What is a Derma Roller & Does it Work?
Also known as microneedle abrasion, Derma Rolling is great for reducing discoloration & depth of stretch marks. It works by breaking down damaged skin cells which stimulates the affected area to produce fresh collagen.
A derma roller won’t remove stretch marks after one or two treatments, but through repeated use, the dermal layers of the skin will increase in thickness and gradually fade away the lines & replace them with healthy, smoother skin.
It will also aid with general skin circulation & increase the absorption of any topical treatments you are using. In fact it is vital to use a lotion after a rolling session.
How This Technique Increases Collagen Production
I have written in more detail on collagen considerations before. Its produced in the middle layer of skin (the dermis) where elastin is also found. So in order to trigger collagen production, it is necessary to reach this dermis.
Derma roller needles need to penetrate through the top layer (the epidermis) first, simply puncturing it so that it may heal quickly after rolling. This way the derma roller can penetrate up to 3mm into the skin without causing extensive damage.
Standard derma rollers contain around 200 needles, which are rolled back and forth over the skin several times and in different directions, creating thousands of tiny skin pricks. Don’t worry, these holes close up by themselves within a couple of hours, the body perceives a ‘mini-trauma’ and the skin’s natural regeneration process is kicks in.
Growth factors are released, stimulating the production of new skin cells. This accelerated cell turnover results in new layers of tissue being formed from collagen and elastin, and is why derma roller therapy is sometimes called ‘collagen induction therapy’.
Over time this new, healthy collagen moves up towards the skin’s surface, until it is evenly spread in the skin, giving the skin a smoother texture.
Best Steps to Perform Derma Rolling
1. Make sure you sanitize the area you wish to treat with a gentle cleanser or alcohol swab first.
2. Some people will apply a numbing agent if they are using longer needle lengths. But always remove this substance entirely before rolling. You want the skin clean & dry.
3. Pull the skin taut with your free hand & roll forwards and backwards over the area you want to treat. Do this 8-10 times in each direction I.e. vertically, horizontally and diagonally.
Apply ample pressure to ensure the needles penetrate the skin entirely. Lift the derma roller slightly after each roll – this will enable the needles to create new micro-channels in the skin, as opposed to going over the same ones repeatedly.
4. If blood spots appear (only expected with longer needles), wash the treated area with water or mild cleanser and dry with a clean towel or allow it to air-dry.
5. Apply a small amount of skin cream or lotion (more on this later).
6. In the following days, cover the area with a moisturizer & clothing to protect against infection.
7. Give your skin a break from rolling in regards to the frequency schedule you have devised (see next). When its time to roll again, repeat the above steps.
How Often Should You Use A Derma Roller?
This will depend on the size of the needles mostly, as well as your personal tolerance to the procedure. The general rule is the smaller the needle, the more frequent you can role. If you are using a 0.5 mm roller, you can use it almost everyday. 1.5 mm is advisable to use once a week tops.
Whereas anything above this I.e. 2-3 mm needle is usually a once a month treatment, as the skin needs ample time to heal & recover from the deeper impressions. This isn’t advised for home treatment & should be done at a doctors office as they can administer a local anesthesia.
So which derma roller should you use for stretch marks? Again this depends on the age & severity of your marks. But for general lines on the body, it is always good to start with the 0.5 mm needle roller to get used to the process. Then you can work your way up if you need to.
Post Rolling Treatments
In essence, the rolling part of this technique is only half the treatment. Yes you need to do it in order to open up the dermis layer of the skin, but this will do little by itself. It’s really only a preparation phase for the treatment you apply after you have rolled.
You will no doubt already have a favorite (or combination) of lotions & creams you use to treat your stretch marks. It’s just about applying the same one here. The rolling should amplify it’s effect.
If you are still struggling to find what works best for you, then start with the natural compounds. Use a cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil or aloe vera. Then move onto a slightly more powerful stretch mark cream if you have to.
How Fast Can I See Results From Derma Rolling?
Like any skin care process, using the derma roller to treat stretch marks is a gradual process, with persistence & patience being the key (don’t expect overnight miracles!) Some people will tell you that this method can make your skin imperfections fade after one or two treatments, but this is certainly not the case.
You should however, notice good results within 3-5 treatments with considerable improvements coming after one year of consistent treatment.
Derma Roller Before And After (6 months usage)
Stretch marks will continue to reduce in appearance for long after your last derma roller treatment too. This is due to the continued repair & renewal of the skin cells.
As I always state, it is unlikely that you will be able to completely get rid of your stretch marks altogether. However with continued derma roller treatments, combined with the application of a good lotion/cream, it should be possible to fade them by around 70%.
Are There Any Derma Roller Side Effects?
If you are using this technique in the correct manner than you shouldn’t have any major problems. There are some common & temporary side effects which are nothing to worry about & harmless for the most part.
These short term conditions include skin reddening, mild inflammation & sun sensitivity which may last up to a few hours tops. You may also experience some skin dryness which can be easily be fixed by your post rolling lotion treatment.
However there are some more serious & less common side effects including bleeding or bruising of the skin. This will typically occur when using a longer needle roller. It’s good practice to refrain from this skin care protocol for a period of time to ensure the skin heals properly. Then consider using a smaller needle roller or consult your local doctor if the problems persist.
If you have a darker skin complexion you may also experience Temporary hyperpigmentation. This condition is usually caused by exposing the skin to sunlight too quickly post derma rolling. Just avoid direct sun exposure or tanning beds for a few days following a derma roller treatment & always use a sunscreen in summer.
The derma roller offers a simple yet successful stretch mark treatment at a fraction of the cost of other cosmetic treatments like laser therapy.
Just about everyone who tries this method to treat their skin, notices at least some results, with very little risks or side effects. Just bear in mind that results will vary from person to person.
The effectiveness of using the derma roller for stretch marks removal & speed of results, will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of the stretch marks, frequency & total number of treatments, in addition to using the correct needle length & effective cream.
Microneedling is still considered non-invasive & can be just as effective as laser treatments & collagen remodeling, so there really is no reason you shouldn’t give it a shot – before you opt for those more painful & costly procedures!
Just give it a go 🙂