Summary: Microneedling might be the next big thing in cosmetic surgery, according to new research. It may be a way to administer assets like Botox and dermal fillers—even collagen—deep into the skin. In fact, I mention collagen because that’s precisely what researchers at the National University of Singapore used to test a novel approach to microneedling. This approach relies on a small patch that adheres to the skin in order to administer a dose—in this case, of collagen.
A Shot at the Future
On the science fiction show Star Trek, the ship’s surgeon, Dr. McCoy, would administer drugs with something called a hypospray—an painless injection method that his patients barely felt. The show believed that in the future, we’d be so advanced that we’d even be able to make shots painless. Our fear of shots defines our science fiction.
Everyone Hates Shots
No one likes to getting a shot. In fact, needles often cause all kinds of irrational phobias (no fancy name here, it’s actually just known as phobia of needles)—we just don’t like them. That they’re a necessary part of cosmetic surgery, including wrinkle treatments that necessitate deeper injections of dermal fillers or Botox, is a source of discomfort for many cosmetic surgery patients.
So it’s not surprising that researchers have been working on a way to make such injections less painful. The solution is something called a microneedle. Generally, a microneedle is simply shorthand for any number of drug delivery solutions that rely on microscopic needles rather than a larger, traditional one. These needles are often less than 1mm in diameter—not large enough, individually, to deliver the necessary dosage, but more than up to the task combined.
What makes this new microneedle application impressive is just how painless and effortless it appears to be. Imagine this: instead of a shot of collagen, you simply feel a sticky or tacky patch applied to your skin. After a moment, it’s removed with no more fuss than you might remove a washcloth or Post-It Note (and you can’t tell me that no one has put a Post-It Note on your forehead…think back to when you were kids).
The most novel aspect of this new Microneedle, the research for which was recently published in Molecular Pharmacuetics, is just how deep the microneedles can reach. This is where collagen becomes important again, mostly because in order to be most effective as a dermal filler, collagen needs to be injected deep into the skin—below the dermis layer. This new microneedle system allows that depth of delivery.
For the Future of Cosmetic Surgery
What this holds for the future of cosmetic surgery isn’t entirely clear, but it’s not beyond the realm of reason to suggest that, in the not too distant future, cosmetic surgeons might rely on large needles significantly less. If the new microneedle system proves successful, cosmetic surgeons may adopt this noninvasive, easy to use method to administer treatments as diverse as Botox and Juvederm—maybe even something like a Fat Dissolve.
A Bit of Pain Might be Worth it
In the mean time, if you want Botox, you’ll have to resign yourself to the needle. But as a service most cosmetic surgeons offer, there’s always room to make the process easier. Even the most high end New Jersey Botox distributor might prepare you for a bit of pain, though most people say it’s worth it in the end.
That will become even more true as the pain is engineered out of the equation. Your painless Botox treatment might be only a few years away.