17 Sep Home Derma Rolling: Is it worth the hype?
With lockdown restrictions preventing many from seeing their local skin angels in clinic, there’s been a big increase in at-home skin treatments and online tutorials, in an attempt to try and achieve clinical results through a home-based beauty regime. One of the more popular at-home treatments currently trending on social media is the derma roller. While the concept of the derma roller itself has been around for decades, the recent success of online marketing and advertising campaigns has seen it rise to fame.
So firstly, what IS a derma roller?
A derma roller is an at-home skin needling device, made up of a hand-held instrument with an attached mini wheel of around 200-540 fine needles. Unlike the Jade Stone Rollers and Gua Sha’s stones which help to reduce puffiness and sculpt our facial tissue, derma rolling actually pricks our skin with tiny needles to promote skin perfecting benefits such as:
- fewer lines and wrinkles
- even skin tone
- improved acne scarring
Personally? I love to use a derma roller and as a skin professional, it gets my vote for an at-home treatment between clinic visits. I think a roller makes a great addition to a nightly home routine 1-2 times per week, and while I do notice some visible results using it, there are a few key things I need to explain before you hit that ‘add to cart’ button!
Professional vs. Home Treatment
Simply put, home derma rollers should NOT replace clinical treatments such as micro needling, and this is where consumers can understandably get a little confused. “But they both do the same thing don’t they?” Not exactly…
A professional dermal clinician will assess each individual skin and make a decision as to what length of needle will be required to best improve the skin’s texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines, pore size and scarring, and boost the skin’s overall radiance. A micro needling session performed by a professional will use needles from a depth of anywhere between 0.25mm all the way up to 2mm deep, which is significantly deeper than what can be achieved through a home derma roller, meaning the results will be much more targeted and effective. A derma roller isn’t designed to and shouldn’t go deeper than 0.3mm at an absolute maximum, so be warned: while there are rollers to this depth available online, it takes years of professional training to understand the skin’s structure and anatomy, and if put in the wrong hands, a roller with needles penetrating this deep can result in serious and/or irreversible infections, damage or scarring. Not to mention there is a distinct lack of regulation, protocols and safety measures surrounding these home rollers, should something go wrong.
In clinic, a professional therapist will sterilise the skin and all required tools pre-treatment, then they will infuse much-needed and necessary products to maintain the skin’s health throughout the treatment. At Clinica Lase we often use a special hydrating serum, which helps the micro needling pen/roller glide effortlessly over the skin, preventing the risk of granulomas and hypersensitive scarring. Post-treatment, clients will receive a take-home kit full of specific products which will soothe and repair the skin, meaning it will bounce back faster than ever.
As I mentioned earlier, I do believe there’s a place for a derma roller in your routine and good results can still be achieved, as derma rollers create micro channels in your skin for your products to be absorbed up to 10,000 times more effectively. Just be sure that a roller is used in conjunction with in clinic treatments to achieve the best possible outcome, and be sure that the derma roller you purchase contains needles that are at an appropriate and safe depth of 0.1mm to 0.3mm.
Who should use a Derma Roller?
If used in the correct way, anyone who has concerns with ageing, pigmentation or lacklustre skin can benefit from this handy tool. It’s fantastic for busy mums who may not have time to come in for regular facial treatments and skin enthusiasts who are wanting a sustainable glowy complexion.
If you have active acne then there is a good chance of spreading bacteria around the face, so I would avoid using the Roller until the inflammation is under control, or alternatively just focus on the areas where there isn’t an active breakout.
Although there are claims that home derma rolling can help atrophic scarring and stretch marks, professional, scientifically backed clinic treatments using a needle depth of 1-2mm are much more efficient in producing results and are also much safer.
What’s the correct way to use a Derma Roller?
Ideally the derma roller is best used at night time after a thorough cleansing routine. You would then gently roll the needles over your skin diagonally, horizontally and vertically with 4 passes in each section of your face. Very little pressure should be applied whilst rolling and it should feel comfortable with very little prickling sensations. No blood should be drawn but you may be a little pink straight after, and this settles very quickly. Serums would then be applied afterwards to avoid product build-up on your derma roller. You can apply a night moisturiser and oils on top of your serums to finish your routine. It is a very quick and easy way to enhance your overall skin appearance.
One of the most common mistakes we see is over rolling and using too much pressure – this can lead to track marks and bruising of the skin.
Take caution with the serums you use on top of derma rolling, especially if you are more on the sensitive skin side. It might not be a great idea to put on retinol and AHA’s after your rolling session for the first time – hyaluronic acid and pigment inhibiting serums would be recommended to start off with before increasing your tolerance.
What to look out for when purchasing:
Like all genius ideas, naturally there is going to be someone who jumps on the bandwagon, creating a cheaper version of a product for us to buy. While there are plenty of different brands out there looking all the same, something we have come across in home derma rollers is faulty, non-surgical needles made of low quality materials. There have even been cases reported of needles getting stuck in people’s skin whilst rolling, leading to serious infection! I know this sounds extreme, but part of our job is to educate and protect your beautiful skin and also to help you make informed decisions when purchasing something that pricks your skin! Ideally it’s best to buy your derma roller from a skin clinic or medi spa, where a specialist can carefully instruct you on how to use it, but in the case that this isn’t possible be sure to look out for the following:
- Titanium medical grade needles should be high quality and don’t bend or rust. Surgical steel is preferred for longevity.
- Avoid thicker needles as these are better suited to thicker areas on your body vs. your face. Using them on the face can be very uncomfortable and cause marks. It is micro fine needles that you are wanting for your face.
- Don’t buy a facial derma roller over 0.3mm in depth.
- Make sure the roller comes with instructions.
- Ensure it has a protective cover to prevent needles from damage, as we know damaged needles can cause infections.
- Make sure you add a derma roller cleaning solution to your shopping cart if it doesn’t come with some already. You’ll want to make sure you cleanse your roller by soaking it in at least 80% isopropyl alcohol for ten minutes after every use.
With all of the above in mind, home derma rollers can definitely be used during lockdown and in your regular at-home routines, as long as they are used in the correct way and not taken advantage of. They certainly won’t replace in clinic treatments and won’t get you the same drastic results, but they will have a positive effect on your skin overall. Lastly, we need to remember with our skin that less is more and we should always seek the guidance of a professional when trying new skin trends, rather than following YouTube tutorials (as tempting as it may be). Until next time, happy rolling!