What is dermarolling and how bad does it hurt?

There used to be a time when the idea of using an instrument studded with tiny needles on your face could only be considered a form of torture. Today, that instrument would be called a dermaroller, and it would be used in a cosmetic procedure that could help your skin absorb product more easily, trigger collagen production, and literally roll away signs of aging from your face. 

Healthline says dermarolling or microneedling has several benefits including reduced wrinkles and stretch marks, reduced acne scarring, facial rejuvenation, and better product absorption. If needles are under 1 mm and you aren’t afraid of pain, dermarolling may not even require any anesthetic cream. 

Different sized needles on a dermaroller achieve different effects

The size of the needles on a dermaroller are determined by the outcome that the procedure is expected to achieve.

A dermaroller with a bunch of needles that are between 0.1 to 0.2 mm “is an instrument that creates micro pathways in the skin for product to better penetrate. [The needles] wouldn’t necessarily be for collagen synthesis. It’s a great way to get your products to absorb and penetrate the skin,” aesthetician Kristyn Smith tells Elle

But when the needles are a bit larger (say 0.5 mm), Maria Angelica, who is also an aesthetician, says the desired effect of dermarolling changes, and it becomes something done to stimulate wound healing. “A dermaroller creates tiny pricks around the skin and gives enough space in between so the wound healing response takes over. You grow new skin,” she says. The result: a smoother and more even complexion. To treat stretch marks, Healthline says dermarollers can even have needles as that are as large as 2 mm.

You may need numbing cream for a derrmarolling procedure

It might sound scary and painful, but Healthline says the procedure is not really invasive and has little to no downtime, but the recovery process depends entirely on the size of the needles that your aesthetician might have used on you. Cosmopolitan says a home dermarolling session is best done with needles that are under 0.25 mm, and that will probably feel mildly irritating for anyone who can tolerate pain. But procedures that involve microneedling with larger needles needs to be done with an application of numbing cream and if you have low pain tolerance, Angelica tells Elle that it may be better if you have any dermarolling procedure done by a professional, instead of trying it at home at all.

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