One such innovation that has been trending on social media and is gaining momentum is marine spicules – microscopic needle-like structures found in freshwater sponges.
What on earth are spicules?Spicules are found in many sponge-like species. They form the exoskeleton of the sponges and take on many fascinating shapes with needle-shaped particles that can be seen under a microscope. When used in skincare they act like tiny microneedles to puncture the skin, stimulate the dermis, exfoliate and rejuvenate by promoting collagen production.
What are their benefits?As well as acting like non-abrasive exfoliators to remove dead skin cells and leave skin looking smoother and brighter, spicules also have a gentle peeling effect. By creating micro-channels in the skin – just like machine-based microneedling – they allow for better absorption of serums, creams and masks. By stimulating cell turnover, they can help treat dark spots such as post-acne scars and pigmentation from the sun, and minimise the appearance of wrinkles.
Another benefit is that because spicules are sustainable they are safe to use, unlike some other exfoliants which contain beads that can contaminate the environment.
Will spicules work for me?As spicules are derived from natural marine sponges, they’re generally gentle enough for all skin types, although those with sensitive skin should take care when using them as they could find them irritating. Ageing skin types could find marine spicules extra beneficial as cell turnover slows as we age leading to dullness, fine lines and wrinkles, and spicules can speed up the rejuvenation process.
They’re also good for skin with hyperpigmentation, uneven tone, dark spots, and active acne, as well as oily skin types with open pores and uneven texture as they help remove the top layer of skin. For the body, they can help with stretch marks and scars.
What do they feel like?Like tiny needles being massaged into your skin, although it’s not intense enough to be painful. Interestingly, spicules take up to 72 hours to fully dissolve so you will feel a prickling sensation if you touch your skin during this time. There are no side effects because the ingredients are all natural.
Are any clinics using them?This is a type of bio microneedling that training providers SQT says can be used to replace machine-based treatments. Managing Director and Skin Specialist, Ashley Wady explains, “SQT liquid microneedling offers results as effective as treatments such as IPL, CO2 Laser and Fraxel in stimulating collagen and elastin.”
The spicules are extracted from freshwater sponges and can be seen as a powder to the naked eye or a sharp crystal rod under a microscope. “SQT Biomicroneedling contains no chemicals, no acids, or ingredients that can damage the skin," says Wady. "The sponge spicules are millions of a millimetre in size and easily penetrate through the pores of the skin, causing no breakage, no bleeding, and no risk of cross-contamination.”
The facial treatment lasts for just five minutes and can also be used on any part of the body, during which 3-5 million siliceous microneedles are massaged into the skin’s dermis and epidermis without the need for anaesthetic.
Over the next few days, skin will feel slightly dry and there may be some peeling. Results can be seen in seven days; as it speeds up the skin cycle by three weeks, treatments can be repeated every 14 days.