The promise of reduced eye bags, fewer wrinkles and fine lines, improved skin elasticity, and reduced acne scarring has skincare enthusiasts inflicting what seems like a strange form of North Korean torture. Micro Needle Rolling, the process of pressing a small roller with rows of hundreds of tiny needles all over your face, is one of the most trendy at home skincare treatments with an extensive list of positive results. And of course I had to try it to see what all the hype is about.
How it Works
But first, let's dive into the science of how it works. The idea is that by inflicting hundreds of tiny injuries to your skin, your body will then respond by ramping up collagen production to repair the injuries, thus resulting in firmer, smoother skin. When paired with a serum filled with active ingredients, like Alder New York's Everyday Face Serum, the tiny injuries will allow the serum to better penetrate the dermas, making it more effective.
Different needle sizes have different results. A smaller needle size, below 0.5 mm, will just provide better absorption of a serum. When you go up in size, wrinkles and fine lines are reduced, skin is tightened and acne scars and eye bags are diminished. However, with larger needles, pain, bleeding, and healing time increase as well. Larger micro needle rollers will require numbing creams to make them bearable, and recovery can take up to a month.
Surprisingly, given the risks, you can get just about any sized roller via Amazon and need no particular training to use a micro needle roller.
Testing it Out
When it came time to trying it out first hand, I went with a 0.25 mm roller. The first step was to clean my face of any dirt that could be spread around and forced into my skin by the needles. It's important to not use a roller if you have acne, because rolling over pimples will spread the bacteria from your pimples to other areas of your face causing more breakouts.
After cleansing, I applied Everyday Face Serum and then got rolling. When using a serum with a roller, make sure it's not composed of extremely harsh active ingredients like retinol or high concentrations of AHAs and BHAs, as they'll make the pain a lot worse and can be a bit overkill in terms of skin treatments.
When rolling, I started first going up and down, then left to right, then at a diagonal across all the surfaces of my face. It was painful, especially on my forehead, where my skin was less fleshy. After rolling, I applied serum to my face again and then followed up with a moisturizer.
After micro needle rolling I didn't expect to look terribly different; I don't have many wrinkles to get rid of or under-eye bags to reduce, but I was curious to see if micro needle rolling would improve serum penetration. The day after rolling my skin looked the same with the exception of being a bit sore. The following day I started to notice small red bumps and a few pimples. Days later they cleared up and my skin returned to its normal radiance. I wish I could say I saw an improvement or that I was willing to go through the process of rolling again but I can't. If anything, rolling made my skin look worse, and it hurt.
If you want to use a micro needle roller for daily use to improve serum absorption- skip it. If you want the benefits of using a larger sized micro needle roller, go to a cosmetic dermatologist who can treat you with a professional micro needling procedure and can advise you with further at home micro needling treatments.