Microneedling at Home Expert Tips

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If you’ve been to your derm’s office lately (and we hope you have!), you’ve probably heard of microneedling, a pro treatment that stimulates collagen and elastin to minimize wrinkles, smooth textured skin, and even fade stubborn hyperpigmentation.

With an increase in at-home skincare tech and tools, you might be wondering if you can replicate the effects of microneedling from your own bathroom. The answer? Kind of. At-home microneedling tools (aka dermarollers) are definitely available to shop, but they’re not exactly the same as the one a pro would use. Plus, there are safety considerations as well.

Here, three dermatologists and one medical aesthetician weigh in on the pros, cons, and how-tos of microneedling at home.


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What is Microneedling?

Microneedling is a “minimally invasive treatment that pricks the skin with very thin, sterilized needles,” Amy Peterson, a Miami-based medical aesthetician and founder of Skincare by Amy Peterson medspa, says. This treatment is used to remedy concerns such as texture, fine lines, wrinkles, and even stretch marks. Microneedling works by creating micro-injuries on the skin through the use of a device that uses a rolling or stamping motion.

Sdara Skincare Derma Roller for Face

Derma Roller for Face

Sdara Skincare Derma Roller for Face

How Does Microneedling Work?

The micro-injuries created by the dermaroller triggers your body’s healing response. “When your body repairs the channels and injuries in the skin, it creates new collagen,” Anthony Rossi Jr., a board-certified dermatologist, and founder of Dr. Rossi Derm MD, says. “If the holes are tiny enough there won’t be scars. With new collagen, skin is improved and firmer.”

However, things tend to differ slightly when it comes to using the best at-home microneedling devices and rollers. “The needles [on a dermaroller] do not penetrate as deep as the microneedles used by a professional,” Hadley King, a New York City-based dermatologist, says. “Although they’re probably not deep enough to be stimulating collagen, they can aid with product penetration.”

Is Microneedling at Home Safe?

Although a dermaroller won’t penetrate the skin as deeply as an in-office microneedling treatment, it’s not without risks. After encountering patients who have come in with complications such as bruising and scarring from attempting at-home microneedling, derms like Brian Hibler at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York City believe microneedling is best left to the pros.

“I think microneedling is safest to be performed in the medical setting with equipment that has been thoroughly researched and tested and with devices capable of reaching deeper depths for greater improvement,” he says. “In-office devices can be adjusted to the depth necessary to treat your individual concerns safely and effectively.”

However, King explains that deramrollers are generally safe “because the needles are only .25mm in depth” and don’t penetrate the skin as deep as a professional treatment would. However, applying too much pressure, not sterilizing your device, or dermarolling on broken, inflamed skin or over acne can all pose risks like scarring or infection, she cautions.

How Do I Microneedle at Home?

If you’re going to microneedle at home, here’s what experts recommend:

  • Gently cleanse and dry your skin
  • Lightly roll your dermaroller (Peterson recommends Environ Gold Cosmetic Roller) in a fluid motion back and forth over each area of the face. King suggests starting vertically before changing directions to roll in both horizontal and diagonal patterns.
  • Don’t roll over the eyes, lips, or nose
  • Immediately after rolling, King recommends applying a hyaluronic acid or peptide serum
  • Do not apply makeup over freshly-rolled skin

/ Cosmetic Roll-CIT Microneedling Face Roller

Cosmetic Roll-CIT Microneedling Face Roller

/ Cosmetic Roll-CIT Microneedling Face Roller

What to Do After Microneedling at Home?

Because the whole concept of microneedling involves injuries to the skin, there will be small wounds that need to heal. After microneedling at home, Peterson recommends using “gentle products that will not cause irritation.” That means steering clear of exfoliating acids and other harsh actives that will absorb deeper into the skin post-treatment. A moisturizing ointment should also be applied post-treatment, and if it wasn’t already obvious, sun protection is a must while the inflammation heals.

How Often Should I Microneedle at Home?

When you’re microneedling at home, consistency is key. It’s worth noting that in-office treatments often require multiple sessions to achieve significant results. So, if you’re looking for smooth, plump skin in an instant with an at-home dermaroller, you’re going to be disappointed. King recommends starting once a week before increasing the number of uses “as tolerated” by your skin.

To be as safe (and clean) as possible, she suggests replacing your roller head after 20 uses. To keep your roller sterilized between sessions, spray the roller head with rubbing alcohol after each use and store it upright with needles freestanding.

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