In our quest for smooth, unlined, younger-looking skin, there are not many stones we’ve left unturned. Snail mucus? Tried it. Jade face roller? Bought one. LED treatments? Got a pack of ten. But, when we heard about microneedling – that’s the process of puncturing your skin with teeney, tiny needles – even WE hesitated. Does it hurt? Would we bleed? Does it even work?
What is microneedling?
Microneedling works by creating micro punctures in your skin that jumpstart the process of creating more collagen – the stuff that makes your skin look young and plump. Normal collagen production starts to wane as you get older (thanks Mother Nature) and creating tiny “traumas” to your skin helps increase it temporarily as your skin heals. Increased collagen helps fade acne scarring and discoloration. Plus, slathering your punctured skin in serums helps improve absorption.
Microneedling is typically done with a derma roller – which looks like a small needle-spiked roller that a tiny medieval warrior might wield into battle – or a stamp. The derma roller is rolled over areas of concern a couple of times to create the tiny holes and the healing process begins.
How do you use a derma roller?
Depending on the size of the needles, which are measured in millimeters, the “damage” to your skin varies, as does the pain. The process can be done in a dermatologist’s office, but at-home derma rollers and stamps are available all over the internet. Curious about trying it at home? PLEASE follow these rules:
- Soak all derma rollers and stamps in 70% isopropyl alcohol before AND after using. (because: infection) Then quickly rinse under the water faucet before rolling your skin.
- Apply serum before and after you roll to really get it to soak in there.
- Divide your face into 4 sections and roll in one direction 6 to 8 times, depending on your skin tolerance and sensitivity, making sure to lift the roller after each pass. Go over each section horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.
- Don’t use needles longer than 0.5mm on your face at home – that’s for professionals!
- Get to the dermatologist for any wacky reactions!
Not sure where to start? Here are our top picks for when you’re on a roll:
Budget Friendly & Good for Beginners
This one has over 1K positive reviews and is a solid choice for beginners who don’t want make a huge investment. It has .25mm needles so you don’t have to be nervous about it at all — it’s on the less intense end of the spectrum and good for exfoliation, fine lines and product absorption.
The Cadillac of derma rollers and winner of Allure’s Best of Beauty Award in 2017. It’s a favorite of Instagram influencer and fellow mom Eva Chen, who chose it for her super edited post-kids skincare routine (her pre-kids routine had 9 steps!). The 540 stainless surgical quality steel .3mm needles actually vibrate for a more thorough microneedling effect. There’s also a red LED light to stimulate cell regeneration. Start saving your allowance now.
Best for Full Body Rolling
Think micro needling is just for your face? Think again! Increased collagen helps fade scars and pigmentation all over your body. This all-in-one kit features 4 interchangeable roller heads that can be switched from one to another to treat the face and most areas of the body. The roller head needles range in size from .255mm for the sensitive parts of your face to 1.0mm to be used across parts of your body. Plus it comes with a roller head sterilization tray built right in.
Best for Collagen Boosting
We’ve read about this derma roller in various publications online – it’s a well-reviewed product from a trusted brand. The needle length is .3mm – which is a perfect in-between length to keep that collagen coming.
Best for Micro-Exfoliating
If rolling isn’t your thing, try this .2mm stamp. Instead of rolling it over your face, you gently stamp it all over your face. It doesn’t go deep enough for heavy duty collagen generation, but it’s great for micro-exfoliation and generally plumping.