I adore a good needling – being needled or doing the needling! Professional micro-needling is probably my absolute favourite treatment as it just gets results for so many different concerns, from acne scarring to wrinkles. It can be used in conjunction with other treatments and the results it gets are comparable to a dermal peel with less downtime.
However, I’ve taken note that many are confused in the difference between in-salon micro-needling and home-rolling. True micro-needling, as in the type that stimulates the skin’s own creation of collagen and speeds up cell turnover, can only be done in a salon with a needle that is between 1-1.5mm in depth.
Not trying to be a buzzkill but you shouldn’t be home rolling with something that can go that deep. You wouldn’t trust someone with no training to micro-needle you – well, doing it yourself is just that.
Home rolling should only be done with a rolling device with needles of 0.1mm or 0.2mm and this cannot stimulate the production of collagen, no matter what companies tell you. Controversial opinion but true.
Why To Home Roll Or Do Home “Micro-Needling”
So, it doesn’t help you to make more collagen to plump out those wrinkles that way… However, it does have benefits.
In my opinion, these benefits only apply to those using a vitamin A serum that uses retinyl palmitate, such as Environ’s SkinEssentiA AVST Moisturiser. The reason being is that the main and arguably only true benefit of home rolling is to help products to penetrate the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin) when this form of vitamin A has strengthened it.
When you’re using retinyl palmitate, your skin essentially becomes a better version of itself. Your pore walls become healthy so your pores will appear tighter and smaller and your skin’s barrier will be more productive than ever, as if it is just back from its two weeks of annual leave.
When your barrier is strong and your skin is healthy, it is much more difficult to convince some active ingredients, like vitamin A, to get into it. Your barrier is your skin’s protector – it is as Batman is to Gotham – so you need to convince it to let its guard down.
This is where home rolling or “at-home micro-needling” comes in. By creating tiny pinprick holes across the skin, it means that your vitamin A can get into the skin successfully, as the needles have created minuscule channels that allow the product to funnel further into the skin. In this sense, home rolling is a more comparable to meso needling than micro-needling.
Home rolling tools usually look a lil’ something like this.
Why Not to Home Roll Or Do Home “Micro-Needling”
If you ain’t using A (retinyl palmitate, specifically), you don’t need to home roll. Your skin will allow your active ingredients to get in if it hasn’t been fortified with the powerhouse that is vitamin A. It’s a fruitless exercise. It may help things to penetrate but it will be negligible, absolutely not worth spending your money on a home rolling device.
If you’re using large amounts of AHAs (alpha-hydroxy acids), BHA (salicylic acid) or PHAs (polyhydroxy acids), you also don’t need to home roll, as they are penetrant enhancers, meaning that they temporarily trick your skin’s barrier from locking out intruders so that your active ingredients can get past it further into the epidermis.
This goes for all of the exfoliating acids you know:
- AHAs: glycolic acid, lactic acid, azelaic acid, mandelic acid
- PHAs: gluconolactone, lactobionic acid
- BHA: salicylic acid (and sometimes citric acid)
Even if you do fit my slim criteria of those who can benefit from home rolling, you shouldn’t do it if you have active acne of any form (even tiny spots). It spreads the bacteria across your face and further into the pore, causing more inflammation and more spots.
Another reason not to is if you have dry skin as the needling motion can catch on dead skin cells.
It’s usually advised that those with cold sores avoid needling around the mouth area as physical trauma can trigger cold sores and spread them if they’re live!
Other FAQs About Home Rolling Or Home “Micro-Needling”
Does it hurt?
Nope. It is like scratching an itch with your nails. You feel it, but it is not sore.
It helps vitamin A to penetrate… does it help anything else to penetrate?
Of course – there are no bouncers at the doors that home rolling creates to let actives in! So, yes, you can roll and apply your hyaluronic acid after or your other active serums and they will get in deeper.
Can I roll in the morning?
Nope – making the tiny channels in the skin means that any airborne debris can get in which isn’t as much of a problem in your own home as it is in the pollution-filled streets! Additionally, you don’t want your sunscreen getting too far into your skin – it needs to be on top of the skin to properly protect it.
Can I buy any roller off the internet?
No and there’s a very spooky reason why… If the needles aren’t of good quality, they could literally break off in your skin. Skip the €5 Amazon ones as you won’t save money in the long run if you have to go have needles removed from your face.
Why To Get In-Salon Micro-Needling Done
If you’re one of those who was promised wrinkle-free, beautiful, perfect skin from rolling over their skin with a home “micro-needling” device, there are two options that actually will be able to get you a lot closer to that:
- As explained earlier, professional micro-needling uses needles of a greater length, a length deep enough that the needles can trigger what is known as a healing cascade. This healing cascade is what it is called when your skin rushes to fix itself. To get a bit nerdie for a second, when we cause damage to the skin (in this case, we just trick the skin into thinking it is damaged by causing the tiny punctures), growth factors, aka substances in our skin that make our skin grow and heal, tell fibroblasts, aka the cells that make collagen, to make collagen.
- Micro-needling, in triggering the healing process, speeds up our skin’s proliferation process, which to put it simply, is when we make new skin cells and shed older ones so micro-needling can really revitalise the skin.
- All of this makes micro-needling fab for textural acne scarring like pitting and raised scars as well as pigmentation of all kinds, as well as for skin with lines and wrinkles and for stretch marks (which are a type of scar).
- It’s not a quick fix – patience is a virtue after all. It takes a few weeks for you to see the full results of micro-needling and many need a few sessions of it.
- You will bleed during the treatment. You shouldn’t be covered in blood but there will definitely be some tiny red polka dots.
- For a day or two after the treatment, you will need to treat your skin like it is injured… because your skin actually thinks it is! Avoid sweating, hard labour, rubbing pets – anything and everything that could irritate your skin. As you can tell, it’s not one you can have done right before leaving for a beach weekend unless you’re looking for an excuse to blanket up and watch Netflix alone.
- You can have micro-needling done in salons across the world. Ask around to find out where people have had good results from. Speak to the therapist in the place you choose and ask if they’re able to show you the results they’ve gotten before.
- It isn’t cheap… Few of the good ones are, are they? It’s usually around €150 – €250 per session.
Results-Driven Home Skincare Regime
- There are plenty of ways to help your skin to create collagen or to prevent it from losing too much in the first place that can be done in your home… It’s just that home rolling isn’t one of them.
- Being on a results-driven skincare regime that treats from the inside, on the outside and on top of the skin is the key!
- Taking vitamin C supplements and using topical skincare full of ingredients that can help to stimulate collagen and prevent it from becoming broken down is the way to go.
- The same goes for pigmentation… Many have fantastic results with their pigmentation from their home skincare alone!
- If you’re interested in having a results-driven home skincare regime created for you and in having someone to come to for long-term skin guidance, we actually provide an online skin consultation service here at The Skin Nerd. Click here if you’re interested! (We stock a home rolling kit on our exclusive online store too, for if you need it in your routine!)
The Nerdie Conclusion on Home Rolling/Home “Micro-Needling”
Ignore the siren call of all the Youtube tutorials – if you’re not using a fat-based vitamin A serum, you simply don’t need to be home rolling, in my official nerdie opinion.
Why did you want to home roll in the first place? As mentioned, there are better options to treat those concerns, such as a hard-working home skincare regime or professional micro-needling.
The home micro-needling kits sold online that use 1mm and 2mm needles are only dangerous. You can literally cause your skin harm using them so I’d always say AVOID!
Home rolling can be hugely beneficial but only to some, not to all, and I’m saying this as an avid roller myself!