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woman having microneedling performed

Microneedling and Transdermal Drug Delivery

woman having microneedling performed

Microneedling and Transdermal Drug Delivery

Microneedling is one of the most common cosmetic treatments performed by dermatologists. It is used to treat acne, scars, sun-damaged skin, hyperhidrosis, and to reduce wrinkles. Studies have shown that the transdermal delivery of drugs might be enhanced by the use of microneedling to improve penetration in the skin.

Why Use Microneedling?

Microneedling is often used in combination with chemical peels and medications to treat acne. The exfoliating effect allows dead, damaged skin cells to be removed and new skin and collagen to form. The primary reason microneedling is used is for what is called percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), which is collagen stimulation. However it has also been used as a drug delivery mechanism to enhance the effects of products applied to the skin. The first microneedles that were developed in the 1970s were actually designed as an attempt to improve transdermal drug delivery.

Microchannels and Drug Delivery

When a microneedling procedure is performed, it creates small microchannels in the skin. These microchannels may be able to effectively promote the delivery of medications to lower levels of the skin. Absorption is one of the main issues with topical application of skincare products. With the use of microneedling, aestheticians and dermatologists have been able to improve results with the use of skin care products. Penetration is enhanced when the microchannels open up, allowing the product to penetrate the outer layers of skin.

Who Should Perform Microneedling?

There are multiple types of microneedling devices, some of which are sold for at-home use. The automatic pens used by dermatologists are much more effective and should never be used at home. The best results from a microneedling procedure will usually be obtained by visiting a dermatologist with experience using the technology. A dermatologist will understand what skincare products should be used with the procedure, and will be able to help with post-treatment care.

Transdermal Drug Delivery Applications

Microneedling in combination with transdermal drug delivery has successfully been used to treat recalcitrant warts. It has been used to improve delivery of transdermal lidocaine, with much faster onset of anesthesia when microneedling is used. 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), which has been used to treat various skin conditions and squamous cell carcinoma, has also been used in combination with microneedling to enhance its effectiveness.

Making the Procedure Easier with BLT Cream

In general, microneedling is a safe procedure that is well tolerated by most patients. Often a numbing cream is used before the procedure as the small needles can be somewhat painful. Our triple anesthetic numbing cream, BLT cream, is frequently used by dermatologists performing minimally invasive skin treatments.


  • Characterization of microchannels created by metal microneedles: formation and closure. – AAPS J.

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