Medically reviewed by Minimalist Health Specialist -  Written by Rithi Choudhary (Journalist)  on 16th Jan 2021

Dermarollers: Why you may or may not like them!

What is Derma roller?

When you are committed to the world of beauty, you will be tempted to try and test a plethora of procedures and treatments out there, starting from Vampire Facials to pin pricking your skin. But why would one deliberately prick their skin with microneedles, and how can this possibly benefit skin?

This is where we have got you covered. Everything you wanted to know about Dermarolling and if it is something you should or should not try will be discussed here so that towards the end, your skin will only have to thank you and you won't have to regret another experimental skin treatment fiasco. 

What Is Dermarolling? What Are Dermarollers? 

The obvious question that comes to mind when you hear the word dermarollers is, what are these used for? Precisely what is derma rolling? The term 'dermis' suggests that it has something to do with skin. But derma rolling isn't the same as massaging your skin with the fancy rose quartz or jade crystal rollers, which are popular with supermodels and beauty gurus. Though you have a crystal roller involved, the definition of dermarollers goes beyond all this.

Dermarolling is a process where the skin is deliberately injured, pricked with microneedles to prod the skin to produce more cells as a response to healing the injury. A dermaroller is a device that is similar to a crystal wand. Instead of cooling, smooth crystals have several tiny needles (as small as 0.25mm in diameter) attached to the roller that poke through the skin and allow better penetration of serums used right after the procedure.

For example, if you are using a Hyaluronic Acid serum to treat your dry skin, then using the serum right after a dermarolling session improves the serum's efficacy, and there is a better chance that it penetrates deeper into the dermis. Does this procedure sound familiar? If you guessed microneedling, then you are absolutely on point. Dermarolling is the at-home, simpler version of micro-needling that involves pricking the skin to treat scars and boosts collagen production

What Are The Benefits Of Dermarolling? 

  • Helps Fade Scars: To target a problem, it is important to get to its root. The skin consists of three layers- epidermis (topmost protective layer), dermis (the mid-layer that has hair follicles & sweat glands, this is also the layer where scars originate), and hypodermis (the innermost layer made of fat and connective tissue ). Scars appear when the dermis is ruptured/damaged (from wound/injury), and in an attempt to repair the damage, the skin produces new cells at a faster rate. The micro-injuries are created through derma rolling, thus accelerating the cellular turnover process and shedding the scarred tissue. 
  • Treats Hyperpigmentation: Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition when the skin produces an excess of melanin (the color pigment). It could be caused by after-effects of inflammation (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), UV exposure, oxidative stress, old age, etc. Because derma rolling accelerates cellular turnover, it can treat hyperpigmentation and therefore contribute to even looking skin. 
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  • Allows Better Product Absorption: The micro-incisions made by the micro-needles allow better absorption of products and maximize their efficacy. When the stratum cornea (topmost layer of the skin) is covered with a layer of dead skin cells, it is often tricky for skin products to penetrate the skin effectively due to obstruction.   
  • Boosts Collagen Production: The skin also produces more collagen fibers in an attempt to repair micro-injuries. Collagen is the structural protein responsible for skin volume, elasticity, and softness. While the body abundantly produces collagen, its production decreases both in quality and quantity as we age. Therefore dermarolling ensures tighter, plumper, and youthful skin.
  • Improves Skin Texture: The skin, while repairing micro-injuries, also forms new collagen fiber resulting in a tissue that is different in texture and quality from the surrounding tissue. Thus, dermarolling improves the surface of the skin and makes it smoother. 

How To Use Derma Rollers The Right Way 

  • Before using a derma roller, make sure to cleanse the skin thoroughly and wipe off any trace of dirt/oil with a toner. If you wear makeup, then double-cleanse the skin to ensure no trace of makeup left in the pores. 
  • Start by rolling the needle-embedded cylinder all over the face, under the eyes, around the mouth in a gentle circular motion. Because the micro-needles are extremely tiny (0.5 - 0.25mm in diameter), the pricks made by them are pretty shallow to cause any pain. At the most, you might experience some redness for a while, similar to a sunburn. But unlike professional micro-needling sessions, it is a pain-free procedure. Moreover, do not apply too much pressure while rolling the derma roller wand because that is when you risk causing too much injury. 
  • It is important to ensure the micro-needles are free of any bacteria because they go straight into your skin. Sterilize the derma roller tool with rubbing alcohol or alcohol-based sanitizer both before and after use. 
  • When starting derma rolling for the first time, start by introducing it to your skin once a week and then gradually moving three times a week. Do not go overboard. Too much of anything, however good it may be, isn't a good thing. 

Can You Use Dermaroller Under The Eyes? 

Yes, derma rollers can be used under the eyes but make sure you are gentle while going over that delicate area. When done the right way, derma rolling can relieve under eye-bags and boost collagen production, thereby treating fine lines and wrinkles

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Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream
Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

Granactive Retinoid 2% Face Cream

₹ 689

When to use: PM

Frequency: Twice a week

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Which Serums You Should Choose And Which You Should Avoid? 

Dermarolling is a catalyst for your skin to self-heal. Generally, after a derma rolling session, you should moisturize your skin and leave it there. However, for extra hydration and soothing, you can use Hyaluronic Acid serums. The Minimalist Hyaluronic Acid 2% + Vitamin B5 serum is an ideal booster to be used after a derma rolling session. It contains the skin-soothing aloe vera gel and the skin healing panthenol so that your skin is hydrated and rejuvenated. 

Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum
Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum
Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum
Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum

Hyaluronic + PGA 2% Face Serum

₹ 595

When to use: AM / PM

Frequency: Everyday

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Stay away from potent ingredients like retinol, exfoliating acids like glycolic acid, lactic acid, vitamin C that will irritate those micro-injuries.

Who should avoid Dermarolling? 

While dermarolling can provide a host of benefits to the skin, you should stay away from it if you have active acne inflammation. Not only do you risk spreading the bacteria all over the face, but you also risk puncturing into the acne flare-ups and worsen inflammation. Thus, in short, if you have acne and are at risk of spreading bacteria all over your face, then dermarolling is not your cup of tea. 

Dermarolling vs. Microneedling 

Dermarolling, as you have already gathered by now, is a milder version of the in-office micro-needling treatment. While dermarolling is effective, it cannot deliver quicker and more efficient results like micro-needling. Nor can it fade scars, improve skin texture as efficiently as micro-needling treatment. Nonetheless, it is a great option if you are scared to jump into a micro-needling session. For results to show, you need to be patient and consistent with dermarolling, like all good things in life. Moreover, micro-needling is extremely useful and effective. It is even cost-effective.

Stay rolling! Stay beautiful!