If I told you there was a little-known, very inexpensive skin care tool that will not only tighten your skin and restore its youthful glow, but increase the potency of your favorite topical creams – I’m betting you’d want to learn more, right?
What if the catch was that the tool might seem a teeny bit barbaric and painful at first?
Still with me?
Good, because I have got to tell you about micro needling. This is a procedure I’ve added to my own skin care routine, and the results are so good it’s ridiculous. All you need is a super-affordable derma roller and a little bravery. 🙂
How It Works
Here’s the deal: If you have issues with your skin, you could likely benefit from promoting the production of collagen and elastin in your skin. This is not limited to people who are showing signs of aging. In fact people with acne, stretchmarks, and other types of scars have noticed serious improvement in the appearance of their skin by stimulating the production of these two chemicals. Micro needling – sometimes called collagen induction therapy – is an effective way to induce this stimulation.
Now, you might be thinking that you will need to see a plastic surgeon or aesthetician to have micro-needling performed. Not true! You can do the procedure safely at home using a derma roller and following the right safety tips. Of course I’m going to outline everything you need to know right here.
So let’s get started.
In a nutshell, here’s how a micro needle roller works: The top layer of your skin is referred to as the epidermis in medical terms. Micro-needling produces mini tears through this layer by actually puncturing the skin with tiny little needles.
Don’t worry, though – this is not a “bloodbath” procedure. In fact, the tears are so tiny that they can’t be seen. Your body’s natural defense mechanism is to repair these tiny tears. As a result it produces collagen and elastin. The collagen production creates new tissue, and the end result is fresher looking skin, fewer wrinkles and fine lines, fewer dark spots, and much fewer blemishes all around. Why is this so important? Because the older you get, the less collagen your body produces naturally.
More About Scar Elimination
Now that you have a better idea of what micro needling is, let’s cover how the process can work to correct scars in particular. First of all, this is a good method for scar reduction and elimination because it is not as invasive as surgery. Minor scarring will respond well to this type of treatment, and scars may actually disappear. Micro-needling is also effective at reducing the appearance of other non-keloidal scars. This is why it is a common method used to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. You will likely need to complete at least four sessions on yourself to see results.
Here are the results one woman achieved with microneedling:
In fact, microneedle therapy is more effective and less damaging that laser resurfacing, which is often used to treat scarring:
The key is using the right length of roller needle for the skin issue you want to address. Let’s turn there next.
Which Roller Should You Use?
Derma rollers come in a variety of needle lengths, and you might be surprised to learn that each one is used for a specific purpose. I’m going to break down each one so you know exactly what to choose for your individual goals. Keep in mind that discomfort will increase with the length of the needle.
|Needle Length||What It's Best For||How Often to Use It|
|0.2 - 0.25 mm||
Improves absorption of applied skin care products. It is NOT long enough to induce collagen production, so think of it more as an exfoliator.
Daily or every other day
Smallest needle length that will induce collagen production, so it's the most comfortable and most popular choice if your goal is general anti-aging, improvement of texture and firmness.
Once every 3 weeks to start with, increasing to once a week after a couple of months
Recommended to treat scars on the face, skin pigmentation, and even hair loss.
Once every 5 to 6 weeks
Recommended for scarring on the body, stretch marks, and cellulite. Not gonna lie - this needle length is damn uncomfortable. But you need it to be this long to break through enough of the thicker dermis matrix of the body in order to stimulate growth and improve the effects of your topical treatments. Do NOT use it on your face!
Once every 6 weeks
|2.0 - 2.5 mm||
In-clinic treatments by professionals only. I do NOT recommend using these needle lengths at home as you can cause damage.
Never at home!
Step-By-Step – How to Do It
OK, so now that you know which needle length you need, let’s cover the steps you’ll need to follow to safely and effectively use your derma roller at home. Some products come with their own specific instructions, but these are the steps that work best according to my research and my own use. I’d love to hear your own tips, too, so leave me a comment below!
Before you start: The most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to perform the technique in as sterile an environment as possible. This means taking the following steps before each and every use:
- Drop your derma roller into a cup of rubbing alcohol, needle side down. Leave it in there for about a minute or two.
- While it’s sterilizing, wash your hands and face thoroughly, using a mild cleanser.
- Pat dry. Don’t put anything on your skin before you start rolling. Some people swear by putting serum or vitamin C lotion on first, but as you’ll see below, I recommend applying products AFTER rolling to minimize risk of bacterial growth and even infection.
Now start rolling!
- Beginning with your forehead, roll in different directions across your skin – four rolls vertically, horizontally, and both diagonal directions should be enough to get the collagen-stimulating benefits.
- Apply light to moderate pressure, but don’t press too hard! This may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but hang in there. It’s worth it.
- Each time you change directions with your roller, make sure you stop rolling, lift the tool completely off your skin, and then place it down on your skin, oriented in the direction you want to roll. In other words, don’t try to drag it from the vertical position to the diagonal one – you could tear your skin in a damaging way.
- Continue steps 1 – 3 for each of the remaining areas of your face: Cheeks, chin, and upper lip. I also do my neck and chest as part of my routine. Be gentle on the thin skin there if you choose to include it in your routine.
- Wash the areas you rolled with cold water, and then pat dry gently with a clean cloth or towel.
- Apply a quality vitamin C serum, allowing it penetrate for about 5 minutes.
- Next, apply a powerful anti-aging moisturizer.
- Finally, rinse the derma roller thoroughly under very hot water, then let it air dry and store it in its original case.
See the process in action here:
What to Expect
While you’re needling, you’ll probably notice your skin turning red, feeling sensitive, or even slightly swollen like you’ve got a sunburn. This is normal, and I don’t find it unpleasant at all. It feels quite stimulating! The redness should subside after a few hours.
You may also notice some light peeling after couple of days, which is also normal. Just keep your skin moisturized and make sure you apply a good sunscreen (at least 30 SPF) to protect it.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
Go by the “minimum of four sessions” rule to see results. Keep in mind that some people may have to perform derma rolling for several months to see the best results. Think of it as remodeling your skin: It takes time to rebuild collagen, so you need patience, but you WILL see results. The amount of time it takes is going to be dependent upon the severity of each person’s skin issue. That’s why it’s best not to compare your results to others.
Perhaps one of the most appealing things about micro-needling is that the process can be used daily if desired – as long as you use the very shortest needle lengths, as I explain above.
Risks and How to Avoid Them
The most important thing to keep in mind is that all products have risks associated with them. As for derma rollers, using sanitary techniques and choosing the shortest needle length for your goal are the best ways to reduce risks of something going wrong with your treatments.
Obviously, you also need to use caution when it comes to sharing your roller. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that you need to consider this as a personal item similarly to how you view your toothbrush.
Faster and More Improved Results: The Magic Combinations
I call these “magic combinations” because… well… that’s what I’ve found them to be! When you use the right needle length combined with the right topical serums, you’re going to accelerate and improve the results you get more than you’d believe.
Another bonus? The total cost for a derma roller and serums is going to be much less than professional treatment options.
Here are the combinations I highly recommend and use myself:
For Anti-Aging (Wrinkle Reduction, Skin Firming, Pore Reduction)
For Facial Scars
For Skin Pigmentation
For Stretch Marks
For Body Scars
I’d love to hear from you guys – share your questions and experiences with derma rollers in the comments below!