The difference between Laser and microneedling

The difference between Laser and microneedling is the mechanism of action, laser use light energy and microneedling use tiny needles. We’re all going through it.  We can’t escape it. Over time, we may start to notice extra lines, slight discoloration, and perhaps some sagging. We might not like it.  But we can do something about it.


How do we decide which one to use with so many anti-aging treatments on the market today?

If you’re afraid to go under the knife, don’t worry.  These days, we have modern, pain-free, and affordable techniques that can help wind back the clock without suffering through plastic surgery trauma. Laser Treatments and Microneedling are treatments that can help you fight the aging process. Here, we’ll look at the difference between Laser and microneedling, their benefits, and their risks.


What are Laser Treatments?

‘Laser’ is an acronym for ‘Light Amplified Stimulated Emission Radiation.  Lasers are sources of concentrated beams of light directed at the skin to remove it layer by layer. These treatments are Laser Peel, Laser Vaporization, Laser Rejuvenation, Laser Resurfacing, or Lasabrasion.


Lasers can be either ablative or non-ablative.


Ablative laser treatments

Remove some outer layers of the skin.  A local anesthetic may be required to maintain a level of comfort.  Following the procedure, your skin may remain pink for several months.  However, once the treated area begins to heal, an immediate improvement will be visible.  The effects last for years.


Non-ablative laser treatments

Penetrate the skin without removing any layers.  This treatment causes little to no pain and may only require a topical anesthetic to reduce discomfort.  Results of this style of laser treatment will be more gradual rather than immediate.  However, you may notice an immediate improvement in skin texture and pigmentation. Nowadays, many different laser treatments are available for the face and body.  What areas or problems you want to target will depend on what type of laser treatment will benefit you. Laser treatments are performed by a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.  It is a fairly straightforward outpatient procedure meaning you can leave once the treatment has finished.  No overnight stay is necessary. The treatment may last 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how much of your face will be treated. You may notice swelling around the treated areas, which is completely normal.


The Benefits of Laser Treatments

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Lift droopy or sagging eyelid skin
  • Reduce dark under-eye circles
  • Treat sun spots and discoloration
  • Tighten the skin
  • Reduce scarring (acne, surgical, traumatic)
  • Improve collagen production
  • Reduce the appearance of blood vessels and spider veins
  • Reduce enlarged pores
  • Improve skin tone
  • Removes unwanted tattoos and hair

What Are the Side Effects of Laser Treatments?

Laser treatments are generally considered safe, provided they are performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist. However, while highly unlikely, complications can arise. They may include:

  • Laser burns
  • Temporary or permanent scarring
  • Hyperpigmentation or permanent darkening of the skin
  • The outbreak of cold sores or acne
  • Itching
  • Viral, bacterial, or fungal infections

These problems will rarely arise, but you should still be aware there is a slight chance. This minimally invasive procedure is less drastic than laser treatments; it involves using fine, stainless steel needles to deliberately injure the skin by puncturing it.   The process is similar to how we use lasers, but instead of using heat or light, the skin is injured mechanically.

These needles create hundreds of invisible puncture wounds into the top layer of your skin.  This encourages the body’s natural healing process.  In turn, this stimulates cell renewal and boosts collagen and elastin production.  The result – reversing and preventing signs of aging.

The treatment can be performed by a trained dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or aesthetician.  However, we can now conduct the treatment using a derma roller at home.  This is a small hand-held device similar to a paint roller, coated in tiny needles.

If you choose to be treated professionally, it is performed in a series of four to six sessions every four weeks.  Before each session, a topical anesthetic is applied.  At each consequent session, the needles are inserted deeper and deeper.  This is due to the thickening of the skin after each treatment. Most people see results within one to two weeks after the series of treatments.  Unlike laser treatments, microneedling can be repeated without building up scar tissue.  Collagen and elastin levels are improved for up to one year after using this type of treatment.  For best results, a series of treatments is recommended.  The Benefits of Microneedling:

  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
  • Repair acne scarring or other visible scars
  • Reverse sun damage and pigmentation
  • Improve skin texture and laxity
  • Remove stretch marks
  • Diminish pore size
  • Increase the effectiveness of skincare products
  • Cheaper than laser treatments

What Are the Side Effects of Microneedling?

Microneedling is not dangerous.  Compared to other treatments like chemical peels or laser therapy, the risks are much lower. However, similar to any other rejuvenating treatment, complications may occur. This could be:

  • Scarring
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Pigmentation issues

When it comes to deciding which type of treatment better suits you and your skin, you need to consider the problem areas you wish to target. If you have specific concerns you’d like to address, laser treatments may be better.  If you want to take care of wrinkles, stretch marks, or overall skin condition, microneedling may be what you’re looking for. However, the two treatments can complement each other.  Specific issues can be targeted with a laser and microneedling performed for light skin rejuvenation.  These two procedures can even be performed on the same day.

We’re all different.  We have different skin types, colors, and textures.  Discuss your concerns with a qualified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist, so you make the best decision for you.