Can a Tattoo Help You Look Younger?

Want to look younger and don't mind needles? A new procedure — almost like an anti-aging tattoo — is gaining popularity in Hollywood and beyond. The MicroPen facial claims to rejuvenate your skin and make you look younger.

Working like a tattoo gun, the MicroPen uses tiny needles to penetrate the skin to stimulate collagen production and increase the absorption of the products you use.

Cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sandra Lee joins The Doctors to demonstrate the benefits of the MicroPen. "This MicroPen procedure has become really popular among celebrities," Dr. Lee says. "Reportedly, Kim Kardashian has done it, Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie."

The MicroPen is equipped with a dozen, 32-gauge micro-thin needles that poke at the skin, Dr. Lee explains. The depth of the needle can be controlled. It can be used superficially to do a mild facial or, if a deeper procedure is needed, a numbing agent is used.

Dr. Lee draws blood from a patient, puts the tube of blood into a centrifuge, spins it down and isolates the platelet-rich plasma, or PRP.The PRP is smoothed over the skin to trigger growth factors and encourage new collagen synthesis. Dr. Lee spreads a layer of PRP over the entire skin surface and uses the MicroPen to gently drive the PRP deeper into the skin.

Pinpricks of blood may appear during the procedure and the redness may last for a couple of days. "[The patient] will have a wonderful, radiant glow!" Dr. Lee says.


MicroPen Facts

  • It works like a tattoo gun, using tiny needles to penetrate the skin to stimulate collagen production.
  • Following needle gun procedure, the doctor smooths blood platelets over the skin for rejuvenation.
  • It can be used on all parts of the body.
  • Procedure takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.


  • The skin will continue to improve for up to six months after the treatment.
  • The MicroPen is great for people in their 30s to 40s, who have started to see enlarged pores, fine wrinkling or may have some brown spots and mild acne scars.
  • Short recovery period.
  • In some cases, the doctors will add hyaluronic acid gel, and the MicroPen will increase the penetration of the product. Hyaluronic acid gel is hydrophilic, meaning it attracts water and thereby increases the moisture in the skin.

Side Effects

  • Redness for an average of two to four days.

About the Procedure
PRP is isolated from the patient's own blood. The blood is spun down in a centrifuge to separate the PRP from platelet-poor plasma and red blood cells. PRP is blood plasma that is enriched with platelets. A factor is added to cause degranulation of the platelets, which results in different growth factors and other cytokines to be released. Those growth factors and cytokines will then boost collagen formation and rejuvenate the skin. 

The MicroPen creates microinjuries in the skin in a controlled and predictable manner, and this stimulates the production of collagen which helps to make the skin more youthful and radiant. Depending on the length of the needles, a patient can choose to have a light treatment to exfoliate the skin, improve texture, shrink pores and stimulate collagen, with minimal downtime. The patient can also choose to have a deeper treatment to improve stretch marks, acne scars and brown spots. The downtime would increase with a deeper treatment.

The MicroPen feels similar to sandpaper or a cat’s tongue scratching the skin. Deeper treatments for acne scars and stretch marks likely requires local anesthesia. Treatment is recommended two to three times, spaced six to eight weeks apart. Depending on the depth of the needles, the patient may have mild redness and some pinpoint bleeding.

The Procedure

  • The patient will need to have a clean face. Topical lidocaine will be applied.
  • The doctor will draw the patient’s blood and spin it down to isolate the PRP.
  • The numbing cream is removed, and the area is treated with one pass of the instrument.
  • The doctor spreads a layer of PRP over the entire skin surface and uses the MicroPen to gently drive the PRP deeper into the skin.
  • The patient will have about 1- 2 days of social downtime.