Microneedling, also called percutaneous collagen induction therapy (PCIT), is a technique
applied with a device called roller1. The first roller was developed in 1993, in France, by a South African surgeon named
Dr. Desmond Fernandes1, who is considered the father of microneedling.
This equipment consists of a polyethylene roll that has embedded sterile stainless
steel or titanium needles, whose number varies between 190 and 450 needles, according
to the manufacturer2,3. In the literature, we find some nomenclatures used, being the most appropriate:
microneedling, percutaneous collagen induction, CIT (collagen induction therapy or
collagen therapy), roller technique, or just roller.
The technique is indicated for rejuvenation, alopecia4, all types of scars, acne, photo rejuvenation, stretch marks, sagging skin, melasma,
wrinkles, expression lines, and to improve the overall appearance of the skin1,2,3,5,6.
Therefore, the objective of this study is to support the clinical applicability of
microneedling in the literature.
To carry out this study, we have searched the PubMed and Scielo electronic databases,
using as keywords: “microagulhamento”, “drug delivery” and “microneedlings.”
The inclusion criteria were: clinical studies on the use of microneedling to treat
aesthetic disorders, in Portuguese, English and also textbooks with relevant content,
in the period from 2009 to 2018. The exclusion criteria were: experimental work, study
of bibliographic review and those that were not related to the topic.
After selecting the studies, the data were organized in a table that considers the
following items: identification of the author, year and title of the work, material,
treatment location, treatment technique, number of sessions, use of assets after microneedling,
anesthetic use, associated resources and complications, evaluation methods, results
The research consisted of 12 articles; five of them were selected and placed in a
table for a better understanding of the studies, the other seven were not included
in the table because they were experimental, review, master’s thesis and course completion
papers, however, because present relevant content, were used for the study, in the
same way as two more books (Table 1)
Table 1 - Summary of Included Studies.
|Author / Year
/ Nº Sessions
|Place and treatment technique
||Use of actives and anesthetics
||Associated resources / complications
|1. Kalil et al. (2015)12
||Treatment of acne scars with the microneedling technique and drug delivery
||Sterile Dr. Roller® device;
one to two months
|Atrophic scars of moderate to severe acne on the face. The rollers directed in a horizontal
and oblique position, imitating the shape of the wind rose, with ten repetitions in
||Applying a mask; EGF - Epidermal growth factor 1%,
IGF - Insulin growth factor 1%, TGFβ3 - Transforming growth factor 1%, Hyaluronic
acid 0.5%, Acid
Vitamin E 2%, Portulaca extract 1%, Gel
mask containing growth factor.
Dermomax® topical anesthetic for 60 min.
|Did not associate; Edema and Erythema.
||Pre- and post-procedure photos. Skin biopsy before and after 30 days of treatment.
||Eight patients completed the study. Overall improvement in the appearance of the skin
and slight improvement of distensible atrophic scars. Atrophic scars like ice picks
did not improve with the procedure.
||Modest improvement of atrophic scars; ice picks atrophic scars showed no improvement
with the procedure.
|2. Kalil et al.
|Randomized, double-blind comparative study of microneedling associated with drug delivery
to rejuvenate the skin of the anterior chest
||Dr.Roller®; 192 needles
0.07mm surgical steel
thickness and 1.5mm in
length. 3, with
of the chest. With
45 º angle pressure,
Cell to Cell® 2%;
2.5%; Fluid Anhydrous
|Home application of the same product, or
the placebo, with gentle massages with the fingers until complete absorption 1x a
day, at night Phenol Peeling 88%, before microneedling; No adverse effects were observed
in the treated patients.
|Pre and post 30-day evaluation of the procedure through photography, performed by
a dermatologist unrelated to the study, and by applying self-assessment questionnaires
||Twenty-two patients, three months of treatment, 100% improvement of patients; 28%
improvement in overall rejuvenation with the use of the test product compared to placebo.
30% in patients treated with the use of microneedling and test product on skin texture,
smoothness and firmness
|To obtain results for advanced global rejuvenation, it is necessary to add specific
actives for drug delivery.
Significant improvement in overall appearance, demonstrating a well-tolerated procedure,
with minimal adverse effects and a high patient satisfaction index
|3. Lima (2015)7
peeling: a new
t h e rapeutic
acne scars on
|Instrument with 192 2.5mm needles, arranged in 8 rows, DR Roller® one session.
Back and forth
back and forth,
with the same
diagonally to the
right and left.
|Skin regenerator 3x a day; industrialized depigmenting agent (0.05% retinoic acid,
Hydroquinone 4%, fluocinolone acetonide 0.01%), alternating with the skin regenerator
for 15 days; sunscreen with protection factor 50.
Anesthetic block of infraorbital and mentonian nerves, followed by infiltrative anesthesia
2% lidocaine solution.
|Patient B also had
as adjunctive treatment
drainage and regular
Patients A and
D had only physical
activity, C and E did
not undergo physical
|A clinical and photographic evaluation was performed by the investigator three months
after the procedure, using a scale with the items very good, good, reasonable, and
bad. Patient satisfaction questionnaires were also applied.
||Twenty-eight patients were treated; 12 of them had wrinkles and sagging, five only
acne scars, and ten patients with wrinkles, sagging, and acne scars. Result from good
to very good; 100% of patients reported satisfaction with the results.
||It can produce improvement
in the quality
of the skin, attenuating
wrinkles and correcting
depressed acne scars.
The procedure of the
evaluated group presented
an excellent safety
The addition of 88% phenol
enhances the results for
acne, sagging, and ritid
et al. (2009)11
|Periorbital wrinkle treatments by collagen induction therapy
||Rolling cylinder 20mm wide, with 192 needles in eight rows, 1.5mm long and 0.25mm
in diameter, according to the applied penetration, they were introduced into the skin
from 0.1 to 1.3mm. 2 sessions with an interval of 8 weeks between them
back and forth,
with the same
diagonally to the
right and left.
|Did not use; Topical anesthesia (EMLA applied and left for 60 min).
||Did not describe; Redness and swelling.
||The evaluation was
based on photographs
taken on a digital
camera and images
rubber molds were
used to assess the
depth of the wrinkles
and print their micro-
|Eight weeks after the first CIT session, all patients had smoother skin,
a slight reduction in the severity of injuries and minimal aesthetic improvement;
thirty-two weeks after the second session of CIT, the improvement of periorbital wrinkles
|It shows that CIT is a
simple technique and
that with a specialized
tool you can
have an "immediate
effect" on improving
periorbital wrinkles. The
degree of severity of
periorbital wrinkles after
just two sessions were highly
reduced, and overall
was also remarkable.
|Male androgenetic alopecia was treated
with microneedling isolated and associated
injectable minoxidil using the skin micro-infusion technique.
|Cylinders with needles,
which produce punctures
1.5 mm deep;
Tattoo machine with 17
in a row(MMP). Case 1: 4
monthly sessions; Case 2:
|Scalp. Moves back and forth until a bleeding dew is produced.
||Case 1: Minoxidil 0.5%; neutral shampoo; simple painkillers;
Microneedling without drug infusion. Lidocaine 4% cream.
|Gentle washing with neutral shampoo six hours after the procedure and use of simple
painkillers if there is local pain.
|Photographic record before the procedure and one month after the last session.
||Partial and satisfactory response in both cases, one of them had the infiltration
of minoxidil and the other only to the microneedling process.
||Partial and satisfactory response in both cases.
Table 1 - Summary of Included Studies.
Microneedling is a technique that uses a device called a roller, it consists of a
polyethylene roller embedded in sterile stainless steel or titanium needles, its number
varies from 190 to 450 needles whose length ranges from 0.5mm to 2.5mm2,7.
The 0.25mm and 0.5mm needles are used to deliver drugs in fine wrinkles and to improve
the shine and texture of the skin; those of 1.0mm and 1.5mm are used for sagging skin,
medium wrinkles and global rejuvenation; those of 2.0mm and 2.5mm are used for distensible
depressed scars, stretch marks, wavy and retractable scars3.
Regarding the use of anesthetics, sizes from 0.2mm to 0.3mm do not require the use
of anesthesia, while sizes from 0.5 to 2.0mm need topical anesthetic and needles from
2.0mm to 2.5mm need general anesthesia3,8.
The technique works in two ways: the first one by stimulating the natural production
of collagen (NPC) by responding to the inflammatory process and the second by facilitating
the Transdermal Ingredient Access System (TIAS), known as “drug delivery,” that is,
increased permeation of actives2.
The stimulus to collagen production begins with the loss of the integrity of the skin
barrier, targeting the dissociation of keratinocytes, which results in the release
of cytokines such as interleukin, resulting in dermal vasodilation and migration of
keratinocytes to restore damage epidermal1.
The healing process occurs in three phases: In the first, injury, there is the release
of platelets and neutrophils responsible for growth factors with action on keratinocytes
and fibroblasts. In the second, neutrophils are replaced by monocytes, and angiogenesis,
epithelialization, and proliferation of fibroblasts occur, followed by the production
of type III collagen, elastin, glycosaminoglycans and proteoglycans. In the third,
maturation, type III collagen, which is predominant in the initial phase of the healing
process and which is slowly being replaced by type I collagen, which is more durable,
persisting for a period ranging from five to seven years.7
The mechanism of action of drug delivery is as follows: when rolling the equipment
over the skin, microchannels are created, and in this way, the applied cosmetics or
formulations permeate the skin much more effectively and quickly. In the literature,
there are a range of studies that report the effectiveness of the technique in increasing
the permeation of the actives, this can vary from 80% to 500%. Thus, the active ingredients
present in the treatment products can reach the deeper parts of the skin with more
efficiency than if they were applied only topically2.
The created microchannels show a retraction after 5 minutes, but their complete closure
occurs after 24 hours9. And the absence of retraction after 15 minutes has also been reported10.
Its use is individual and comes sterilized at the factory and registered in ANVISA
(Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária). The treatment can be done by several professionals
such as physiotherapists, doctors, biomedical, and other professionals in the aesthetic
and health area.
The microneedling technique has been used in several aesthetic procedures. The present
study consists of 5 articles, namely, an article on the treatment of alopecia4, one
on periorbital wrinkles11, one on acne scars12, one on skin rejuvenation of the anterior chest13 and one on flaccidity treatment, wrinkles and acne scars on the face7.
The microneedling interspersed with 5% retinoic acid peeling at 21-day intervals between
sessions was also useful in the treatment of melasma and aging associated with growth
factors. It was possible to observe a significant improvement in the two dysfunctions.8
It also presents promising results for gynoid lipodystrophy; changes in patients’
lifestyle and behavioral habits contribute significantly to the success of therapy,
as well as the appropriate drug and a correct technique14.
The method proved to be effective in the treatment of stretch marks with a reduction
in size (millimeters) when they were associated with growth factors. By assisting
in the process of collagen formation, it reconstructs the broken fibers, promoting
skin filling. The technique does not provide a significant improvement in cases of
phototype VI, although the depigmentation process is reversible, it is slow.15
Comparing the results for the treatment of atrophic acne scars between the non-ablative
fractional Erbium laser and microneedling, the degree of post-treatment improvement
evaluated by the participants on a scale of 0 to 10, had an average of 7.65 in the
microneedling and 7.95 in the laser group. The difference between the groups was not
significant, showing that the technique is as effective as fractional technology5.
Concerning the correct form of application and prior care with the area to be treated,
we analyzed an article that used back and forth movement4; one with horizontal, vertical, diagonal movements, 15 to 20 times each7; one with horizontal, diagonal, vertical movements to the right and left11; one with movements in multiple directions until slight bleeding and four times in
all directions until the petechiae appear8,14; one with movements in four directions: horizontal, diagonal, vertical to the right
and left, ten times each13; and an article with repetitions of 10 times in each direction, following the shape
of the wind rose12.
Another proposal recommends that the movements be performed in the same directions,
being applied first horizontally in the direction of the lymphatic path, then vertically
and finally in one of the diagonals (except for the center of the frontal region and
nose, for which it is suggested to use the two diagonal lines)17.
The application of the roller should be per quadrant, working in small regions, around
twice the width of the roller for facial and capillary areas, and four times for the
body. When applying it in four directions (vertical, horizontal, diagonal right, and
left), you must pass ten times over each direction, with five reciprocating movements
in each one2.
Studies have shown the use of various active substances or drugs such as hyaluronic
acid and vitamin E14, growth factor8,13, skin regenerator, hydroquinone7, retinoic acid, vitamin C8 and minoxidil.4
The results vary according to the therapeutic proposal and the definition of needle
sizes ranging from 0.25mm to 2.5mm3. In the treatment for alopecia4, there was a partial and satisfactory response, applying one treatment only with
microneedling and the other together with minoxidil. In the stretch mark study13, it was shown that the technique is effective in reducing its size in millimeters,
the growth factors used helped in the process of collagen formation.
The application in the treatment of wrinkles and acne scars11 can produce improvement in the quality of the skin, attenuating wrinkles and correcting
depressed acne scars. The addition of 88% phenol applied with gauze until substantial
bleaching is achieved, followed immediately by microneedling enhances the results
for acne scar treatments.7
Although considered a simple technique with a specialized tool, it can have an “immediate
effect” on the improvement of wrinkles, showing after two sessions that they were
highly reduced and that the overall aesthetic improvement was also important11.
In another article, it shows a slight improvement in atrophic acne scars, in which
the increase in hemoglobin is related to the initial tissue injury, providing neocolagenesis.
Ice-pick scars did not improve with the procedure12.
Concerning the rejuvenation treatment14, the author says that the technique is safe and established. Still, to obtain results
for advanced global rejuvenation, the action of specific actives for skin rejuvenation
in drug delivery is necessary, promoting significant improvement in the overall appearance,
with minimal adverse effects and high patient satisfaction index.
Regarding the study of rejuvenation and melasma, it is stated that it is essential
to carry out more in-depth scientific studies to corroborate the data presented in
this work and to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy8.
For the article on gynoid lipodystrophy, it is worth mentioning that it is a promising
treatment, significantly contributing to the success of therapy14, the choice of an appropriate drug, a correct technique, and changes in patients’
lifestyle and behavioral habits.
It can be said that the association of the technique with several actives provided
the optimization of results, as well as the low cost and easy application if compared
to other treatments on the market. But it is emphasized that there is a need for more
research on the topic.
Some care must be taken about the application of the technique: the first has to do
with the choice of equipment that must be sterile and registered with ANVISA; on the
other hand, the skin can be previously cleaned with, for example, alcohol 70%13. One article mentions that the skin was disinfected, but does not describe what was
used11; in another case, it is said that the procedure was performed after cleaning the
face12, asepsis with chlorhexidine degermante solution14 and also the degreasing of the skin with liquid soap and asepsis with chlorhexidine7.
Regarding the evaluation criteria used in the studies, photographic records were pointed4,7,11,12,13, volunteer satisfaction questionnaires7,13, histological analysis12, and silicone molds from digitalized photographs to measure the depth of wrinkles11. In this way, we can observe that the standardized photographic record before and
after the treatment, as well as a satisfaction questionnaire concerning the results
found, can be performed because it is easy to apply and low cost
Based on the results found in this review, we can say that microneedling is a simple,
promising, and easy to apply technique. This innovative treatment has been used for
different dermatological pathologies. The method works in two ways: the first by stimulating
natural collagen production (NCP), by responding to the inflammatory process, and
the second facilitating the Transdermal Ingredient Access System (TIAS), known as
“drug delivery,” that is, increasing the permeation of actives.
The technique can be painful, and this is related to the size of the needles. The
use of local anesthetics may be indicated in some cases.
However, it is necessary to generate more knowledge with other studies to reach more
reliable conclusions regarding the maintenance of long-term results, as well as about
the repaired tissue.
Project Administration, Writing - Review & Editing
Data Curation, Writing - Original Draft Preparation
1. Fernandes D. Minimally invasive percutaneous collagen induction. Oral Maxillofac Surg
Clin North Am. 2005 Feb;17(1):51-63.
2. Negrão MMC. Microagulhamento, bases fisiológicas e práticas. São Paulo: CR8; 2016.
3. Lima EVA, Lima MA,Takano D. Microagulhamento: estudo experimental e classificação
da injúria provocada. Surg Cosmet Dermatol. 2013;5(2):110-4.
4. Contin LA. Alopecia androgenética masculina tratada com microagulhamento isolado e
associado a minoxidil injetável pela técnica de microinfusão de medicamentos pela
pele. Surg Cosmet Dermatol. 2016;8(2):158-61.
5. Cachafeiro TH. Comparação entre laser Erbium fracionado não ablativo 1340nm e microagulhamento
para tratamento de cicatrizes atróficas de acne: ensaio clínico randomizado [dissertação].
Porto Alegre (RS): Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul; 2015.
6. Mateus A, Palermo E. Cosmiatria e laser: prática no consultório médico. São Paulo:
Guanabara Koogan; 2012.
7. Lima EA. Associação do microagulhamento ao peeling de fenol: uma nova proposta terapêutica
em flacidez, rugas e cicatrizes de acne da face. Surg Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;7(4):328-31.
8. Bergmann CLMS, Bergmann J, Silva CLM. Melasma e rejuvenescimento facial com o uso
de peeling de ácido retinóico a 5% e microagulhamento: caso clínico. 2014; [acesso
em 2016 jan 18]. Disponível em: http://clinicabergmann.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/ARTIGO-PEELING.pdf
9. Kalluri H, Kolli CS, Banga AK. Characterization of microchannels created by metal
microneedles: formation and closure. AAPS J. 2011 Sep;13(3):473-81.
10. Setterfield L. The concise guide to dermal needling (Expanded medical edition). Victoria,
CA: Acacia Dermacare Inc.; 2010.
11. Fabbrocini G, Padova MP, Vita V, Fardella N, Pastore F, Tosti A. Tratamento de rugas
periorbitais por terapia de indução de colágeno. Surg Cosmet Dermatol. 2009;1(3):106-11.
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de acne com a técnica drug delivery. Surg Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;7(2):144-8.
13. Kalil CLP, Campos VB, Chaves CRP, Pitassi LHU, Cignachi S. Estudo comparativo, randomizado
e duplo-cego do microagulhamento associado ao drug delivery para rejuvenescimento
da pele da região anterior do tórax. Surg Cosmet Dermatol. 2015;7(3):211-6.
14. Garcia ME. Microagulhamento com drug delivery: um tratamento para LDG [dissertação].
Santo André (SP): Faculdade de Medicina do ABC; 2013; [acesso em 2016 jan 18]. Disponível
15. Cosme LV. Micropuntura com fatores de crescimento no tratamento de estrias abdominais:
um estudo experimental acerca da biomedicina estética [monografia]. Brasília (DF):
Centro Universitário de Brasília (UNICEUB) - Faculdade de Ciências da Educação e Saúde;
16. Cunha MG, Paravic FD, Machado CA. Alterações histológicas dos tipos de colágeno após
diferentes modalidades de tratamento para remodelamento dérmico: uma revisão bibliográfica.
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CA: Acacia Dermacare Inc.; 2013.
1. Universidade de Ribeirão Preto, Pós-Graduação Fisioterapia Dermatofuncional, Ribeirão
Preto, SP, Brazil.
Corresponding author: Adriana da Silva Ferreira, Rua do Professor, 838, Ap. 64, Jardim Irajá, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil. Zip Code:
14020-280. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Article received: October 30, 2018.
Article accepted: February 29, 2020.
Conflicts of interest: none.