If you have been with me for a while you know that I have been microneedling (aka dermarolling) for years and that I love Korean products.
But combining the two (dermarolling + products) has had, I believe, the biggest impact on my skin’s texture, tightness and glow, of anything I’ve done.
And more and more research is backing this up.
If you are not familiar with dermarolling, this except from Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery explains it very well:
Microneedling with dermaroller is a new treatment modality for the treatment of scars, especially acne scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, and for facial rejuvenation. It is a simple and relatively cheap modality that also can be used for transdermal drug delivery.
But that was from 2009 – it has since been proven effective on other parts of the body.
A dermaroller is a handheld device that has a roller on the end with tiny needles that pierce the skin. It comes in many shapes and sizes. And, if you have never used a dermaroller, it’s not as scary or painful as it sounds.
Dermarolling induces collagen by causing micro injuries to the skin, making your body go into repair mode. The microneedling treatment is known as Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT).
It doesn’t stop there. By adding a “drug” (product) it takes it to another level. And it also makes it a form of mesotherapy (if you missed my article on mesotherapy click here).
You see, when you microneedle you open up your skin (piercing tiny holes in it) and the product is able to get in deeper. Think of it like aerating the lawn.
The illustration below shows how (a) using the dermaroller affects the skin and (b) what happens when you add a product:
And if you are wondering if you get CIT when adding a product … absolutely! It’s a two for one :).
There are different needle lengths when it comes to the rollers. And they are used for different treatments. I would start out with a .25mm and move up to a .5mm. If you go with a longer needle you may want to numb the area first.
But you might be thinking — is it worth it?
Well, the benefits of dermarolling are pretty amazing:
- Reduces fine lines and wrinkles
- Improves crepey skin
- Tightens sagging skin
- Improves skin texture
- Fades acne scars and stretch marks
- Enhances product absorption
- Helps with hair regrowth
- Corrects skin discoloration from melasma and vitiligo
- Improves cellulite
- May help with actinic keratosis
How to dermaroll:
Apply the product you want to use, or hyaluronic acid, to the area to start so that you have some slip and the needles don’t drag on your skin.
Work in sections.
Next you’ll take the roller and go up and down, then side to side, then on the diagonal to the left and then diagonally to the right. (I run about five to eight passes each way.)
In other words, what you are going to do is first a cross (+) pattern and then a criss-cross (x) pattern. In total it ends up being eight directions. It sounds like a lot; but when you get used to it, it really goes pretty quickly.
When starting, use a pressure that is comfortable for you. You can apply more when you get used to it.
The forehead and the nose have thinner skin, so you may want to apply less pressure.
The idea is not to draw blood. But if you do, don’t be alarmed. Your skin will eventually get used to the needles.
When you’ve completed your dermarolling add more product. I like to use a clean fan brush so that I don’t contaminate my skin with any bacteria that might be on my hands.
To clean, rinse your dermaroller with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol and allow it to air dry.
After the treatment you can expect an initial tightening which comes from a little bit of swelling. Redness may occur too but goes away relatively quickly.
Collagen and elastin build over time so it could take three to six months to see best results.
How often should you dermaroll? Honestly, I don’t think anyone really knows. Or at least I couldn’t find studies that were consistent with the timing. It is important, though, to allow for breaks between treatments so that your skin has a chance to heal and build the collagen and elastin.
Here’s a rough guideline that I use:
0.25 mm – Every day unless you have sensitive skin, then use your own judgment.
0.5 mm – Daily for a few days then break for a few days.
1.0 mm – Every two weeks.
1.5 mm – Monthly.
2.0/2.5mm – Monthly.
What products should you use?
That is really going to depend on what skin goals you have. You do want to make sure that you are using a product that can go into the dermis. And something that has good ingredients.
Koreans have been doing this for a long time so their products will say if they can be used for mesotherapy. Typically their skin boosters and MTS serums, which stands for Micro-Needle Therapy System, can all be used.
If you want to know where I get my products, I actually have two favorite sites. Both have codes you can use for 10% off.
www.acecosm.com (code: AntiAge10)
www.glamderma.com (code: Sandy10)
Satish Doddaballapur. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2009.
Dsouza L., Et. al. Derma rollers in therapy: the transition from cosmetics to transdermal drug delivery. Biomed Microdevices. 2020.
Iriate C., Et. al. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017.
Needling your way to healthier skin. Harvard Health Publishing. 2020.
Hou A., Et. al. Microneedling: A Comprehensive Review. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. 2017.
Singh A., Et. al. Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016.