These days, we’ll do just about anything to have good skin, but with new products and tools popping up what feels like every five minutes — from gua sha to at-home chemical peels — it can be hard to know what’s worth trying and what’s just going to be another addition to our skincare graveyard.
Rolling a tool full of hundreds of needles — that slightly (really) resembles a torture device — doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience. But when used, it can result in crazy-good skin, treating everything from acne scars to fine lines and wrinkles. Meet your new best friend: the derma-roller.
How it Works
Derma-rolling (or micro-needling) tools consist of hundreds of small, fine needles that puncture the skin and create micro-injuries — causing collagen and elastin production to go into overdrive to compensate for them, resulting in plumper skin.
Derma-rolling came about in the ’90s, after a study explored using needles to treat acne scarring. While it used to be primarily preformed by dermatologists, at-home tools have made it possible to do on your own (relatively inexpensively!). A 2016 study showed that the skin’s responses to the tool include an increased production in collagen substances being released into the skin, stimulating growth and the formation of new blood vessels.
This creates a perfect scenario for treating fine lines and wrinkles, eye bags, and acne scars — and increased absorption of skincare.
How to Choose the Right One for You
There are a wide range of needle sizes available — from 0.5 to 1.5mm — all of which treat different problems. The recommended sizes are:
- Acne scars: 1mm
- Shallow acne scars: 1.5mm
- Skin discoloration: 0.2 to 1.omm
- Sun damage: 0.5 to 1.5 mm
- Uneven tone: 0.5mm
- Wrinkles: 0.5 to 1.5mm
How to Use It
- Disinfect your derma-roller (this is super important, since the needles will be penetrating your skin. Let your tool soak in isopropyl alcohol for 5-10 minutes).
- Cleanse your face
- Begin derma-rolling
Derma-rolling technique should be as follows (you’ll be working entirely in vertical and horizontal motions):
- Imagine your face sectioned off into 1/4ths. Avoid getting too close to your eyes, and work in each section.
- Roll in one direction 6-8 times. Roll once, lift up, and repeat. (Don’t press too hard. Lightly rolling over you skin will do the trick.)
- After rolling in one direction, go back over the area you just rolled and repeat the process in the perpendicular direction. By the end, you should have rolled over each area 12 to 16 times — 6 to 8 horizontally, 6 to 8 vertically. (Do not ever roll diagonally, as it can damage the skin.)
Follow with your favorite serum, but be wary of which you use — ingredients like hyaluronic acid will be beneficial (since the skin will be more absorbant), but steer clear of ingredients like vitamin C and retinol, as harsher products can irritate your skin in its more sensitive state.
Use can range from a few days a week to once a month, depending on the length of needle you’re using. Make sure you’re using SPF in the days after use, as your skin can have a higher chance of burning immediately after.