Ethics in Medicine

Microneedling, It’s all the Rage

Kristen Sparrow • February 22, 2017

Try Microneedling for Smoother Skin!

I’ve been touting microneedling for years.  The one featured in this article costs $200.  The one I use costs $20.

On March 31, 2016, Jamie O’Banion, a former Miss Teen Texas with dewy, perfect skin, was barely 12 minutes into her debut on the Home Shopping Network’s beauty hour when a buzzer sounded and the words “Sold Out” were stamped in bright red on the screen. She was less than halfway through her allotted airtime.

At 35, Ms. O’Banion, a founder of Beauty Bioscience in Dallas, was clearly an effective advertisement for her product: the $199 GloPro, a hand-held device for at-home microneedling — that is, using teeny tiny surgical steel needles to prod the skin into increasing production of collagen and elastin, and as a result improving texture and tone and potentially reducing wrinkles and scars.

In those 12 minutes, Ms. O’Banion sold 22,000 units (some $4 million worth), according to company figures. In the roughly eight months of 2016 the device was available — at HSN, the shopping network, and also at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman later on — about $30 million worth were sold. HSN does not release sales figures, but Alicia Valencia, the network’s senior vice president for beauty, said that GloPro, which looks like a miniature needle-studded paint roller, was the top performing tool. It is also the top-selling beauty tool at Neiman Marcus.

“Beauty’s New Cult Device,” Women’s Wear Daily declared. (GloPro is not the only at-home microneedling device — there are several, and with varying needle lengths — but it is the one attracting the most attention.)

Customers are as exclamatory as, well, an infomercial. Asked about results, Evelyn Savich, of Salem, Ohio, said: “Heavens, yes! Almost immediate tightening of the pores, the lines around my eyes softened, and the lines around my mouth are almost gone.”