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Dermaroll - not a treatment for the faint-hearted

Is a Solution for:
Sagging Skin
Reviewed by Marta July 23, 2008 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! kwillis.myrandf.com

  • 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:

    http://www.amazon.com/Genosys-Microneedle-Vibrating-Function-Detachable/dp/B0043JIFCY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=hpc&qid=1303772037&sr=8-1

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