Innovations in Microwounding: What’s on the Horizon?

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New science on how the skin heals and produces collagen may be a game changer. The latest skin care devices offer age management solutions like never before, from microneedling (collagen induction therapy), skin resurfacing through ablative and non-ablative lasers, chemical peels, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion devices, and plasma fibroblast skin tightening – just to name a few. Never before have skin care professionals had such amazing technology to create lasting results without surgery. The thought process of wounding, thereby producing collagen and skin tightening, is not a new idea, but there is some new science to consider. New research shows that wounds can heal as normal, regenerated skin, instead of the scar tissue that was previously thought to be impossible.


Why is this important? Because in the treatment room, professionals are always concerned of perhaps causing more harm than good. There is a risk of causing some unwanted side effects, such as thinning of the skin, hyper- or hypopigmentation, infection, scar tissue formation, and more. Aestheticians know that the benefits far outweigh the risks of these procedures, but it is always scary to receive the dreaded call from an upset client that sends pictures of damage caused by the treatment or something the client did post-service.


Professionals may understand the product chemistry and science behind the solution in the bottle or platform of the machine but, when applied to live skin, in some respects, control is lost. Professionals may have no idea how the skin will react, even when this is not the client’s first service. Skin health and wound healing can change drastically with the body’s immune responses: stress, illness, environment, diet, medications, and so forth.


Get the client to sign a consent each time, take before and after pictures with each service, call the client 24 hours after a more aggressive or progressive procedure, and give them pre- and post-care instructions. Even with all these instructions and doing due diligence, there is that slim risk that is so nerve wracking.

 

Brand new science on wound healing dictates new findings. “Essentially, we can manipulate wound healing so that it leads to skin regeneration rather than scarring,” said George Cotsarelis, chair of the department of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania last year. “The secret is to regenerate hair follicles first. After that, the fat will regenerate in response to the signals from those follicles.”

 

Scar tissue does not look like regular tissue because it does not contain fat cells or any hair follicles. The visual of manipulating the hair follicle where deep exfoliation is performed may sound odd, but could this be the science professionals have been waiting for? Less downtime and guaranteed healing would change protocols and reduce stress over possible complications. How professionals can introduce this idea into the aesthetic practice may be undecided. Science has only done this experiment on human skin samples in the laboratory, not on actual human subjects. Yet, once out of the laboratory, there will be new applications of wound healing. This is certainly a space to watch!

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