It might not sound like much fun or particularly safe, but the act of puncturing the surface of the skin using a wheel covered in tiny metal needles – also known as micro-needling or derma-rolling – is actually incredibly beneficial for the condition of your skin.
By causing mild trauma to the skin, collagen production is stimulated and blood flow to the surface is increased, which leads to a boost in radiance and volume almost immediately. When paired with a serum, the results of a skin-needling treatment become even more impressive. The needles of a dermaroller create tiny tunnels in the surface of the skin that lead down to the lower layers, making it infinitely easier for any active ingredients applied topically to penetrate and get to work more efficiently. In fact, using a dermaroller can increase the absorption of a serum by up to 90%, so here’s how to do it properly and safely in the comfort of your own home.
It’s often best to use a dermaroller in the evening, due to the extra time it adds to your routine, so before starting the process you need to make sure that your skin is properly prepped. Start by double cleansing the skin (if you wear make-up) and using a balancing toner to keep the skin supple. If you haven’t exfoliated your skin for a few days, it’s worth using a mild acid to remove the surface layer of dead cells. You could do this with an AHA-based toner or a mask, just avoid anything too intensive and steer clear of scrubs – your skin doesn’t need the extra stimulation.
Once the skin is clean and clear of debris, you can get ready to start micro-needling. Some experts recommend applying a light layer of serum before using your dermaroller but you don’t have to. If you prefer your skin to be dry then get ready to roll…
When it comes to using the dermaroller, there are a few key things to remember. It’s important that your roller head is clean and dry (to prevent infection), that you don’t apply too much pressure when rolling, and you don’t have any active breakouts, eczema patches or broken skin, as this can cause serious irritation.
Look at your face in the mirror and mentally split it into four sections: the forehead, the chin and each cheek. Take your dermaroller and gently roll it over each section multiple times, in different directions. Roll the applicator back and forth over the area going horizontally, vertically then diagonally, before moving on to the next area of your face. Once the entire face has been covered, the treatment is complete – as a guide, it should take no more than ten minutes.
Once you’ve finished using your dermaroller, it’s extremely important that you clean the applicator wheel straight away. Use warm water and a sterilising solution to remove dead cells, bacteria and any blood (don’t worry, there won’t be much!) from the needles before leaving it to dry something safe and well ventilated.
You also need to apply a serum to your freshly needled complexion to support the skin’s repair processes and infuse it with the best corrective ingredients for your particular needs. Most people tend to go for hydration with a Hyaluronic Acid-based formula or something anti-aging, so opt for a serum that contains Peptides, Stem Cells or antioxidants. If your skin can tolerate it, you could even apply a Retinol serum to the skin, to further enhance the treatment’s collagen-boosting effects.
Don’t be alarmed if your skin looks red afterwards. It is completely normal for your face to look flushed and feel a little sensitive after using a dermaroller. Micro-needling stimulates an inflammatory response from the skin, which is what causes it to produce wound-healing proteins that increase the volume and improve the texture of lacklustre complexions. However, if your skin stays red for a long time, feels sore or stings, it could be down to one of three things: the size of the needles used (home-use dermarollers should feature needles no larger than 0.3mm), how much pressure was used, or the type of serum applied afterwards. In instances like this, use a cold compress to calm the skin and avoid applying anything else that could exacerbate the irritation. Instead, give the skin time to rebalance and repair itself, and make some changes next time you decide to use your dermaroller.
Want to try micro-needling? Check out our selection of dermarollers here.
Image from iStockphoto