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A step-by-step guide to maximising the benefits of derma rollers and microneedling

how to use a derma roller

If you're a lover of beauty, you would have heard the term derma rolling thrown around quite a bit. A treatment that first came to fruition in the late 20th century, our access to microneedling and its benefits has evolved drastically over the last three decades. While there is still division over the use of the derma roller at home, there's no denying its growing popularity as a DIY needling treatment. Here, we break down what exactly is derma rolling, its benefits and how to perform the treatment safely at home.


What is derma rolling?

Derma rolling is a form of microneedling; which as written in a Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology, "is a process involving repetitive puncturing of the skin with sterilised microneedles." The original practice can be dated back to 1995, when individual needles were initially used to perform the cosmetic procedure. Now, derma rolling has become much less invasive, with the creation of the derma roller. The process involves the use of hundreds of micro-needles to create small incisions in the skin; considered as "trauma."

When the skin enters this state, it instinctively goes into "repair" mode, which in turn, stimulating the production of collagen and elastin cells in the skin.


What is a derma roller?

A derma roller is the specific tool that is used to create the procedure of derma rolling or microneedling. The hand-held device was once only used in salons by professionals, but as the beauty industry and our knowledge has evolved, several DIY tools are now available. The main fixture of the derma roller is its spinning wheel of micro-needles. Before you begin, it's imperative to select the derma roller that is right for your skin.

The main difference between the tools on offer are the length of the needle; which, should be selected based on what you're trying to treat. Based on information from the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, most derma rollers have needle lengths that range between 0.5mm and 1.5mm. As with all at home treatments, starting small is always best. If you're uncertain about selecting the correct needle size or are considering more invasive treatment, book in a consultation with a professional.


How do you use a derma roller?

Practicing safe derma rolling is crucial in protecting your skin and ensuring you see results. As written by Healthline, there are six steps to keep in mind when doing the treatment at home.

  1. Begin by disinfecting your roller: Let your roller soak in 70 percent isopropyl alcohol for approximately 5 to 10 minutes before you begin to use it.
  2. Wash and cleanse your face: Using a gentle p-H balanced cleanser, wash your face like you would normally. If the needles you are using are longer than 0.5mm; it is recommended that you wipe your face down with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol before the rolling process. If you're wanting to maximise the properties of your products, add a layer of serum to your skin before beginning. It's worth selecting a serum that contains hyaluronic acid or growth-stimulating factors.
  3. Begin rolling: Start by splitting your face up into sections, avoiding your eyes and the root (or top) of your nose. Take your derma roller and roll in one direction six-eight times; lifting the roller up off the face every time to prevent track marks. There's no need to press too firmly on the skin – only apply as much pressure as you can handle. Once complete, repeat the process in the opposite direction, either vertically or horizontally, until every section of your face is complete.
  4. Rinse your skin: After you have completed the microneedling, rinse your face with water only.
  5. Clean your derma roller: While you're giving your skin some downtime, it's time to clean your roller. Start by creating a soapy mixture adding dish soap to a container; swishing the roller around vigorously without letting it hit the sides. Although it may seem odd to use detergents over alcohol, alcohol is unable to dissolve the proteins found in skin and blood. After you have washed your roller, let it soak in the 70 percent isopropyl alcohol for 10 minutes.
  6. Finish by applying your basic skincare routine: After derma rolling, it's best to avoid chemical exfoliants or any active ingredients that could irritate the skin; such as, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and tretinoin.

What are the benefits of derma rolling?

Microneedling offers a range of benefits based on different skin concerns. Firstly, as already mentioned, the penetration of the needles help to stimulate the all important collagen, which is crucial in generating new cell growth. Through this process of exfoliation, dull, dead skin cells are cleared, allowing for new cells to take their place. This leaves the skin's surface looking smoother and more refined. Derma rolling as we know also helps to maximise the efficacy of our products, by enhancing our skins absorbance ability.

Research in the Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology also revealed that microneedling is beneficial in scar treatment, hyper-pigmentation and alopecia among other skin concerns.


How often should you use your derma roller?

How often you use your derma roller is based on the length of the needle. We've included a guide from Healthline below, but as always, ensure that your skin is fully healed before rolling again.

  • 0.25mm: Every other day.
  • 0.5mm: One to three times a week (starting with less).
  • 1.0mm: Every 10-14 days.
  • 1.5mm: Once every three to four weeks.

What are the side effects of derma rolling?

Like with any skin procedure, you may experience small side effects. In the hours following, your skin may be red and experience initial and minor swelling. The best way to describe this feeling is to liken it to sunburn. As a result, you may experience some peeling – but it's imperative to let the skin fall naturally on its on without picking. There is also a chance of infection if your roller is not receiving the proper hygiene care. After you wash and disinfect your roller post-use, place it back into a secure case where it will not be exposed to any harmful bacteria.

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