Skin Needling Lesson 7: Sample Experience

This is an example of skin needling done at home. It is intended for informational purposes only. You results may vary.

Pre Treatment

Linda is unhappy with her stomach after having her last baby a few years ago. The skin is moderately lax and she has numerous stretch marks radiating out from her belly button and on her lower abdomen. She’s used a stretch mark fading cream in the past and there was a slight improvement, but she’s looking for something more. Like many people, Linda believed that there wasn’t really anything you can do about stretch marks and loose skin, but then she heard about needling while browsing on skin care forums. After a lot of independent research, Linda purchased a 1.5 mm skin roller.

Linda started preparing for her needling treatment about 6 weeks in advance. She started cut out junk food, started eating more vegetables and fatty fish, and started taking a good skin care multivitamin. She also started applying a 1% retinol cream containing Vitamin E to her stomach nightly. The cream was mildly irritating, so she started applying it every third day and working her way up to daily use over the next few weeks. By the third week, she was able to use the retinol cream nightly without problems, and she started using a homemade 10% ascorbic acid serum in the morning. About a month before the treatment, Linda started dry brushing the area nightly with a gentle facial brush that had plastic bristles. By the final week before the needling treatment she was able to use retinol cream and a 20% ascorbic acid serum nightly, along with a stretch mark cream containing Matrixyl.

10 days before her needling treatment, Linda did a patch test on one small stretch mark. It healed well, but she found the procedure a bit painful and was concerned about how it would feel doing her whole stomach. She decided to pick up some ice packs to numb the area.


Linda didn’t use any topicals on the morning of her needling treatment, but she used everything the night before. She took a shower and washed her abdomen with warm water and an oil free cleanser. She used 70% isopropyl alcohol to sterilize the counter where she’d be working. She also used the alcohol to wipe down the ice packs. Linda held the ice packs to her skin until it was numb. Then she wiped her stomach and hands with alcohol and let it air dry. She was now ready to needle.

She pulled her skin taut with her free hand as she rolled entire area horizontally. Her skin was pretty numb but she could still feel the needling. She did 5 passes over each section, lifting the needle roller off of the skin after each pass to make sure the needles didn’t go back into the same channels. Once she had done the entire area horizontally, she did 5 passes over the whole area vertically, and then 5 times diagonally. By the time she was rolling the area diagonally, the numbing was starting to wear off and it was a bit painful. There was also quite a bit of blood.

She rinsed her abdomen with lukewarm water only after needling. She was surprised that it didn’t look nearly as bad without the blood. It continued to bleed slightly, but stopped after five minutes. Then the area started oozing clear fluid for the next 10 minutes. She then did a final rinse and applied the Vitamin A ointment that came with her roller. Her stomach was a purplish pink color and starting to look puffy, but it wasn’t really uncomfortable. She wore a loose fitting shirt and shorts with the waistband rolled down to her hips.

Now that she’d taken care of her skin, Linda disinfected the roller so she could use it again. Preparing her disinfecting containers ahead of time ensured she wouldn’t have to set the roller down after she started cleaning it. She mixed some dish detergent in a big bowl of water. In a separate glass bowl, she added a few inches of alcohol. Then Linda rinsed the blood off the roller with plain water from the tap After that, she swished roller around for a few minutes in the sudsy water, making sure not to damage the needles by touching them to the sides of the bowl. Then she rinsed it again with water before gently placing it in the bowl of alcohol. She added a little more alcohol until the needles were covered and let it soak for 20 minutes. While she was waiting, she rinsed the plastic container the roller came in with alcohol and let it air dry. Once the roller was done soaking, she poured the alcohol down the sink and let the roller air dry before putting it back in its container.

A couple of hours later, Linda got in the shower to rinse her stomach. She massaged it gently but didn’t notice any extra blood or fluid coming out. She toweled off the rest of her body but let her stomach air dry. Once it was dry, she applied another coating of Vitamin A.

After Care

For the first two days, Linda kept applying a light layer of the Vitamin A ointment several times a day. Her stomach was red and a bit swollen. On the morning of the third day, she washed her stomach with an oil free cleanser and applied a 10% ascorbic acid serum to the area. She let it soak in for 20 minutes before applying more Vitamin A.

By day 5 the skin on her stomach was looking almost normal. It was still pink, but the swelling was gone. She wanted to start using the 1% retinol cream, but was worried it would irritate the skin. Linda decided to dilute the cream to half strength by mixing it with a natural antioxidant body lotion that contained cucumber and aloe. She applied that to her stomach, let it soak in for a half an hour and then applied more Vitamin A. That evening she took a shower, and applied more of her Vitamin C serum before using the ointment.

By day 8, her stomach was entirely healed and looked more or less the way it did before her needling treatment. The skin looked like it was starting to peel a little and Linda continued to keep the area covered with the Vitamin A ointment. She started using her retinol cream full strength, the Matrixyl stretch mark cream, and a 15% ascorbic acid serum. She would usually do them in separate sessions, but if she didn’t have time through the day she would layer them in the evening, waiting 10 minutes between each product and finishing up with a layer of Vitamin A. She continued using the occlusive ointment until day 14.

By the second week, Linda’s skin was completely normal. It had peeled a bit, but nothing major like you’d expect with a chemical peel. She was still using the ascorbic acid serum, a 1% retinol cream, and the Matrixyl stretch mark cream. She tried to apply them every day, but with her busy schedule it was probably averaging every other day. She continued to take her skin care supplement and maintained a healthy diet.

Linda had planned to repeat the needling treatment 6 weeks later, but it was almost 3 months before she got around to it again. She was still using the actives regularly and starting to see results. Most of the stretch marks looked thinner and some of the wider ones were starting to develop little “islands” of normal skin within the border. The loose skin had improved a little bit.

Linda did 2 weeks of dry brushing before her next needling treatment and made sure to use the topical actives daily. She followed the same procedure for the next needling treatment and used the same aftercare methods. The healing process was more or less the same.

Linda continued to perform needling treatments every 2 or 3 months until she had done 5 altogether by the end of the year. At that point, she decided to stop and evaluate her progress. By her last treatment, the skin was looking pretty good. She continued to use her creams and serum for the next 6 months. At that point, Linda was pleased with her results. Most of the little stretch marks had completely disappeared. The bigger ones were not noticeable to anyone but herself. The skin wasn’t as tight as it was when she was younger, but there was still a significant improvement. Linda decided she was done needling her stomach, but the process was so effective that she was thinking about ordering another roller to treat stretch marks on her hips and thighs