Microneedling at Home - A Complete Guide
Professional microneedling is a highly effective treatment, but microneedling at home can also make a difference. Here’s everything you need to know about dermarolling at home.
Microneedling is a great treatment that can help improve a wide range of skin conditions from scarring on the face and body, to hair loss, to just improving the overall state and appearance of the skin. It’s a simple yet effective treatment, especially when done professionally, by an esthetician or a dermatologist.
But you can also do it at home, yourself.
Let’s look into doing microneedling at home.
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What Is Microneedling?
Microneedling is a skin treatment that can be used in many areas of the face and body, even the scalp. It’s done by going over the skin with a needling tool, either a derma pen or a derma roller, poking it over and over again with thin, short needles, and creating micro channels.
This means creating controlled trauma to the skin, which does 2 things:
- Triggers the skin’s natural regeneration cycle and increases the production of collagen and elastin (so-called growth factors).
- Increases the absorption of serums applied by 70% in comparison to topical application.
As a result, new, healthier, better skin emerges.
The treatment can help treat:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sagging skin
- Dull skin
- Acne scars
- Other forms of scarring on the face and body
- Stretch marks
- Enlarged pores
- Sun damage
- Hair thinning
It’s a great treatment because it works with the skin, using its natural mechanisms for the purpose of improving its appearance. It’s nonsurgical, relatively non-invasive, but it’s important to note that the improvement happens gradually, so you have to be persistent with repeating the treatment, both if you’re getting a professional service, or doing microneedling at home.
Image source: Instagram @ginamberbeauty
How Can I Do Microneedling at Home?
You can do microneedling at home with an over-the-counter dermaroller.
There are 2 kinds of dermarollers, those designed for clinical use by estheticians or dermatologists, and those suitable for home use. Both are simple tools that have a roller drum covered with titanium or stainless steel needles, but the difference is in the length of those needles.
Dermarolling at home is done with the needle length between 0.2 and 0.5 mm. Rollers with needles longer than that are not approved for at-home use, because they pose a risk of skin tissue damage. Only trained professionals can perform the treatment with professional dermarollers.
Let’s explain. Needles up to 0.5 mm in length don’t reach deep into the skin. Longer needles will penetrate the skin deeper into the dermis layer. If done by an untrained hand, this can cause excessive damage to the skin and permanent scarring.
The problem is, skin thickness is not the same in all areas. For example, the skin around the eyes is much thinner than the skin on the forehead, so needle length has to be adjusted.
With short needles, you can’t really do much damage, unless you press really hard – which you should never do.
Can I Use a Microneedling Pen at Home?
Professional microneedling can be done with either a derma roller or a dermapen, but microneedling at home can only be done with a derma roller.
Using a dermapen at home is not safe. The dermapen, which is an electrical device with an adjustable needle length that can exceed 0.5 mm is not approved for at-home use. You have to be trained in order to assess the right needle length and not go too deep, causing damage and permanent scarring.
So, if we’re talking about microneedling at home, we are talking about dermarolling.
Image source: Freepik
Does It Hurt?
The needles go very shallow into the skin, so there won’t be any pain. It might feel like tingling or light scratching, though.
How to Do Microneedling at Home?
Let’s walk through using a microneedling roller at home.
Plan the time of your dermarolling carefully. When you do dermarolling, the channels made in the skin can potentially stay open for up to 12 hours (for most people, they close up within 5 hours, but it’s all individual), during which time your skin is prone to contamination – bacteria and harsh products can enter the skin and cause irritation or infection.
So it’s best to do dermarolling right before bed, when you’re sure you won’t be applying any makeup or other products onto the skin for several hours.
1. Clean Your Dermaroller
The needles of the dermaroller will be penetrating your skin, so the tool has to be properly sterilized. Spray it with alcohol and dip it in boiling water. Do this before every dermarolling session.
2. Clean the Area
Since the surface of the skin will be broken, the area that will be treated has to be clean of all dirt, bacteria, makeup and skincare residues. Wash the area with a gentle cleanser that won’t irritate your skin.
Press the dermaroller against the skin. Press very lightly – the needles don’t need much extra pressure to penetrate the skin.
Roll it over the area back and forth several times, in multiple directions. Don’t go too fast.
4. Apply the Serum (Optional)
You can do microneedling with or without serums.
If you’re using a serum, cover the area that will be treated with the dermaroller with a layer of serum. Make sure the product is safe for dermarolling and doesn’t irritate your skin when applied topically (if it irritates the skin on its surface, the reaction will be much worse when it penetrates it).
5. Clean Your Tool
After each session, clean your dermaroller. Put it back in its packaging, or in any clean container you like to keep it in.
6. Repeat Consistently
In order to achieve any results, you have to be consistent with your dermarolling at home. Since the treatment is not as aggressive as professional microneedling, it will take much longer to notice an improvement, at least a month of microneedling at home.
How often you should do derma rolling depends on the severity of your skin condition, but the frequency should be determined by a professional – it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist before you start microneedling at home.
Image source: Freepik
Is Microneedling at Home Safe?
Yes, as long as you:
- get a dermaroller safe for at-home use
- do the rolling in sterile conditions with sterilized tools
- go with very light pressure
- refrain from applying makeup and harsh products onto freshly microneedled skin
- and try to prevent the contamination of the treated area for a few hours.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
Nothing intense, as the needles don’t go very deep into the skin and the pressure is very light. You can expect redness, but this is what’s supposed to happen – blood flow into the treated area is stimulated by the needling.
Professional vs Microneedling at Home – Which Is Better?
As we said, derma rollers you can buy over the counter have short needles, so their effects are limited and they take longer to achieve the desired effects.
Professional microneedling uses longer needles, which penetrate the skin deeper and stimulate more collagen production.
The effectiveness of microneedling at home can’t really match up to the effectiveness of professional microneedling. A series of professional treatments can give more improvement in a shorter time. It’s also significantly more effective for treating scars and hair loss than microneedling at home.
However, an average professional microneedling session costs around $200, so it’s obviously much cheaper to DIY it. It’s also more aggressive so it entails more drastic side-effects like prominent redness, tightness, peeling, etc.
For more information on professional, dermapen microneedling, check out this guide.
Image source: Freepik
Anything Else I Need to Know?
Here’s some extra info you will find useful:
- It’s best to start with the shortest needle length available. Dermarollers suitable for at-home use go from 0.2 to 0.5 mm in length, and if you’re doing microneedling at home for the first time, we advise starting with the shortest length available, and see how your skin reacts.
- It’s definitely advisable to consult a dermatologist before you set off on your dermarolling journey, especially if you have a more serious skin condition than just dull skin or a fine line or two. Your condition might require special attention, or dermarolling might not be the best option for it.
- If you want to achieve anything, you have to be consistent and not skip your dermarolling.
- It takes time, but the improvement will come. You just need to be patient and persistent.
Microneedling at Home – Main Takeaways
Microneedling is a great treatment that can help improve a very wide range of skin conditions (but not all of them, so consult a dermatologist). If you want to do microneedling at home, you need to buy a dermaroller suitable for at-home use. By repeating the treatment frequently and consistently, your skin will start improving after a few weeks.