Dr Lance Setterfield’s his view on skin needling and dermaviduals

Lance did not have anything new to tell us, but it was good for him to go over our different options  for needling. He was very much about working on the side of caution and to be very aware of what products you are using after needling as there have been some cases of serve reactions,and what device you are using. His own line all day was

How deep is your love …”

So how deep do we go?

The question we have to ask when you are performing any type of needling treatment from manual to electric

What cell are you wanting to hit?

The information we are being told can be a bit misleading. Here are the words of two academics in the research of needling.

The studies from Dr Des Fernades has always been using 1mm and it is all about getting  blood. “The bleeding automatically initiates the release of platelets and a complex chemical cascade of platelet- derived growth factors that set up a chain reaction with the eventual production of increased dermal-matrix proteins and a thicker epidermis. Particularly important is TGF-beta 3.” Vitamin A Skin Science pg 190

Then Lance’s theory “Clinical research focused on stimulating fibroblasts to respond to wound healing scenarios has created ambiguous and often misleading results. Now we suspect the keratinocyte provides a better, more efficient healing response.” The Concise Guide to Dermal Needling pg 25

Lance works on the theory you may not need a lot of blood. For example if you needle with 0.5 you are still hitting the correct cells and you may only need pin point bleeding.

We will come back to the depth again later.

What type of machine.


For home use the manual can work very well and you can now purchase a home roller from 0.1 -2mm on the internet! Even the professional market has been flooded with different makes of    needles so do your research as to where these needles are coming from and are they good quality.

Des has made a comment regarding the number of needles and how they have been spaced out. If there are too many needles and so close together it is similar to a Fakirs in India when you lie on a bed of nails. They do not penetrate the skin because there are so many sharp nails and so close together. If the nails were farther apart they would penetrate the skin.

  • When we treat in clinic we will use the 1mm but this does require Emla and lot of educators are trying to come away from using Emla due to adverse reactions.
  • Many clients do not like the down time with this treatment.
  • Many clients found the treatment unpleasant and would not do it again.
  • It is an expensive treatment for us to perform due to the time it takes and all the consumables.
  • All of these things need to be taken into account in relation of your own business.

NOTE ; Des was only using the manual pen not the electric. All his studies on skin needling have been done with the 1mm only on manual not electric. If we treated a skin on an electric pen the way Des does with a manual you will over treat the skin and cause a negative reaction.


  • You can make more holes made in a quicker time and due to this tricking the nerve endings it does not hurt as much, so you do not need to use Emla, this makes it a more cost effective treatment in the time it takes.
  • The electric can be beneficial as you can change the needle depth during a treatment so you can do 1mm / 0.5 around the face and down to 0.2 around the eye.
  • You can treat a whole face and neck in less than 15mintues
  • The down time is less and the client finds it a much more pleasant treatment thus she will come in more often and will get an impressive result.
  • The biggest problem with electric is the market is flooded with a lot of rubbish pens and poor quality needles. Some that do not make holes but only scratch the skin,
  • The power of the machine can vary as well which will alter your treatment
  • The pen suppliers I’ve found have very little experience themselves and are only about the sale. Their training is of poor quality and each pen manufacture will have a different way of using their pen but with no understanding of why and how they are doing so.
  • Sorry this is a very negative portrayal of these companies but this is from personal experience and it is something you need to know before you invest £1000’s of pounds .

The skin we treat

  • It is not as simple as to say let’s do a 0.5 mm treatment for pigmentation or 1mm for lines and wrinkles. This will also depend on every client’s skin.
  • As we all know no two skins are the same and this is a rule for needling, every skin you treat the depth does have to vary for the skin in front of you.
  • Some clients will have a thickened Stratum Corneum some may have a fragile or thin SC some may have an impaired SC.
  • Before you treat any skin the hard and fast rule for needling is Prep the skin first.
  • Make sure she is using the correct home care,
  • Look at her supplements. Is she lacking in Omegas? Is she on a high sugar diet? Is she a smoker. All aspects of your clients life style have to be taken in to consideration.
  • How she looks after her skin, we don’t really want her using Clinique the next day.
  • So depending on the skin will depend on the length you use. I would say to start low and gradually build up and if you feel you need to treat with a deeper length then do so. Always watch the skin and see how it responds each time.


What products to use during and after needling

Lance would not actually say the words but in his book and when he talks he is saying Dermaviduals all the way. He say’s using dermaviduals and needling is like a marriage made in heaven. As to what actives, that will depend on the skin but the 2 safest products are Hyaluronic Acid or CM Glucan.

How often do I treat the skin

  • If you get blood the advice is to do a monthly treatment
  • No blood you can do two weekly.
  • If you have an LED light that can be used after the treatment
  • Sonophresis and Iontophoresis can also be used to aid in penetration of actives
  • Clients can needle at home from 0.1 / 0.3
  • At least 3-4 times a week for no longer that 5 – 10mins


Things to have in mind.as the skin therapist has to

  • Know your device
  • Know your clients’ skin
  • Know the expectation of this treatment
  • Give your client a realistic expectation
  • Do case studies to get to know your device.
  • Make sure it is the length you want
  • What do you see on the skin and how does the client feel.
  • Needling is not an off the shelf treatment with protocols, every treatment you do will vary with every client.
  • Always work on the side of caution.

On the positive side it is the most effective treatment for many skin concerns. For a treatment to prevent aging or to help repair prematurely ageing this treatment surpasses all the other very expensive machinery out there. It is not a quick fix but in the long run it fixes the cellular damage and keeps cells healthy young and frisky.

The Future

There are studies now being done on Acne

Black heads congestion and other skin concerns we would of not thought to treat.

Lance is also doing  studies this year and will publish next year some time. I also think he is trying to make his own needling device  as well.

The future of needling is definitely here to stay and now is the time for us to understand this treatment and make it work for our clinics.

My advice is do your own studies, take everyone’s knowledge understand the theory then put this in to your own practice. Know your clients skin and always work on the side of caution.

If you have any questions or concerns  please e mail  donnaglazer@me.com