Lupus Rash Treatments: Is Microneedling A Safe Option?

Microneedling is a new procedure in which tiny needles are used to pierce the skin and create micro-injuries. This mild damage forces the skin to kick healing mechanisms into overdrive. The overcompensation of the skin can stimulate collagen to heal old scars caused by rashes and acne, among others. 
It is generally considered safe to receive a microneedling treatment if you have lupus. It is important, however, to work with a board certified dermatologist who will treat you gently and conservatively. Skin affected by lupus can undergo the Koebner phenomenon.
Also known as the isomorphic response, this causes new lesions to appear on otherwise healthy skin in response to injury. This means that the tiny injuries that make microneedling effective could cause new lupus patches on clear skin. It can be beneficial to treat a test patch to see how your skin will respond to the treatment, and to avoid large areas affected by the
With or without an autoimmune skin disorder, it is crucial to avoid overly frequent microneedling sessions. The skin needs around 28 days to fully repair. At best, too frequent treatments are ineffective because the skin is still healing from the last session. At worst, needling too often can overstimulate the production of collagenases. These enzymes break the peptide bonds within collagen molecules, which is counterproductive to the goals of the treatment.

Who Should Avoid Microneedling?

As with most medical treatments, microneedling has some contraindications. You should not microneedle over your thighs or abdomen if you have allergies, as the procedure can increase histamine release and cause hives. Patients with lowered immune systems, whether compromised by disease or suppressed through medication, should avoid microneedling because of the risk of infection after the treatment.
Women who are pregnant should choose a different rejuvenation treatment. The topical creams and serums used in the procedure can enter into the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier to the growing fetus; however, it is not recommended to microneedle without such topicals because of the damage inflicted upon the skin. Diabetic patients are not ideal candidates for microneedling because their wound healing capabilities may be delayed, which increases the risk of post procedure infection. People who take anticoagulant medications are at risk of prolonged bleeding during and after the treatment, so they should avoid needling.
Some other cosmetic procedures may interfere with microneedlng. The treatment should not be performed within 48 hours of receiving injectable neuromodulators, like Dysport or Botox. There is potential for the injected toxins to be maldistributed. Even injectable fillers can interact negatively with a microneedling treatment. Wait at least two weeks after receiving fillers to needle to avoid an undesirable inflammatory response.
Anyone with keloid scars on their palms or soles should be careful when microneedling. Antihistamines can inhibit inflammation that can worsen scarring. Moles, skin tags, and similar lesions should be avoided when needling. These darkened or abnormal areas may harbor cancer cells, and the treatment could cause them to replicate and spread.

Success Story

Rosa Ferreira is a lupus patient who saw success with collagen stimulation. After laser treatment to reduce hyperpigmentation, her dermatologist prescribed a filler to rebuild the fat deposits in Ferreira’s face. Although her doctor used an injectable, microneedling could also be used to increase collagen production.

Treatment Options

Microneedling can be done by a dermaroller or a Dermapen, at home or with a professional. If you choose to purchase your own dermaroller, it is extremely important to do your research before buying, treat yourself carefully, and clean and care for your roller properly.
Rollers come in various needle sizes for different skin textures. Buying from a dermatologist may be preferable to ordering from a large retailer. The roller should be sterilized before and after each use. It should not be used more than 10-15 times, and it should be thrown out immediately if it is dropped or damaged in any way.
Although it is more expensive to have a professional needling treatment performed, there is less risk. Only professionals can use the Dermapen, which is more powerful than the roller. Your dermatologist can provide detailed instructions for pre- and post-treatment care.