Microneedling Vs. Botox: Which Is The Right Treatment For You?

Botox injections and microneedling are usually the top-of-mind options when it comes to rejuvenating the skin and enhancing the face of humanity. Although both treatments can impact your skin in a way that helps it appear smoother and younger than its real age, the ways they work around your skin and their costs are quite different. Most beauty fans are no strangers to Botox: the OG of non-surgical facial rejuvenation, and still a highly sought-after method for enhancing one's appearance. Botox injections inhibit specific chemical nerve signals from causing muscles to contract. The aim is to momentarily freeze the facial muscles that contribute to wrinkles around the eyes and on the forehead so there is less recurrence of wrinkles, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Microneedling — also known as collagen induction treatment — is a minimally invasive cosmetic technique that works by making microscopic holes in the top layer of your skin using fine needles, according to WebMD. The trauma fools the skin into believing it is damaged and stimulates a healing response, including the formation of collagen and elastin, which make the skin appear firmer, smoother, and younger. So, which one is the right treatment for you? Let's look more closely at the pros and cons of each method.

Microneedling is less invasive than Botox

If you don't like the idea of having a foreign substance being injected into your body to keep you looking younger, microneedling will give you peace of mind. Nothing is administered into your skin during microneedling except the insertion of very fine, short, sterilized needles typically ranging in diameter from 0.5 and 2.5 millimeters. When the skin experiences these pinpricks, it will call upon the body's immune system to heal itself, which results in heightened collagen production and as-good-as-new skin, dermatologist Macrene Alexiades tells ELLE.


For those who are seeking natural-looking results sans injectables, microneedling can be immensely helpful in improving your skin quality by triggering the production of collagen and elastin. It can also increase the absorption rate of topically applied skin care products and amplify their effects on your skin. You might discover, according to Dr. John Kim, that over time, microneedling can keep you appearing younger for a much longer period. 

Microneedling addresses superficial skin problems

While it's true that microneedling can make you look younger to a certain extent, it's not a one-size-fits-all solution to all the aging signs on your face. What microneedling is best at is treating superficial skin concerns, such as saggy and crepey skin caused by sun damage, enlarged pores, and old acne scars to restore to you a smoother skin texture, according to Holladay Dermatology & Aesthetics. For those wanting to erase deep-set lines and wrinkles around the mouth and forehead, Botox — which is injected into desired muscles — can help you achieve more targeted results. In other words, if you merely want to improve the appearance and texture of your skin in the most natural way possible, microneedling is a great shout.


The results might not be as dramatic as Botox, but they are certainly noticeable. But as with Botox, you also need to top up on clinic visits to maintain results. Dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara tells Allure: "If you're working on just kind of rejuvenation, you can do it quarterly." If your problem is acne scarring, you might need to go for treatment every month or every six weeks. Dermatologist Dr. Shereene Idriss recommends going through no more than three or four microneedling sessions per year to avoid overwhelming the skin.

Microneedling has milder and fewer side effects than Botox

Although Botox is generally safe, it's not without side effects. According to a review published in the Journal of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery on the effects of the anti-aging procedure, one in six persons who have Botox injected into their faces experiences side effects such as bruising, headache, nausea, and "frozen" features — such as brow drooping, asymmetric smile, and narrow-appearing eyes.


On the other hand, microneedling has milder and fewer side effects. With microneedling, there are a few temporary side effects to be mindful of, such as short-term swelling, redness, and skin flaking that lasts for a few days following the procedure, according to Yale Medicine. No recovery time is needed, and people can resume wearing makeup within a day. You can expect to see results within four to seven days after treatment.

Having said that, microneedling can go wrong and cause extensive and prolonged skin damage. For instance, if you're prone to allergic reactions or have a chronic skin condition, consult a dermatologist beforehand to see if you're a candidate for the procedure. Besides, having an untrained technician perform on your face can also heighten the risk of botched microneedling. Before going for microneedling, make sure the person you are booking with has received safety training and is a licensed, experienced professional.


Botox is best for dynamic wrinkles

There are two types of wrinkles: static and dynamic. Dynamic wrinkles are formed through repeated facial expressions such as laughing, smiling, or squinting, according to Montante Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics. Static wrinkles, on the other hand, are etched in the skin over time as a result of natural collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid disintegration. This process is often accelerated by factors such as excessive sun exposure or smoking.


For years, Botox has been proven to effectively reduce the appearance of dynamic wrinkles. Botox is a neuromodulator derived from botulinum toxin, which temporarily paralyzes muscular action on the face, minimizing the formation of dynamic wrinkles. It can also treat static wrinkles, but the results are not as strong. Dermal filler injections — which inject hyaluronic gel into the skin — are a better treatment for static wrinkles.

Static wrinkles can also be improved with microneedling. According to cosmetic dermatologist Nelson Lee Novick, microneedling should be saved for static wrinkles rather than those induced by repeated movements (via Facial Aesthetic Concepts).

Botox injections offer faster and more dramatic results

Botox is injected directly beneath the skin, and because of that, you can expect to see the fading and softening of deep lines and wrinkles almost instantly after treatment, according to Aesthetic Lane. Since microneedling works by stimulating the skin's natural processes, it might take a little more time to see results, which might not be as dramatic as with Botox. If there's a grand event coming up soon and you want to look your absolute best when you're there, look no further than Botox.


Providing you're the right candidate for Botox and you were in good hands throughout the treatment, you'll start noticing a softening of wrinkles within 24 to 48 hours of treatment, according to Eye Centers of Florida. If all is well, you can expect to see maximum results within two weeks' time. It's also worth pointing out that the efficacy of Botox injections vary based on factors such as the metabolism of the treated, the area treated, and the dose of injection. To achieve maximum results, it's best to discuss your expectations with your healthcare provider before starting treatment.

You can go longer between Botox sessions

If you're too busy for frequent clinic visits, Botox injections are a good idea. The results of Botox typically last anywhere between three and four months. That means you should have a Botox touch-up once every three to four months when the effects of the injectables have worn off, according to My Houston Surgeons. However, everybody's metabolism rate differs, so some people might need a Botox top-up sooner or later than others. Your level of physical activity might have an impact on the longevity of your Botox injectables. For instance, athletes with a higher metabolism rate may notice that their results from Botox injections fade faster compared to more sedentary people, per Art of Dermatology.


Microneedling, on the other hand, might call for more follow-up treatments within a shorter time frame — say, every four to six weeks. It is recommended that you attend at least four to six sessions in order to fully benefit from the therapy. If you discontinue Botox treatments after years of regular injections, your wrinkles will gradually return — though at a slower rate. Meanwhile, microneedling treats more than just signs of aging. It helps promote the production of collagen and elastin in the body to regenerate healthy skin cells naturally. As a result, it can deliver longer-lasting results without the hazards associated with Botox. Therefore, if you're stickler for delayed aging in the most natural way possible, microneedling might just be what the doctor ordered.