As a longtime beauty editor in New York City, I consider myself intimately familiar with the benefits of microneedling. This buzzy beauty treatment involves puncturing the top layer of skin with tiny needles to stimulate collagen production. Dermatologists regularly recommend the practice for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, tightening skin, minimizing acne scarring, and diminishing breakouts. But, its impressive results come with one major caveat: the needles.
Because of the needles involved in the treatment, it can take several weeks for any post-procedure pain and redness to fully heal—and that’s with each of the recommended three-to-six sessions. Though traditional microneedling doesn’t come with quite the same type of week-long downtime that other aesthetic procedures do (you’ve ever watched your skin shed off for nine days after a chemical peel, you know what I’m talking about), isn’t exactly a “lunchtime treatment.”
For many—myself included—multiple days of discomfort is understandably a turnoff. Which is why I was so excited to learn about “liquid microneedling,” a needle-free alternative to the treatment that delivers comparable results both at home and in the derm’s office without any recovery time.
What is liquid microneedling?
Instead of using needles to puncture the top layer of skin, liquid microneedling relies on a formula that contains crystal needles derived from freshwater-grown sponges to create micro-punctures in the skin. Your body interprets these punctures as wounds in need of healing, and boosts its natural production of collagen and fibroblasts accordingly”.
“Liquid microneedling creates channels in the skin that allow ingredients to more deeply penetrate, helping to rejuvenate the skin’s appearance,” says Crystal Koro, a celebrity esthetician in Los Angeles who’s among a small handful of providers that offer liquid microneedling in the United States. “It renews the skin’s appearance, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and texture, and delivers glowing skin.”
She recommends the treatment to many different skin types, but notes that it’s particularly helpful for those looking to minimize the appearance of fine lines, improve skin texture, and minimize pores. And the best part? “With liquid microneedling, there is no numbing or blood, and minimal pain and downtime,” she says.
Needless to say, I was sold.
What happened when I tried liquid microneedling
I managed to score a liquid microneedling appointment with Koro while she was in New York, and was thrilled to experience it firsthand.
When the big day arrived, Koro started off by deeply cleansing my skin, then she delicately applied the CELLSTORY Liquid Microneedling Ampoule ($425). Each ampoule contains 50,000 of the aforementioned microcrystals within its formula, which dive deep into the skin upon application to work their magic.
Unlike traditional microneedling, which is known to be uncomfortable, liquid microneedling came with little more than a slight tingling sensation. As Koro applied more of the cream to my skin, the tingling turned into a sort of surface-level prick, almost as if there were a million tiny fingernails softly scratching my face. While it was certainly an odd and unfamiliar feeling, wasn’tn’t painful—at times, it even felt kind of good.
The results of my liquid microneedling treatment
Following my treatment, Koro warned that I might experience some redness or dryness throughout the rest of the day, but gave me the go-ahead to resume my normal activities (including wearing makeup). She sent me on my way with treatment’s at-home counterpart, the Beyond Miracles Gold Collagen Luxury Set ($350). She instructed me to wait a week or two before using the system, which contains 10,000 of the same sponge-derived microneedles in each ampoule, once a week to enhance and maintain my results. And after hearing from Sara Olivova, the brand’s CEO, I was eager to try the”.
“I started using these products a few years ago when I learned about them in Prague,” she says of the Beyond Miracles product. “Using a combination of the in-office and at-home products my skin really cleared up—my pore size has decreased, the congestion I had been dealing with cleared up completely, and my skin just shines with a healthy glow.”
Both women advised me to be patient, and explained that wouldn’t see the full effects of these treatments for at least a few weeks. Nonetheless, when I returned home from my in-office liquid microneedling and looked in the mirror, I could already see a difference. Hiding behind a little redness, my skin was noticeably plumper, as though I had just spent an hour in a steam room drawing in hydration, my pores already looked tighter, and my skin was truly glowing.
In the weeks that followed, I used the at-home ampoules once a week, and each time, it seemed to deliver that same glowing, smooth, and soft skin. Now, roughly five weeks after my in-office liquid microneedling with Koro, I’ve reduced my at-home treatments to once every two weeks since the results from my first few weekly applications were lasting longer and longer. I’m thrilled not only with how great the liquid microneedling has made my skin look but also with how much it’s improved the way my skin functions.
My complexion is, without a doubt, absorbing the (many) products I use on it much more quickly and efficiently, and as a result it’s felt more hydrated and clear. Plus, I haven’t experienced any major breakouts. And it all came with no pain, no downtime, and no need for several sessions.