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Everything you need to know about dermarolling at home

Dermatology experts share what you need to know about this skincare treatment and how it may benefit your skin.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jan 16, 2024 • 12 min read
Medically reviewed by Camille Dixon, PA-C
Woman Using a Derma Roller
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jan 16, 2024 • 12 min read
Medically reviewed by Camille Dixon, PA-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

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Ready to dive into the world of at-home dermarolling? You’re in the right place! 

Whether you’re a skincare enthusiast or a newbie looking to rejuvenate your skin, we’ll walk you through the essential steps, tips, and precautions of dermarolling. Let’s explore how this simple technique can help enhance your skin’s texture and appearance, even from the comfort of your home.

What is dermarolling and how does it work? 

Dermarolling—sometimes known as microneedling—is a process that involves a tool called a dermaroller. Its needles, usually between 0.5 to 1.5 mm long, gently create tiny passages in your skin.

But don’t worry; when used properly, this shouldn’t harm your skin! This rolling action triggers your skin to release growth factors while stimulating new collagen and elastin. After dermarolling, your skin might show some redness for a few days, but that’s normal. The microholes close quickly, reducing the risk of infection. Dermarolling can help stimulate collagen growth which can help improve acne scars and photoaging.¹

Typically, this quick 15-20 minute procedure is done in a clinic, but there are home versions, too, with smaller needles for daily skincare enhancement. Quality tools are key, and patience is crucial, as multiple sessions might be needed for the best results. Dermarolling is often used as a way to boost the effectiveness of your skincare products, but make sure to give your skin enough time to recover between sessions.²

Types of dermarollers

Dermarolling is done by using a dermaroller, of course! There are standard dermarollers, home-care dermarollers, and also dermastamps.

Let’s take a closer look at each.³

Standard dermaroller

The standard dermaroller is the go-to tool in a skincare clinic. It’s a drum-shaped roller decked out with 192 fine microneedles, arranged in eight rows.⁴ These needles range from 0.5 to 1.5 mm in length and are just 0.1 mm in diameter. This type is typically used for treating acne scars in a professional setting. They offer precision and depth to target those deeper skin issues.

Home-care dermarollers

These are your at-home skincare buddies. The needles on these rollers are shorter, less than 0.15 mm in length.⁵ They are great for enhancing the absorption of skincare products like lipopeptides and anti-aging serums. These tools can help give your regular skincare routine an extra boost.

Dermastamps

Dermastamps are like the precision tools of the dermarolling world. They’re smaller and meant for targeting specific, localized scars—think small, stubborn varicella scars. The needles on dermastamps are 2 mm in length and have a tiny diameter of 0.12 mm, allowing for focused treatment on specific areas.⁶

Each type has its unique purpose, whether it's for deep clinical treatment, enhancing your daily skincare, or targeting specific scar areas. So, when you decide to try dermarolling, consider what your skin needs and choose the right tool for the job.

The benefits of dermarolling 

Whether you’re looking to smooth out some scars, even out your skin tone, enhance the treatment of certain types of warts, or give your hair a growth boost, microneedling may help.⁷

Improve scars

When you roll those tiny needles over your skin, they help boost collagen and elastin production. This is like giving your skin a signal to heal and rejuvenate itself. The result? Those scars, especially acne scars, start to improve, leaving your skin looking smoother and more even.⁸

A study with 31 people examined how well microneedling treated acne scars. For three months, they had microneedling done every week. The results? Pretty impressive! Almost everyone saw improvement in their acne scars. Their skin became smoother, and even saw their dark spots fade, too.⁹

The only downsides were some minor burning sensations and redness right after the treatments, but these cleared up in just a day or two. No significant problems happened because of the treatment. In the end, more than 80% of the people were pleased with their results, showing that microneedling can be a safe and effective way to deal with acne scars.¹⁰

Lighten pigmentation 

Microneedling has also shown promising results in lightening skin pigmentation, especially in cases like melasma and dark circles around the eyes. When combined with skin-lightening products, it enhances their effectiveness.¹¹

A study specifically looked at how microneedling helps with pigmented acne scars in people with darker skin. Thirty-nine people participated in this study, and the main goal was to see if their scar pigmentation improved. Turns out, it did! After the treatment, their skin showed a significant improvement. The best part? The side effects were minor and didn't last long, and no one saw their pigmentation get worse.¹² 

The takeaway here is that microneedling can be an effective way to treat acne scars and dark spots. Some people might need more sessions to see even better results, but overall, it’s a solid option for tackling pigmentation issues.¹³

Remove warts

Microneedling has also been explored as a treatment for warts, and it has some promising results. Here’s what’s interesting: It helps get wart treatment drugs, like bleomycin, right into the wart, which is great for treating those stubborn plantar warts.¹⁴

In one study, researchers tried microneedling on 62 people who had a total of 98 warts on their hands. After about 8 weeks, 82% of those warts were completely gone, and with no adverse side effects! On average, it took about 3 weeks for the warts to clear up. And, it was almost pain-free—on average, people rated the pain at just 2.7 out of 10. So microneedling could be a good option for getting rid of warts. It seems to work as well as the usual treatments but with the bonus of being less painful and more cost-effective.¹⁵

Increase hair growth

Microneedling isn’t just great for your skin; it’s also making waves in the hair growth department. It turns out that microneedling can boost the effectiveness of common hair loss treatments like minoxidil and topical corticosteroids.¹⁶

During a study with 100 people who were experiencing mild to moderate hair loss, researchers decided to see what would happen if they combined microneedling with a hair growth lotion, minoxidil, compared to just using the lotion alone. After 12 weeks, the results were pretty clear. The group that got both microneedling and the lotion saw a significant increase in hair growth—with 82% of them noticing a big improvement. Only about 4.5% of the folks who used the lotion on its own saw similar results.¹⁷

How to use a dermaroller at home 

Using a dermaroller at home can be a great way to enhance your skincare routine, but it’s important to do it right to avoid skin irritation or damage. The procedure at home is similar to an appointment in a clinic.

Here are some tips to help safely use a dermaroller at home.

  1. Choose the right dermaroller: For home use, pick a dermaroller with microneedles that are smaller than 0.15 mm in length.¹⁸ This size is ideal for helping your skin better absorb skincare products without being too invasive.

  2. Prepare your skin: Start with a clean slate. Use a gentle cleanser to thoroughly wash your face, removing all makeup, dirt, and oil. This ensures that you’re rolling on a clean and clear surface.

  3. Start rolling: Gently roll the dermaroller over your skin in horizontal, vertical, and diagonal directions, following the manufacturer’s directions. Do not press too hard or overdo it! It's normal to see some mild redness, but stop if you develop pain or have any concerns.

Remember, while home dermarolling can be beneficial, it’s a bit different from professional treatments. If you’re new to this, start slow, and always listen to your skin’s response!

Post-dermarolling care

Taking good care of your skin and dermaroller after each session is crucial for the best results and safety. Caring for your skin after dermarolling includes¹⁹:

  • Soothing the treated area with saline pads to help calm any redness or irritation.

  • Local antibiotic creams may be prescribed by providers performing deeper in-office treatments.

  • Protect your skin from the sun after microneedling by avoiding direct sunlight and applying sunscreen diligently for about a week, as your skin will be more sensitive.

Cleaning your dermaroller is key to maintaining hygiene. After use, rinse it under hot tap water and give it a good shake to dry. In terms of frequency, using the home-care dermaroller twice a week is generally recommended, but always pay attention to how your skin responds and adjust if necessary. After around 100 uses, it’s time to replace the dermaroller to ensure it remains effective, though always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.²⁰

Precautions to take while dermarolling 

When you’re dermarolling, remember a few key things to keep it safe and effective: 

  • Always opt for a quality product to ensure safety. Poor quality instruments may lead to breakage of the needles in the skin.²¹

  • If you’re getting professional microneedling done, you may need more time to heal between treatments. Follow the guidance of the treating professional. 

  • You can incorporate microneedling along with other treatments like peels for even better results, but that’s best done by a professional. 

  • At-home rolling is great for helping your skincare products work better, but it’s best to leave the deeper treatments for scars and other concerns to the professionals.²²

Following these precautions ensures that you maximize the benefits of dermarolling while keeping your skin healthy and your tool in good condition.

The key takeaways

  • Dermarolling, also known as microneedling, involves using a small tool studded with fine needles to create micro passages in the skin with the goal of stimulating collagen and elastin production.

  • There are various types of dermarollers for different uses: standard dermarollers for clinical treatments, home-care dermarollers for daily skincare enhancement, and dermastamps for localized scars.

  • Dermarolling offers numerous benefits, including improving scars, lightening pigmentation, removing verruca (warts), and increasing hair growth.

  • For safe and effective home use, choose the right dermaroller, prepare your skin properly, use gentle rolling techniques, and adhere to post-rolling care like using saline pads and avoiding direct sunlight.

  • Always use high-quality dermarollers to avoid needle breakage, space out professional microneedling treatments, and know the limits of home treatments compared to professional procedures.

  • Are you looking for personalized skincare? You can complement your skincare routine with custom products from Curology. We offer expertly crafted skincare with ingredients that are proven to work. Check out our custom formulas or standard Starter Set to help you achieve the best possible skin health and appearance.

Enhance your skincare routine with Curology 

At Curology, we’re committed to helping you achieve your best skin yet. We understand that everyone’s skin is unique, which is why we offer personalized skincare solutions tailored just for you. 

Our products are designed to address a variety of skin concerns, including acne and signs of aging, and they can help you maintain healthy skin. With our customized approach, you can be confident that you’re getting the care your skin truly needs. 

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

Get your personalized skincare routine with Curology

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Ready to see the difference personalized skincare can make? Let’s unlock the potential of your skin together!

FAQs

Do dermarollers really work?

Yes, dermarollers have been shown to be effective, especially in treating wrinkles and scars (particularly acne scars), while also enhancing transdermal drug delivery. They stimulate collagen production, promoting skin rejuvenation. Always ensure you’re using quality instruments for the best results.²³

Are microneedling and dermarolling the same?

Yes, dermarolling and microneedling are terms that are often used interchangeably. Both refer to the use of a device with tiny needles that create micro-injuries in the skin to stimulate collagen production and aid in the absorption of skincare products. The dermaroller is a specific type of microneedling tool that looks like a small roller covered in tiny needles. However, there are other types of microneedling devices, such as electronic pens or stamps, but the concept of the treatment is the same.²⁴

What are the negatives of dermarolling?

While dermarolling is generally safe, there might be minor side effects like erythema (redness) that last for a few days. It’s crucial to use quality instruments to prevent needle breakage and ensure that you allow adequate time between treatments for optimal results.²⁵

Can a dermaroller help to regrow hair?

Yes, studies have shown that when combined with hair growth products like minoxidil, dermarolling can effectively promote hair growth and improve hair count, making it a potential treatment for hair loss conditions.²⁶

Is there scientific evidence for microneedling?

Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of microneedling in treating various skin conditions, promoting collagen production, and enhancing the delivery of skincare products and medications. It’s crucial to refer to scientific articles and trusted sources when researching the benefits and procedures.²⁷

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. (July-December 2009).

  2. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  3. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  4. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  5. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  6. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  7. Iriarte, C., et al. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. (2017, August 8).

  8. Iriarte, C., et al. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. Ibid.

  9. Minh, P.P.T., et al. Microneedling Therapy for Atrophic Acne Scar: Effectiveness and Safety in Vietnamese Patients. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. (2019, January 29).

  10. Minh, P.P.T., et al. Microneedling Therapy for Atrophic Acne Scar: Effectiveness and Safety in Vietnamese Patients. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. Ibid.

  11. Iriarte, C., et al. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. Ibid.

  12. Al Qarqaz, F. and Al-Yousef, A. Skin microneedling for acne scars associated with pigmentation in patients with dark skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. (June 2018).

  13. Al Qarqaz, F. and Al-Yousef, A. Skin microneedling for acne scars associated with pigmentation in patients with dark skin. J Cosmet Dermatol. Ibid.

  14. Iriarte, C., et al. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. Ibid.

  15. De Vita, V. and Goldust, M. Efficacy and Safety of Microneedling for the Treatment of Cutaneous Warts. Hand (N Y). (September 2019).

  16. Iriarte, C., et al. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. Ibid.

  17. Dhurat, R., et al. A Randomized Evaluator Blinded Study of Effect of Microneedling in Androgenetic Alopecia: A Pilot Study. Int J Trichology. (January-March 2013).

  18. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  19. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  20. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  21. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  22. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  23. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  24. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  25. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

  26. Dhurat, R., et al. A Randomized Evaluator Blinded Study of Effect of Microneedling in Androgenetic Alopecia: A Pilot Study. Int J Trichology. Ibid.

  27. Doddaballapur, S. Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. Ibid.

Camille Dixon is a certified Physician Assistant at Curology. She received her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies from Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL.

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Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
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Camille Dixon, PA-C

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