WHAT IS A DERMAROLLER?
Dermarollers are small face rollers with tiny needles on the end to puncture the skin. They were introduced as the at-home version of the professional treatment known as microneedling. A medically supervised process by which the face is first nummbed and then the professional punctures the skin with long, thin needles in strategic locations (or over the entire face depending on skin condition and concerns).
Dermarollers are an attempt to replicate this professional treatment for at-home use. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why dermarollers are generally ineffective and even potentially dangerous.
DERMAROLLERS DON’T PENETRATE AS DEEP
Compared to a professional microneedling treatment, dermarollers do not penetrate nearly as deep. Some of the benefits of microneedling are that they puncture deep within the skin causing a micro-injury. This injury creates a healing response within the body that can lead to increased collagen production, brightness in the skin, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles as well as a reduction in scarring, sun spots, pigmentation, etc.
Furthermore, these deeper punctures allow high quality skincare products to penetrate deep within the skin and be even more effective. See the graphic below for a comparison of how deep a dermaroller will puncture the skin vs. microneedling.
The minimal depth of penetration from dermarollers make them fairly ineffective. While they may stimulate slightly more blood flow and can sometimes allow products to absorb deeper they definitely do not provide the same kind of results as a professional microneedling treatment!
DERMAROLLERS AREN’T AS SHARP
Medical grade needles used in microneedling are thin and extremely sharp so they make a clean penetration. The trouble with dermarollers is the quality can vary so much from brand to brand. If the needles aren’t small enough or sharp enough it will be hard for them to cleanly penetrate the skin. Blunt needles can actually cause more damage and scarring!
DERMAROLLERS CAN CAUSE INFECTIONS AND BREAKOUTS
A major difference between medically supervised microneedling and at home dermarolling is the ensured sterilization of the treatment. Medical microneedling tools (when done at a certified and legitimate office) are thoroughly sterilized. At-home dermarollers may not be cleaned appropriately after use and can lead to bacteria growth on the tools. When rolled over the face these bacteria can enter the skin through the penetrations made and lead to breakouts and even serious infections.
THE FINAL VERDICT ON DERMAROLLERS
While dermarollers cannot compare with a true microneedling treatment (or set of treatments) some still enjoy the sensation of rolling little needles over their face and say they feel it helps absorb products better. For any who currently use or are thinking of trying a dermaroller we strongly caution 3 things:
Buy a high quality roller! We know you can probably get one on Amazon for about $5, but if the tool causes more damage than good it will be a waste of both time and money. Here are a few that we feel are reliable:
Thoroughly clean your dermaroller before AND after each use and let air dry thoroughly in between uses. The last thing you want is a nasty infection on the skin or an inflamed breakout because you did not keep your tool clean
Use non-toxic products! Because dermarollers help skincare absorb deeper you want to be sure you are not facilitating the absorption of harmful or irritating chemicals. Look for skincare that is organic and free of harsh/harmful chemicals (read our full article on ingredients to avoid here).
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR DERMAROLLER:
Run the head of your dermaroller under warm running water for about 30 seconds.
Soak the head of your dermaroller in 60-70% rubbing alcohol isopropyl for 10 minutes.
Run the head of the dermaroller under warm water for another 30 seconds.
Repeat steps 1-3 after use.
After thorough cleansing, lay your dermaroller on a clean paper towel or cloth to air dry completely.
ALTERNATIVE AT-HOME TREATMENTS
One of our favorite anti-aging and safe at-home treatments is the Nu-Face Mini Facial Treatment:
The 5 minute facial! All the benefits of a microcurrent treatment packed into a petite, portable, and powerful device. Our travel-friendly mini is the perfect facial-lift companion while on-the-go or for an introduction to microcurrent
Natural and non-invasive facial-lift using microcurrent technology
Visible results that are long-lasting with continued use
Easy to use in as little as 5-minutes a day
Safe & effective for all skin types and ages, at-home or on-the-go
Clinically-tested to improve facial contour, skin tone, and wrinkle reduction across the jawline, cheek area and forehead