formation.
- Radiofrequency (RF) microneedling is an enhanced treatment with needles that deliver high-intensity radiofrequency energy into the dermal layers of the skin to better facilitate collagen and elastin production. The added feature of RF energy allows the treatment to penetrate deeper into the tissues for more significant results.
- Laser treatments use focused beams of light to remove damaged skin cells and stimulate cell turnover. The two types of lasers are:
Ablative lasers – work by strategically vaporizing the outer layers of damaged skin and promoting the growth of new collagen fibers.
Non-ablative lasers – use heat to stimulate collagen production and cell renewal rather than removing the skin’s outer layers.
Microneedling vs. Laser for Scars
A scar’s composition varies and can be flat, sunken, lumpy, colored, painful, or itchy. The most common scars treated with microneedling and lasers include:
- Acne scars
- Surgical scars
- Scars from injuries
Microneedling and lasers can be effective for the improvement of scars. During microneedling’s skin-penetrating process, the skin produces more collagen to heal the wounds from the needles. New collagen that forms helps smooth the skin’s appearance, helping to fill out lines, wrinkles, and scars. The use of PRP may help boost new collagen formation.
Dr. Brunner offers the following microneedling devices to treat scars:
Microneedling for acne scars can significantly improve skin texture, appearance, and overall quality.
Ablative lasers effectively remove the skin’s outer layers and trigger new collagen formation in the inner layers. As the scar’s top layer peels off, the skin appears smoother, and the scar’s appearance becomes less noticeable.
Non-ablative lasers heat the dermis to stimulate collagen remodeling to encourage fresh, healthy skin cells to grow and produce smoother-looking skin.
Both ablative and non-ablative lasers can improve the color of the scar. Dr. Brunner has many different non-ablative and ablative lasers. She will review the laser that will best treat your particular issue.
Radiofrequency devices and pulsed light sources can also help scars appear less noticeable without damaging the outer layer of skin.
Dr. Brunner can help treat scars using the following laser devices:
Lasers can treat all types of acne scars. They help diminish color, and improve the texture of the scar. They are useful for contouring scar edges to make them less noticeable.
Microneedling vs. Laser for Wrinkles
Microneedling’s controlled injury initiates the skin’s healing response, resulting in the production of new collagen. The skin becomes thicker, firmer, and plumper with a smoother appearance.
Microneedling offers an effective exfoliation and rejuvenation treatment for more vibrant and younger-looking skin. Depending on needle depth, microneedling provides a quick recovery time, but patients often need multiple sessions to achieve their desired results.
Lasers treat wrinkles by removing the outer skin layer and heating the underlying layer. The heat stimulates new collagen growth, resulting in smoother and firmer skin. Lasers are usually better to correct brown and red pigment issues, like:
- Sun spots
- Spider veins
Laser treatments can be more aggressive than microneedling and typically produce more dramatic results with fewer sessions. Lasers are also ideal for spot corrections and deeper skin concerns.
Microneedling is suitable for all skin colors and types, whereas some laser treatments can put darker skin tones at risk of hyperpigmentation.
The recovery from laser treatments depends on the particular laser being used. “No- Recovery” lasers like Clear + Brilliant, PicoSure, Varilite, and Advalight have mild redness for up to one day and are “back to work” the next day. Deeper lasers, like Fraxel Dual and Fraxel Repair, can have redness and peeling for 4 to 7 days depending on the laser used and the strength of treatment required.
Microneedling patients may experience redness and peeling within the first several days post-treatment.
To treat wrinkles, Dr. Brunner uses the following devices:
- Fraxel Dual, Fraxel Repair
- Morpheus8/Fractora RF Microneedling
- Microneedling with PRP
Can I Try Microneedling and Laser Together?
Microneedling and laser resurfacing can be combined as a treatment plan or can be performed one after the other. This type of treatment is designed uniquely for the specific issue treated. You should expect higher skin sensitivity when undergoing both procedures in a short time.
The combination approach is designed by Dr. Brunner for the specific issue addressed. As with any procedure, it is best to discuss with Dr. Brunner if a combination of microneedling and laser would be best for you.
Microneedling and Laser Treatments in Princeton, NJ
Skin rejuvenation through microneedling or laser therapy can be an excellent way to restore more radiant and youthful-looking skin without surgery.
Eugenie Brunner, MD, FACS, is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon who performs all cosmetic procedures in her Princeton, NJ, office. She spends time understanding her patients’ concerns and goals and develops customized plans, so you can rest assured you are receiving the best treatments.