Everything you ever wanted to know about the derma pen treatment – how it’s done, what results can be achieved, the cost, risks, and much more.
The derma pen treatment is the beauty industry’s holy grail. It’s a very versatile treatment that can improve and help treat a very wide range of skin conditions. It uses the skin’s natural mechanisms to give you a flawless complexion and more youthful appearance, or diminish a number of imperfections like scarring of various origins, hyperpigmentation, even thinning hair.
A form of microneedling done with a microneedling pen, it’s one of the go-to anti-aging treatments, as it’s nonsurgical and non-invasive.
Read our comprehensive guide for answers to all your questions about the derma pen treatment.
A form of microneedling done with a microneedling pen rather than a dermaroller. It’s a treatment for the skin that can help treat a wide range of skin conditions, minimize or eliminate complexion imperfections, and improve the overall appearance and state of the skin.
It’s quite non-invasive and safe if done by a trained and certified esthetician or dermatologist.
The dermapen treatment is definitely effective, but it may take several sessions to reach its full potential. While some improvement can be visible after only 1 session for most skin conditions, maximum results are achieved over a series of treatments done several weeks apart.
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The derma pen can be used to treat a number of skin issues with ultimate precision, like:
Depending on the severity, these conditions can be significantly improved over a series of 1-6 treatments.
While it is safe and effective for many conditions, the dermapen treatment isn’t suitable for treating:
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Anyone who’s dealing with an issue derma pen is known to improve, but doesn’t fall into any of the contraindication categories below.
Contraindications for the derma pen treatment are:
This list is not final. Consult your esthetician and GP if you have any conditions and let them assess whether you’re a candidate.
The derma pen treatment is a form of microneedling, so it’s done by puncturing the skin over and over again and making tiny channels. The tool used for this type of microneedling is a skin pen, a pen-shaped electric device that ends with a cluster of needles that pierce the skin in stamping motions, at a 90° angle.
By creating controlled trauma to the skin, its natural recovery process is triggered, and elastin and collagen production is stimulated. That’s why this treatment is often called collagen induction therapy. With a series of treatments, the production of collagen can be boosted by up to 400%.
A very important protein, collagen is often called the building block of our skin. With age, the amount of collagen the body produces decreases significantly, so the skin loses firmness. Elastin provides the skin with elasticity, and without it, the skin loses volume. Stimulating the production of these 2 components gives an overall improvement to the skin.
The controlled trauma also slowly but surely works away scars. Scar tissue is loosened and softened with repeated needling until it blends into surrounding, healthy skin.
The needles of the derma pen need to reach the dermis layer of the skin, but some conditions require a greater depth than others.
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When you hear skin and needling in the same sentence, it might sound scary. So let’s go through the treatment step by step to assure you it’s not scary at all.
You will have a chat with your esthetician. They will observe your skin to assess the severity of the issue(s) you want treated. They will give you a ballpark estimate of how many sessions you’ll need, and what results you can expect.
Since the skin will be broken with needles, the area has to be clean of all bacteria, dirt, makeup and skincare residues. The esthetician will wipe the area with a disinfectant cleanser.
A numbing cream is applied onto the area and left to sit until the skin is numb. Facial skin numbs within 15-20 minutes, but the body and scalp can take as long as 40 minutes. Some techs will cover the area with a plastic wrap to maximize the effects. After that, the cream is wiped off.
The numbing will eliminate the pain of the dermapen microneedling.
A special serum or blend of serums is applied onto the area. The derma pen is pressed against the skin, and the tech will move it around back and forth, allowing the needles which go in and out automatically to make tiny channels in the skin. There will likely be some pinpoint bleeding, but this is normal and expected.
They may go over the face area more than once.
This part takes 10-20 minutes, but it may take longer if the area treated is large, or if they’re treating a scalp with a lot of hair on it.
The skin is cleaned from serum residues and blood.
If you’re doing a derma pen facial, the tech will apply a soothing mask onto your face to calm it and cool it down. After that, they’ll apply some SPF, since freshly treated skin shouldn’t be exposed to sunlight.
If the area treated is somewhere on the body, they’ll apply a soothing gel. You can do without SPF since the area will likely be covered with clothing.
Not really, since a) numbing is used, and b) the needles are very thin and they don’t go that deep into the skin. The treatment might be a bit uncomfortable, but if you feel actual pain, tell your tech. They may need to readjust the needle length.
It’s said to be less uncomfortable than derma rolling.
This depends on the severity of the skin condition(s) that are being worked on, and how your skin reacts to the treatment. Most clients get a slight improvement after the 1st session, and a significant improvement after 3 sessions.
But more severe conditions may require as much as 6 sessions.
The sessions should be booked 3-6 weeks apart, to let the skin heal between them.
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Up to 30 minutes on average, but may take longer if numbing requires more than 20 minutes.
There are some things you should avoid before the treatment and between sessions so your skin is in the best shape possible and everything goes smoothly:
*If you’re prone to cold sores, consult your doctor and have them prescribe an antiviral med before the treatment to prevent a flare-up.
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After the treatment, the tiny channels in your skin will be open for a few days, and you need to pay some special attention to it to make sure the recovery mechanisms aren’t disrupted, it heals properly and to prevent infection:
You also need to rethink your skincare after the treatment. For a while, you should only use products your esthetician approves. Harsh ingredients could irritate the skin or affect its natural response.
While the treatment is non-invasive, it does entail some symptoms of healing. It gets worse before it gets better! So you can expect the following in the first 7 days after each session:
These can be quite intense on the day of the procedure, but should subside significantly in the next day or 2.
If the area treated is skin somewhere on the body, the redness can last up to 7 days, but it’s nothing serious.
The area might feel like a sunburn for a few days. This discomfort can be relieved with the moisturizer your esthetician will probably prescribe.
The micro-trauma can cause some minor swelling or bruising. Don’t apply any cold compresses! They can disrupt the skin’s natural response, which is what you need to achieve improvement.
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Yes, if done by an experienced esthetician who uses high-quality products.
However, we should mention the risks.
Some improvement will be visible right after the first treatment – the skin will look firmer and tighter – but for maximum results, you’ll have to be patient. The skin issue(s) you’re targeting will be improved with each session.
The one effect you can expect as soon as a few days after the treatment is radiance. The skin’s natural processes will give it a youthful glow.
This depends on which skin conditions you’re targeting.
Anti-aging effects need to be maintained, and should be refreshed once a year. The minimization or even elimination of scars can be permanent.
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Microneedling can be done with several tools, mainly the derma pen and the derma roller.
While the derma pen is an electric device that pierces the skin by stamping a cluster of thin stainless steel or titanium needles, the derma roller is a manual tool that consists of a handle and a drum covered with the needles that the tech rolls against the skin.
Most estheticians agree that, yes, the derma pen is a better tool for microneedling than a dermaroller.
As you can see, the derma pen minimizes the chances of skin damage due to its adjustable configurations.
However, while you can do dermarolling yourself, at home, dermapen microneedling can only be done by licensed estheticians and dermatologists. The rollers sold over the counter have shorter needles that don’t reach deeper layers of the skin, so you can’t really do much damage. The derma pen has a wide range of needle lengths and you need to be trained on how to use it so as not to go too deep and cause permanent scarring.
The derma pen treatment is usually charged per session, and the average cost of a session is around $200. It varies from salon to salon though, so the price can be as low as $100 or as high as $350.
Many salons offer package deals if you book several sessions.
An efficient skin treatment that abolishes the signs of aging, scarring, and many other skin imperfections, the derma pen treatment is a form of microneedling done exclusively with a microneedling pen – an electric device that punctures the skin with thin needles in stamp-like motions. This creates controlled trauma to the skin and triggers a series of mechanisms that cause healthy new skin to emerge, gradually improving the skin conditions targeted.