Micro-Spicules: The New Skincare Tech Making A Big Splash

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Go to nearly any skin clinic or aesthetician and you'll likely find microneedling offered on the menu of available treatments. Just as its name implies, microneedling is a procedure using tiny needles that puncture the skin, and though it might sound painful, it offers a range of benefits. According to Cleveland Clinic, the treatment can improve the appearance of scarring, discoloration, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and stretch marks. It may even help with hair loss and excessive sweating.


Besides in-office microneedling, skincare enthusiasts can try at-home dermarolling, which uses shorter needles but still promises to improve texture and tone (per Healthline). Even still, rolling needles over the skin may not work for everyone. People with sensitive skin or active acne, for example, should generally avoid microneedling and dermarolling. There are other problems, too, like hefty costs of professional needling and skin infections associated with DIY versions.

However, products containing micro-spicules, a new kind of skincare tech, are hitting stores and offering an alternative to traditional needles.

What are micro-spicules?

What if you could replace needling procedures and dermarolling with a mild cream instead? That's essentially how micro-spicules work. The YesStylist, an online retailer selling Asian beauty products, explains that spicules are small, needle-shaped structures sourced from marine sponges. The natural "needles" are extracted from the sponges and added to skincare masks, serums, and creams.


You may not be familiar with these products yet, but you will be soon. One launch hitting the U.S. market is Medi Lift's Needle Lift line, reports CosmeticsDesign USA. The Medi Lift Needle Lift Cream, created by Japanese company YA-MAN, uses microscopic micro-spicules in a gentle formula that's applied to the face as the final step in your skincare routine (after applying serums or toners). Compared to rolling needles over the skin with a tool, topical micro-spicule products involve rubbing tiny needles into the skin, where they remain for up to 72 hours until the needles flake off along with any dead skin cells.

Creams and potions filled with tiny needles might sound scary, but they promise to be a much gentler — though still slightly abrasive — replacement for microneedling and dermarolling. YA-MAN states that with its Medi Lift Needle Lift Cream, typical side effects are only tingling and redness lasting a few minutes.


The skin benefits of micro-spicules

Unlike regular needles and dermaroller spikes, micro-spicules are too tiny to see with the naked eye. Therefore, it's easy to believe the sponge-derived ingredient can't possibly stand up to traditional needling treatments. However, there are some promising benefits of making the switch to spicules. The YesStylist points out that micro-spicules penetrate the skin, allowing other ingredients to absorb (and work their magic) better. They may also gently exfoliate, treat hyperpigmentation and scarring, and firm up sagging or wrinkled skin. Though more research may be needed to demonstrate just how effective natural spicules are, one 2017 study published in the Annals of Dermatology concluded that micro-spicules containing epidermal growth factor significantly improved fine lines and wrinkles, without any troubling side effects. YA-MAN also points out that its micro-spicule cream boosts elasticity, treats dryness and dullness, and smooths pores and uneven texture.


It's worth noting that topical micro-spicule solutions may be used more frequently than standard needling procedures. Rather than waiting for your next microneedling appointment or skipping a couple of days (as experts advise) between dermarolling sessions, many spicule creams and serums can be used daily, which may lead to quicker and more consistent results. Another benefit of micro-spicules is that you don't have to deal with any real needles. No need to poke and prod your skin or risk infection. Expect to see more of this user-friendly skin tech in beauty aisles and online shops soon.