May 12, 2023

The Aquagold Facial: What Is It, And How Does It Measure Up To Microneedling?

"Aquagold is a newly developed collagen induction therapy. The logic is the same as microneedling in that tiny needles penetrate the dermis to help induce collagen and elastin production, which helps to increase the firmness of the skin"

Formulate user Cheryl has some questions about Aquagold facials:

Hi! What's the difference between Aquagold and microneedling? And why the heck are the Aquagold needles made of gold?

Thanks for writing, Cheryl! To answer your questions, as well as quite a few we've heard from other readers over the years (and admittedly a few of our own) we spoke with Dr. Samuel Hetz, the Medical Director of Concept Medical, a physician-led medical aesthetic and cosmetic dermatology practice.

But before we get going with our interview questions, let's go over some basic background information on what Aquagold is.

Aquagold fine touch is a treatment similar to microneedling, meaning it involves piercing the skin with teeny-tiny needles to prompt the skin to produce collagen. Where it differs from traditional microneedling is in how it also delivers ingredients that are specifically catered to the individual patient's needs. Depending on treatment goals, these ingredients may include peptides, hyaluronic acid dermal fillers, plasma, and neuromodulators such as Botox. Aquagold can be used to target skin concerns such as fine lines and wrinkles, enlarged pores, pigmentation, acne scars, dryness, and uneven texture, though the exact results of each treatment depend on which ingredients were utilized. Results typically last for up to six months.

Now, onto the interview!

What is an Aquagold facial, and how does it work? 

Dr. Hetz: Aquagold is a newly developed collagen induction therapy. The logic is the same as microneedling in that tiny needles penetrate the dermis to help induce collagen and elastin production, which helps to increase the firmness of the skin. The Aquagold version utilizes extremely fine 24-karat gold needles attached to a jar which can penetrate the epidermal layer of the skin, which is less invasive and therefore has a quicker recovery time.

What is the scientific rationale behind the needles being made of gold? 

Dr. Hetz: The rationale behind the gold is that it is a quality material that prevents skin reactions, improving patient experience and efficiency of the procedure. 

How deeply do the needles go into the skin? 

Dr. Hetz: The procedure is minimally invasive, and the needles only penetrate about 0.6mm below the skin. It can also be performed with numbing cream like traditional microneedling to help comfort the patients. 

How else is Aquagold different from Microneedling? Is one superior to the other in achieving specific skincare goals? 

Dr. Hetz: It really depends on your skincare goals. 

The Aquagold treatment is slightly less invasive and, therefore, has a quicker recovery time. For example, patients can wear makeup four to five hours after treatment. 

However, micro-needling is better for uprooting deeper scarring from acne. Microneedling penetrates down to the dermis layer of the skin by making micro-injuries with the needle and stimulating the skin's natural healing process while minimizing cellular damage. Due to the deeper penetration, the healing process has more phases which require some initial downtime, in which the patient is instructed to stay out of the sun and not apply cosmetic products for at least 24 hours. 

One is not superior over the other per se, as it really depends on the patient's long-term skincare goals and their initial skin type. 

Are there any conditions in which someone shouldn't get this treatment? 

Dr. Hetz: Much like traditional microneedling, there is some bleeding from the microinjuries caused to the skin. Therefore, people with blood disorders or who take blood thinning medication may be advised against the treatment. Additionally, if the skin is experiencing active acne outbreaks, or a psoriasis or eczema flare-up, it is best to wait until it is less irritated to do any kind of microneedling treatment.

What are the potential risks and side effects of the treatment? 

Dr. Hetz: Minor bleeding, bruising and swelling are all possible side effects of a microneedling treatment. Individual patients should be informed by their medical practitioner of any side effects or aftercare instructions before the procedure. Personal experiences always vary, so it is best to consult with a medical expert about your specific needs. 

How many sessions are needed to see a patient's desired results? 

Dr. Hetz: Many people have great experiences with Aquagold and see some results immediately after one session. Other skin types may need several sessions over a few months to obtain their desired results. Like any skin treatment, results vary on a case-by-case basis. 

How long does each session of Aquagold facial take?

Dr. Hetz: Similar to traditional microneedling sessions, an Aquagold facial will be around 30 minutes. This does not include the consultation time, where the patient is informed about the procedure and pretreatment/post-care instructions.

 Are there any pretreatment instructions that need to be followed? What about post-treatment? 

Dr. Hetz: Generally, before any microneedling procedure, you want to avoid exfoliating the skin or irritating it with active skincare ingredients such as retinol. If you use any steroid or antibiotic creams, you will need to discontinue your use of those prior to treatment. The downtime is minimal, but patients will need to avoid applying any cosmetic products and stay out of the sun for 24 hours after treatment. 

Many thanks to Dr. Hetz for his time and wisdom!

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