Derma-rolling aka Micro-needling – what is it and why are people doing it?

You may or may not have heard about derma needling by now. You know, the small little roller covered in tiny needles that glides across your face? I realize when I put it that way it sounds incredibly masochistic but truthfully it’s not that bad and there’s a pretty good reason for why it’s popular.

I’ve personally done this a few times now and feel like I’ve got a good enough handle on it to share my experience/tips with you all. Let’s start off by explaining what it is exactly and what you’ll get out of it.

Derma Rolling + Benefits

Derma Rolling [also known as “micro needling” or “collagen induction therapy”] is the practice of inserting tiny needles across the surface of the skin typically via a handheld rolling device like the one pictured above. The rolling creates microscopic wounds in the skin which in turn stimulates collagen and elastin production. More simply put, it triggers a response from your skin to repair itself thus bringing about newer, healthier looking skin.

To read more in depth info on collagen and what it does, check out my post here –> Collagen

The derma roller itself is a small handheld tool covered in micro needles ranging from .25mm – 1.5mm. Some needles exceed this size but aren’t recommended for self use at home. Mine was kindly gifted to me by a company called Alitura Naturals and it worked perfectly! They currently offer up to size 1mm roller heads though mine is only .25mm since I was beginning and wasn’t sure what to expect.

The length of the needle determines how deeply it penetrates into the skin. Choosing the size of your needle head ultimately depends on what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re looking to reduce or eliminate deep acne scars/marks then you would probably want a deeper needle. If you’re looking to promote/maintain simple fine lines, wrinkles, pores etc then a smaller needle would suffice.

Here are a few needle size recommendations for common skin types:

Acne scarring (shallow): .50 – 1mm

Acne scaring (deep): 1 – 1.5mm

Redness/hyper pigmentation: .25 – .50mm

Texture: .50mm

Large pores: .25 – .50mm

*Please note I am not a dermatologist and that everyone’s skin varies. These are merely recommendations based on other people’s success with these sizes.

Although the face is the most common place to derma roll, this beneficial practice is not limited to any specific body part. It is important to note though that it’s best to avoid super delicate places like under the eyes and neck.

In addition to the above mentioned benefits, another great thing about derma rolling is your ability to absorb serums and creams much more effectively. Because the skin is now open to receive nutrients from skincare, it’s even more important to use chemical free, nontoxic products. I’ll post more about the products I personally use below but another important thing to note is that after rolling is NOT the time to try new skincare products. In the event that you react poorly to the new product the irritation will be heightened even more.

How to Derma Roll

Ok now for the good stuff.

Step 1: Remove ALL makeup (if applicable) thoroughly and wash face with a gentle cleanser. My favorite to use is the Osea Malibu ocean cleanser and I like to follow up with a Ursa Major cleansing wipe to make sure all residue is completely off.

Step 2: Make sure your hands are clean and begin sterilizing/disinfecting your roller (even if it’s brand new). You can do this by allowing it to sit in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 10-15 minutes. Once the time has passed and you’re ready to begin, rinse it with water and set it on a clean towel. NEVER touch the actual needle head with your hands/fingers to avoid any transfer of bacteria.

Step 3: With a mirror in front of you, it’s time to begin rolling. I personally like to divide my face into 6 areas when working so that I make sure to cover everything well. The areas are: right cheek, left cheek, chin, upper lip, nose and forehead. When rolling you want to begin by making vertical lines across the area for about 10 seconds each pass. Continue rolling over the same area for the ten seconds making sure to lift the roller after each pass to avoid dragging the skin. Do this until the section is completely covered then pass it again horizontally. Some people prefer to do a diagonal roll but I find this method works best for me.

Step 4: Once you’re finished, rinse of your roller and sterilize again in alcohol for 10-15 minutes. Pat it dry with a clean towel once done and store it away. Mine came in a nice, clear container for storage which is another reason I really enjoyed the Alitura brand.

Step 5: Wash hands well and apply serum or moisturizer of your choice. My two favorites to apply after rolling is the Josh RoseBrook hydrating accelerator spray and the Osea Malibu hydrating essential serum. Both are free of chemicals and packed with high nutrients for the skin. Applying a serum that contains vitamin e is a great option as it encourages the growth of new skin cells.

What to expect + the do’s and don’ts

My face about 30 minutes after rolling. The redness is minimal compared to longer needle sizes.
  • Depending on your needle size, it’s going to slightly hurt. [mostly boney areas like the forehead and bridge of nose] but it’s nothing too crazy. It’s also normal to see tiny specs of blood with deeper needles.
  • Your face WILL be red for a few hours after. This is totally normal and the deeper the needle, the redder the face. Your face may also feel slightly warm depending on how sensitive your skin is.
  • If using a deeper needle length your face may peel or become dryer in some places in the next few days. Let the skin peel naturally or gently exfoliate.
  • DO NOT touch your face at all after rolling. Your face is very vulnerable after and bacteria may easily be absorbed into the skin. Staying inside, at home is best for the day.
  • Avoid being outside with harsh sunlight and apply facial sunscreen for the next few days when outdoors.
  • DO NOT share your roller with anyone EVER. Not even to have them quickly test it out. We’re dealing with blood here people.
  • DO NOT wear any makeup for at least 11-12 hours after. Makeup may clog up your freshly open skin/pores and or cause irritation.
  • DO NOT roll over active acne or open wounds. This may end up spreading bacteria across the face and making things much worse. Avoid these areas.
  • DO NOT over do it. You don’t need to apply a crazy amount of pressure when doing this and also shouldn’t do it everyday to allow your skin time to heal. With smaller needles you can do it every 3 days or so and with larger ones you want to minimize it to once every few weeks.
  • Replace your roller head every 3 months or so as the needles can become dull.

If you’re looking for a derma roller to try out yourself I highly recommend trying out the Alitura brand. You can shop their rollers here –> Shop Rollers with my code “Chooseloveart” to save 15% off!

As always feel free to shoot me any questions and I may even include a short video demoing the roller if that would help 🙂

Til next time,

~Chantel

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