Dermarolling is a skincare practice that seriously divides opinion. We totally get why! The prospect of puncturing your skin with teeny tiny needles is definitely a little scary, even if it does promise to help fade acne scars, boost collagen production, and give your skin a serious glow. But like we said, it’s tiny little needles going into your skin, so you need to be really careful with how you do it! We got in touch with celebrity skin expert Nurse Jamie, and NYC-based Board-Certified dermatologist, Dr. Shereene Idriss, who specializes in facial aesthetics and rejuvenation. They gave us the full low down on dermarolling, from how it works, what it does, and how to do it safely. Here’s everything you need to know:
What exactly is dermarolling?
If you’re thinking “derma-what?” Dr. Idriss explains that “Dermarolling (also know as microneedling) is a minimally invasive therapeutic approach that helps promote new collagen formation by creating micro punctures in your skin. It’s effective because it works universally on all skin types, although I caution darker skin tones to practice sun-safe habits after treatment as they may be more prone to hyper-pigmenting.” Dermarolling also allows for better absorption of other products, so active and hydrating ingredients will be able to penetrate your skin. Nurse Jamie describes it poetically; “Just like impressionistic artist… one dot at a time to flawless skin.” We can get on board with that!
Who can benefit from dermarolling?
“It helps mostly with skin rejuvenation, acne [scarring] and other scarring, enlarged pores, wrinkles, and even stretch marks,” Dr. Idriss told us. Once the skin is punctured, it reacts with a rush of blood and collagen, which helps regenerate new skin cells to repair the skin. Mature skin can majorly benefit from dermarolling, as the surge of collagen helps improve the skin’s elasticity, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and even give you a radiant glow!
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#mybanishresults rp from @asprinkleofhealthandbeauty 🌟Real Results with @banishacnescars Starter Kit👇🏻 “I started derma rolling with the Banisher included in the Banish Starter Kit. Microneedling is a technique that builds collagen underneath the scar. Combined with vitamin C (Banish Oil) to help regenerate the skin. It also enhances the skin’s absorption of the active ingredients from topical serums and creams. I started to notice a difference and my scars began to fade after 2 – 3 months. Please note that everyone’s healing process is different. It depends on how quickly your body takes to repair. Not only can this technique be used for acne scarring but it also treats fine lines and wrinkle, skin texture, pore size, brown spots, stretch marks, and pigment issues!!” #banishacnescars #banishwarriors #banish #acne #acnescars #transformation #progress #skincareroutine #microneedling #skincare #scars #beforeandafter
What size needle should you use?
Here’s a quick breakdown on what needle size Dr. Idriss recommends depending on your skin concern:
0.25mm-0.5mm: “For anti-aging, enlarged pores and fine lines, especially around the eyes.”
Try: The Healthy Care New 540 Micro Needles Titanium Microneedle Derma Roller Needle, $13.
1mm: “For mild acne scars, chicken pox scarring, even surgical scarring, light stretch marks, skin laxity, and wrinkles.”
Try: The JonhTech 540 Micro Needling DermaRoller for Face, $10.
1.5mm: “Very deep acne scars.”
Try: The Micro Needles 192 Titanium Needles for Skin Care Beauty Tool, $15, but be extremely careful!
Tip: We recommend in-office treatments for anything above 1mm if you’re not a seasoned dermarolling, as it makes it much safer to do.
1.5+mm: Dr. Idriss doesn’t recommend these, she told us, “Needles longer than 1.5 mm should not be used on the face. Longer needle lengths (2.0mm, 2.5mm, 3.0mm) are used for more severe cases, deep scars and wrinkles, rejuvenation of badly damaged skin, in areas other than the face and should only be performed by a licensed professional.”
How to use your dermaroller like a pro
Step 1: Clean the dermaroller with a cosmetic alcohol spray.
Step 2: Cleanse and tone your skin.
Step 3: Using even, gentle movements, guide the roller up, down, and diagonally across the skin, always lifting off the skin before changing directions.
Step 4: Apply a repairing serum or your usual skincare routine
Step 5: Clean the dermaroller with rubbing alcohol.
What to avoid: Dr. Idris told us the areas to avoid or circumstances in which you shouldn’t demaroll include, “Active acne, active herpes or other local infections, history of keloids or hypertrophic scarring, and immunosuppression [poor immune system].”
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Dr. Idriss’ top tips:
Less is more: “As tempting as it may be to do it all the time, spacing out treatments will give you better results in the long run!”
Avoid the sun: “Make sure to avoid the sun and wait until all traces of a suntan have faded before dermarolling in order to reduce your risk of hyperpigmentation post-treatment.”
Always disinfect your dermaroller: Dr. Idriss insists that you must “Always remember to disinfect your dermaroller by letting it soak in the 70 percent isopropyl alcohol for ten minutes after each use.”
Enhance results: “Pre-treating your skin with antioxidants such as vitamin C has been shown to enhance results.” We love to use the Drunk Elephant, C-Firm Day Serum, $80, in the morning in preparation for our nighttime microneedling session.
If you have sensitive skin…
Nurse Jamie has designed her own microneedling stamp as she believes it creates less risk for those with sensitive skin, explaining “The reason I prefer the ‘stamp’ method over ‘rolling method’ is that I worry about someone with poly-sensitive skin doing more harm than good. For example, someone with thin skin could potentially break vessels. A rolling exfoliation tool goes in at an angle and is more likely to cause damage to the skin.” So, if you’re new to microneedling or have ‘thin’ or sensitive skin, check out the Nurse Jamie Beauty Stamp, $50, to make sure your skin is safe.
Be careful of over exfoliation…
“There is an epidemic of what I call ‘over-exfoliation nation’– we need to treat our skin like a silk fabric not a piece of leather. When you over exfoliate (physically and chemically) and with over-frequency (very common), it destroys the protective barrier of our skin. Once it’s removed or compromised you’re exposing your skin to environmental toxins, sun damage, premature aging, acne, etc,” Nurse Jamie told us.
It’s best to start your dermarolling journey slowly to avoid over-exfoliating or damaging your skin. We suggest starting with a 0.3 or 0.5mm dermaroller and using this every other week at first. As you become more confident using your dermaroller (and if your skin tolerates the treatment well), you can increase to once a week and eventually you could move onto a 1mm dermaroller, if you wish for more extreme results. You should also avoid using a harsh chemical exfoliator before you microneedle as you could irritate your skin.
Let us know if there are any other treatments you would like us to ask the experts about in the comments below.