Dr. Sobel’s team transferred me to a second room for the procedure, which was to be performed by Dr. Sobel’s licensed medical assistant, Olga Bass. She used alcohol wipes to remove the numbing agent, as a way of ensuring that the skin’s surface was clean as a whistle before creating the tiny puncture holes. Full disclosure: the smell of the wipes was quite abrasive (which Bass warned me about), but it dissipated in a flash.
Then came time to introduce the needle: a thicker wand with a half-inch grid of gold needles at its tip. “Medical needles with a length of 0.5mm to 1.5mm are used on the face, neck, or chest and 1.5mm to 2.5mm can be used on the body,” shares Dr. Sobel. “The longer the needle, the farther it will penetrate into your skin.” Dr. Sobel’s office uses gold needles for their hypoallergenic properties, giving this practice a leg up amongst the sensitive skin population. Looking at the needles, I *did* have a small moment of panic over the pain that may follow—but Bass reminded me that the numbing agent would do its job and drastically reduce any sensation.
And so, it began. Starting with the jawline and snaking over the surface of my skin (the way a lawnmower cuts grass: first across and then upward), Bass used the tool to stamp my face with a plate of small needles. We only went over my forehead once since there are far fewer acne scars in that area, but we went over all other areas three times, which became more painful each time. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d rank this procedure somewhere in between a 3 and a 6, with the bony parts of my face scoring a 6, (as well as my upper lip, since there are tons of nerve endings in that zone), and the rest sitting securely at a 3. That said, this was definitely not an “I nodded off mid-way” kind of treatment. It reminded me of the way I’ve felt while undergoing a wax: bracing myself for sharp, short pangs of pain throughout. Still, it was over before I knew it and 20 minutes breezed right by.