Updated: Oct 13
Rodan and Fields Consultant
Clearer, brighter and firmer skin in a matter of minutes—from the comforts of our home? It sounds too good to be true, right? But according to the many proponents of derma rolling(and there are indeed many), it’s one of the easiest ways to improve the texture and tone of your skin short of getting a series of pricey in-office procedures like chemical peels or laser treatments.
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Before you get started, however, there are some important things you should know. After all, easy or not, derma rolling at home still involves rolling needles over your face and should therefore be practised with care to prevent injury or risk of infection.
What is derma rolling?
Let’s start with the basics. Also known as “dermarolling,” microneedling is the process of creating teeny tiny (we’re talking microscopic here) holes in the surface layers of your skin using a device that is aptly named a “microneedler” or “dermaroller.”
The device itself resembles a mini paint roller, which sounds cute until you realize the roller is covered in small needles that puncture your skin—albeit superficially. These micro-injuries are supposed to signal your body to go into repair mode, thereby prompting new collagen and elastin growth. (Both are essential to maintaining the firmness and elasticity of your skin and are significantly reduced as we age.) The tiny punctures also create little channels for your skin-care products to absorb more efficiently.
Does derma rolling at home really work?
Most dermatologists we’ve spoken to agree that at-home microneedling is akin to getting a light exfoliation. This is not to say there aren’t any benefits to doing it; it’s just to say the results are subtle and much less significant than what you would get from an in-office treatment.
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This is because in-office treatments use medical-grade devices with needles that range anywhere between 0.3 mm to 1 mm and longer to reach deeper into your skin. As a point of comparison, most at-home rollers have needles that are much shorter—typically 0.25 mm or less (which is intended to minimize the risk of injury).
In short, the needles in most at-home devices aren’t long or sharp enough to actually stimulate new collagen growth. However, they can boost the effectiveness of your skin-care products by opening those aforementioned little channels in your epidermis, which allows for better absorption overall.
OK, now that our expectations are in check, let’s get ready to roll.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to derma rolling at home:
1. Always start with a clean slate. Make sure that you remove any makeup, dirt and surface oils from your skin before derma rolling. You don’t want anything that could potentially clog or infect your pores sitting on top when you create these micro-channels in your skin. And keep your device clean, too. Sterilize the needles using our tablets in the kit (80 per cent or higher) and give the tool adequate time to air-dry (usually between ten to fifteen minutes) before every use.
2. Apply a thin layer of toner prior. This is to ensure maximum absorption of your skin-care products, as well as provide a smoother surface for the roller to move across your skin.
3. Roll gently. Using a soft, even pressure, roll the device in vertical, horizontal and diagonal strokes across your cheeks and the sides of your face, forehead, chin, upper lip and neck. Repeat rolling over each section no more than two times to three times per session.
4. Seal everything in with serum. We’d recommend pairing derma rolling at home with an active ingredient like vitamin C (for brightening) or peptides (for firming).
5. Repeat as needed. Depending on how well your skin tolerates the treatment, you can use a derma roller every couple of days to every other day. To be extra safe, we’d advise that you consult your tool’s manual for their recommended usage—especially if it’s your first time.
Are there any precautions we should keep in mind when Derma Rolling at home?
The biggest concern for at-home derma rolling is hygiene. That said, you want to make sure that you’re properly disinfecting your tool before and after every use. Again, to do this, soak the roller with the tablets in the container then letting it air-dry sufficiently (usually ten to fifteen minutes).
On that note, it’s equally important that you clean your hands and face before every treatment as well. Not to hit you over the head with it, but hygiene is of the utmost importance when using needles of any length on your skin.
You should also replace our roller once a year. The needles on-at-home devices tend to dull quickly, making it far less effective over time.
And finally, never roll over active breakouts or sores. This can spread the bacteria from one area of your face to another and further delay healing. Wait until the spot has cleared completely before rolling again.
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