By Gabrielle Curry
Collagen is a protein vital to skin health. As we age, our natural collagen production slows, which can lead to a lack of elasticity and other skin concerns. While there are a number of collagen supplements on the market, it's best that your collagen come naturally and from within your body. The good news is that collagen production can be easily stimulated through a non-invasive procedure called microneedling.
What is Microneedling?
Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that consists of a series of pinpricks to the skin from sterilized needles. These tiny needles are on a tool called a derma roller. Gentle pressure is applied to the derma roller as it is rolled over your skin, causing small punctures. These punctures are very light, though, as no blood is drawn. Think of it as a series of light pokes from a sharp pin.
Causing small wounding of your skin signals your body to send a boost of collagen to the skin surface to help heal this wounding. In turn, this extra collagen provides a wealth of beauty and skin-health benefits. In fact, another name for microneedling is collagen induction therapy, since it induces the production of collagen.
While microneedling procedures from a licensed professional will give you the best results, many women and men choose to perform their own microneedling sessions at home, as derma rollers are available for at-home use. After all, you can use a derma roller designed for self-care to get similar results.
If you choose to perform microneedling treatments yourself, there is a lot more you need to know about the process. Keep reading below to find out how to achieve great results whether you choose to perform the procedure at home or from a professional.
What Does Microneedling Do for Your Skin?
Microneedling has a wide variety of skin benefits including:
Plumping fine lines and wrinkles
The appearance of tighter, more lifted skin
Reducing pore size
Diminishing acne scars and dark marks
Reduce the appearance of stretch marks
Microneedling can also be used to stimulate your scalp if you develop alopecia (hair loss).
In order to achieve these goals, you will require more than one round of microneedling. In professional sessions, people see a difference after four to six rounds. While the cost of professional microneedling can add up over time, microneedling is still less expensive than most laser treatments which can cost as much as four times the amount of microneedling.
Microneedling has other advantages over laser treatments as well. Since it doesn’t involve heat, it won’t affect the pigmentation or color of your skin if you have a darker skin tone.
Costs of At-Home Microneedling Treatment vs. Professional
While you can see results from microneedling in as little as three treatments, for optimal results you will probably want around six treatments. That means you’ll be shelling out at least $600 depending on the provider you choose, your location, how involved the treatment is, what products they use, and whether or not you will be taking off work for the procedure.
Another major factor in cost is the amount of surface area you plan to have treated. The larger the body part that you want microneedling on, the higher the price tag making facial treatments much less expensive than treatments on other areas like arms, legs, and backs.
Microneedling at home, however, is much less expensive since your only costs are the derma roller itself and the serums and cleansers that you want to use with it. Derma rollers vary in cost, but you can typically find a good one on Amazon for around $15-$150.
Serums like hyaluronic acid are used during microneedling as an anti-aging boost to diminish the look of fine lines and wrinkles. This serum can be just as expensive as your derma roller, so shop with care when you look for a product rated for at-home use. Serums also absorb faster if applied directly after a microneedling session.
There are also some add-ons to professional microneedling that you can not get at home. Some estheticians offer microneedling with the addition of radiofrequency using electromagnetic waves to treat the appearance of scars. This form of microneedling is much more expensive with average prices of more than $1,500 per session.
Platelet-rich plasma is also another skin tissue stimulating treatment addition that can encourage skin tightening. The combination treatment costs about $750 per session.
Tips for Using a Derma Roller for Microneedling at Home
Undergoing any cosmetic procedure carries inherent risks. But, when you’re working on yourself at home, it’s important to take certain precautions or you risk damaging your skin.
It may be a good idea to watch videos of the professional procedure that carry tips for guidance. But, it’s also easy to get lost in a rabbit hole of tutorials on YouTube or TikTok. That’s why we’ve sorted the good advice from the bad for you right here.
First, a Word of Caution
Always sterilize your roller before and after use. Also, avoid damaging your skin by pressing gently. If you draw blood, you have gone too deep.
Always Use a .2 mm Needle
Needle size is very important for first-time microneedling at home. While you may be tempted to try a .5mm needle, this size should be reserved for use by a professional esthetician or dermatologist.
Don’t Perform Microneedling on Acne at Home
If you have active acne, an at-home microneedling treatment is not designed for you. While derma rollers with cosmetic needles can be safe and effective to boost your collagen production, without the help of a professional, you may end up spreading your acne and causing more issues in the future.
That’s not to say that microneedling is bad for acne. When you visit a professional they will be able to roll right around any pustular acne you have as well as drive needles into deeper cystic lesions delivering treatment quickly to the source.
What Dermaroller Should I Buy?
There are a variety of kits on Amazon that include a derma roller. Each kit is designed with a specific purpose - stimulating hair growth, anti-aging treatments, acne, etc.
Or, you can choose to design your own version of a kit by purchasing a derma roller in the range of $15-$30.
Here are two highly rated derma rollers:
This surgical-grade ME Beauty Micro Derma Roller features 200 super-sharp, stainless steel micro needles.
- Prosper Beauty Store's derma roller comes with four replaceable roller heads and boasts 600 needles per roller. However, these rollers are made from titanium instead of stainless steel, which some believe isn't as sharp. However, you do get more needles, but possibly with a gentler experience.
Getting Started Step-By-Step
Cleanse your skin with a cleanser you trust.
Apply serums like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to maximize your treatment.
Roll (very lightly) vertically, horizontally, and diagonally 2-3 times over your forehead, cheeks, neck, and lips/chin area.
Enrich your skin with another layer of serum.
Finish with a great long-lasting moisturizer to help with redness and inflammation. You may also want to cool down with a frozen rose quartz roller or apply ice to your face to reduce irritation.
- Thoroughly sanitize your derma roller
For at-home microneedling, you may want to repeat the sessions every three to four weeks, depending on your skin's tolerance of the derma roller and the results you are seeking.
Whether you choose to get your microneedling from a professional or from the comfort of home, just know that if done correctly, you can see great results!