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What Is Micropenning?

I Bled For Beauty, and I'll Do It Again (and Again)

I have thick skin. Literally. My pain tolerance is high enough that I'm not bothered by prodding and poking. I donate blood as often as I can (as should you — especially if you're O-); I've gotten my brows bladed into my face; I've gotten acupuncture in my jaw and body to help with TMJ. I've even gotten my tragus pierced. (That's on my ear, by the way.) So what could I possibly do next to take my dedication to beauty a step further?

Bleed, you say? Challenge accepted.

Micropenning has becoming increasingly popular in the skincare world, mostly because of social media. In videos on Instagram and Facebook, you see women getting treated with a device and subsequently bleeding like they're Carrie at prom. It's fascinating and terrifying, especially if needles and blood make you uneasy.

But there are benefits to this form of torture, and there are a few different ways this treatment is implemented. I visited Alchemy43, a medical spa in Beverly Hills, and received its Radically Radiant treatment, which includes a micropen service. Micropens are plug-in devices that include 12-14 tiny needles that pierce the skin. This causes superficial trauma to your skin, which then indicates to your body that you need to be healed. "It's all the collagen coming to the area, the same way it would come and heal you if you fell and scraped your knee," said Nicci Levy, founder of Alchemy43. "Micropenning is excellent for anyone trying to address loose skin or acne scars; if you want your skin to look and feel smoother, it's an amazing treatment to do."

I was happy-ish with my skin before the treatment. But when my makeup is off, I'm very aware of the fact that I look like a globe. I have odd-shaped patches of pigmentation on my face that are brown. It's my melasma, and it's a result of my birth control. Other than that, I feel like I've taken pretty good care of my skin over the years, but ultimately I wish it were more smooth and plump. And that's what this treatment was made to do.

Not flattering, but you can see how much pain I was in here.

Let's not kid ourselves, though — this treatment is painful. Someone is jamming several needles into your face at a rapid pace. And although I was numbed, I have to say this is one of the most intense treatments I've ever experienced. My cheeks were fine — they're the fattiest area, obviously — but when my RN got to my forehead and nose, I couldn't help but tear up. Not because I was in a ton of pain, but because it's a natural reaction when something is vibrating on your face in those areas.

Afterward, though, I was fine. My face looked like I had spent eight days skiing without sunscreen, but I had no pain at all. I went into the office afterward, and although I nearly horrified everyone I work with, I was able to go about my day without thinking about my face. (Unless I looked in the mirror.)

The recovery process was pain-free, but there are a few things I think everyone needs to be aware of. First, you can't put on makeup after this service, so don't make any big plans that same day. I got this done on a Friday morning and spent my Friday night with my lover — Netflix — and my boyfriend. The next day I was able to go out, and I was a little pink, but that's it. However, that next night I noticed my skin began to break out. Nothing crazy, but it seems like the needles somehow got my skin to purge every last thing in my pores from my skin.

Day two, sans makeup.

The third day my skin peeled. Not sheets, but little flakes. And then day four came along.

I walked into the office, and the first thing my coworker said to me was, "You have fetus face!" Yes, my skin was glowing like that of a Gerber baby. It was smooth, dewy, and plump. Like I got the best six weeks of sleep ever. Like the sun had never touched it. Like I was born filthy rich and have never had a stress in my life. Nicci told me this would happen — that I'd be doing my makeup and think I was just having a good makeup day, but that it would be the treatment working its magic.

It's now been about a month since I was first micropenned. My skin looked unreal — like a mannequin — for about two weeks, but like most treatments, you need to get them frequently to see results. I am going back in a few weeks for another treatment and hope to see my skin continuously get better and better.

Watch the video to see my results after the treatment, and let me know if you end up trying it!

Image Source: POPSUGAR Studios
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