Micro-needling – not all pens are created equal

Micro-needling: What you need to know

You have just one skin for life. Why put it at risk by trying extreme DIY at-home care?

A transdermal delivery system also known as fractional mechanical resurfacing, micro-needling involves a  physician or therapist rolling hundreds of tiny, thin needles over your face and injecting it with wrinkle-fighting peptides and hyaluronic acid. When correctly administered, medical Micro-Needling is clinically proven to boost collagen, reduce wrinkles, and lessen pigmentation more effectively than laser resurfacing, dermabrasion and chemical peels.

  • Unfortunately there is an increase in the use of cheap fake micro-needling devices.
  • Adverse effects from counterfeit pens include infection, papules, chronic inflammation, foreign body reactions, granulomas, pigmentation, nodules and scarring, both keloid and hypertrophic.
  • Only medical grade mesotherapy solutions can be infused during and after a microneedling treatment. Introducing unsuitable topical products , serums and immunogenic particles into the dermis during treatment can cause hypersensitivity or allergic reactions.  

10 ways to discern a quality micro-needling treatment from a cheap counterfeit and potential disaster


A reputable micro-needling company has international trainers and comprehensive programs. An AAMSSA-registered aesthetic doctor is best or a beauty therapist registered with SAAHSP (South African Association of Health and Skincare Professionals)


When you compare an authentic micro-needling pen to a counterfeit off the internet, the cheap needles have different lengths and angles. An electron microscope will reveal blunt and chipped needles that result in trauma and scarring.

Needle depth 

Doctors are allowed to adjust the needle depth to a scar setting maximum of 3 mm. SAAHSP therapists may not work deeper than 1 mm. 

Supplementary products

Product purity, aseptic packaging and preservation systems are vital.  A reputable company will supply products with a specific molecular weight (measured in Daltons) designed for infusion with micro-needling. If your  doctor or therapist is unable to tell you about the molecular weight of the product being needled in, it’s a red flag!

Anti-contamination system 

A good quality pen will have a built-in guard mechanism to prevent cross-contamination of fluids from other patients. There should be no back-flow of fluid on the needle cartridge. 

Single-use and disposable

Needle cartridges should never be “sterilized” and re-used for future treatments.

Suction release mechanism

A good pen should have drag-free needles and a suction release mechanism to prevent dragging. The cartridge should glide over the skin without “track marks” or red stripes on the skin afterwards.

Digital pens

The latest pens use Bluetooth technology for automated software, calibration upgrades, and the correct depth of penetration, making them more reliable. Only registered professionals can activate them.


The more precise the oscillations of the needle cartridge, the quicker the healing time. Within 24-48 hours your skin should be back to normal. Poor quality cheap needles will tear your skin and cause scabbing, crusting, or track marks.


Too cheap and it’s likely a fake pen with unsafe topical products. Authentic pens cost more due to the quality of the correct micro-needling products, safety, precision and rapid healing.