In the quest to maintain youthful looking skin on the cheap, many are turning to derma rollers, a handheld device with tiny needles that puncture the skin and temporarily erase wrinkles. However, dermatologists are not fans of these piercing contraptions, and say that derma rollers, or micro needling, damages the skin and can cause bacterial infections and inflammation.
Celebrities turn to micro needling to increase collagen production, smooth out uneven pigment, and eliminate wrinkles. A facialist uses the roller to create tiny injuries in the epidermis and dermis. The skin responds by producing collagen, which thickens and strengthens the skin.
Professional procedures operate on a very different protocol than what beauty aficionados try at home. An aesthetician, dermatologist, or facialist will prime the skin with a topical anesthetic and collagen-stimulating products, and will then use a new, clean roller. Patients usually undergo three treatments a year.
However, using a derma roller at home without proper sterilization can cause scarring, bacteria and yeast growth, breakouts, rosacea, brown spots, eczema, and melisma.
“Your risk of scarring or creating a problem is there, but you don’t get a benefit. Unless you’re using a sterile or disposable [derma roller], it can grow bacteria and yeast and you’re going to have that penetrate the skin. I’m not saying never to do it, but from what I’ve seen available now, there’s nothing that’s safe and reliable. It’s not made for home use just yet,” said Doris Day, MD, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital for Moneyish. “You can get scarring; you can get bumps under your skin; you can get infections — some of that can be permanent.”