Derma rolling has been becoming a lot more popular as people find safe and effective ways of doing it at home. BUT, I’ve seen so many people still using derma rollers and pens incorrectly and this can be permanently destructive for your skin and scalp – depending on where you derma roll. If you want to know how to properly use a derma roller and how to clean your derma roller effectively, then you need to read this article. Save your skin and scalp before it’s too late!
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What is Derma Rolling?
Derma rollers are rollers with hundreds of little needles sticking out that are rolled over the effected area, usually to reduce pigmentation, acne scars, wrinkles, and promote hair growth if you’re derma rolling on the scalp.
There are also derma pens available where instead of a roller you have a stamp like pen with needles on the stamp that you stamp the skin with.
Derma rolling has become increasingly popular in the last few years but use these with caution – a lot can go wrong (and does!) if you’re not careful.
Is Derma Rolling Good for Your Face?
Most people that I have seen derma rolling do it on their face and this is really dangerous. People assume that because dermatologists do it frequently, they can do the same thing at home, but this isn’t true and actually cause a lot of damage.
Most of the derma rollers you’ll find in the market range from 0-0.5mm and this is the safest length that you should use if you’re derma rolling on yourself.
BUT, if you want to effective results for your pigmentation and scarring, then you’ll need substantially bigger needles and these aren’t safe to use at home. Even if you do get access to these larger needles on a derma roller, the needle is so long for self-use that you’ll need anesthesia to numb the skin and this is not at all a safe choice if you’re doing it on your own.
SO if you actually want derma rollers to be effective for problems like pigmentation, scarring, and wrinkles, then you need to see a dermatologist. Otherwise, derma rolling at home is pretty pointless.
Some people say that you can use derma rolling to increasing the efficacy of your skincare products, and this is true, but I don’t think it’s worth it.
Since the needles on derma rollers accessible to most people are not long enough for effective use for the conditions mentioned above, most people simply derma roll their skin before their skincare routine so that the product reaches deeper into the skin and if more ‘potent’ and ‘effective’. Here’s why I don’t like this logic:
- Most people don’t know how to properly derma roll their skin so end up rupturing the skin and this can make your skin a lot thinner, weaker, and sensitive. In this article I’ll explain everything you need to know if you want to know how to properly use a derma roller, but I don’t recommend derma rolling on the skin on your face.
- If you derma roll in the morning before you’re day-time skin care routine, you might make your skin a lot more sensitive to sun damage and this can have negative long-term effects on the skin like sun spots and burn and overall skin intolerance to the sun.
- If you derma roll frequently (more than once a week for the first 3 months you use it), depending on how your skin reacts, your skin can scab and if you’re older this might mean additional scarring if your skin doesn’t heal properly.
- The skin on your face is a lot more sensitive and prone to reaction than the rest of the skin on our bodies, so unless you’re going to dermatologist or a trained professional, it’s not worth doing it on your skin because the damage can be long lasting.
- If you want your skincare products to soak into the skin well, then a much safer method to use is applying your moisturizer last after all your other skincare products so that the moisturizer serves as a seal and the products under the moisturizer can soak into the skin.
Long story short: I do not recommend derma rolling on the face and if you’re interested in it, go to your dermatologist. This is even more important when you consider that treating conditions like pigmentation and scarring isn’t possible in DIY derma rolling and what you can do at home derma rollers on your face might cause more problems than benefits.
Where SHOULD You Derma Roll?
Now that I’ve gone over where you shouldn’t derma roll, let’s move on to the parts of the body that you can and should derma roll.
Derma Rolling Your Scalp
There have been many studies done that have showed how great derma rolling is for stimulating hair growth.
The reason I recommend derma rolling the skin on your scalp but not the skin on your face is because the scalp is more resilient than the face and I have personally tried both and only saw results from derma rolling my scalp.
I started derma rolling my scalp last year when I noticed that my hair was falling out and was considerably thinner. Plus, I started showing signs of typical female balding so I had two patches on hair on either sides of the front of my hair was a lot thinner than the rest of my hair. This was further aggravated on one side by my natural part. I began derma rolling my scalp once a week and eventually moved it up to twice a week after 3 months, and saw amazing results.
The semi-bald patches that I had had started growing baby hairs and now after using it for about a year, the patches aren’t even noticeable. I have an article here on exactly how I combined derma rolling in with the rest of my hair routine to grow my hair 5 inches in just 2 months, but I think derma rolling had a huge part to play in the hair growth.
How to Properly Use a Derma Roller
Now that you know where you should and shouldn’t derma roll, it’s really important to learn how to properly use a derma roller.
Learning how to properly use a derma roller is so, so important to prevent scarring from the derma roller and for achieving the most effective results. If you use a derma roller you can break your skin and it can lead to scabbing and scarring.
From now onwards I’m only going to be talking about derma rolling the skin on your scalp, NOT the skin on your face.
Derma Roll in Many Directions
When you derma roll your scalp, you need to be derma rolling in several direction so that you create enough tiny holes for hair stimulation.
- First derma roll forward and backward ten times on each patch of skin.
- Then derma roll sideways, creating a kind of cross stitch patch, ten times on each patch of skin.
- Then derma roll diagonally on one side 10 times.
- Then derma roll diagonally on the other side for another 10 times.
You should, in the end, be derma rolling in four directions for 40 times total. This is the most effective way to derma roll your scalp.
Derma Roll Small Patches of Skin
When you’re derma rolling your scalp, the point is to create new hair growth, but you don’t want to rip and break the hair you already have. And that’s a very real possibility of what could happen if you use too big patches of your scalp to derma roll.
This is because if you use too big patches of scalp to derma roll, the roll might pick up the hair rip it out as you’re derma rolling other parts of your skin. That’s why a lot of people use derma pens when microneedling their scalp.
But, if you’re using a derma rolling and not a derma pen, then learning how to properly use a derma roller means using small, manageable patches of skin where you won’t break your hair strands.
I would recommend using patches of your scalp that are as long as one roll of the derma roller, this way you won’t break your hair. But to reduce the chances of this happening even more, try using a derma pen. The only annoying thing about using a derma pen instead of a derma roller is how much longer it tends to take with a derma pen.
I’ve linked some derma rollers and derma pens that are worth trying!
Where to Buy Derma Rollers and Derma Pens
I’ve linked a bunch of derma rollers and derma pens from Amazon that are affordable and are great if you’re starting out.
Remember: sticks to rollers and pens that are 0.5mm and below – this is a good length for doing at home without causing any severe damage to the skin. Needle lengths greater than this should be used by professionals and NOT at home.
- Hair & Scalp Derma Roller – $18.00
- 6 in 1 Derma Roller Kit – $19.99
- Professional Titanium Derma Roller – $17.99
- Microneedling Pen – $96.99
- Microneedle Derma Stamp – $23.99
- Professional Derma Auto Pen – $134.97
- Microneedling Derma Pen – $59.99
How Do I Disinfect My Derma Roller?
Once you use your derma roller or pen, it is so important to properly sanitize and clean it. If you don’t clean your derma roller, it can collect bacteria, dead skin, and other oils and dirt that will transfer back to your skin the next time you derma roll. This can cause infections and interfere in hair growth and proper skincare.
There’s many ways to sanitize your derma roller but here is the easiest way I have found:
- Right after using the derma roller, run it under warm water for about a minute. This is to get rid of the bigger particles on the derma roller that won’t just come away with alcohol. Usually even running the roller under warm water for a minute won’t get rid of these particles but it’s a good start.
- In a glass, fill it with mostly rubbing alcohol (at least 70-75%) and some water and let the derma roller sit in it for about an hour. Don’t let it sit in for too long because it might erode the handle of the derma roller if its plastic. When you place the derma roller inside the glass, make sure the entire head of the roller is submerged. Any part of the roller that has touched your skin needs to be inside the rubbing alcohol and water mixture.
- Even after this you will likely see particles on the roller that are still remaining. The easiest way I have found to get rid of these particles without harming the actual roller itself (it’s super common for the needles to bend during cleaning and aftercare) is to use a clean toothbrush. Soak the toothbrush in some rubbing alcohol and then gently clean the roller and get rid of any particles. This is the only way I have tried where all the particles and dirt come off the roller.
- The toothbrush you use should be very clean and new. I have a separate toothbrush that I use just for cleaning my derma roller.
If you plan on using derma rollers or pens, it’s super important that you learn how to properly use a derma roller as well as how to clean it afterwards. Derma rollers are intense skincare tools to start using and should be used with caution and after you’ve done your research into whether this is the right course of action for you.
Make sure not use these on your face, but they’re great for hair growth!
Check out these articles too on how I grew my hair 5 inches in just 2 months and a DIY eyelash serum that is just as good as grandelash!