Skin needling is a method whereby small needles, usually attached to a roller, are used to penetrate the skin. The injury caused by the needles stimulates production of collagen. Over time this can result in reduction of fine lines. It may also improve acne scars and even out skin tone.
This is actually the exact same method by which Profractional or Fraxel laser treatments work. Multiple treatments are needed for both Profractional laser and for skin needling, and results develop very gradually over a period of months. Both treatments are somewhat uncomfortable: numbing cream is used prior to treatment. You can expect several days of redness and swelling after both treatments as well.
The biggest difference between the two treatments is who can administer them. In the state of Ohio, only a physician can administer a laser treatment (the exception is laser hair removal), whereas an aesthetician can perform needling. If you are considering either needling or Profractional, you should ask your care provider how he or she was trained and how many of these procedures he or she performs in a year. I also recommend asking how many treatments are recommended, what the recovery time is like, and how the instruments are cleaned.