Pricking your face with hundreds of tiny needles might not sound like the ideal way to achieve smoother, clearer skin—but apparently, it works. In fact, it’s a pretty popular procedure called microneedling that dermatologists perform to target large pores, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and scars, just to name a few.
WHAT IS DERMAROLLING?
First things first, a dermaroller is a handheld skincare tool that lets you do all that microneedling action at home. The small wheel on one end contains rows of tiny needles meant to prick the skin just enough to stimulate collagen and elastin production. This works wonders on fine lines, acne scars, and even stretch marks, depending on the needle size. Here, we made a quick breakdown on what needle size works best for each skin concern and how often it should be used:
That said, it is highly recommended that beginners start with a 0.25-0.30mm size first to help your skin get used to the process. And if you feel like your skin hasn’t fully recovered yet, you don’t have to jump into another session just yet. Healing is part of the job, and if you don’t allow your skin to regenerate properly, you’ll be causing more harm than good.
So if you’re ever unsure about whether you should move up a needle size or if you should even be doing this in the first place, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional first. Remember, you’re more familiar with your skin than we are, so whatever you’re doing to achieve your skin goals (you know, like dermarolling), be sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. That’s why we made this guide! But while this gives you a rundown on all the basics, you’ll still want to do your own research and find out what works for your skin, too. Which brings us to…
WHO IS IT FOR? (AND NOT FOR)
Since collagen is what keeps your skin looking fresh and youthful, most in need of a boost could get their share of dermarolling. Of course, the effects are much more drastic on people with skin discoloration, scars, and wrinkles, but if you simply want a healthier glow that lasts, this is perfect for spicing up skin renewal to get just that.
But sadly, that isn’t the case for everybody. And if you’re someone with eczema, psoriasis, warts, cystic skin, or any open wounds (whether from a zit or not), it’s a no-go for us. Seriously, you don’t want to risk spreading bacteria to other parts of your face! For concerns like these, you’re better off not damaging your skin any further.
HOW SHOULD YOU USE A DERMAROLLER?
1. Exfoliate. You’ll want to do this 1-2 days before to slough away any dead skin cells that could make the treatment less effective.
2. Wash your face. Make sure there’s absolutely no makeup left! Since you’ll be piercing your skin, any dirt, oil, or makeup that gets in the way won’t do your skin any favors. You also have the option to layer on numbing cream after, though this recommendation is usually reserved for needle sizes 1mm and above.
3. Disinfect your roller, face, and fingers. Half an hour before treatment, disinfect your dermaroller by pouring or spraying a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution over a sink. Leave it in the case to dry before using. Next, disinfect your skin by taking a cotton pad with the same alcohol solution or witch hazel and wipe it all over the face and fingers. This is super important! Since your skin is going to be in such a vulnerable state, you want to get rid of as much germs as possible.
1. Divide your face into 5 sections. This will make it easier for you to understand how much space you need to cover.
2. Follow the crosshatching technique. Use light and even pressure to roll horizontally, vertically, and diagonally in both directions. This is the most effective way to send strong signals to your brain that you want to regenerate the skin in this area. You can move the dermaroller up and down, but always move it in a straight line and lift. Never drag! For rounded corners, like the jaw, you want to do short, straight strokes.
3. Only dermaroll for 3-5 minutes max. Anything more than that is overkill. If you have sensitive skin, don’t do more than 3 minutes.
1. Follow with a skin-repairing sheet mask or serum. As much as possible, go for products with natural, plant-based ingredients. Aloe vera or an advanced hyaluronic acid serum are nice follow-ups post-treatment because you’re getting more out of your skincare. Try to avoid anything with retinol, as it might be too harsh and react badly with your skin.
2. Moisturize. Your skin will feel a lot drier on the days following the treatment.
3. Clean your dermaroller. Mix dish soap and warm water together and gently cleanse the dermaroller in the solution to remove any proteins found in skin and blood. After, disinfect with 70% isopropyl alcohol and let it dry in the case.
4. Continue with the rest of your routine. Avoid chemical exfoliants or active ingredients like salicylic acid, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, etc.
5. Always reapply SPF during the day. Your skin will be a lot more sensitive to the sun after treatment, so make sure to be diligent with sunscreen. If you’re always outside, try to apply after every 2 hours.
BONUS: Give your skin a clean break and avoid wearing makeup, working out, going to the sauna, gym, or anywhere where you’ll be sweating for the next 24 hours. Because your skin is in such a delicate state, you don’t want to risk stressing it out in any way.