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What Is Microneedling, the Revolutionary Tool for Erasing Wrinkles, Scars and Acne

Jamie O’Banion swears she has sensitive skin. The CEO and co-founder of Beauty Bioscience is indeed blond and fair, but she is also passionately advocating sticking hundreds of needles into one’s face. We feel our skepticism is justified.

Within minutes of talking to the daughter of Dr. Terry James, co-founder of Beauty Bioscience and a pioneer in the fields of nano-lipids, microdermabrasion and microneedling (also called dermarolling), we’re rethinking skin care as well as our abiding fear of needles.

Jamie O'Banion of GloPro

CEO of Beauty Bioscience Jamie O’Banion

“The entire concept of microneedling was introduced by my father, who is a physician, about 12 years ago,” O’Banion begins. “In the industry, we’ve known that you have to wound the skin to regenerate the skin. In the late 1970s we started with chemical peels. From chemical peels we moved to microdermabrasion–in fact my father was involved in bringing some of that technology over from Europe–that was in the ’90s. After microdermabrasion, lasers were introduced. These are all great technologies, but there are some definite downsides to them.” Those being the common peeling, flaking, redness and even permanent damage these older techniques can cause. “In each of these you can remove the entire epidermis–the upper layer of the skin–and about half of the dermis. Anything beyond half of the dermis you get scarring, and just not a good experience,” O’Banion explains.

The science behind all of these techniques: by gently damaging the skin, you trigger its natural healing and rejuvenating properties, which causes the creation of collagen. This can lead to firmer, smoother, plumper new skin cells to replace your old, haggard ones. But with mirconeedling, you’re creating only the tiniest injury to the skin with very small pinpricks–the GloPRO® needles themselves are .3 mm in length.

“You’re injuring the skin to rejuvenate the skin but it’s a micro injury,” says O’Banion. “A micro injury is imperceptible but it causes the same response. So you’re keeping everything intact, but you’re creating micro channels in the skin. And the skin doesn’t like anything open, any gaps in the skin, so your skin triggers a healing response to build healthy skin.”


Jamie O'Banion of GloPro

Clinical trials and endless personal accounts indicate that at-home needling can be effective in treating acne, wrinkles, scars and stretch marks. As O’Banion points out, since it doesn’t depend on ingredients, the technology is agnostic to skin age, type, conditions and color.

One can microneedle alone and see results from increased collagen production from the skin’s own regeneration, but one of its (pleasing) secondary effects is that using GloPRO® allows ingredients to better penetrate the skin. “In a clinical trial we did we found that ingredients were absorbed 200 times more effectively with GloPRO® than without,” says O’Banion. “It’s insurance that active ingredients will get into the skin. All these beautiful ingredients we buy in expensive skin products are really designed to work in the dermis, but if they can’t get in the dermis they can’t work.”

Some are suspect that a procedure that originated in the dermatologist’s office can be done as effectively at home–but think of the at-home chemical peels and facials that are so common now. “You’re getting the same tool,” O’Banion promises. “There are, of course, deeper microneedling procedures in-office–that’s not our at-home version. But we did a study that’s showed that it’s more effective to do microneedling to the dermal junction more frequently (say three times a week) than deeper microneedling less frequently. It’s like exercise–is it better to do it every day for 30 minutes or run two marathons a year?”

Pretty convincing.

What to expect when you microneedle at home:

  1. Be sure to have a clean face and a clean roller. Check that your skin has no infections or acne outbreaks–these can spread. Sterilize your GloPRO® with the provided wash or isopropyl alcohol.
  2. Section your face into parts: the forehead, sides and chin. Avoid the eyes and nose. So you know, in our experience the forehead is the most sensitive to the microneedling sensation.
  3. About that: microneedling feels like a bristly tingle; it doesn’t hurt but it’s also not pleasant.
  4. Use the lightest pressure and go horizontally across the areas of your face two or three times, letting the machine do most of the work.
  5. After you’ve covered your sections with a horizontal roll, return to them and roll vertically, again no more than three times.
  6. Apply your serum to the face. (You might also apply serum prior to rolling.)
  7. Sterilize your GloPRO® head before returning it to its box.
  8. O’Banion recommends replacing the head every three months.

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    —Britt Burritt