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Everything You Need to Know About Microneedling and Dermarollers

What is microneedling all about?

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Shutterstock

Microneedling (or micro-needling) is a process that involves using needles to puncture hundreds of tiny holes in the skin (yes, seriously).

It may seem like the newest trend in beauty/skincare, but it’s actually been around and evolving for over 50 years!

Fans of the microneedle claim it treats everything from wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and dull skin to issues such as scars, stretch marks, and cellulite — although results are still dubious on that last one, so don’t get your hopes up.

However, in a 2009 study, 37 patients underwent microneedling procedures to treat atrophic facial scars (those sunken scars that result from acne, chicken pox, etc.).

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NCBI

After several professional treatments, over 80% of the patients saw a reduction in scarring and rated their treatment as “excellent.”

Today, we’re going to explore microneedling and dermarolling to find out exactly what is involved in the processes and what they promise to do for skin.

Let’s get to the point! [ pun intended 😉 ]

Microneedling and Dermarolling

What could possibly be the benefits of microneedling? 

Microneedling, also called Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), involves using a tool called a dermapen.

The dermapen has tiny needles at the end that make little holes or needle pricks in the top layers of your skin.

Microneedling

Another method of microneedling uses a dermaroller, which looks like a miniature paint roller with lots of tiny needles.

It is gently rolled in different directions over the surface of your skin to achieve the same effect.

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Royal Derma Roller

The purpose of this procedure is twofold: 

1. The little holes from the needles create “microchannels” that allow skincare products, such as potent serums, to penetrate and absorb into the deeper layers of skin to deliver more powerful results.

2. These tiny pinpricks act like a bunch of mini injuries that kick skin into healing mode and stimulate collagen and elastin production. This process plumps skin and improves the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and pores.

I know, you’re probably thinking this is on par with a face tattoo in terms of ouch factor.

But while this seems like just one more discomfort we have to endure for beauty (I’m looking at you, Spanx), the consensus is that is pretty painless.

Kim Kardashian even received a specific form of a microneedling facial dubbed “the vampire facial” on camera for her show.

The procedure involves a professional using a dermapen to inject the patient’s face with her own platelet-rich plasma to supposedly super charge collagen and elastin growth.

Recently, however, this same procedure may have exposed patients to HIV and hepatitis in a New Mexico spa! OMG!!!

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Kim Kardashian/Instagram

Model and actress Bar Refaeli also tried this controversial version of microneedling and posted post-plasma-needling result pics to her Instagram.

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Bar Refaeli/Instagram

Don’t worry, the regular method of microneedling and dermarolling doesn’t involve blood injections and yields less…“vampire-y” results.

How Does the Procedure Go Down? 

First, the practitioner applies a numbing cream to the patient’s skin.

Next, the practitioner will either gently roll a dermaroller over the surface of the skin in a few different directions, or use a dermapen to work around areas of the face to create tiny holes in the skin’s surface.

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Shutterstock

The whole process takes around 20-30 minutes and, while it involves needles in your face (a thought that would normally elicit a full body shudder), the process is apparently pretty painless.

You can expect some redness for up to a couple days afterward as a result of all the skin stimulation, but it subsides quickly as the healing begins and the results of more glowing, supple skin start to show.

To get truly effective results, you’ll need more than one treatment to continually build collagen and elastin.

As certified esthetician, Claire Gross, explains, “Results are cumulative, just like working out. You’re not tearing your skin down, you’re building it up.”

Are There Any Risks to Microneedling or Dermarolling?

Infection

The biggest no-no is using the microneedle on active acne because you run the risk of infection.

Avoid blemished areas during microneedling or wait until pimples are gone before undergoing the process.

Skin Reaction

Experts agree that you should not get the procedure done on skin that is inflamed, irritated, if you have rosacea, or are currently experiencing eczema.

Since microneedling can cause your skin to absorb skincare products more deeply, there’s a chance it could react to ingredients differently and become irritated.

You also want to be careful about using products not formulated for use with microneedling.

In a case study from JAMA Dermatology, University of Utah scientists reported 3 cases of women who experienced itching, rashes, and scarring in reaction to using a vitamin C serum with microneedling.

It’s a good idea to do a patch test of any post-microneedling products by applying to a small area and waiting 24 hours to make sure there’s no reaction before using it on larger areas.

This is a for sure if you have sensitive skin!

Reputable Spas/Offices

I encourage you to read this article about the HIV and hepatitis outbreak that occurred with vampire facials.

I’m not trying to scare you, lovelies!

If you’re not getting a vampire facial, you should be A-OK.

I just want to stress the importance of finding a spa or office that is reputable with licensed professionals and has a clean, sanitary environment and practices.

This will likely involve doing your own research.

Your safety is of utmost importance to me!

In-Office vs. At-Home Microneedling 

When microneedling is performed at a dermatologist’s office, the needles they use are slightly longer (over 1 mm) and, therefore, are able to penetrate to deeper layers of skin to treat more complex conditions such as scarring or stretch marks.

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Since there’s not a ton of scientific evidence studying the effects of at-home dermarollers, the jury is still out on whether they’re good, safe, or effective.

The version you can use at home includes needles that are smaller than 1mm, so they don’t penetrate skin very deeply.

They’re intended more for stimulating skin to reduce wrinkles, get your complexion all glowy, and allow products to possibly penetrate deeper.

The good news? The smaller needles on at-home dermarollers don’t hurt, so you don’t need any anesthetic cream to use them.

The bad news is the results won’t be as effective as what you’ll get from a professional dermatologist.

Also, if the needles are bent, dull, or not properly maintained, you run the risk of infecting or damaging skin that can lead to scarring.

verdict

If the thought of needles in your face makes you feel a little icky, or you’re not ready to take the microneedling plunge, I got your back.

Here are some of my top picks to get skin-changing results without needles!

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Clayton Shagal Collagen Gel and Elastin Gel Set

This set includes everything you need for some amazing anti-aging goodness. The collagen gel provides skin with (you guessed it) collagen and nourishment, while the elastin gel infuses skin with deep moisture. Together, this duo balances skin, reduces inflammation, and plumps skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sagging. It even helps with sensitive skin concerns such as rosacea and calms irritation!

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Epicuren Pro Collagen + Serum Amplifier

If you’re looking to diminish fine line and wrinkles, this serum is where it’s at. It includes a powerful combination of peptides and collagen to plump skin and smooth out all those little lines. It also helps protect against UV damage (which can break down collagen and elastin) and hydrate skin for a youthful complexion!

GloTherapeutics Lightening Serum

Get those spots out with this lightening serum that battles hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin and gently exfoliating skin to brighten and even out your overall tone. Additional ingredients help strengthen collagen and elastin and support skin’s ability to heal and rebuild. Get brighter complexion and healthy skin!

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iS Clinical White Lightening Serum

Reduce hyperpigmentation lightning fast with this serum! This powerful formula lifts away dark areas safely while gently exfoliating without any obvious peeling. It inhibits melanin while providing skin with anti-aging benefits, all without any skin irritation or inflammation.

Alana Mitchell Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum

One of the best ways to fight signs of aging is to make sure your skin has plenty of moisture, and this serum will do just that. It includes hyaluronic acid, an uber-humectant, to bind moisture to skin and boost hydration by 10x! The result is plump, smooth skin with few wrinkles and fine lines, and a healthy, hydrated glow!

ilike

Ilike Organic Skin Care Wrinkle Smoothing Serum

This lightweight gel formula penetrates deep into skin’s layers to stimulate cells and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. It also provides almost immediate toning and firming results for younger looking skin. This serum’s ingredients also soothe skin and reduce inflammation as well as support skin’s recovery process and collagen production. It promises you’ll see anti-aging results in a matter of weeks!

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NuFACE Trinity + Trinity Wrinkle Reducer Kit

This kit includes multiple treatment attachments to target different concerns for max results! The Trinity Facial Trainer is a microcurrent attachment that gently stimulates the face to improve circulation. The Trinity Wrinkle Reducer attachment uses FDA-cleared red LED and infrared light to penetrate deep into skin’s layers to effectively reduce wrinkles. Together, this clinically-tested combo can give you smoother, youthful, radiant skin in as little as five minutes a day!

Final Thoughts

Many trendy beauty procedures will come and go promising miraculous results, but the best thing you can do to treat and beautify skin is to practice a solid, regular skincare routine.

As long as you’re taking the best care of your skin every day (even if it doesn’t involve needles), you can’t go wrong!

Have you tried microneedling? Would you try it? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!

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23 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Microneedling and Dermarollers

  • Daniela

    Does micro needling help to tight the neck skin

  • Marinda

    I have been for about 10 Derma pen treatments and as the needle got longer and went deeper, I noticed more pigmentation. I went for a second opinion and the doctor said that superficial needing is fine for hyperpigmentation but not deep needling… As it disturbs the pigmentation… Almost spreading it
    Something to keep in mind I guess

    • Posh Laser & Aesthetics inc.

      You cannot ‘spread’ hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is caused by the sun. Essentially, what you’re doing though, is bringing these damaged cells to the surface. Before hyperpigmentation gets better it needs to get worse. Further more, every 28 days or so our skin rejuvenates. So, if you are doing dermarolling to treat this you will see it get worse and in the future see more spots surface. This is a normal stage of the process to full results. You cannot cause hyperpigmentation unless you have done the treatment and then go into the sun. The treatment itself absolutely does not spread hyperpigmentation.

  • N Davis

    Having my fourth treatment tomorrow. I am extremely happy with the results. I had acne and sun damage mostly on my cheeks. I wore heavy foundation and concealer everyday trying to cover it all up. I am now foundation free, concealer under my eyes though, and sunblock faithfully. I plan on continuing treatments twice a year.

  • Fathima

    Hi thanks for the post..at what agecdo ubrecomend doing microneedling? Will one treatment suffice?

    • Alana

      Hi, Fathima! You’ll want to check with your dermatologist to make sure you don’t have any age parameters. Since microneedling can benefit the skin in so many ways, from acne scarring to sagging skin, you can see the benefits at any age!

  • Annie

    What should I use before and after a treatment? I use Ratin-A, should I stop using it before and what moisturize should I use after?

  • Emma Darbyshire

    I derma roll at home but I haven’t used my rollers for almost a year. I was browsing different sites to get advice on the needle length as I have a few different ones. All in all I am very impressed with the at home rollers. I always cleanse first, then a thin layer of vit c serum and cocunut oil. I don’t always use numbing cream, it depends on what mood I’m in. I definitely notice results and as I haven’t used it in 12 months and am only now needing to re boost my treatments, I’d say that’s quite impressive….However, I use a 0.75mm needle and I repeat every 4 weeks. I do this for approx 4-5 months to get lasting results. Also, it is good to invest in some surgical spirit or alcohol to properly clean your rollers after each use.

  • Carol McCay

    I’m so thankful to have found your article! I am 61 years old and my daughter, who is a Rodan and Fields representative, gave me the roller and kit for my birthday. I had no idea what to with it, but after reading this I am going to give it a try!

  • Brenda Steeves

    Had my first treatment on Saturday Nov.24.Was a little painful on my forehead but other than that,nor bad.Haven’t noticed much difference,yet,tho.

  • Laura

    I’m getting my first treatment done today :)! Thanks for writing this and it def calmed my nerves down! I’m so excited though!!

  • Tamara

    I love this treatment, but would love to know how often I should have them done.T

    • Alana

      Hi Tamara, excellent question! It will all depend on the lengths of the needles and the how aggressive the treatment is. For example, if you do a mild treatment with a needle that is .25mm you can do a treatment every 3-4 days. The more aggressive and longer the needle means the longer you have to wait between treatments. If you’re doing an aggressive treatment using a needle that is .75mm, then you’ll need to wait 4-6 weeks between treatments.

  • Judiser

    I had done it once. For me, is fantastic. My whole face is clear n glowly. Will continue with this. Going to try it on eye treatment on 2nd visit.👍👏

  • Meg Pearce

    I have had 2 micro- needling treatments so far ( out of 3). A noticeable difference. Pores are smaller, sun damage has decreased significantly, and my face has a nice glow. I go to a professional. It take about 1 hour ( numbing cream time included). It does not hurt and feels sunburned for a day after. Highly recommend

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