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Microneedling (also known as “dermarolling”) has become a mainstream skincare “trend” that’s become increasingly coveted in both dermatologist’s offices and for at-home use. While the idea of wounding your skin with needles to make it look better may seem counter-intuitive, the logic behind the way the technique works actually makes perfect sense. With that being said though, given that microneedling involves the use of well, tiny needles to prick your face (and trick your skin into amping up its collagen production as a part of the wound-healing process), it’s fair to assume that there are some notable pros and cons to microneedling at home.
I sat down with esthetician and founder of StackedSkincare –one of the pioneers in at-home dermarolling—Kerry Benjamin, to get the low down on why and how stabbing ourselves with these spiked facial rollers helps enhance our skin. And trust me, I met her in person and she has gorgeous skin, so I hardly needed any verbal reassurance to become sold on the idea that I needed a micro-needler in my arsenal STAT, but I went ahead and asked her all of my burning questions anyway. First, let’s cover the basics. “Microneedling utilizes a tool that has hundreds of tiny needles on a roller that, when rolled across skin, stimulates collagen and drives active ingredients deeper into your skin for maximum efficacy,” says Benjamin. She recommends opting for a roller that’s 2mm for maximum efficacy without having drop the big bucks on a pricey in-office treatment.
One of the most noteworthy benefits of microneedling that it helps your skincare serums absorb deeper, making them more effective. “Microneedling works best with serums that have active ingredients such as stem cells and peptides like StackedSkincare PSC Peptide Serum, growth factors that can be found in StackedSkincare EGF Activating Serum and hyaluronic acid from StackedSkincare HA Hydrating Serum. These are the types of ingredients that will really maximize the effects of microneedling to stimulate collagen, speed up cell turnover, lift hyperpigmentation, smooth out fine lines, firm, plump and hydrate,” says Benjamin.
Well, that wraps up derma-rolling 101, but If you’re interested in taking a deeper dive into the odds and ends of microneedling, check out our full q&a with Benjamin below.
1. What are the benefits of microneedling?
Microneedling has two main benefits: it stimulates epidermal growth factors to boost collagen and elastin that plump and firm skin, and it increases absorption of active ingredients by 90%, making this procedure one of the most powerful and effective ways to stop early signs of aging and prevent new fine lines and wrinkles from occurring.With the right corrective serums, Microneedling will brighten your skin to create a dewy youthful glow that you just can’t get from other products or at home treatments. Other benefits you can enjoy from microneedling include a decrease in the appearance of fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, and age spots.
2. What are the main differences between at-home and in-office microneedling?
You can safely use .2 at home daily and get really great results pain free. The main purpose of the smaller rollers is to really drive the active ingredients in your serums far deeper while also providing some collagen stimulation. If you are buying serums, you should buy a roller, and vice versa, they go hand in hand and make each other work optimally. The optimal solution for at home microneedling is to roll with StackedSkincare serums 5-7 times a week. Go to a pro for a deeper treatment and continue your at home regimen to further enhance your pro treatment, they work great together. For larger needle sizes, .5mm or greater, i recommend going to a professional. For 1mm and larger, you need to go to the doctor to numb your face before the procedure.
Professional treatments will use much larger needles. It will require numbing your face and there will be about a week of downtime and some discomfort during the procedure. Typically you will space these treatments out across 4-8 weeks. These larger needles will stimulate greater collagen production [than at-home tools]. This procedure tends to be quite costly, and averages over $1000/treatment. Typically you’ll need a minimum of 4 treatments to get results for deeper lines. Some doctor’s offices will actually draw your own blood and then put it in a machine to pull out your own growth factors and apply that as a topical serum.
This is the same philosophy that I use for StackedSkincare EGF Activating Serum and MicroNeedling Tool 2.0, however, we use plant growth factors. By physically stimulating growth factors with the roller, and then topically driving down growth factors that are in the serum, you’re getting a double dose of collagen production and increase cell turnover. That’s what helps plump, firm and brighten the skin.
There are a couple of things to note about using larger needles sizes at home: I don’t recommend doing this at all because of these 2 main reasons: You will not push hard enough to inflict that kind of pain on yourself to actually benefit from the larger needles. So basically, you’re just making it a lot more painful but not getting any additional benefit. Larger than .3mm at home is not safe and you can damage your skin.
3. What type of derma roller is most effective without risking damaging the skin?
For home use, I recommend the smaller needles, .2mm, they are super safe, effective and pain free to use at home daily with your serums to correct skin concerns, maintain the results and prevent further damage and aging.
4. Is microneedling safe for sensitive skin or those with ezcema and rosacea?
Yes, but don’t roll over inflamed eczema or rosacea, so if you’re not experiencing inflammation from your sensitive skin condition it is fine to use. However, if you are experiencing a flare up, I recommend backing off until the flare up has calmed down and then you can resume the treatment.
5. Can I continue my normal skincare routine while derma-rolling, even if I use acid exfoliants and Retin-a?
Definitely! Microneedling with our TCA Multi Acid Peel works great, it will drive the actives deeper into the skin.
6. Are there any “cons” to microneedling? Is it safe for all skin types?
Microneedling is safe for all skin types except those with active pustular acne, as this could spread bacteria. If you have a pimple, you can roll around it, and if it’s cystic acne, it’s great to use to help drive actives deeper into the lesion to treat it more quickly.
7. How should we sanitize our microneedling tools to make sure we’re not spreading bacteria?
You can either submerge or use a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol to disinfect your roller. You should replace the roller monthly for two reasons: the needles will dull, and even if you are disinfecting after each use, you will still have dead skin and gunk and much like a razor, they need to be replaced with regular use. If you are using the roller 5-7 times a week as recommended, replace it monthly for optimal use, safety and sanitary reasons.
8. Can you recommend any other tips for safe and effective microneedling?
Yes, roll your neck, chest and back of your hands! These are the areas that we often overlook, but it’s a sure sign of aging. [I also suggested] layering different serums to treat multiple concerns, and you want to always apply products thinnest to thickest. [Lastly] Try a retinol. After rolling and serum application, apply a retinol serum at night. I recommend spot treating on your cheek first to make sure this is not too active. You may need to build up to this, you’re skin will adjust, just give it time. I do it all the time!
1. StackedSkincare Microneedle
$27.98 at Amazon
2. StackedSkincare EGF Activating Serum
$150 at StackedSkincare
3. Stacked Skincae HA Hydrating Serum
$130, at StackedSkincare
4. StackedSkincare TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel
$135 at StackedSkincare
5. SkinOvative Alcohol Pump Spray
$7.87 at Amazon
6. Eva Natural Skin Firming 2.5% Retinol Serum
$14.97 at Amazon
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