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Everything You Need to Know About Microneedling and Dermarollers, Pens, at Home & More!
What is microneedling all about?
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.).
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!
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.
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.
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!!!
Model and actress Bar Refaeli also tried this controversial version of microneedling and posted post-plasma-needling result pics to her 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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
Can you microneedle everyday?
We’re sure you’ve heard of the miracle routine of micro needling and the skin care product that goes with it, the derma roller. After all, it has a long list of uses; derma roller for acne, derma roller for scars, and derma roller for cellulite to name a few.
Maybe you’re ready to dive in and explore the micro-needling benefits for yourself but want to know how often to do it beforehand. Or, maybe you’re already using a microdermal roller and want to check that you’re being safe.
In the former case, you may be asking “What is a derma roller?”. On your search you may find different names. You’ll see both derma rollers and derma needles. These two words are for the same product and mean the same thing.
So here’s the deal. If you’re going to be micro needling then you should know off-the-bat there are different rules for different situations.
If you’re microneedling at home, whether it’s using the derma needle on stretch marks or the derma roller on cellulite, it’s important to know the procedure for derma roller uses. You should never use a micro derma roller everyday. Though, if the needles are relatively short, you can get away with treating your skin twice a week. On the other hand, if the needle is longer, you should wait three to four weeks between treatments. Ever seen a good microneedling before and after photo? Usually they are resulting in proper timing in between treatments, don't overdo it!
When should I microneedle?
Thinking about adding a micro derma roller into your routine now? Let’s go through when the best time is for a dermaroller treatment.
Micro-needling, as beneficial as it is in the long-term, can have less-than-desired effects in the short term. Namely, after a microneedling treatment, you’ll notice that your skin may look a bit inflamed the first couple of times. Worry not! This is due to the stress response from your skin due to the mix of pressure and poking the micro needling pen places on it.
So, unless you’re oddly into people asking why your face looks a little swollen, try to use microneedle rollers at night. This will give your body plenty of time to recover post-treatment.
How to microneedle stretch marks?
When it comes to implementing microneedle roller therapy, everyone has different target areas. Some of us may use a dermaroller for acne scars, while others will use it for stretch marks. The beauty of the device is that it works no matter the situation.
So, for those that are dealing with the latter, you’ll be happy to find out how to use the derma needle for stretch marks.
You’ll also find the fact that using a micro needle roller is relatively simple. Here’s the how-to on microneedling those marks.
Buy yourself a microneedle roller specific for stretch marks, this will be sized 1.5 mm. The larger needle size the better in this case, but note that means longer periods between treatment. Microneedle the area thoroughly and be sure to follow up with a serum.
There are also LED derma roller and derma pen options available. The first incorporates at-home laser therapy to help brighten the skin and the second is an electronic version that levels the amount of pressure placed on the skin. Find one that works best for you and enjoy!
When to replace microneedle?
Once you’ve started using--and loving--the micro derma for your skin and finding all the different derma roller uses for your needs, they’ll come a point where you’ll need to retire it. Why? Just like anything else, it gets worn down and have you questioning “Uh, this derma roller, does it work anymore?”
So to avoid that as a problem, hear us out: After some time, the derma roller or micro needling pen gets dull do to the rubbing and rolling over your skin. All the glowing results come to an end around 3-6 months depending on how often you roll. So, be sure to notice when the micro needle pen is fading out or the derma roller use results aren’t as hot as before. It’ll warrant replacement. The microneedling benefits will flourish if you keep on top of replacing them when they are dull.
What size microneedle for body?
Not looking for face needling? The size of the microneedle roller varies depending on the area of the skin that you’ll be using it on. It’s definitely good to know ahead of micro needling what type of micro derma product is best.
If you’re micro needling for fine lines and wrinkles on the face use a micro needle between the size of .25-.5 mm.
If you’re using the microneedle roller to combat aging, 0.5-1.0 mm is ideal.
For acne scars or light scars, choose a micro needle pen that measures 0.5-1.0 mm.
Lastly, when it comes to using micro rollers on deep scars or stretch marks, it’s advised you use a micro derma unit that measures 1.0-2.5 mm.
Dealing with cellulite? There is a derma roller cellulite kit on the market that helps deal with that problem, too!
A note: Please be cautious using a 1.0 mm roller on skin at home and anything larger than that you should seek professional assistance.
Once you have your size picked, you can enjoy your new spa derma roller today and establish your own awesome micro needling before and after photos!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
Thanks for the blog. Very informative. It is very helpful for those people who never tried it yet and would want to experience it.
Wow! This is an in-detail post that covers everything someone might want to know about microneedling. Great guide! I am happy with the information I was introduced to while going through the post.
I always fear to get any needle to get pricked into my skin. But after reading so many people’s positive experiences even I feel like I should give it a try. Thanks for sharing this great resource.
How often can you do .5 dermarolling? Also, can I spot treat with a 1.0 on a scar and nasolabial lines every week? I have read to make sure you don’t do too much or too often because that creates collagen breakdown. Is this something that dermarolling every week at .5 and spot 1.0 would put me at risk. Also, every week, in addition to the schedule I just mentioned, I would like to add a night that I do a .25 for serum absorption. Checking to make sure that is okay too. Thanks in advance!
Can I use the derma roller on my armpits and mons pubis? They’re dark compared to the rest of my body
Hi..i’m Azita from Malaysia..I just interested with the products..How can I get the products..? Air any free products for the first customer.?I mean for a tryier ?tq
Does micro needling help to tight the neck skin
Thanks to Emma for how to care for the tool because I did a “derma-roller” training a while ago and want to incorporate it in my treatments very soon but my major concern was “hygiene” from one client to next at the spa.
Any extra or additional comments Alana on how to care for the equipment as not all clients are honest about their ailments/sickness despite consultation cards and do not want to spread infections from one person to the next??
Will appreciate your advice!
Hey,I just used dermaroller 2.5mm at home to cure pigmentation,acne,scars from acne and chicken pox and dark spots.Can you tell me If I do this every week on Friday then after how many days I can shave my face,Use exfoliation and masks on my face?And I Want to get my mole removal done then how many days I should wait for that treatment??
Awesome blog..I like the way you explained all factors related to microneedling and dermarolling. It’s help me a lot.
I have hyperpigmentation on both cheeks for 3 years now. Mine are due to thyroid medication and menopause. Have tried alot of products and microdermabrasion. Need something else. Will this work for my case. I do not take sun and do use sunscreen faithfully. HELP
I just did my first micro needling at home. I used Estee Lauder repair serum before & after treatment. Should I use a clarifying lotion also?
My question is will is be wise to do the micro needling around summer time or should this be done in winter?
I am Hispanic & do get a lot of hyperpigmentation on my checks and under eyes (Medium Brown Color -Not To Dark) I’m afraid if do it in this time that once I go out into the sun it will only make my hyperpigmentation worse.
Also ive heard that the needling has been improved where now the plasma or something has been separated & is now a better product? Please let me know. Thank you
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.
Does it get rid of sun spots the mirco- needling? Otherwise good skin.. thx
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
Hi, Annie! In this case, I would recommend consulting your dermatologist for pre- and post-procedure protocols.
Thank you for sharing your results with us!!
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!
Good luck! I hope you see great results. :)
Thank you for sharing! :)
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.
Hi thanks for the post..at what agecdo ubrecomend doing microneedling? Will one treatment suffice?
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?