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Why Microneedling is Not Safe to Do at Home

Microneedling treatments are essentially pain-free, low-risk procedures when performed by a professional using an in-clinic anaesthetic cream. It involves the insertion of fine needles into the sub-surface level of the skin which aids in collagen production. The result is an improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduced scarring, smoother texture of the skin, improvement of the skin’s elasticity, and the treatment of hyperpigmentation. It allows for better penetration of active skincare ingredients/treatments and is aimed at creating a wound to trigger cell regeneration.

Microneedling and Derma-Rolling are two very different treatments. Microneedling is a medical cosmetic procedure that punctures needles up to 3mm in depth into the epidermal layer of the skin, whereas your typical at-home treatment only penetrates the top layer of skin. At-home microneedling treatments will not give you the results that an in-clinic procedure is capable of achieving. A Derma-Roller is a relatively safe tool to use at home, as the needles range approximately from 0.1mm to 0.3mm in size. Essentially, they make superficial punctures to the dermis layer of the skin and are primarily designed to enhance the absorption of various skincare ingredients.

Frighteningly, professional-depth rollers are readily available online for anyone to purchase and use at home. These devices penetrate deep into the skin, and if the wrong technique is used, they can cause micro-tears in the skin leading to substantial damage such as infection, post-inflammatory pigmentation, bruising and scarring.

These at-home skincare products are not formulated to penetrate wounded skin, but rather to sit on the surface of the skin. Ingredients such as fragrance, essential oils, silicones, and preservatives to name a few, that are absorbed into the sub-surface layer of the skin can cause severe allergic reactions, skin sensitivity and long-term damaging effects. It is best to consult with your skin specialist or licenced practitioner about which products are safe to use in combination with at-home Derma-Rolling treatments.

What you need to know before starting an at-home treatment

It is recommended that those who choose to implement Derma-Rolling in their skincare routine have previously had a microneedling treatment at a clinic and were taught how to use the device correctly by a licensed professional. So, you want to try it on your own? What you need to know before adding this to your at-home regimen:

  1. Seek professional advice. Always consult your doctor and/or skin specialist before adding Derma-Rolling to your skincare regimen.
  2. The less pressure the better. Apply very gentle pressure onto the device and stop if it starts to hurt or bleed.
  3. Keep it clean! Clean your roller after every use by disinfecting it with alcohol. One of the main ways these at-home treatments can become unsafe is if people do not keep the Derma-Roller clean, which increases their risk of infection.
  4. Use the right needles. Home devices are not meant to penetrate the skin, so needles should not be longer than 0.25 mm in depth. Be sure to replace them as often as needed—if they are blunt, they will not be as effective and can cause damage to the skin.

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