Dermal Rolling and Microneedling 101

Dermal needling (also known as collagen induction therapy) is a very popular skincare treatment. This procedure involves pricking the skin multiple times with a specially designed device containing tiny needles to induce healing and cellular rejuvenation. The main objective is to create tiny micro-injuries that encourage the skin’s wound healing response. This stimulates growth factors and cytokines for rejuvenation.

These micro-injuries also appear to reset or reboot cellular function, normalizing their action. Studies have shown that melanin distribution is evened out and sebaceous activity is balanced, improving acne conditions. The micro-channels created from the small punctures allow 80% more product to be absorbed into the skin (compared to the seven-to-10% with an application without dermal needling). Needling should always be used in conjunction with high-quality skincare nutrients applied to your skin after the treatment. Special attention should be made to be sure they are clean, safe products that are being applied.  

Depending on the length of the needle, the treatment is considered cosmetic dermal rolling or medical microneedling. Typically, cosmetic dermal rolling is when the needles are .2mm and .3mm in length. Medical microneedling is done using needles from .5mm to 3.0mm.  A topical numbing cream is usually needed due to greater sensitivity. Because our skin is generally thinner than a piece of paper, it is not necessary to be aggressive and go deep. Instead, multiple lighter treatments, in conjunction with quality skincare products used consistently, is what has the biggest impact and best results.

Not all needles are created equally and the material the needles are made of does make a difference. Titanium tends to hold its edge for longer-lasting sharpness. Cheaper brands are prone to needles falling out and bending easily. For home use, it is important to purchase a good quality roller. Also, keep in mind that personal-use rollers will need to be replaced frequently as the needles become dull after several uses. 

Woman touching her face

Getting Started

Preparing the skin with quality skincare before any treatment is essential to ensure the best results. Healthy skin will respond better, and the results will last longer. A good skin care regimen should include:

  • Gentle cleanser and toner
  • Mild exfoliators
  • Topical vitamin C
  • Topical vitamin A
  • Topical antioxidants
  • Topical copper peptides
  • Topical growth factors
  • Sun protection

A home-care dermal rolling treatment should take between two and 10 minutes. I recommend rolling at night and applying the appropriate serums immediately after the treatment followed by a moisturizer. The tiny micro-channels naturally close up within an hour, making it safe to apply mineral makeup the next morning.

Start rolling two times per week for two minutes, then three minutes three times per week, and building up to five to seven times per week. The goal is to establish a nighty regime of rolling followed by the application of nutrients. Rolling is safe to do on your neck and chest as well as on the back of your hands.

Woman hand on neck

Steps to Dermal Rolling

  1. Cleanse and tone your skin and let it dry.
  2. Divide the treatment area into sections: forehead, cheeks, eye area, nose, mouth area, and neck.
  3. Hold the roller like a pen and with gentle pressure.
  4. Roll repeatedly using short strokes back and forth, rather than long strokes. Do this three-to-four times.
  5. Be sure to lift the roller frequently and change directions to avoid the needles creating tracks.
  6. The direction should be up and down, back and forth, and diagonal.
  7. Pull the skin down under the eye area so you are rolling along the orbital ridge.
  8. Once rolling is complete, apply in your selected serum and allow it to dry.
  9. Apply nighttime moisturizer.

Roller Maintenance

To disinfect the roller, use a denture tablet on top of a cotton pad in a cup. Fill it with water and allow the roller to soak for 30 minutes. Denture tablets contain enzymes that will remove oils and bacteria. You can use alcohol; however, it can affect the glue used to assemble the roller, making the needles fall out. Store in a dry place. 

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