We love a good at-home beauty treatment, especially when it involves skincare. Over the years, we’ve tried everything from dermaplaning to pore vacuums in the pursuit of a smooth, glowy complexion. But one treatment we’ve yet to experiment with? Derma rolling. So, we decided to turn to two derms to see what all the hype is about—and whether it’s safe to do at home.
What are derma rollers?
Derma rollers are handheld tools that use tiny needles to puncture the outermost layers of your skin. This creates a controlled injury, prompting your body to start healing, resulting in smoother skin (more on that in a sec). Though traditionally administered as in-office treatments by trained practitioners, they’ve become a popular choice for many at-home users to address everything from acne scars to fine lines.
How do derma rollers work?
“A derma roller works by breaking the top layer of a person’s skin in order to build collagen and elasticity,” explains Jeanine Downie, a board-certified dermatologist and co-host of TheGist.
The process of using a derma roller is also known as skin needling or microneedling. “This minimally invasive technique involves passing a series of very fine needles over the skin, creating micro-injuries, which trigger new collagen and elastin synthesis as the skin begins to naturally repair itself,” adds Dendy Engelman, MD, of Manhattan Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in New York. “These micro-injuries also create channels that allow the active ingredients from your skincare products to penetrate deeper into the skin, resulting in better product efficacy.”
Though microneedling can certainly improve the appearance of some scars and wrinkles, according to Engelman, there are limitations. “It only works on more superficial scars and wrinkles, and does not work on the deeper scars.”
Are they safe to use at home?
“In my opinion, they can be harmful if used aggressively. I’ve seen a lot of infections and spread of cold sores that end up causing scarring in some cases. But when people use them once a month lightly and do not have unrealistic expectations, they are fine to use,” says Downie.
Engelman adds: “Piercing the skin by any means creates an open channel...thereby increasing your chances of getting an infection. As with any skincare procedures, you want to make sure that you’re going to a reputable, licensed and trained practitioner. And if you’re doing it at home, make sure to use sterile tools every single time.”
How to use derma rollers at home
“Don’t apply too much pressure, use them intermittently, do not use them when you have active cold sores or acne breakout, and avoid the area around your eyes entirely,” advises Downie.
We would also reiterate Engelman’s earlier point about using a clean tool. Sterilize the needles using isopropyl alcohol (80 percent or higher) and give the tool adequate time to air-dry (usually between ten to fifteen minutes) before every use. If you don’t have alcohol on hand, you can also submerge the roller head in boiling water for five minutes. Again, let it air-dry before you get to rolling.
On that note, you also want to make sure that you remove any makeup, dirt and surface oils from your skin before microneedling. You don’t want anything that could potentially clog or infect your pores sitting on top when you create these micro-channels in your skin.
Ready to roll? Here are the 12 best derma rollers for every skin concern and budget.
1. Environ Gold Roll-CIT
Engelman recommends this topnotch roller for personal use because it has “260 ultra-fine needles that are made with the highest grade surgical 316 stainless steel.” And it’s plated in 14-karat gold, which “has the advantage of being easy to clean, and gold naturally suppresses bacterial growth.” The needles are 0.2mm in length, which is optimal for safe at-home use.
2. Ora Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System
Best for Fine Lines
This fan-favorite from Ora earns high marks for its reasonable price and noticeable results. Packed with ultra-fine, 0.5-millimeter needles, we’d recommend this to more experienced users. If you’ve used other rollers without any issues before, this can be a next step up for targeting fine lines.
3. Best for Firming: BeautyBio GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool
Best for Firming
The BeautyBio GloPro is a longtime editor favorite thanks to its many bells and whistles. In addition to the requisite needles, it also employs red LED light therapy and VibroTactile stimulation to further encourage skin regeneration. (Hence, the name.) Bonus fun fact: The GloPro was created by the inventor and patent-holder of microneedling technology. How’s that for a vote of confidence?
4. Jenny Patinkin Rose on Rose Derma Roller
In addition to being the most aesthetically-pleasing roller we’ve ever seen, this double-ended tool features a microneedling head on one side and a rose quartz tip on the other. Use the roller as part of your weekly skincare routine to enhance the absorption of your serums. (We like to pair ours with vitamin C for extra brightening.) Use the other end to massage away any tension around your temples and fluid retention underneath your eyes.
5. ORA Microneedle Face and Full Body Roller Kit
Best for Body
This kit comes with multiple heads to target various parts of your face and body. Each one is interchangeable and features titanium needles of different lengths (1.0 mm for thicker areas of skin like your legs, back and stomach; 0.255 mm for thinner or more sensitive areas like your eyes and around your lips). On that note, it is important that you use the various heads for their intended areas to prevent unnecessary trauma, which can lead to scarring.
6. Stacked Skincare Micro-Roller
Best for Evening Out Texture
Created by aesthetician Kerry Benjamin, this roller is one of the OGs on the market. With 0.2 mm needles (which is the approved needle length by the FDA for a cosmetic tool) and a narrow head, it’s easier to reach the contours of your face. “After using every other day for about a month (with hyaluronic acid), my skin texture is tighter, I have fewer wrinkles, and I can tell my pores are gradually shrinking,” says one reviewer.
7. Cosmedica Skincare Microneedling Derma Roller
Equipped with 540 stainless steel microneedles, this $10 derma roller holds its own against pricier alternatives. In fact, it’s racked up almost 40 five-star reviews from customers saying it’s easy-to-use, gentle and ideal for those who are new to microneedling.
8. Best for All-Over Use: Skin Gym Face + Body Microller Set
Best for All-Over Use
This three-piece kit comes with interchangeable heads that feature needles at varied lengths and quantities. The “body” head has 1,200 needles at 0.25mm to target larger surface areas like your arms and legs, the “face” head has 600 needles at 0.20mm and is great for rolling over your cheeks and forehead, and the eyes/lips head has 240 needles at 0.20mm length to safely cover those smaller, more delicate areas of your skin.
9. Skin Gym Lip Microneedle Roller
Best for Lips
Heads up: If you want to microneedle your lips, you need a separate tool. Skin Gym recently released this one, which features over 180 0.2mm stainless steel needles, all specifically designed to exfoliate your lips. Oh, and just FYI, the brand recommends replacing your roller once a month for best results.
10. Sdara Skincare Derma Roller
Best for Acne Scars
Meet one of the top-rated rollers on Amazon (with over 4,000 glowing reviews and counting). This popular pick uses 0.25mm needles made from 540 titanium steel and is known for its ability to help heal lingering acne scars. As one enthusiastic reviewer exclaimed, “Indentations are filling in, raised patches are flattening out, and dark spots are lightening up."
11. Linduray Skincare Derma Roller Kit
Best for Beginners
This user-friendly roller features 0.25mm needles that are made with 540 pure grade titanium steel. With an ergonomic handle for easy maneuvering and customized online guides to walk you through the steps, it’s a solid choice for anyone who wants to try microneedling without shelling out too much money upfront. (There’s also a 30-day customer satisfaction guarantee.)
12. Prosper Beauty 6 Piece Microneedle Dermaroller Kit
To get the most bang for your buck, this set costs less than $30 and includes four replaceable roller heads (one comes attached to the handle and the other three are in the kit). The 0.25mm needles are made with 600 titanium, which stay sharper and last longer than stainless steel. Replace the heads every three to five uses for optimal safety and hygiene.
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