My Skincare Gadgets (Pt. 3 Micro-needling Derma Roller)

By Minji

  • At-home micro-needling can help with the absorption of skincare products
  • I use a derma roller once a week after toner and before serum
  • Be careful to stay away from harsh exfoliation when you do it  

Susie was brave enough to try micro-needling at the Korean spa, which required a numbing cream and a high pain tolerance, but I wouldn’t dare.  First of all, pain just scares me – voluntarily inflicting pain upon myself … I draw the line at ab crunches. 

Another important reason is that I’m all about daily habits when it comes to skincare.  Similar to how I approach my diet, I’d rather watch my carb-intake regularly rather than go on a drastic juice cleanse.  Luckily, this doesn’t mean that I can’t also indulge in the benefits of micro-needling!

As Susie previously explained, micro-needling is the insertion of fine short needles into the skin which causes micro injuries and pushes the skin to heal.  In the short term, experts say it can help the skin look plump and luminous.  If done repeatedly for a few sessions, it’s supposed to increase the collagen and elastin levels in your skin.  

These days, you can easily order a solid micro-needling derma roller online for $20 or so.  I got mine off of Amazon for that amount.  Most at-home derma rollers have a needle size of 0.25 millimeter or less.  Tiny needles are safer for non-experts to work with from home but also won’t cause the level of penetration necessary to actively boost your collagen levels.  I personally think the best benefit of at-home micro-needling is that it will help with the absorption of your existing skincare products.   

I use my roller once a week after my toner but before serum.  I’ll make sure my roller is clean (make sure you wipe it down after each use with alcohol and a cotton pad), then in short stokes, I just roll it all over my face.  There’s no exact way to do it, but I do think using the same motions you use for a gua sha massage generally help.

There's more flexibility with rolling as you can roll up and down, and also diagonally and horizontally.  The goal is to cover each area of skin around 3-5 times in different directions.  I personally like to focus on the under-eye skin and bottom cheeks and jaw line.  Be careful not to press too hard into your skin.  You should feel the prickling sensations but not to the point it’s painful or breaking your skin.    

If you’re new to this and want to give it a try, I would recommend starting with once a week as part of your nighttime ritual, after you’ve washed your face and prepped your face with a toner.  The first time you use it, make sure you’re coupling with skincare products that your skin is already used too and aren’t too harsh or new. 

For example, I would never combine micro-needling with exfoliation. On the days that I use the roller, I also stay away from using my LED or micro current device (a quick face massage using a nourishing face oil shouldn't be an issue though).   Once you get used to it and like the results, maybe you can increase to 2-3 times a week but I don’t think I would go beyond that.  Your skin needs adequate down time to heal.

It's also important to note that micro-needling can become unsafe if you exert too much pressure or don't keep the roller clean (which can cause irritation or infection on your skin).  To keep it safe and effective, it's recommended that you replace the roller after 10-15 applications.  So if you're doing it once a week like me, you should buy a new one every three months or so.  

Again, none of these at-home skincare gadgets can promise you drastic results so don’t be fooled by those articles out there that claim "a derma roller changed my life" or something like that.  Having said that, I would recommend it as a once a week addition to your sustainable skincare routine to enhance the effectiveness of your skincare products, only if you have the time and space in your skincare lineup.