Micro Needling Guide
The skin is the body’s protective armour, and it has the unique ability to repair and regenerate itself. Every 2-3 weeks, it produces new cells that rebuild the epidermis layer, which simultaneously repairs any superficial wounds and blemishes. However, as we age, this regeneration process slows down, resulting in poor skin elasticity, wrinkles, and a dry, uneven texture. Blemishes and stretch marks also become more apparent.
However, dermaroller treatments, or ‘skin needling’ as it is known, reboots the regeneration process, producing more collagen and in turn, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It does this by pricking the skin with tiny micro-medical needles, causing it to react as it would do to an injury. The pricking stimulates the regeneration and repair process, which leaves the skin looking smoother, younger and clearer.
This treatment is most commonly performed with a dermaroller – a small instrument that resembles a miniature paint roller with micro needles, or a derma stamp, which has a flat platform with micro needles on the end.
The roller and the stamp offer unique benefits: the roller is excellent for covering a large surface area, while the stamp is more precise on isolated patches of skin.
Which target areas respond well to dermaroller treatments?
Dermarollers are commonly used to treat:
- fine lines and wrinkles
- crow’s feet
- stretch marks
- dry skin
- uneven complexion
- hair loss
- sun damaged skin
- old skin injuries.
Who is a good candidate for dermaroller treatments?
Because the treatment is non-invasive and non-ablative, it is generally considered safe for all skin tones and most skin types.
Who is a bad candidate for dermaroller treatments?
The treatment should be avoided if you have:
- open wounds, cuts or abrasions on the area you wish to be treated
- had radiation treatment within the last 12 months
- a cold sore or any other infection in the area you wish to be treated
- areas of the skin that are numb or lack sensation
- a history of keloid or hypertrophic scarring
- a history of poor wound healing
- active skin infections, such as psoriasis, rosacea and eczema
- raised moles or warts.
Derma rollers should not be used under the eyes (tear troughs) or on the lips. The skin in these areas is too delicate for the treatment, and must be avoided as much as possible.
Who can perform dermaroller treatments?
Some derma roller manufacturers recommend that only medical professionals and trained therapists use their products, to increase the chances of a safer, more successful result. But there are a number of home-use derma rollers currently on the market, which allow consumers to perform the treatment at their leisure. This is a very cost-effective method, and it allows the user to repeat the treatment as little or often as they like. But as with any cosmetic treatment, conducting it without professional training can expose the user to a small amount of risk, particularly when using the longer needle lengths.
Alternatives to dermaroller treatments
- Chemical peel
- LED light therapy
- Brow lift
- Face lift
How do I choose the best practitioner?
Because of the sheer number of clinics that now perform dermaroller treatments, it is important to conduct thorough research to find the best one before making any final decisions. To minimise the risk of complications, it is best to choose a practitioner who is fully qualified, and has treated numerous ailments like yours.
What should I ask during my consultation?
The consultation is a very important part of the decision-making process. It is where you decide whether you like the practitioner, and whether they are experienced enough to achieve the results you’re hoping for, so don’t be afraid to ask some detailed questions. Some useful ones are:
- How many dermaroller procedures do you perform each year?
- How many have you performed in total?
- Do you think the derma roller is the best treatment for me?
- Which needle length would you recommend for me?
- What is your rate of complications, and what were those complications?
- How did you resolve them?
- Can you gage how much discomfort I’m likely to experience during and after the procedure?
- How long do I need to wait between treatments?
- How many treatments do you think I’ll need?
What are the various needle lengths for?
- 0.25mm – for increased absorption of skin care products and overall improvement of skin tone and texture.
- 0.5mm – for wrinkles, first signs of ageing, mild acne scarring, mild chicken pox or ice pick scars, and thinning hair.
- 1.0mm, 1.5mm – for stretch marks, deeper scars and the appearance of cellulite.
- 2.0mm, 2.5mm, 3.0mm – (not recommended for the face) for extensive scarring, deep wrinkles, badly damaged skin.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
A few weeks prior to the treatment, the practitioner may ask you to use vitamin A and C creams to aid the healthy production of new collagen and encourage skin recovery.
Before you start the first derma roller treatment, you will need to purchase:
- A dermaroller of an appropriate needle length.
- Treatment creams or oils depending on what skin condition you are treating. Do ensure your chosen product is safe to use with a derma roller. Oils enriched with vitamin E, like argan (Moroccan) oil, pure vitamin E oil and Bio Oil are particularly popular because of their restorative properties.
- Numbing cream. You generally only need this if the needles are longer than 0.5mm. EMLA 5% is commonly used for home treatments, as is topical lidocaine cream.
- Antiseptic/alcohol spray. There are also a number of specially formulated derma roller sprays on the market.
- Disposable gloves to keep your hands clean throughout the procedure.
What happens just before the dermaroller treatment?
Before the treatment begins, the practitioner will remove any creams, oils or make-up from the body part, and apply a topical anesthetic to minimise any pain during the procedure. This usually takes between 20-30 minutes to work.
Before you start the procedure, you will need to prepare your tools, and the treatment area by:
- washing your hands thoroughly, preferably with an antibacterial soap
- disinfecting and wiping the treatment area
- laying down a clean paper towel for the derma roller
- cleaning the skin you are about to treat – an antibacterial agent is generally recommended
- applying numbing cream if it is required
- washing off the numbing cream; cleaning your hands, and putting on the protective gloves.
- sterilising the roller with hot running water and antiseptic spray.
What happens during the dermaroller treatment?
The practitioner will roll the instrument back and forth across the skin, creating thousands of micro- columns. Each column will penetrate into the dermis allowing any creams or oils to sink deep into the skin. The column will rapidly close, enabling the skin to recover and improve.
If the practitioner has used numbing agents beforehand, you will not experience any pain during the rolling process. If no numbing agents have been used i.e. for the face, you may experience a ‘prickly’ sensation as the needles lightly pierce the skin. This process usually lasts approximately 20 minutes.
Applying light pressure, roll the instrument across the skin 4 times vertically, 4 times horizontally, and 4 times on each diagonal. This ‘star’ pattern should be repeated across the treatment area in blocks.
Once you’ve done this for 20 minutes, apply the cream or oil to the treated area, carefully massaging it into the skin.
After the treatment
Use tepid water to cleanse the face for 48 hours following the procedure, ensuring that your hands are clean. It is advisable not to apply make up to the treated area for 12 hours following the procedure. You can apply moisturizers and other skin care products. Avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight for 1-2 days, applying sunblock for a week or so after the treatment.
If you have done the procedure yourself, remember to keep the Derma Roller clean by disinfecting it afterwards and then storing it somewhere safe after it has dried. Makes sure that the roller’s needles do not touch any surface, which will ensure they are not contaminated.
What are the after effects of dermaroller?
Immediately after the treatment your skin will be pinker than usual and it will feel warmer and tighter than usual. This should subside within two hours and should have returned to normal within a day or so. It can take up to six weeks to see the full effects of the regeneration and repair, which should continue in the following months.
How long does it take to recover from derma roller?
Recovery times vary between 24 hours and a few days depending on the length of the needles used. Most people should be able to return to work the next day.
How much does the treatment cost, and how many will I need?
The price typically ranges from £200 per treatment to £900 for a series of treatments. a minimum course of 3 derma roller treatments, at 6 week intervals is recommended to achieve the best results.
Prices can range from £25 - £120, the average price being around £45. A roller will generally need replacing after 6 months. Regarding the frequency you can perform the treatment; it is recommended that a 0.5 mm needle is not used more than 4 times a week and that a 1.5mm needle is not used more than twice a month.
Are there any risks with this treatment?
The treatment is said to be virtually painless and feels like a mild prickling sensation. The level of pain can vary depending on the length of needles being used.
The skin is usually pink or red after the treatment and there is occasionally mild bruising. This usually fades quickly and people are able to return to work the next day. There is sometimes minor flaking and Milia (small white spots) can form on the skin. Hyperpigmentation (darkening of certain areas of the skin) can occasionally occur, whilst people prone to cold sores may experience a flare up after the treatment.
Reviews from people who have had Micro Needling treatment
I underwent the dermaroller treatment on my face, at a clinic by a cosmetic doctor. I am generally satisfied with the results but not for what I was looking for. I have visibly enlarged pores and that is what I wanted to correct, and in that sense, I cannot appreciate any change. However, I had some sun hyperpigmentation and acne scars, and I can report that the colour of my face looks more even now, and the acne marks are so much less visible. So in the end I am happy with the treatment.
Forum posts related to Micro Needling
I heard about dermaroller and I am thinking to give it a try. I am 37 and have some acne marks around my face and cheeks and in general, the colour of the skin on my face is not even. Has anyone tried this? What results can I expect? Also, I was thinking of performing it at a clinic, but then saw I can buy the rollers online. Is the solution at home safe? Any feedback will be appreciated.