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Does microneedling at home work?

By Alice Hart-Davis
13th January 2022

Microneedling or dermarolling is the use of tiny needles to create a controlled micro-injury on the skin surface. Scary as this sounds the process stimulates collagen and elastin production for plumper, smoother and more radiant skin and can treat everything from acne scars to wrinkles.

Many aesthetic clinics offer this treatment and it can cost up to £300 for one treatment. It’s an easy and effective way to rejuvenate the skin and deliver a healthy glow.

This is a still of me trying the SkinPen microneedling treatment with expert practitioner Heidi Oldershaw. Check that video out here

Microneedling at home isn’t nearly as expensive as in a clinic but does it work and is it safe?

Can you microneedle at home?

When you have microneedling in a clinic, the practitioner will use a roller or device with relatively long needles – between 1mm and 3mm – and these create micro-channels of damage in the skin. The goal is to make a controlled trauma in the skin, which kick-starts the body’s wound-healing response, which leads to the production of new collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep the skin strong and springy. With home microneedling, the needles on the device are shorter; they don’t reach deep enough into the skin to provoke collagen and elastin production. That means that the benefits of home needling are really to increase product penetration – because, obviously, if you stab a load of holes in the skin, any products that you use afterwards are drop right into the skin, rather than sit about on the surface, waiting to be absorbed.

The internet is full of fabulous reviews of home microneedling, but it is important to realise that home microneedling will use needles ranging from 0.2mm to an absolute maximum of 1.0mm, which will only cause tiny injuries to the skin. However many reviewers rave about the difference it has made to their skin.

So if you decide to try at home microneedling you should make sure you watch some how-to videos on YouTube from respected influencers and doctors and always, always, always prioritise hygiene. Buy some surgical spirit or other recommended disinfectant and clean your roller thoroughly before and after use and only use it on freshly cleansed skin because you don’t want to introduce infection-causing bacteria into the skin.

What do dermatologists think of microneedling?

However, some top dermatologists are not keen on home microneedling. They feel it causes unnecessary trauma to the skin and if it’s not done meticulously carefully, can leave the skin scratched, as one put it to me, ‘like the surface of an old CD’. Also,  few of the products that people apply after needling are designed to go as deep into the skin as they will through the needled holes (if a product has fragrance in it, for instance, that is very likely to cause irritation).

So, be sure to bear this in mind and research thoroughly any products you are using afterwards to make sure they are suitable.

If you have been given the home-use roller and appropriate products by a skincare professional, and they’re keeping an eye on your skin and your progress, that’s fine by me. What worries me is random, possibly over-enthusiastic home needling, using products that may cause skin to flare up.

If you’re looking for a practitioner that can deliver great microneedling results, find your nearest practitioner here.

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