I first heard of this little torture treatment when I was searching for a way to remove scars. There was a breakthrough method, called needling, where they basically went over the scar with a tattoo needle that had no ink. This micro needling broke through scar tissue and stimulated the body to revisit the scar site, bringing blood and nutrients to the area. This process increases the production of collagen in the area.
At the time, it was in a research stage, but results were good enough that I was seriously considering going to a local tattoo parlor and asking them to perform it on me - ink free of course. I admit, I never quite got up the guts to go.
DermaRoller - Available For Home Use
Now, we are way past the research stage and various forms of needling are taking place in doctor's offices, clinics, and spas. What's even better - we can even get some of the very same methods they use right for our own use at home:
- Derma Roller
- Derma Stamp
- Derma Pen
All of these will work, but the methods are a little different. Also, one may be preferred over another based on the area and goal of the treatment. For instance, a derma stamp works better in small areas where more precision is needed - like around the eye. Also, narrow needle rollers with a greater needle depth are ideal for long, but narrow scaring. The wider set of needles is useful when treating larger areas of the skin, like the thighs or stomach, when using a dermaroller to treat cellulite or stretch-marks.
DermaRoller For Beauty Treatments
The beauty of these derma roller treatments is that they have found more uses for them than just scar renewal. Again, it works by micro punctures in the skin that the body recognizes as micro damage. It sends in the necessary troops to repair and feed the area. This can help with so many areas needing repair. Check out some of the areas to use a dermaroller:
- Hair growth regeneration
- General skin rejuvenation and tightening
- Getting external creams and products deeper into the dermal layer for rapid repair
Does DermaRoller Hurt?
The needling process with a dermaroller can hurt in varying degrees, depending on area treated and depth of needle. We suggest using Greencaine lidocaine numbing gel in any areas that you are concerned about pain. Greencaine topical anesthetic is a non-oily, translucent gel containing lidocaine 4%, in a microemulsion drug delivery system, skin permeation enhancers, soothing agents and natural aloe vera leaf juice.
It makes sense that there can be dangers or side effect involved when creating damage to the skin with a dermaroller. Here are a few to look out for and ways to protect yourself:
- Causing Too Much Damage
- Not Healing Properly
These are each important and valid concerns. Let's take them one at a time.
1 - Causing Too Much Damage with DermaRoller
There are two main ways to cause too much damage with a dermaroller:
- Using the wrong length of needle and
- Treating the area too frequently
What Size Dermaroller Should I Use (Needle Length)?
There are several different lengths or depths of needles, and each one has it's own purpose. They range from 0.25mm to 3.0mm in length. Here's a basic breakdown of how and where to use them:
- 0.25 mm - Face - Fine lines, hair regeneration or regrowth, increase absorption of topical products, pigmentation, skin surface rejuvenation.
- 0.5 mm - Face - Deeper wrinkles, skin pigmentation, acne scars, etc.
- 1.0 mm - Face and Body - Acne and light scaring, cellulite, stretch marks, etc.
- 1.5 mm - Body - Scars, cellulite, stretch marks, etc.
- 2.0 mm - Body - Deeper scars, cellulite, stretch marks, etc.
- 2.5 mm - Body - Deeper scars and stretch marks
- 3.0 mm - Body - Very deep scar tissue
There are also areas of the body where it is not advised to go too deep, specifically in the face where skin is often close to bone. Length of needle for dermaroller used on face should be:
- Bone structure areas = 0.25mm to 0.5mm
- Cheeks = 0.5mm to 1.0mm
- Around eyes = 0.25mm (usually easiest and most effective to use a derma stamp in this area)
- Never use on eyelids over eyeball!
How Often Should I Use a Dermaroller?
The deeper the damage, the longer the healing time. The shorter needles puncture into only the epidermal layer, while the longer needles puncture into the dermal layer. Not only do the longer needles do more damage (and thus require more healing time), but the dermal layer takes longer to heal than the epidermis.
Keep in mind that each person and each problem being treated is different. If you can tell that the area is taking more time to heal than is suggested, then wait. It's much better to allow the body time to heal before asking it to go to work again. Below is a basic guideline for healing times.
- 0.25 mm - dermaroller may be used daily or every other day. This size improves the absorption of applied skin care products.
- 0.5 mm - dermaroller may be used once every 3 weeks.
- 0.75 mm - dermaroller may be used once every 4 weeks.
- 1.0 mm - dermaroller may be used once a month (every 5-6 weeks).
- 1.5 mm - dermaroller may be used once every 6 weeks.
- 2.0 mm - dermaroller may be used once every 8 weeks.
Next we'll discuss problems with healing and ways you can improve your results.
2 - Not Healing After Using DermaRoller
Assuming you followed the proper healing time above, the main problem concerning healing is insufficient nutrients for the body to conduct repairs.
What we're doing is rebuilding. All of the problems that we are discussing (wrinkles, cellulite, stretch-marks, scars, etc.) were caused as a result of having weak or weakened skin structure. Insufficient nutrients while building or repairing is like a contractor who doesn't have enough supplies, but has to build the wall anyway. Substitute supplies are often used to get the structure built. Fibrin is a perfect example of a substitute product used when repairing the skin. Fibrin is meant to be a stop-gap, or a band-aid. It is placed in order to give a framework and structure to hold things in place while the real repairs are going on. Too often, however, there are not enough supplies (collagen and elastin) to perform the new repairs, so the fibrin becomes a permanent part of the structure and forms a scar.
Our bodies are in a constant state of repair. New cells are being formed and old ones disposed of. This is a slow process, but one necessary for keeping us alive. What we seek to do, in the areas we are dissatisfied with, is to speed up this process. How do we do this? By creating damage in a zone that would not otherwise be a priority. Our bodies naturally regenerate. We are simply speeding it up and making it more effective - WHILE directing it to OUR desired areas.
It's like ripping out the old kitchen and then building a new one. The last thing we want to do right now is have the contractor rip it out just to rebuild it with the same materials. However, if we now have the right materials, it would be pretty ineffective to simply start laying them over the existing bad structure. When we have the right materials, we WANT to tear it down and allow it to be rebuilt with the right materials.
The skin is made up primarily of collagen and elastin - both proteins. If we are not feeding our bodies the necessary nutrients to rebuild the skin, then the micro damage we are creating will only become another scar. It's important to eat enough of the right proteins during this repair time. Depending on the amount of area or extent of repair needed, it is also a good idea to supplement with specific nutrients, like collagen. The best product that we've found (and use) is NeoCell Supper Collagen + C Type I & III. You can get it in either pill or powder form. We use the powder form and simply add it to our morning smoothies. It has a mild taste similar to powdered milk. The pills are a useful alternative when we're traveling.
3 - Infections From Using DermaRoller
Infections are caused by 1 of 3 things:
- Unclean skin
- Unclean tools
- Current infection in the area
Avoiding infections is simple:
- Don't use a dermaroller on any infected skin
- Clean the area of your skin thoroughly prior to treating it with a dermaroller
- Make sure that your dermaroller is clean before and after each use. After use, use a clean, soft toothbrush to wash it with soap and water. Then, have a spray bottle (mister) filled with rubbing alcohol. Simply mist the cleaned dermaroller with the rubbing alcohol to disinfect it. The alcohol will dry and the dermaroller will be ready for your next use.
- Make certain that any creams or gels you are using on your skin are not contaminated. DermaRollers puncture the skin, allowing the creams and gels to go deeper into the skin. This is wonderful for the effectiveness of the product, but it makes it even more important that the topical products are not contaminated.