There are some weird and wonderful skin devices out there that promise to enhance the benefits of your skincare formulas and deliver comparable results to professional in-clinic treatments. Some are all hype, but one that seems to live up to its claims is a derma roller.
While rolling tiny needles over your face may sound scary and more likely to make your skin worse rather than better, there is a method to the seemingly mad practice.
Here’s everything you need to know about DIY derma rollers and the benefits of derma rolling at home.
What is derma rolling?
Derma rolling or microneedling is a medical procedure that uses small needles to make micro-injuries in the skin to stimulate collagen production. When used in conjunction with a serum, it can help to boost ingredient absorption by up to 90%.
What are the skin benefits of derma rolling?
When used correctly and in conjunction with the right products, derma rolling can treat a myriad of skin concerns including dryness, hyperpigmentation, premature ageing and dullness. The micro-needles improve penetration of your skincare formulas by pushing them deep into the subsurface layers of the dermis. The micro-injuries caused by the needles also signal to your body to go into repair mode and produce more collagen and elastin, which helps minimise lines and wrinkles and can encourage plumper, firm skin. It can also help improve skin texture and may assist with healing acne scarring and stretch marks.
"The micro-injuries caused by the needles also signal to your body to go into repair mode and produce more collagen and elastin..."
Who is best suited to using a derma roller?
Derma rolling is considered safe for most skin types however if you suffer from acne, rosacea, dermatitis or eczema you should seek medical advice before giving this treatment a go.
Top tips for using a derma roller at home
Tip 1: A clean tool and a clean canvas are your top priority. Always clean your derma roller before and after every use with rubbing alcohol. Cleanse your face before microneedling and don’t forget to also wash your hands.
Tip 2: When it comes to frequency, using your derma roller once per week is recommended, with a maximum of three times a week advised.
Tip 3: Always patch test your serum after rolling to ensure you don’t react.
Tip 4: You will need to replace your derma roller after about 10-15 uses. With continued use, the needles will dull, making them ineffective and unsafe to use.
Tip 5: Add derma rolling to your nighttime routine, rather than your morning ritual. Your skin heals itself at night, plus factors like the sun, heat, and makeup can irritate your skin post-rolling.
Tip 6: Always apply a moisturiser after derma rolling. Derma rolling can disrupt the skin’s barrier so it’s important to protect it post-treatment with a good moisturiser.
How to choose a good derma roller
OUR PICK: The Skin Habit Microneedle Dermal Roller
The main difference between an at-home derma roller versus the ones used in a clinic treatment is the size of the microneedles. At-home derma roller needles are between 0.1 – 0.3mm whereas in-clinic they are around 2.5mm or thicker.
How to use a derma roller at home
If you haven’t already trawled YouTube for derma roller how-tos, some of the suggested actions include dividing your face into sections: cheeks, chin, and the left and right sides of the forehead, and apply light pressure as you roll over each area (there’s no need to press hard). The first pass over the skin should be horizontal, the second pass vertical, with the final pass being on a diagonal.
Serums that work well with a derma roller
To get the most out of your derma rolling treatment, apply a serum that contains hyaluronic acid, peptides, stem cells, and growth factors. These ingredients are all great for stimulating collagen, speeding up cell turnover, and plumping and hydrating skin.
DIY derma rolling: What to avoid
Derma rolling can improve the efficacy of your skincare products, but there are some formulas that you should avoid. Retinol and vitamin C serums can cause sensitivity and irritation so avoid using them about a week prior to derma rolling. Also, steer clear of applying salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid after derma rolling as they may also irritate skin.
You should also never use a derma roller on cystic acne or open pimples as you may spread the bacteria and cause an infection.
- Isabella Schimid / @isabellaschimid