Microneedling technique is a resurfacing procedure that gained its popularity for a variety of skin conditions and cosmetic rejuvenation. It is used to address signs of aging skin like photo damage, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, and uneven skin texture, as well as increase delivery of topical products, stimulate collagen production, and increase epidermal thickness. Besides providing anti aging benefits, microneedling is also used to soften acne, scars, and improve the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. Therefore, choosing dermaroller needle size that is right for you is very important.
What Size Dermaroller To Use
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 needles, and is used mainly for face or scalp. The microneedling roller for the body is about three times wider than regular dermaroller and can have between 1000 and 1700 needles. There are also mini rollers with 192 to 250 needles, which are designed for treating small and sensitive areas like under eyes and lips.
Different skin concerns can be addressed by using microneedling devices like dermarollers with different needle lengths, which will cause different penetration depths. In other words, the longer the needles, the deeper puncture wounds will be inflicted, the more painful the procedure will get, and the longer recovery time will be required. Depending on how thick your skin is, spotted bleeding is very likely with needles of 1mm and longer.
When choosing the right size of dermaroller for at-home use, you should first ask yourself the following questions.
√ Do you have a previous experience with the microneedling devices?
For the beginners it is recommended to start with the short dermaroller needle size of 0.2mm – 0.3mm, and gradually make your way up. This will allow your skin to acclimatize to the procedure. The concept is similar to when you start using chemical peels or retinol – you start with products with a lower concentration to allow your skin adjust and avoid unnecessary skin irritation.
Microneedling devices with needle length exceeding 1mm are NOT recommended for home treatments on face. However, 1.5mm can be used on body parts with caution. Overall, dermarollers with needles longer than 1mm create deeper puncture wounds, penetrating through epidermis and dermis, and should only be used by a licensed specialist. For one thing, this will allow to avoid uncontrolled skin damage, skin infection or overall misuse of the device. When in doubt – go with a shorter needle length.
√ What part of body are you planning to treat?
Microneedling can be used on most parts of your body including face and neck for overall rejuvenation; scalp for hair growth stimulation; arms, thighs, and abdomen to address stretch marks, scars or cellulite. The size of the dermaroller you are choosing (which includes the drum size and the length of the needles) will depend greatly on your intentions.
Also, skin thickness on different body parts should be taken into consideration, as it varies throughout the face and body. For the neck, scalp, and under eye area where the skin is naturally thinner, it’s recommended to use shorter needles ranging from 0.1mm to 0.75mm. If you are planning on using your microneedling device on body parts like arms, thighs, or abdomen, you can safely use longer needles (0.75mm -1.5mm). There are also dermarollers that are designed specifically for body as they are three times bigger than regular rollers and are more comfortable to use on large areas.
√ What skin concern are you trying to address?
Different dermaroller needle size is 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.
√ How thick and sensitive is your skin?
The thickness and sensitivity of your skin will also determine which size of dermaroller will work best for you. If you have thin skin, you’ll want to use shorter needle length (below 0.75mm), and you might need to go size up in needle length for the naturally thick skin.
Numbing cream (on Amazon) or topical anesthetic might be necessary if you have low pain tolerance, or overall thin or sensitive skin.
Other things to consider when choosing a microneedling device:
- Type of device (dermaroller, dermapen, or dermastamp)
- Length of needles
- Needle material (stainless steel, titanium)
Choosing Needle Size
Dermaroller needle size is measured in millimeters and ranges from 0.1 mm to 3 mm. Below you’ll find a table of various needle length and explanation of how they can improve your skin.
0.13 mm – is used to enhance the absorption of skin care products, deeper and faster penetration, and reduce pore size. 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 scalp to stimulate hair growth. The growth of collagen will NOT be stimulated by this size of needles. 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, improves overall skin texture, as well as enhances absorption of skin care products. If you have low pain tolerance or sensitive skin, you can experience mild or moderate pain and discomfort, so numbing cream might be needed. Blood spotting is possible with needle length of 0.5mm-0.75mm especially if you have overall thin skin.
1 mm – in addition to all the anti-aging benefits provided by 0.5mm-0.75mm, 1mm needles also addresse light scars and stretch marks. Dermaroller needle size of 1mm can cause bleeding, and the procedure can feel quit painful, so numbing cream or topical anesthetic might be necessary. The recovery period after undergoing microneedling procedure with 1mm needles is much longer, and can take up to a week for skin to heal.
1.5 mm – should only be used by trained professionals, as needles of this length pierce through entire epidermis layer and reach dermis level. It is used for treating deep scars, deep wrinkles and stretch marks. Licensed professionals will use needles of this size on face and body parts, however at-home users are strongly discouraged in using 1.5mm needles on face. Numbing cream or topical anesthetic is needed, as it’s very painful.
2 mm-3 mm – for in-office use only, not safe for at-home treatment. This type of microneedling device penetrates deep through several skin layers and involves risks. It is used mainly for deep scars and stretch marks, and for treating body parts like thighs, abdomen, buttocks, and arms.
Related: What to use after microneedling?
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.
Microneedling In Office Vs At-Home
|IN OFFICE MICRONEEDLING||AT-HOME MICRONEEDLING|
|$200-$600 per session||$30-$200 per device|
|Need at least 3-4 treatments||Need at least 6-10 treatments|
|Achieve results faster||Takes longer for visible results|
|Longer needles (1mm- 2.5mm can be used)||Shorter needles (needles longer than 1mm are not recommended for home use)|
|Topical anesthesia (strong, high %) is used to numb the pain||Over the counter numbing gel or topical anesthetic can be applied if using needles larger than 0.75 mm|
|Safe, since it’s done by a trained professional||Safety might be an issue if device is not sanitized properly or if longer needles are used|
Microneedling At-Home Basics:
- Sterilize your dermaroller before and after each use with isopropyl alcohol (about 70%) or dermaroller sanitizing solution. See our step-by-step guide on how to clean a dermaroller.
- Start with a smaller dermaroller needle size of 0.25mm or 0.3mm and gradually make your way up the size.
- Do not use needles longer than 1mm on face as at-home treatment.
- Do not share your dermaroller.
- Wash your face and hands before microneedling.
- Best time for the procedure – in the evening before you go to bed. This way you’ll maximize skin’s natural regeneration process, and it will be easier to stay away from applying makeup, unwanted sun exposure, sweating and environmental stressors.
- Don’t use retinol, chemical peels and vitamin C in high concentration (15% or stronger) 24 hours before and after microneedling to avoid skin irritation.
- Don’t use microneedling devices if you have active acne, active skin infection like herpes or warts, psoriasis, eczema, blood clotting issues or poor healing, ongoing cancer treatments like chemo or radiotherapy, and also avoid areas with raised moles or raised scars.
- If possible, use chemical-free, fragrance-free, nontoxic, organic or natural skin care products after the treatment. Read more on microneedling aftercare.
- Replace your dermaroller after 10-15 uses.
- Don’t apply strong pressure while rolling to avoid skin tearing.
- Over the counter topical anesthetics/numbing creams can be used to lessen the pain. Remember to wipe off any product left overs from the skin before dermarolling.
- Be patient and have realistic expectations. It takes time to see noticeable results (5-8 treatments) and consistency is the key.
When Should You Replace Your Dermaroller?
A typical dermaroller should last for about 15 treatments. The main reason for replacing your microneedling device is the sharpness of the needles. Similar to razor blades that get dull after 7-12 usages depending on the blade type and the size of shaving area, the needles in your dermaroller get dull with usage and need to be replaced.
Some dermarollers are designed with the detachable heads, so instead of disposing the entire unit you are replacing just the roller head. It is also recommended to dispose your dermaroller if you accidentally dropped your device as the needles can be damaged or bend.
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