At Home Dermarollers: Safe or Unsafe?

There has been a huge increase in promotions on social media regarding at home products, but specifically at home dermarollers I have noticed have increased tremendously. The comment section is typically filled with innocent people that have a skin concern that they’d like to target, maybe they don’t have the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars to go to a professional and get it done. I’ve also noticed that the promoter will sometimes say “don’t waste money going to a dermatologist when you can safely do it at home yourself”, and when I see people recommending to not see a board certified dermatologist who has 8+ years of schooling under their belt and many years of experience dealing with all types of skin problems, it really concerns me and quite honestly, pisses me off. So, I decided to do what I always do and research at home dermarollers and see if they really are 1) effective, but most importantly 2) safe to be using on your own.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with what a dermaroller is or what people use it for, basically it is the ”first generation” microneedling device. It has since been advertised as an at-home tool to “dupe” microneedling pens. It has tiny needles on it that is attached to a roller and as you roll it across your face, it creates micro-punctures in the skin, which then alerts your skin that there is damage and your skin then signals collagen to repair the damage. This production of collagen can help with fine lines/wrinkles, acne, scaring, and pigmentation.

Personally, I do not think anybody should be doing this at-home whatsoever. These devices pose several risks/concerns and one of the main concerns is sanitization. Not even at-home sterilization, which I’ll get into in a moment, but the factory this device was made in could have easily not followed proper protocols and you likely wouldn’t even know. Most of the products being sold on Amazon, eBay, or other retailers do not have active medical device licenses, which means they aren’t going through the intensive tests through regulatory boards to confirm that they are safe for consumers to use, they are sterile, and are able to achieve the claims that are made. Let’s not forget, at the time writing this there has been a lot of quality control scandals with multiple different makeup brands where products are being sent out with finger prints all over the package, fibers are found tangled in the product, and more. Then there’s the whole at-home concern regarding sterilization because it is very easy to use a tool that wasn’t properly decontaminated and then you have a potential risk for getting a skin infection. I’m going to suggest not going to google images and looking at infections caused by dermarollers, especially if you have a weak stomach, because they are not pleasant.

The other concern is the length of the needles on the roller. When it comes to microneedling, the pen has adjustable needles that the specialist would adjust according to the area of the face you are treating. Some areas you may need a bit longer of a length and some areas you would most certainly want a shorter length. And for the record, when I mention “longer length” we’re talking about a millimeters; extremely small adjustments that are crucial. Dermarollers, on the other hand only have one sized needles and you are expected to use that all over the face. The thing is, as we all know, SIZE MATTERS! It’s extremely important that the length of needle you are using around your upper lip, nose, near the under-eye, temples, and forehead are all the proper size so you do not cause any problems.

But that’s not all, you also have irresponsible recommendations from the maker of the product and the ignorant suggestions from the “influencer”, actually suggesting to use the product on active acne!! That is a giant NO-NO. All this does is guarantee bacteria being spread around and you ending up with more acne, PIE or PIH, and possibly cause icepick scaring. Please, for the love of god, don’t use a dermaroller on your active acne, ever.

We should also talk about how dermarollers will ultimately create a puncture and stretch it open by the way you roll the device across your skin - which you HAVE to do. Because it’s sort of hard to explain and I can’t find a photo online that demonstrates what I mean, I’m going to say this: make a fist with one hand and roll your knuckles across a soft surface. When you first place your fist down, it makes straight contact with the surface, right? But when you start to roll your fist, it’s on an angle, right? Well, think about that with the dermaroller for a second... You first place it on your face, and with hopefully proper application, it goes on straight and pierces your skin on a proper angle. But then when you start rolling it, the needles are entering on an angle, rolling in the skin on an angle, and then exiting at a different angle. So, you’ve just created a puncture, then stretched the puncture to bigger than it was suppose to be. Although it isn’t visible (hopefully, otherwise you really did something wrong), it’s still a larger puncture hole than what was suppose to be there. Yes, you may see great results in the beginning, but over time with continuous stretching, you risk enlarging the visible appearance of pores and actually causing premature wrinkles.

Alright, so we know that dermarollers aren’t good... What about dermastamps? Keep in mind, yes, it doesn’t roll, which that eliminates one concern... But all of the other concerns are still there. Just avoid it. There’s no need to puncture your skin yourself. See a professional, save the money you would’ve spent on a new eye shadow palette and all the uber trips and then go get a treatment done. Remember, consultations are almost always free OR the fee for the consultation goes towards your first treatment.


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