THE HOW-TO >
Over the past year I've learned a few things about the prickly treatment, a major one being that serums are key. The type of roller you choose is also important. Listening to the advice of other rollers I first decided to order a micro needling device with the longest needles possible, 1.5mm. Each tiny needle punctures the skin causing a micro injury. This is said to signal the body to repair itself by producing more collagen which in turn plumps up your skin and any indented scars.
As it turned out long needles are not always better. I actually had superior results using my new 1.0mm roller above from Petunia Skincare which can be found inexpensively on Amazon. They sent over a sample of their new Derma Rolling collection including this model roller and two serums to use with it.
More a series of personal observations than a step by step how-to there are a few really important things to consider before embarking on this at home:
Right now I'm using the 1.0mm roller above from Petunia Skincare which is probably the tamest of rollers and what a difference. The other roller I was using was so painful that I started to use it as a form of punishment for procrastination. I got a lot of work done but the micro needling treatments fell by the wayside and it's sort of good thing that they did.
All micro needling devices are actually created for single use in a clinical setting. They come in sealed bags and are immediately tossed if you were to have the service done in office by a dermatologist or esthetician. Since we're the only one using it at home we can use it a bit more but my last one only lasted through 8 uses before the needles became dull. Once this happens it can starting doing more harm than good. The holes from my old Derma Roller became too big, drawing blood and making noticeable prick marks that were not going away.
This particular roller by Petunia Skincare is a lot better made and substantial with needles, 540 actually, that are densely packed into the roller drum. I'm hoping it stays sharp longer but will not hesitate to get another one as it's so much less painful and the results are stellar.
Next to the roller itself the most important part is the serums you use. I'm grateful to have a really good collection now to use with my roller and alone in-between sessions. Out of them all, the most important ended up being a fresh Vitamin C serum with a concentration of at least 20%. This made the biggest difference in how my skin felt and looked afterwards.
My current personal favorite Vitamin C serum, which was kindly sent over to try out, ended up being Naturalico's 20% vitamin C and E. Unlike Ole Henriksen and numerous other brands I attempted to use in the past, Naturalico does not use Dimethicone which I'm allergic to nor other commercial shelf stabilizers. It's color is clear which is also important because when vitamin C oxidizes it yellows and becomes inactive, basically doing nothing for your skin. No irritating fragrance lurk inside either. This is one of the reasons I'm so hooked on Amazon right now, there are numerous small companies producing batches of fresh skincare on the same level as what you would find in derm offices and exclusive spas. Definitely look for C serums like the one here with the vitamin C listed in the top five ingredients to make the most positive difference.
The next form of serum I use along with the Vitamin C is a Hyaluronic Acid formula which draws and locks water into the skin. This is important because the Derma Roller seems to temporarily cause your skin to loose water and become flaky dry. While there are a lot of Hyaluronic serums out there again I love Petunia because they're using pure vegetable glycerin &/or aloe vera gel in place of Dimethicone. It's unreal how many serums are completely based on break out inducing cones right now.
What also sets this particular Hyaluronic Acid serum from Petunia apart is it's inclusion of Neroli. It's actually the second ingredient making this smell heavenly. Neroli comes from the flower of the bitter orange tree and just happens to be one of my favorite fragrances of all time. A fresh, orangy citrus mixed with a little white floral in the same vein as Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse. Usually I prefer my skincare to be unscented but clearly here the Neroli is more than just fragrance, instead it's lending skincare benefits such as stimulating new cell growth, helping to prevent scaring and regulating oil production so pores end up looking smaller. Synergistic things to go with the micro-needling.
After those two the last serum I was really, really looking forward to using is Petunia Skincare's Revitalize Eye Serum. Along with Matrixyl 3000 and Ferulic Acid this contains sea kelp extract and Niacinamide. Those last two are biggies. Recently I was reading about all the research being done on sea kelp extract and Niacinamide's (Vitamin B3) enzyme ability to reverse skin damage from the sun on a DNA level. The findings on skin cancer prevention in particular made me immediately put a serum with those two ingredients on my wish list and then I find I had it all along. Yup, this stuff is slathered all over my face and on my neck and shoulders too. This does help dark circles, minus any milia, but even if I saw zero visible results just knowing this could be preventing my cells from mutating is going to make me a user for life.
HOW I DO IT
- I always keep everything clinically clean. Break out the first aid kit and use the sterile gauze sheets to lay on all surfaces that the Derma Roller will be resting on. Wash hands in hot water for a few minutes, scrub them well and use a good disinfecting soap to lather up. Use gloves even. The Derma Roller itself should be disinfected itself by soaking it in alcohol and dipping it in a cup of boiling water. I personally do this before moving to each section of my face to prevent spreading infection. I also wash my face well with a tea tree based cleanser and use an alcohol based toner to further disinfect the skin.
- Follow the directions on the box for using the Derma Roller. Petunia Skincare's is pretty thorough and easy to follow. I like to section my face into four quadrants—forehead, left and right cheek and temple and then the chin.
- Some apply their serums after they've rolled their entire face but I like to apply mine after finishing each quadrant because you're skin immediately starts trying to heal the tiny holes created with the roller. This is why they're now trying to come out with devices, for clinical use, that micro needle and inject serums at the same time. I think my method mimics this a little more. Placing a warm towel on your face a few minutes before starting helps this too.
- Gently pat the serums into the skin with clean fingertips instead of rubbing them in until they feel absorbed. You may want to top with a triple antibiotic salve, I do.
- I like doing this on the weekends and in the evening because my face turns pretty flushed for 24 hours. Everyone's different but I prefer not to wear any kind of makeup, not even BB cream, while my skin heals. I will always use sunblock as the serums can make your skin extra sensitive to the light and it would be a shame to damage it when you've gone through so much work.
- Drink plenty of water. Staying well hydrated is something I found is extremely important after Derma Rolling.
- As for how often, I only do it once a week at first and maybe twice a month after. This has a way of making your skin feel rather rough as it becomes very dry, scaly and starts to peel. Which is a good thing actually but it does not feel particularly nice. It looks plumped out but I like the smoothness that comes when skins fully healed.
Look for an update on how this improves my skin later on in the year. It should be interesting. Have you ever tried this? Any tips on making it hurt less?
Serums c/o Petunia Skincare & Naturalico
Derma Roller c/o Petunia Skincare
This is based on my own personal experiences with Derma Rolling facials and is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your health and skincare provider.
Image: mam for Gave That