The buzzy practice of at-home micro-needling sounds a lot more daunting than it is. Unlike what the name implies it’s not some sort of at-home DIY acupuncture. Micro-needling involves using a micro-needler—aka a hand-held device that looks like a miniature paint roller covered in metal spikes—over the skin on your face. This creates thousands of teensy-tiny holes in the skin. It’s not as painful as it sounds either (I swear!). The “micro” injury that’s created stimulates collagen over time to improve acne scars, fine lines, and skin texture and allows for an increased absorption of skin care products.
Of course, it’s not without its risks. In fact, the dermatologists I spoke with recommended the in-office treatment. “In my opinion, this is a procedure best done by an expert because the in-office treatments are more effective and can go a bit deeper than the at-home devices,” says Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi, the founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and an associate clinical professor in the department of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center. “Making thousands of little holes, which can bleed, by yourself is not a good idea! That said, at-home micro-needling can be used with little risk when used appropriately—though, they do not deliver the same results as an in-office treatment.”
Assuming you’re doing it correctly (we’ll get to that in a moment!), it’s important to note that you probably won’t get the same results as an in-office treatment.
“Pro micro-needling uses a roller with longer needles than you’d use at home, prompting it to create more collagen (similar to a laser),” explains Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist. In fact, at-home micro-needling won’t even necessarily help boost collagen. It will, however, help product penetration, which can help soften the appearance of lines. It also lightly exfoliates, which can help treat and prevent breakouts and give you that coveted glow.
Diana Ralys Skin Health
Given that in-office micro-needling treatments can cost north of $250, however, it’s not surprising that the at-home treatment has skyrocketed in popularity. In fact, many women swear by it. “At-home micro-needling has done wonders for my sensitive and blemish-prone skin,” says skin care expert and founder of Luxe Botanics, Jené Roestorf. “It’s allowed me to extend the benefits of dermatologist in-office treatments, such as extra-depth micro-needling and fractional radiofrequency, into my home care routine while also ensuring my natural skin care products can penetrate deeper to be even more effective.”
If you’re going to give at-home micro-needling a whirl, however, Tanzi underlines that caution is needed for people with sensitive skin. Those with severe acne or rosacea should consult their dermatologist. Also, to start, at-home micro-needling should be done at most once a week, but you can slowly work your way up to two to four times a week. It’s important to pay attention to how your skin feels, since everyone’s tolerance to the treatment is different.
The key to doing it safely is to hold the skin taut when using the micro-needler. Roll, for about two minutes, vertically, horizontally, and diagonally over your whole face.
The key to doing it safely is to hold the skin taut when using the micro-needler. Roll, for about two minutes, vertically, horizontally, and diagonally over your whole face. Always apply a serum before the treatment and a serum and moisturizer after the treatment. Since this procedure boosts product absorption, you should pick a serum that targets your specific skin care concern (ie: a vitamin C serum for dark spots and scarring, hyaluronic acid serum for dryness, or a stem cell or peptide serum for anti-aging.) It’s also recommended to stay away from alpha hydroxy acids and retinols until your skin is used to the treatment. It’s also important to speak with your esthetician or dermatologist before picking your micro-needler, so you can find the appropriate needle length for your skin. If that’s not an option, make sure you’re not going with a needle over 0.3mm.
While you won’t experience any pain (it feels more like a vibration than pain), expect your skin to be red and a little flakey for several days. After you’ve finished the treatment, sterilize the roller in alcohol, and don’t forget that it needs to be replaced every few months (monthly if you use it a few times a week).
Would you give home micro-needling a chance or are you already a fan? Let us know in the comments below!