Your guide to at-home derma rollers
Plus, our top product picks to get you started
Derma rollers are an interesting – and yep, scary – beauty product.
At a glance, the idea of pin-pricking your skin with tiny needles seems
painful and confusing. How can that possibly do your skin any good?
Well, there is a method to the madness.
What is a derma roller?
A derma roller is a hand-held device that features hundreds of micro-needles
around the circumference of its roller head. It’s like a mini paint roller with needles.
When rolled over the skin, the needles create micro-injuries that signal to your
body to produce more collagen and elastin to repair the affected area.
And you know what more collagen and elastin means: plumper and tighter skin
and fewer wrinkles! It may also help heal scars (including acne scars).
The concept is the same as the professional version – microneedling, which we
have covered IN FULL over here.
Can it help with cellulite or stretch marks?
According to one Redditor, it can – she had some pretty impressive before and after
stretch marks results to share. However, the general consensus is that the needles
on an at-home derma roller aren’t long enough to reach deep below the skin’s
surface to significantly address cellulite and stretch marks.
What about hair growth?
While professional-level microneedling has been used to treat hair loss –
the micro-injuries it creates are thought to boost growth factors and stem cells in
the scalp -, the needles in an at-home device are again too small to penetrate
deeply enough to have an impact.
Do derma rollers work?
We’ll be honest, the jury is still out – and quite divided
(read two sides of the story here!). While great results have been documented
when it comes to professional-grade microneedling, due to the small needles
used for at-home dermarolling, there are some doubts around how much of an
impact it has on encouraging collagen production. The bottom line: there is no
scientific evidence to confirm the effectiveness of these devices, but that’s not
to say we haven’t heard people rave about them! Especially when used prior
to using serums to increase penetration (just make sure you limit use to once
every few weeks – too much dermarolling may cause inflammation).
Is there any downtime involved?
During an in-salon microneedling treatment, there is redness and some bleeding
involved. However, when using at-home derma rollers, since the needles are
smaller (for your safety), it’s less likely you’ll be a blotchy mess post-use and there
should be no blood. That said, we recommend you make it part of your nighttime
skin care routine since your skin does its best repairing work overnight.
Who shouldn’t use one?
If you have highly-sensitive skin, including eczema and psoriasis, this treatment,
albeit gentle, may not be for you. For those using active ingredients in your skin
care routine, such as retinol, you should stop using them about a week prior to
dermarolling, as it may cause your skin to be too reactive. Also, don’t ever use a
derma roller over cystic acne or open pimples, as it can spread the bacteria and
lead to infection.
How to use one on your face
Step #1 / First, cleanse your skin so the surface is clean. Follow with a toner to
rebalance the skin’s pH levels.
Step #2 / Now for your derma facial. Using a light hand, roll the derma roller in a
systematic pattern horizontally over your face, working from the centre outwards.
Give yourself a wide berth around the eye area. Start at your forehead, work your
way down to your cheeks, move on to your chin.
Step #3 / Next, repeat step two, but this time move the derma roller vertically up
and down the face.
Step #4 / Go over the face a third and final time in a diagonal direction.
Step #5 / Follow with your favourite serum. Applying one immediately after
dermarolling will increase its absorption by the skin.
your derma roller as it’s likely to cause irritation and
trauma to the skin.
How to clean your derma roller
Now this is important, because if your roller isn’t clean, you’re going to push
bacteria into your skin with every roll and nothing good is going to come from that!
Clean yours after *every* use by soaking it in rubbing alcohol and replace your
device after every 10 uses as the needles will start to blunten.
Does it hurt?
Yes, it can. But for most it’s tolerable (that is, if you even feel any pain at all).
If you have a low pain threshold, you might want to give this treatment a skip.
DO NOT take any aspirin or blood thinners before or immediately after
How to choose the right derma roller
Given there are needles involved, this is not a time to skimp or purchase without
doing your research. You want quality. Our advice is to go with a brand you
already know and trust. There are also varying needle sizes, with 0.2mm and 0.3mm
being the most popular, and the best choice. Anything bigger and you risk
damaging your skin if you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you’re thinking about trying derma rolling at home, try one of these devices.
We’ve hunted down some of the best derma roller products out right now,
#4 / Nurse Jamie Beauty Stamp
While not technically a ‘roller’, this product uses a stamping (pressing) motion,
rather than rolling over the face. The needles are 0.2mm. “The Beauty Stamp
may very well be the best investment anyone can make,” said creator of the tool
and founder of Nurse Jamie, Jamie Sherrill in an interview with W magazine.
“A small pad features a cross section of micro needles in a grid that helps with
micro exfoliation, opens channels for product delivery and efficacy and aids in
the body process of collagen and elastin production. It is my triple threat.”
The review: “Love this stamping tool. I am obsessed! I use It once a week and I
am a true believer in a controlled healing response. It is similar yet a more
superficial version of microneedling. I believe way better than a roller, because
it enters the skin at a straight angle not a 45 degree like a roller would enter
and exit at. I get a [lot] of compliments after using it- the day of and after!”
jlundyaethetic, Sephora US customer
NURSE JAMIE BEAUTY STAMP
#3 / Skinstitut Skin-Inject DNC Derma Roller
What sets this derma roller apart is its 10 independently-rotating discs, which have
600 gamma-sterilised, surgical-grade stainless steel micro needles
(0.25mm in size) in total. It has a 4-star rating on Adore Beauty (with 34 reviews).
The review: “Designed to complement the in-clinic professional micro-needling at
clinics such as Laser Clinics Australia, the Skinstitut Skin-Inject DNC Derma Roller 0.25mm
is great for getting your products to penetrate deeper and help boost skin regeneration.
Use it once a week to help smooth out roughness and boost skin radiance.” Sally Hunwick,
marie claire’s Beauty Director
SKINSTITUT SKIN-INJECT DNC DERMA ROLLER 0.25MM
#2 / Lonvitalite Dermal Roller
Featuring 540 needles in total, this easy-to-use derma roller uses 0.3mm
medical-grade stainless steel needles. It has a 4.5-star rating on Adore Beauty,
with 30 reviews in total. It comes with a sealed hygienic pouch and a reusable
plastic storage case to keep it clean.
The review: “I have been using this product a couple times a week for the past
two weeks and so far, I’ve been really happy with this product. I purchased the
roller to help with my acne scarring as I had heard using a derma roller can help
to heal the scars quicker. Although I haven’t been using this product for very long,
I have already seen results. The derma roller doe