What do you know about microneedling?

by Kate Lee

It's 2017 and it's unlikely that you haven't seen Instagram or Youtube posts about dermarolling or microneedling. At the very least, you've heard of it and perhaps even raised your eyebrows in curiosity. We break down the research behind the technique's skin renewal process.

This may be a lot for the squeamish. After all, it may seem intimidating and counterintuitive to roll a bunch of tiny needles across your face to achieve beautiful skin. A little scary? Yes. A little intriguing? Yes, but it depends on your threshold for pain and level of curiosity.

The science behind dermarolling, or microneedling, points to increased skin cell renewal by creating micro-tears in your skin. The tiny wounds created by the micro-needling technique stimulate the release of growth factors and signal your cells to ramp up collagen production. It basically is like your body giving a green light for all of your wound-healing cells to proliferate. This in turn improves cell turnover so your skin is constantly in a rejuvenated state. A dermaroller should not be confused with a jade roller. The latter is a technique of massaging to improve skin circulation and increase lymphatic drainage.

Dr. Sach Mohan describes the dermaroller as something that looks like a "medieval torture device" but it actually can help patients achieve a youthful appearance. It can "enhance the skin's ability to regenerate and heal itself." Watch the video below as he demonstrates how it's done at the doctor's office. 

Microneedling can also be done at home. According to medical esthetician, Jordana Mattioli, "the at home microneedling devices are usually in the form of rollers with different needle lengths, with the ideal size being 0.25mm in length." Aside from the benefits of skin regeneration, it can also help to increase the efficacy of your products. "Using a roller at home will help your products penetrate faster, so as long as you don't have sensitive skin, or active acne, using a roller at home could get you faster results with your skincare." 

There are a number of dermarolling tutorials for at-home use like the video above. It's important to pay attention to needle length and proper sterilization techniques before each use. Because you're creating micro-tears in your skin, a dirty dermaroller can be more harmful. Interested in doing it yourself? Cop your own dermaroller.

Although there is a body of research stating its safety and efficacy, data points to its usefulness for those with scars and wrinkles. More research is necessary to more conclusively say how useful it is for other skin types, especially those with more sensitive skin conditions.