• At-home microneedling kits are not as invasive as medical grade devices that professionals use
  • Reviews are mixed on how much benefit home devices provide
  • When microneedling isn’t done right, there’s a real risk that it may cause skin damage

What is microneedling?

Microneedling is performed by rubbing a device covered with hundreds of tiny needles over the skin causing small wounds in the outermost layers of the dermis. These microchannels stimulate the body to produce collagen, the protein that gives the skin its elasticity, and also allow serums and other topical products to be better absorbed.

The concept fascinates me, but my feeling before I started researching this article was that the rewards aren’t worth the risk.

New York City-based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Marina Peredo agrees.

“I don’t think they work well,” says Peredo. “To be honest, I don’t think people should use them. I’ve actually had patients come in with injuries, scars, and indentations from using the devices incorrectly or too aggressively.”

While Peredo is wary of cheap, at-home microneedling devices, she does see benefits in the treatment when it’s performed by experts. At her busy practice in Upper East Side Manhattan, she often combines platelet-rich plasma (PRP) facials  — also known as vampire facials — with microneedling to promote healing and help the growth factors penetrate deeper into the skin.

“We mainly do microneedling on younger patients who are interested in less invasive procedures to address acne scarring. It helps smooth the skin’s texture, while reducing the appearance of large pores,” says Peredo.

The key difference between a do-it-yourself microneedling kit and the medical grade devices that professionals use: home devices are not as invasive, and have much smaller needles than those used in a dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office.

If you still want to try it, Peredo advises that think of it as a substitution for a facial. “Your expectation should be to end up with a nice glow. If you are hoping to smooth your skin tone or get rid of acne scarring, you will most probably be disappointed.”

At-Home microneedling before and afters

 

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Dr. Peredo’s recommendations for at-home use:

  1. Make sure you are using disposable needles.
  2. Sterilize your device with rubbing alcohol before storing it in its case. If you can’t keep the device clean, toss it and get a new one.
  3. If you suffer from cold sores, makes sure you medicate properly.
  4. If you have skin lesions, don’t use an at-home device.
  5. Before buying a device, check consumer reports to see if it got bad reviews.
  6. If it gets invasive, stop. Most at-home devices should not draw blood, which can cause scarring.

Reviews: What real users have to say

I asked two of my friends to share their experience using at-home microneedling rollers.

California-based Amanda Kass has sensitive skin and uses the GloPro (reviewed below).

“I think it works really well and I like it a lot,” she says. “Actually, the plastic surgeon I go to recommended I try it. It feels like a rough exfoliation, but it doesn’t pinch or prick my skin. I use it a few days a week to increase collagen, and I think it really does.”

New York freelance journalist Lilly Dancyger uses the Healthy Care Derma Roller (also reviewed below) to erase fine lines, but hasn’t seen any results yet. “I’ve been doing it every couple of weeks for the past few months, but to be honest I can’t really tell if it’s made a difference.”

Dancyger says the logic behind the device seems sound, so she won’t give up just yet. “One thing that makes it difficult is that I’ve found you can’t really wear makeup for 24 hours afterward, or it stings. So, I only do it when I don’t have to leave the house the next day.” She seconds Kass’ opinion that it feels like using a very abrasive scrub.

Is it safe?

When microneedling isn’t done right, there’s a real risk that it may cause skin damage. In this video, aesthetician Kerry Benjamin of Stacked Skincare in Los Angeles explains the proper technique.

According to Benjamin, you should apply serum 3-5 times a week, then roll vertically, horizontally, and diagonally over your face for no more than two minutes. On her website she advises using needle sizes of no more than .30 mm.

Best microneedling at home products

Here are four of the most popular devices out there. With professional microneedling treatments often priced at over $250, you really can’t beat the low cost of an at-home roller. Still, use your best judgment, and keep Peredo’s advice in mind — don’t go overboard.

1) The Stacked Skincare Collagen Boosting Micro-Roller

Skincare expert and aesthetician Kerry Benjamin launched her product line in 2014 to provide an at-home variation of her custom treatments. Users love the Micro-Roller’s 0.20 mm needles, and say that it helps with acne scars, smoothing the complexion, and reducing large pores. One drawback is that the entire roller needs to be replaced on a monthly basis — unfortunately, you can’t just change out the needle portion.

The Stacked Skincare Collagen Boosting Micro-Roller
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2) Healthy Care New 540 Micro Needles Titanium Microneedle Derma Roller Needle Skin Care, 0.25 mm

You can’t beat the price. Healthy Care’s roller delivers, and has very small needles so you are less likely to damage the skin.  Some people also prefer their rollers a bit larger, and this one is very small. If you are in a rush, you might not want to wait the three to six weeks for shipping that product requires.

Healthy-Care-New-540-Micro-Needles-Titanium-Microneedle-Derma-Roller-Needle-Skin-Care-0.25-mm-

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3) Rodan and Fields Redefine AMP MD System

This trusted brand has an effective, but pricey, derma roller that can firm skin, and reducing lines with its micro-exfoliation roller technology. The Redefine Night Renewing serum is included in the system, which is an added bonus. Also, the company specifies that they use micro-exfoliating tips, which are not needles, for those who are purists. The kit comes with a clear storage case and a cleansing vial.

Rodan-and-Fields-Redefine-AMP-MD-System

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4) Ora Microneedle Face Roller System 0.25mm

This wins raves for both face and body. The roller has 200 titanium needles of 0.25mm. Perfect for smoothing skin texture and fading pigmentation.

Ora-Microneedle-Face-Roller-System-0.25mm

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5) RegenaGlow Derma Roller for Face and body

The RegenaGlow Derma Roller is a complete microneedling package that includes an organic cotton carrying bag, a storage case, a cleaning cup, and a serum bottle. An e-manual rounds out the bundle, providing tips and tricks for optimal roller use.

The roller’s 540 titanium needles are guaranteed not to break, bend, or dull. It also comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

RegenaGlow Derma Roller for Face and body

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6) HANU Beauty Premium ZGTS Derma Roller

While there are many dermarollers on the market, few beat the ZGTS in terms of design. Its premium build marries a luxurious look with an ergonomic form for a great at-home microneedling experience.

The ZGTS boasts a 192 titanium needle roller, with each needle coming in at a solid 0.25mm in length. If you are looking to try it out, Hanu offers a 30 day money back guarantee to ensure satisfaction.

HANU Beauty Premium ZGTS Derma Roller

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After learning all about these at-home kits and reading the praise they get online, I’m tempted to try dermarolling myself. I’ll only use a smaller kit with 192 needles though, and stick to the less invasive 0.20 mm size for the lower face and around the mouth and eye area.

For those of you who still aren’t convinced, here are some final words of advice from Peredo: “If you choose to undergo a professional microneedling treatment instead, make sure you do your research, and go to a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon that is reputable, licensed, and has good reviews. This is not the time to use a Groupon.”

About The Author

Articles by

Gary D. Breslow, MD, FACS is a highly regarded board certified plastic surgeon in New Jersey, known by both patients and peers as a problem-solver with a warm, engaging personality, and an instinctive ability to identify and truly understand the goals of his patients and the patients, themselves.

Originally from Long Island, New York, Dr. Breslow graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor of Science degree and received his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine.

Following medical school, Dr. Breslow spent 6 years training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s nationally renowned Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency Program. There he received extensive training in both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery from some of the nation’s top practitioners. After leaving Penn, he returned to NYU Medical Center to spend one year as the Microvascular Reconstructive Fellow at NYU’s prestigious Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Breslow is Board-Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and is licensed to practice plastic and reconstructive surgery in both New Jersey and New York.

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