If you are bothered by textural irregularities in your skin, such as wrinkles, enlarged pores, scars or stretch marks, you may have heard about microneedling as a solution. By creating microscopic punctures in the skin with the help of tiny needles, this minimally invasive treatment stimulates the skin’s collagen remodeling process to produce smoother, more even skin.

The results of microneedling largely depend on your provider’s skill and experience, but the tools they use also play a part. At Ridenour Plastic Surgery, we focus on providing our St. Louis patients with the best treatments available using tried and true techniques. That’s why we have recently added Exceed to our microneedling arsenal.

What Is Exceed™?

Exceed is the first dual-indicated, FDA-cleared medical microneedling system that can treat facial wrinkles and facial acne scars. With just four one-hour treatments, patients can achieve visibly smoother and younger skin. The device offers greater precision and adjustability than many other microneedling pens on the market, making treatment comfortable and the results superior.

How Does Microneedling Work?

Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, is a minimally invasive treatment for textural irregularities of the skin. The treatment uses very fine needles to create tiny holes in your skin. This stimulates the skin’s natural healing process, which also involves the production of new and tighter collagen fibers. This collagen boost helps smooth out wrinkles, diminish pore size and reduce the appearance of scars, among other benefits.

At Ridenour Plastic Surgery, we frequently use microneedling to deliver state-of-the-art regenerative skin formulations such as PRP and certain forms of growth factors and skin modulators. We often combine the microneedling procedure with the harvest of nanofat, also known as adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) that are obtained from a small amount of the patient’s own fat. The use of these stem cells is thought to decrease inflammation, diminish the presence of senescent cells, and upregulate the production of collagen, elastin and the skin’s supporting matrix.

There are different types of microneedling techniques and devices. The original microneedling device developed in 2006 was a drum-shaped device with fine protruding needles called a derma-roller. Later, microneedling stamps and pens were introduced to provide greater precision and more dramatic results. Some microneedling treatments also use platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or radiofrequency (RF) to boost efficiency. The needles in most microneedling devices are usually 0.5 to 3 mm in length and 0.1 to 0.25 mm in diameter.

Benefits of Microneedling With the Exceed™ Pen

The Exceed Pen is one of the latest microneedling technologies developed by Candela. The device was FDA-approved for treating facial wrinkles and acne scar reduction. What makes it stand out among the competition are the following:

  • Clinically proven to dramatically improve acne scars and wrinkles
  • The first FDA-cleared dual-indicated microneedling treatment
  • Includes premium, high-quality needles with a maximum 1.5 mm length
  • Features needles that are slightly larger than those on some other microneedling devices, which can enhance the delivery of topical serums, exosomes, PRP and nanofat
  • Delivers up to 900 needle punctures per second — making treatment more efficient
  • Allows circular treatment, thus preventing snagging of the skin
  • Individualized results thanks to adjustable penetration depth and speed
  • Can easily access difficult-to-treat areas, like around the nose

What Can the Exceed™ Pen Treat?

Like other microneedling devices, the Exceed Pen is designed to trigger collagen remodeling in the skin. Many skin issues are due to underproduction or overproduction of collagen. Examples of skin issues that the Exceed Pen can address are:

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Clinical studies found that 90% of test subjects treated with the Exceed Pen saw improvement in their facial wrinkles, while 78% saw an improvement in periorbital wrinkles.

Acne Scars

Acne is an inflammatory skin condition that can result in underproduction or overproduction of collagen. The Exceed Pen was found to correct this issue in at least 86% of test subjects in clinical studies.

The Exceed™ Microneedling Experience

Microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment that requires simple preparation and little to no downtime. This is especially the case with Exceed thanks to its advanced technology. Here is what your treatment will look like:


Microneedling prep is simple and easy, but it’s very important to follow your provider’s instructions to promote optimal recovery and good results.

We usually tell patients to avoid exfoliating, tanning, antibiotics and topical retinoids for at least a week before their appointment. These things can make your skin more sensitive and, thus, prone to infections and hyperpigmentation post-treatment.

Another thing to avoid is over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen, aspirin and other NSAIDs. These medications can thin the blood and interfere with proper healing post-treatment. The same holds true for some supplements, like turmeric, vitamin E, fish oil, gingko and others.

As far as things you should do, following a good skincare routine that involves gentle cleansing and daily use of moisturizer and high-SPF sunscreen is all that’s needed. It’s also a good idea to come to your scheduled appointment with a clean, bare face. Otherwise, your provider will remove your makeup before treatment begins.

The Process

We will first carefully cleanse your skin with an antiseptic to remove any makeup residues and other impurities. If necessary, you can ask for a topical numbing agent to minimize discomfort. However, this is usually not needed, as the needles used for this treatment are ultra-fine and too small to cause significant pain.

Your provider will then move the Exceed device across the treatment area. You may feel light pressure or a scratching sensation as the needles penetrate your skin. The whole treatment should take an hour or less.

Patients usually need four treatments spaced three weeks apart to see improvement.

Recovery & Results

Your skin will be slightly tender and red immediately after treatment. This is normal and should resolve within a couple of hours. It’s important to avoid direct sun exposure, hot environments, alcohol and blood-thinning medications for at least two days post-treatment to avoid bleeding, bruising and discoloration.

You may notice improvement in your skin after your first treatment. However, it usually takes 12 weeks for the full effect of treatment to show. This will include visibly smoother, firmer and brighter skin with a significant reduction in wrinkles and acne scars.

Schedule a Consultation

At Ridenour Plastic Surgery, our goal is to offer our patients the best minimally invasive treatments available. That’s why we have decided to include Exceed as one of our microneedling options for patients concerned about wrinkles, acne scars and similar textural irregularities.

If you are in St. Louis, Missouri, or the surrounding communities, please schedule your consultation by calling us today at 314-878-8600 or contacting us here. Our team will be happy to share more information about Exceed and help you decide whether this treatment is right for you.

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