Micro-needling – Is It Effective On Lips?


Micro-needling is a cosmetic procedure that involves needling skin with very small needles so that the skin produces new collagen and elastin. This procedure has been used for many purposes, including acne scars, chickenpox scars and wrinkles.

The principle is to create thousands of microscopic channels in the dermis layer of skin with the needle tips. The channels stimulate the growth of new collagen fibers in the deeper layers of skin by releasing various growth factors from keloid scar tissue, blood vessels and surrounding tissue structures.

The tips of the microneedles used for therapeutic purposes are made of biodegradable materials such as thin needles of a metallic alloy. Transmitting the force is possible by piercing the skin and pressing against it.

The skin is then retracted with a spring-loaded device that maintains constant pressure on the skin, pushing back until it reaches a maximum length. A spring-loaded mechanism ensures a uniform depth during pulling. This technique reduces trauma and decreases pain compared to other deep needling techniques.

Why Is Micro-Needling Effective On Lips?

There are various reasons to use microneedling on lips. Lips are very thin and sensitive skin. Therefore, using traditional collagen induction techniques to stimulate lip reconstruction is not an option.

The thinness of the skin on the lips and the proximity of the lower facial anatomy make it hard to reach any deeper layers of skin on the lips.

The lips are much thinner than the skin on the face and chest. The thinness of lips also makes it easy for micro-needling to reach deeper dermis levels that are impossible with traditional collagen induction protocols.

Sometimes, the epidermis on the lips is very thin. Due to the lip’s proximity to the lower facial anatomy, deep needling could result in undesired damage to the lower facial anatomy leading to post-injection bruising and scarring.

The benefit of micro-needling for the lips is that it provides a unique opportunity to reach the deeper dermis layers of skin, stimulating collagen growth naturally.

What Is the Procedure for Micro-Needling?

Before the needling can be inserted, anesthetic cream or anesthetic solution, such as lidocaine hydrochloride (Lignocaine), is applied to the lip area. The anesthetic makes the lip area numb and difficult to feel.

The patient is then placed on a reclining chair and reclining headrest to ease the procedure. The patient is then asked to open their mouth with their lips spread open slowly and the microneedles are inserted into the upper lip using a special tool.

Then, a micro-needling machine is used by pressing the button of a handle. A small amount of pressure is used while the microneedles are in place to ensure that they don’t slip during pulling out. A pulling force of about 15-20 grams ensures the needles are stabbed into the dermis layer.

The pressure is gradually increased until the maximum length is reached. A spring-loaded mechanism ensures uniform depth, thus reducing trauma and pain during micro needling.

Micro-Needling Versus RF for Lip Enhancement

Theoretical comparison of micro-needling and RF for lip enhancement: As compared to RF treatment, which is applied only on the upper lip area, micro-needling can be used on both upper and lower lip at once. Micro-needling can involve both areas at the same time and achieve a better result.

Preparing for Micro-Needling

It’s a good idea to discuss pre-procedure preparation with your doctor. In certain cases, they may instruct you to discontinue the use of certain drugs, such as ibuprofen and acne medicines (such as Accutane), in advance of surgery.

Also, you should avoid anything that might make your skin more sensitive. The doctor may advise you to discontinue using exfoliants and topical retinoids before your micro-needling procedure.

How Can I Best Care for My Skin After Having It Micro-Needled?

You can help your skin heal after micro needling by:

• Hydration: Keep the lips hydrated by using lip balm.

• Proper nutrition: Keep an adequate diet and do not eat too many spicy or salty foods.

• Drink plenty of water, at least 2 liters a day or more, to keep your skin and lips juicy.

• The patient should avoid smoking, alcohol and aerobic exercise and stay away from dusty environments after the procedure as it facilitates infections.

• Sun protection is very important because sun exposure has been found to inhibit collagen formation in human skin.

• Protect lips with sunblock at all times using lip balm.


1. How Long Does Micro-Needling Last?

The procedure is very short; after only half an hour, the lip area will heal. However, since the lip’s proximity to the lower facial anatomy can make the results unpredictable, it is best to have a follow-up in 1-2 weeks after the procedure.

2. What Side Effects Could I Experience If I Have Lip Enhancement?

The procedure generally has minimal risks, but because it uses micro needles, it could cause bruising and bleeding on lips or upper lip skin. It is possible to have some bleeding occur and you will need to wear a bandage or apply lanolin after the procedure.

It is best to listen carefully to your doctor’s instructions as he/she will address any concerns you may have.

3. How Long Does It Take for Lip Enhancement to Show?

Unlike procedures involving the physical layer of skin, which show quickly, lip enhancement takes time to show as it works on the deeper dermis level of the epidermal layer of skin. The results start to show after the first few days.

4. What Is the Maximum Correction Possible Using Micro-Needling?

Lip augmentation results are highly unpredictable, so a doctor can’t tell you what kind of result you will get without performing the procedure on you. However, results are usually achieved after six sessions for the upper lip and ten sessions for the lower lip area.

5. What Are the Risks of Lip Enhancement?

There are very few risks involved in micro needling. However, you should take caution and listen carefully to any suggestions made by your doctor to ensure that you are not exposed to any risks.

6. Does Lip Enhancement Cause Scars?

No. Unlike procedures that permanently remove skin tissue, lip enhancement doesn’t cause scars.

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