Dermarolling: Everything You Should Know
Micro needling is a skin-rejuvenating procedure in which tiny needles create punctures in the top layer of skin with the goal of improving overall texture and appearance.
The first recorded use of micro-needling in the western world was in 1905 in Germany. Ernst Kromayer, a noted dermatologist, treated scars, birthmarks and hyperpigmentation.
Before I explain to you why you should at least *try* derma-rolling, I must include my disclaimer with the fact that I enjoy dermarolling incredibly, and I have been doing it monthly for about 8 months now. Whether I see much of a difference on my skin or not, micro-needling, much like using my trusty jade roller, is something I am very attached to.
But truth be told I have actually seen an improvement in my skin and this is why I want to share some Information with you regarding derma rolling.
What is Microneedling or Dermarolling?
Microneedling, often referred to as dermarolling, is a cosmetic procedure in which thousands of tiny little needles are inserted into the surface of skin via a rolling or stamping device. The tool I use to demonstrate micro-needling is from Prosper Beauty. Here is an image and where to get it:
As you can see, there are a ton of little needles encapsulated throughout the roller. This is considered a minimally invasive procedure and the recovery process depends on the lengths of the needles and the sensitivity of your skin.
What are the Benefits of Microneedling?
Some benefits of Micro-Needling include reduction in acne scarring, wrinkles, stretch marks, skin discoloration, increased skin thickness, facial rejuvenation, and enhanced product absorption.
How Does Micro-Needling Work?
Derma rolling works by creating microscopic wounds which induce collagen and elastin production. Hence, it’s alternative name, “collagen induction therapy.”
Collagen is what keeps us looking young and gorgeous. Unfortunately however, it’s believed that collagen production slows down by about 1% after the age of 25.
What Size Derma Roller is Best?
Acne Scars (shallow) = 1.0 mm or Acne Scars (deep) = 1.5 mm
- Enlarged Pores = 0.25 – 0.5 mm
- Hyperpigmentation = 0.25 – 0.5 mm (increases product absorption and cell turnover)
Note: microneedling will not help Post Inflammatory Erythema (PIE).
- Skin Discoloration (e.g. melasma, hypopigmentation) = 0.2 to 1.0 mm (start with the smallest length)
- Sun Damaged or Saggy Skin = 0.5 to 1.5 mm (a combination of both is ideal)
- Stretch Marks = 1.5 to 2.0 mm (depends on the body part, but start with 1.5!)
- Surgical Scars (e.g. cesarean, vaccination, liposuction etc.) = 1.5 mm
- Uneven Skin Tone or Texture = 0.5 mm
- Wrinkles = 0.5 to 1.5 mm (depends on their depth, but again start with the smallest length!)
How Often Should You Dermaroll?
Here are the absolutely maximum amount of times you can use a derma roller within a given time frame. Use your best judgment here, and make sure your skin is completely recovered before doing another session!
- 0.25 mm = every other day.
- 0.5 mm = 1 to 3 times weekly (start with less).
- 1.0 mm = every 10 to 14 days.
- 1.5 mm = once every 3 to 4 weeks.
- 2.0 mm = every 6 weeks. Avoid this length for home use.
How to Use a Derma Roller.
Disinfect your derma roller by letting it soak in 70% isopropyl alcohol for approximately 5-10 minutes. (*) We need 70% because it evaporates more slowly which allows it to come into complete contact with microbial life.
Throughly cleanse your face using a gentle PH Balanced cleanser.
If you are using a derma roller with needles longer than 0.5 mm, you will need to wipe down your face with 70% isopropyl alcohol before the rolling process.
Depending on your pain tolerance, you might need to apply an anesthetic cream. Anything above 1.0 mm might need some numbing cream and drawing blood is almost guaranteed.
If you use numbing cream, follow the instructions the manufacture provides, and make sure to completely wipe if off BEFORE you start rolling! Numb Master Cream (5% Lidocaine) is great option.
Avoid the eye area and begin derma-rolling. (See video for reference)
You have to roll in one direction 6 to 8 times (depending on your skin tolerance and sensitivity), while making sure to lift the roller after each pass.
Roll in one direction. Lift up. Repeat.
After you roll in the same place for 6 to 8 times, move the derma roller over slightly and repeat. Do this until you’ve covered the entire section of skin you’re treating.
After this step, it’s time to go back over the area you just rolled and repeat the process in the perpendicular direction. For example, say you finished rolling across your forehead vertically, now would be the time to go back and repeat that entire process horizontally.
By the end of this entire procedure you should have rolled over each area 12-16 times (6-8 horizontally, 6-8 vertically).
After you’re done microneedling, rinse your face with water only
Clean your derma roller with dishwasher soap.
The reason we use detergents like dish soap directly after rolling, is because alcohol does not dissolve the proteins found in skin and blood.
Disinfect your derma roller again by letting it soak in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 10 minutes and store.
Follow up with a basic skincare routine. That means no chemical exfoliates or active ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, tretinoin etc.
How to Enhance the Results of Microneedling With Aftercare.
To take your results to next level, use products that focus on hydrating, healing, and increasing collagen production. The single best thing you can do post-rolling is use a sheet mask.
Sheet masks aside, you should also be looking for stuff that contains vitamin c (either ascorbic acid or sodium ascorbyl phospate), niacinamide, epidermal growth factors, or hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic Acid is my Godsend, and I love using this right after derma-rolling.
One quick note on vitamin C (ascorbic acid) it’s inherently low pH can be irritating so it’s best to avoid using it prior to rolling. It only takes 3 daily applications of 20% ascorbic acid to saturate the skin with vitamin C, and it’s half life extends for a couple of days. (*)
If you insist on applying vitamin C the day of rolling, like I do, use sodium ascorbyl phosphate. (*)
What Can I Expect After Microneedling?
After rolling, your skin will look a bit irritated and red and feel sensitive to the touch. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may feel the blood circulating after you're done! Some may experience slight swelling after derma-rolling, which goes away after a few days. Skin may peel, and if this happens do not pick at your skin, it will fall off in time. Please make sure to use an SPF If you are headed out and your skin is peeling.
My Favorite SPF is Goddess Garden (Vegan!)
When Will I See Results?
You will generally see minor improvement pretty soon, but substantial progress might take a few months. Again though, that is to achieve substantial progress. I have seen results after 6 months of micro-needling and it has been very subtle. Some of you may see results much faster.
Stainless Steel vs. Titanium Derma Rollers. Which is Better?
Derma rollers come in two varieties — either stainless steel or titanium needles.
Titanium is more durable because it’s a stronger alloy than stainless steal. This means that the needles will last longer, but they are not as sterile as the stainless steel derma rollers.
Stainless steel is sharper and more sterile, but the needles won't last as long. Stainless steel is what medical professionals, tattoo artists, and acupuncturists use. But if you can’t find them, it’s really not that important.
One will not do a better job than the other, they will work just fine all the same!
1. Never Roll Over Active Acne.
Never, and I mean NEVER use a dermaroller on active acne lesions! If you have pimples, stay far away from microneedling until your breakouts have subsided.
2. Replace Your Derma Roller.
These things have a limited lifespan, so you need to replace them every now and then. Exactly how often you do this will depend on how frequently you use it.
I replace my derma-roller head every 4 uses. The Prosper Beauty Kit has 3 heads, which should last me a year!
3. Sun Protection.
It’s very important that you use broad-spectrum sunscreen or avoid the sun a few days post rolling. If you’re planning on using 1.0 mm needles or anything longer, then you really need to avoid excessive sun exposure a week before rolling, and two weeks post treatment.
4. Start Slowly.
Even if your skin condition requires longer needles, begin with the smallest first! Often you will see major improvement with the smaller ones, making the bigger needles unnecessary altogether. Using the larger needles at first might irritate your skin, and regardless of needle size your skin will start producing collagen regardless. Learn your skin before going big!
5. Proceed With Caution.
Skin takes approximately 27 days to regenerate, which is why I recommend using the derma roller once a month. (15) (This is how often I do it!) Depending on the size of the needle, one can use the derma roller more frequently, but this is my personal preference and I like to be gentle on my skin. Doing more may cause more harm than good, so listen to your skin before rolling again!
6. PATCH TEST!
As with everything new, if you are not sure how your skin will react, patch test! Personally, I have found my cheeks and nose have much thicker skin than my forehead and neck. Because I have thin skin on my forehead and neck, I apply different pressure and sometimes skip derma-rolling in that area all together.
7. Don’t Share Your Derma Roller With Anyone!
This is for hygienic purposes. Please make sure you are only using this on your skin and do not share this!
Where to Buy Derma Rollers.
Price does not reflect on quality of derma-rollers. Please look for hygienic packaging such as the packaging shown on my Video and make sure to disinfect your derma-roller before using it!
A more expensive derma-roller will not have a more or less significant impact on your face, just look for the right size needle and read reviews! I highly recommend starting out with the Prosper Beauty Dermaroll Kit since it is the smallest sized needle.
I hope you enjoyed my video and please feel free to share or comment your own dermarolling experiences with me!