Many people who are just starting to add skincare tools to their skin care routine or who are new to microneedling often ask questions like “what’s the difference between microneedling and dermaroller” or “dermapen vs dermaroller vs dermastamp” or just wonder how to choose a micro needling device.
To point out, micro needling is a popular resurfacing technique that utilizes a handheld skin needling device to create micro puncture wounds on the skin in order to stimulate skin’s natural regeneration process.
This minimally invasive procedure was introduced in 1990s mainly for treating scars, and has evolved significantly since. In a nutshell, modern microneedling combines the acupuncture technique with mesotherapy, and is meant to deliver a more youthful, glowing and healthier looking skin.
Dermaroller, dermapen and dermastamp are three different devices used to perform a microneedling procedure.
Even though each type of microneedling device has very distinctive features, they all work in a similar manner: the device is applied repetitively (rolled or pressed, depending on the type) on freshly cleaned skin inflicting micro injuries and creating small puncture wounds in the skin. This controlled dermal micro damage triggers skin’s natural healing process, stimulates the release of growth factor, and leads to the activation of collagen production.
Benefits Of Microneedling
Regardless of weather you choose a derma roller, derma pen or derma stamp, all these microneedling devices help with skin rejuvenation and have a wide variety of applications:
- Faster and deeper penetration of skin care products
- Fine lines and wrinkle reduction
- Softening of scars (including acne scars)
- Softening of stretch marks
- Skin tightening
- Promotes skin repair
- Stimulates collagen production
- Improves skin structure and texture
- Helps with hyperpigmentation
- Increases epidermal thickness
- Stimulates hair growth
Dermapen vs Dermaroller vs Dermastamp
- Aka microneedle roller, beauty needling roller
- Manual, drum shaped
- 192-540 needles (fixed length)
- Rolled over the skin
- Angled penetration
- Great for treating large areas
- Use up to 10-15 times
- Aka needling pen, dermapen stamp
- Electric, pen shaped
- 9-12 needles (adjustable length)
- Automated stamp motion
- Vertical penetration
- Great for treating small areas
- Single-use disposable needles
- Aka beauty stamp, microneedle stamp
- Manual, flat head
- 20-140 needles (fixed or adjustable length)
- Manually pressed into skin
- Vertical penetration
- Great for treating most skin areas
- Use up to 10-15 times
The original tool used for microneedling treatment was a dermaroller - a drum-shaped handheld needling device. Nowadays, the standard version of a dermaroller has a plastic cylinder with 192 stainless steel or titanium needles, and has to be rolled manually over the skin in multiple directions.
There are two main characteristics of dermarollers – the drum sizes and the length of needles. The drum size determines the width of a roller and the amount of needles. The regular dermaroller size usually has between 192 and 540 small needles, and is used mainly for the face or scalp.
The microneedling roller for the body is about three times wider than regular dermaroller. It has greater number of needles – between 1000 and 1700, and is a better treatment option for larger areas. In addition, there are also mini rollers with 192 to 250 needles, which are designed for treating small and sensitive areas like under eyes and lips.
Dermarollers come with a fixed needle length ranging from 0.1mm to 3mm. Different lengths of needles are used to address different skin concerns. Please refer to the “Length Of Needles” section below to figure out which needle size will be best for you.
Because the dermaroller needs to be rolled over the skin, the needles penetrate skin at the angle and not vertically. As a result, this can cause micro tearing of the skin’s surface and increase in the recovery time.
A typical dermaroller can be used 10-15 times after which it has to be disposed of, as the needles get dull (similar to razors). However, a more advanced model of dermarollers are designed with interchangeable heads, so instead of disposing of the entire device, you can replace just the head part.
To point out, microneedling rollers need to be sanitized after each use. Most dermarollers don’t come with a sanitizing solution and it has to be purchased separately (read how to properly clean your dermaroller/ dermastamp). Also, keep in mind at-home micro needling tools have very limited instructions on how to care for the device, so it’s your responsibility to do a proper research.
Best Starter Derma Rollers
Here are a couple of great dermarollers suitable for beginners:
The initial microneedling tools evolved significantly over the last decade. Derma pen (other names: micropen, microneedling pen, needling pen) is an upgraded version of a derma roller. In particular, it's a smaller device that looks like a thick pen, and instead of the needle cylinder, the derma pen has replaceable single-use needle cartridges consisting of 9 to 36 small needles. Interestingly, it is often confused with or misbranded as dermastamp.
To emphasize, the needle cartridge needs to be disposed after each treatment, unlike derma stamp and derma roller which are not motorized and can be disinfected (submerged) with isopropyl alcohol up to 15 treatments.
The main difference between dermapen vs dermaroller is that dermapen is a fully automated microneedling device, meaning that it is electrically powered and rechargeable.
To explain, it works by making stamp-like motion over the treated area. Unlike a derma roller that has to be manually rolled, the dermapen is held perpendicular to the skin, and the penetration motion is done in a stamp-like manner once the microneedling pen is switched on.
Another advantage of dermapen is the adjustable needle depth and ability to choose different speed modes, so your treatment can be fully customized. Since different needle length can address different skin conditions, it is important to research and select wisely the length of needles, as well as proper treatment preparations and post-treatment care.
When comparing dermapen vs dermaroller, one of the advantages of using derma pen is that it allows a more precise treatment for isolated skin areas and is great for targeting individual scars or wrinkles. In general, derma pens are usually more expensive than derma rollers and on average range between $60 and $150.
Currently, these are the most trustworthy microneeling pens:
- Electric Microneedle Derma Pen System by ORA with 5 adjustable speed settings, and comes with two replaceable needle tips.
- Dr. Pen A6 Kit on Amazon, which includes microneedling pen with 5 speed levels and 10 disposable needle cartridges.
- Koi Beauty Microneedling Dermapen Kit (on Amazon), 5 speed levels, comes with 2pcs disposable cartridges.
√ Tip 1: Microneedling with needles of 0.5mm and longer can feel quite painful and numbing cream/topical anesthetic is recommended. We suggest using estheticians favorite Greencaine Blast or Ebanel Numb 520 on Amazon.
This tool is a hybrid of dermaroller and dermapen. Just like the name suggests it, derma stamp looks like a stamp tool. Instead of a cylinder that has to be rolled, derma stamp has a round, square or rectangular-shaped flat tip covered in tiny needles and a handle. Because the surface of the derma stamp is flat, the device has to be vertically pressed (stamped) into the skin. Unlike dermarollers that create angled puncture wounds that may cause micro tearing of the skin, derma stamp creates vertical wounds and allows more precise and even treatment of the skin.
When comparing dermastamp vs dermapen there are many similarities. However the main difference between them is that stamp-like motion in dermapen is fully automated, while derma stamp has to be pressed into skin manually.
The size of derma stamp varies – some devices can have needle tip the size of a dime with about 20-40 needles, while others can have up to 140 needles, with much bigger flat head. In general, when comparing dermaroller vs dermapen vs dermastamp, there is one disadvantage when it comes to derma stamps. That is to say, they are not as widely available on the market as other microneedling tools.
Another similarity when comparing derma roller vs derma stamp is that they both can be used up to 10-15 times. After about 15 uses the derma stamp tool has to be disposed of as the needles get dull. Also, just like dermaroller, dermastamp needs to be sterilized after each use, and sanitizing solution has to be purchased separately.
There are very few models of derma stamp currently available on the market. Here are few great entry-level derma stamps that we like:
- Microneedle Derma Stamp (0.5mm) with 38 needles round head.
- Koi Beauty Dermastamp (0.25mm, 0.5mm & 1mm on Amazon) with 140 needles square head.
*Be aware!!! Nowadays, many manufacturers of microneedling devices are using the term “dermapen” and “dermastamp” interchangeably (most likely due to the stamp-like motion of the dermapen). So if you are looking to buy a dermapen, it might be labeled as “dermapen stamp.” Just keep in mind that dermapen is automated and has a power button, while dermastamp is a manual tool.
Related: Best serums to use with microneedling.
Choosing Your Personal Microneedling Tool
All in all, by now you should have a better understanding of skin needling tools and the difference between dermapen vs dermaroller vs dermastamp. Regardless of which skin needling device you choose, you can address various cosmetic facial issues and see visible improvements with regular treatments. Equally important, before purchasing a microneedling tool for home use, do your research! Also, ask yourself the following questions:
- What skin condition are you trying to address?
- What part of the body will you be microneedling?
- How thick/thin and sensitive is your skin?
- Any previous experience with the microneedling?
- What needle length is right for you?
Other things to consider when choosing a microneedling device:
- Type of device (dermapen vs dermaroller vs dermastamp)
- Number of needles (different drum size for face, body, eye/lip area)
- Length of needles
- Needle material (stainless steel, titanium)
If you are new to microneedling, read below about different needle lengths and the article about “What dermaroller size is right for you?“
Length Of Needles
Different skin concerns can be addressed by using microneedling devices with different needle lengths, which will cause different penetration depths. Therefore, the longer the needles, the deeper puncture wounds will be inflicted, the more painful the procedure will get, and the longer time it will take to recovery. Depending on how thick your skin is, spotted bleeding is very likely with needles of 1 mm and longer.
0.13 mm – is used to enhance the absorption of skincare products, deeper and faster penetration, reduce pore size and fine lines. This type of dermarollers is the safest for home-care use. The procedure is painless and can be done twice a week or each other day if tolerable by skin.
0.25 mm – enhances penetration of skincare products, mild skin rejuvenation effect, improves overall skin appearance, and can also be used on the scalp to stimulate hair growth. This type of dermaroller is also approved for home use. The procedure is mostly painless, but individuals with thin or sensitive skin might feel some discomfort especially in the area under eyes, forehead and neck.
0.5 mm-0.75 mm – medical grade microneedling device that is used to stimulate collagen production, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, helps with hyperpigmentation, light scars, and improves overall skin texture.
1 mm – in addition to all the anti-aging benefits provided by 0.5mm-0.75mm, 1mm microneedling also addresses light scars (including acne scars) and stretch marks. Needles of this length can cause bleeding, and the procedure can feel quite painful, so numbing cream might be needed.
1.5 mm – should only be used by trained professionals, as needles of this length pierces through the entire epidermis layer and reaches dermis level. It is used for treating facial scars including deep scars, as well as for treating wrinkles and stretch marks. Numbing cream or topical anesthetic is needed, as it’s very painful.
2 mm-3 mm – for in-office use only. This type of microneedling is used mainly for deep scars and stretch marks while treating large body parts like thighs, abdomen, buttocks, legs and arms.
How Often Can You Do Microneedling At Home?
It depends mainly on the length of needles, skin thickness and sensitivity. The longer the needles are the more time between the microneedling sessions needed for your skin to heal. Devices with 0.1mm – 0.3mm needles can be used each other day, 0.5mm can be used once a week, 0.75mm – 1mm can be used once a month.
In conclusion, like with many at home treatments and devices, it is important to have realistic expectations and not expect an overnight miracle. Regardless of all the distinct features of dermapen vs dermaroller vs dermastamp, noticeable results can be seen after several treatments and are cumulative with the continuous use of a microneedling device. That being said, you should plan on using your dermaroller, dermapen or dermastamp for at least three to six months – that’s how long it takes for new collagen synthesis.
Learn also what to use after microneedling to sooth your skin.
Using dermaroller for stretch marks: is it effective?
Overall, microneedling is an effective treatment for skin resurfacing, combating signs of aging, and addressing acne scars. Also, it is easy to incorporate into your regular skin care. In fact, this skincare procedure is safe for all skin types, however, there are some precautions.
Do NOT use microneedling devices if you have:
- Active acne
- Active skin infection like herpes or warts
- Chronic skin disorders
- Skin diseases like psoriasis or eczema
- Ongoing cancer treatments like chemo or radiotherapy
- Poor healing
- Keloidal tendency
- Blood clotting issues
- Also avoid area with raised moles or raised scars
Are you cleaning your dermaroller properly and do you know when is time to change your roller?
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