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Dermaroll - not a treatment for the faint-hearted

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
July 23, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 29 Comments

I came across a procedure called dermarolling the other day. As far as I could tell, it seemed to be a treatment for acne scars. I later found recipients of dermarolling reporting that they had suffered from intense pain and bleeding skin. Then I came across people who dermaroll at home. I started out being intrigued and then curious in a repulsed, guilty kind of way (like when you surreptitiously rubber-neck a vehicle crash on the freeway).

A dermaroll, such as the one made by Environ (pictured above), is a small roller covered with hundreds of very tiny needles. The micro-needles penetrate the epidermis. Proponents say that the advantage of dermarolling over chemical peeling is that it doesn't remove the epidermis. Nonetheless, all these little needle pricks will cause bleeding. The skin perceives that it has undergone a trauma, and it starts to produce collagen to repair the wounds.

The at-home users are not entirely masochistic; the domestic versions are reasonably gentle and will cause redness and swelling at most. The experimental at-homers add collagen creams or other topicals which, as a result of all the needle holes, will be absorbed more readily. People report good results with lip lines. Acne scar treatments seem to have more mixed results.

People who undergo the professional version in a salon may indeed be masochists. Or deeply troubled. I found a most distressing (too horrible to inflict on you all) picture of someone having a demaroll treatment. It was not posted online by someone trying to dissuade the public from going anywhere near a dermaroll, but by a dermatologist who performs dermaroll with the Environ Medical Roll-CIT and has a financial interest in the company. It is hard to believe that a picture of a pulpy, bloody face is seen as marketing.  This is clearly not a treatment for the squeamish.

See also:
Beware of Micro Needling
Stem Cell Dermarolling Facial

  • April 14, 2012

    by kristi willis

    Micro Needling is the absolute best treatment I have found! Now available from the ProActiv Drs. Rodan + Fields AMP MD microderm roller & anti-age night serum for home use. It has produced amazing results on me & so many people. I loved it so much & was recommending it to my friends and salons anyway I joined them in business!

  • January 17, 2012

    by ming

    hello there i already used dermaroller and i make hard rolling on my face suddenly i have a checkered lines on my forehead cause of hard rolling. how many days till it subside but on my cheeks its already normal im only concerned on my forehead because of the lines cause of dermaroller is it normal because of hardrolling? thanks :)

  • September 6, 2011

    by Stephanie G

    Just wanted to say thank you Ella for the update! I think people look for instant results when it comes to boosting collagen production and that's just not how it works.

  • September 6, 2011

    by Ella

    Hi everyone...
    I commented back in 2009 about the dermaroller and just wanted to leave and bit more feedback. Since then I had another 2 treatments. I saw very good results on the temples and forehead, but not such a dramatic improvement on the cheeks but still noticible. So from my experience it works better on the less 'padded' parts of the face. Hope this is useful info for someone. Ella

  • April 25, 2011

    by Dennis

    I have also seen results from dermaroller. They occurred so subtly and over such a period of time that I didn't even notice until one day I realized that all of the finger nail marks on my face were gone, which is the main reason I had the procedure.

    A little back story: me and my little brother fought like cats and dogs as kids and his main line of defense was to scratch at me. Thus I had permanent fingernail scars on my face, which with age and loss off collagen really became noticeable in the past few years. Anyway, these are now all but gone, except for a couple that were very deep.

    I'm also very interested in the idea that the smaller needled dermarollers for home use improve product penetration.

    I've heard a lot of good things about the Genosys model with a vibrating head:

  • April 25, 2011

    by Shazi

    I've been using the 2mm dermaroller on very bad 18 year old pregnancy stretchmarks on my lower stomach, hips and butt(they are thick and 'silvery')for about 2 months. I use it on average 3 or 4 times a weeks and I am DEFINITELY noticing improvement as I have before and after photos.

    I'm also using it on my face as I have a few patches of hyperpigmentation that were not removed by a Phenol peel I had done 2 years ago, but there's been no difference so far however I won't stop. Personally I can state the Phenol peel was by far the best thing I have ever done for my skin. I was teased a lot as I had so much permanent pigmentation (from pregnancy and sun) that made my face look dirty, but the peel removed 90% of it AND the frown lines / crows feet. 2 years down the line my face looks 15 years younger than my age of 42. I'm hoping the dermaroller will help with the remaining pigmentation and with the skin on my neck.

    I'd really like names and suppliers of quality collagen and vitamin creams as I've been using Bio-oil, but it's not so convenient to use on the face as it gets in my hair.

    Thanks :)
    ps, I had the Phenol peel done in South Africa as surgeons here in the UK won't do it due to health and safety issues that could arise.

  • April 21, 2011

    by Sajid

    Just 5 days agao I got my first dermaroller 1.5 treatment from a cosmetic specialist.
    The problem is that the after redness of two days the area is more darker and quite visible.
    It is embarassing for me in the office. I am expecting some progress in coming days.
    Can anyone let me know, if it is normal and I can expect a better result.

  • March 24, 2011

    by cantique

    I am using serum /gel collagen and O2 (oxigen) for dermaroller treatment, it works :-), solved my problem, actually I am usually buy serum/gel and anesthesi for dermaroller at and

    hope this info will help you all :-)

  • January 18, 2011

    by Alison

    Hi Danny - what is the brand for Retinol serum 1 and 2? Is it otc or prescription? Thanks.

  • January 17, 2011

    by Dannyengland

    Hey :) the serum is the Retinol serum 2 .it's best to start on the serum 1 as it's really good stuff . I'm mixing it with osmosis boost for extra amazing results . It's a wow combination

  • January 16, 2011

    by deb

    what serum Danny? this all sounds very interesting....if done properly.

  • January 15, 2011

    by Dannyengland

    Hey all. Now I was going to write a thing about this . I've got the environ dermaroller and the newer very small kind of stamp version that you can use around the eyes .

    I met with the environ lady a while ago and she explained the reasons behind using it. The needle size on the home versions are 0.2 which teeny and you won't even feel a thing whilst using it . It does work . The Tiny minute punctures made cause rapid new dermal
    Matrix to be made and also allows your creams , serums to be properly absorbed much deeper . I've been using one for years now .

    The only problem is when silly people buy online larger versions even 1mm, 1.5 or I've even heard of a lady using a 2mm every day . She ripped her face to shreds tore all her collagen and elastin fibres and scarred heavily and bled and got infected . This level is only used by a derm in a proper clean environment or in surgery for extreme acne or scarring or stretch marks . The only safe way for us at home is the teeny needle and it will far surpass our needs.

    So funny how this message came up yesterday as I met the environ lady and had my face scanned using the machine and I bought one of the serums I had researched . Also I questioned her about sodium benzoate . But that's for later.

    Hugs . Danny

  • January 14, 2011

    by Carmen

    If you want complete instructions on how to DIY dermaroll check out
    Very informative and blunt on how it works, how to do it correctly and they sell all the products at very, very reasonable prices. A high quality roller for $30 US. I'm 58 and have acne scars. I've done deep dermabrasion and a modified face lift which improved the scars but, not enough. I've checked out everything I can on the web and talked to professionals about it and this site was the best source of good info and products. I placed my order and can't wait! I'll keep you posted

  • August 26, 2009

    by Kathy

    Hi Gals,
    I'm interested in the Dermaroller too -- can you send me any info about it?

    There's a registered nurses here in my area who will do it. I am going on Friday to find out more about it. Also, I'll ask her about home treatments. I have seen lots of ads for them, but don't know which brand is best. The prices vary wildly.

    I'll let all of you know what happens when I get back from my appt. on Friday!

  • August 3, 2009

    by amber

    RE: Dermaroll post from Franci (May 28, 2009)

    I would also like a copy of the information she requested. If possible please email it to above address.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work. I love your site!!!

  • June 2, 2009

    by Jennifer LeBlanc

    I noticed my "11" had started to get deeper, more static than dynamic something had to be done. I have been rolling 4x a week for 3 weeks with a .25 roller. My "11" is gone. I am using Image Max in conjunction with hyaluronic acid after rolling at night. It is very painful when the needles penetrate. Then its over. Unlike a peel which can only be used sparingly, cause hyper pigmentation, scaring, infection and sever pain the dermaroller can be used gently more frequently to achieve the same results.

  • May 28, 2009

    by franci

    Hi everyone, thanks for all your tips/insights on dermaroll. I am 39 and my skin has just a few and very light lines, overall ok but was looking to improve the tone, open pores on nose, and avoid further wrinkling. I had a dermaroll treatment done in salon a week ago and so far so good, I am still waiting to see results, but my skin didn't look so red afterward and I didn't feel much pain: with the numbing cream it was just like a scrub. I am now buying the dermaroller suggested in this post and planning to do dermaroll treatment at home. Bethany or Martha, if you email me your information regarding dermaroll home treatment (any suggestions, things to avoid, aftercare, best cream to use) I would be most grateful!you can send it to Best wishes, Fx

  • May 22, 2009

    by Ella

    Hi Marta,

    I'll probably wait the recommended three months post treatment before seriously reviewing the results and deciding if another treatment would be necessary. If I continue to see significant changes over the next two months and thought further improvement would be possible with this method, then yes, I would consider another treatment. I'll keep you posted...

  • May 22, 2009

    by marta

    Thank you for sharing. I am pleased (and relieved) that you like the results. Is one treatment enough? And if not, would you do it again?
    My best,

  • May 20, 2009

    by Ella

    As promised, a few words. After some research into acne scar treatments I came across the dermaroller ( and to me, it made sense. I can see why the treatment might cause a shock horror response, the idea of hundreds of needle pricks is not pleasant. However, alternatives such as laser resurfacing and deep peels seem far more invasive to me, so much so that I would never seriously consider them.

    That being said, the procedure itself was painful, more so than I had anticipated, despite the use of numbing cream. However, immediately after the treatment I only felt a slight discomfort and sensitivity, much like mild sunburn. I certainly didn't need any rest or downtime, and whilst I was left with very obvious redness, this died down entirely after about three days.

    The idea behind the treatment is collagen induction rather than resurfacing, therefore results improve over time, approximately three months before full results are visible. In addition to this, between one and three treatments may be necessary. Therefore it isn't something that provides instant gratification, and this more gradual and subtle aspect may deter some. It is only four weeks since my treatment and I have already seen a marked improvement to the scars on my cheeks, the skin looks significantly smoother. I have also seen a change in the areas that were not scarred, the skin on my forehead for example, is firmer and some deeper lines much less visible.

    So far I am pleased...

  • April 11, 2009

    by marta


    We'd love to hear about how you got on. And, in the meantime, good luck!

  • April 11, 2009

    by Ella

    Very shortly I am going to have the medical dermaroller procedure at the Hammersmith Hospital in London with the aim of treating some facial acne scarring. If anyone is interested I can report back with my experience and findings...

  • September 16, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>How about Biojuvenate Vitanol-A ($52) has a good dose of vitamin C along with the retinol. Chamomile and calendula will sooth to counteract any irritation caused by the retinol. Check out our list of five best retinol (vit A) with good suggestions from readers <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p>

  • September 16, 2008

    by Tori

    <p>I am VERY interested in trying dermarolling. I noticed you mentioned a "pre-treatment" of Vitamin A and C prior to and after each treatment. Any recommendations of products that provide said treatments??</p>

  • August 8, 2008

    by Mike626

    <p>S - I'm curious, how does it feel? Is it a strange sensation, painful?</p>

  • August 8, 2008

    by S

    <p>If anyone is interested, the I bought my Dermaroller from </p>

    <p>They have very good prices - one Derma Roller only for 69 USD (including worldwide shipping). </p>

    <p>You may look for more info.</p>

  • July 27, 2008

    by bethany

    <p>I'll send you an email with all of the details...I can also touch on scars, needles lengths, topicals, etc.</p>

  • July 27, 2008

    by marta

    <p>Bethany<br />
    I would love to know more. Your experience sounds very compelling. Also, one of our readers told me that she has just been advised by Dr Pickart, to use a dermaroll to treat scars. So more we know, the better. </p>

    <p>Many, many thanks<br />

  • July 27, 2008

    by bethany

    <p>Marta, I have a slew of journal articles and studies on dermarolling if you are interested in reading any of them...the clinicals are very compelling, but there is some significant pain involved for many people (like ME!). However, I just finished a series of 6 rolls, and I am definitely starting to see some improvement now that the collagen production is kicking in and the micro-inflammation is fading away. A line completely disappeared from my forehead, along with fine lines around my eyes. Plus, my hands have been transformed...pigmentation has diminished, and the skin on my hands is thicker now.</p>

    <p>Your readers should know that there is more to it than just becoming a human order to optimize collagen production, you need to pre-treat your skin for roughly a month in advance with high levels of Vit A and C. And you need to do so post-roll as well. Also, longer needles are not necessarily better, and neither are more frequent rolls. (I use 1.0mm for deeper rolls, and a .15mm for enhancing product penetration a few times a week)</p>

    <p>BTW, I recommend the Dr. Roller models because they are much higher quality than many of the knockoffs, have a cross-linked needle pattern that ensures deeper and cleaner penetration, and they are weighted for smoother rolling.</p>

    <p>Let me know if you want any of the details on protocol, timing, things to avoid doing, etc.</p>

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