There are few things I have phobias of, and needles are one of them. Everytime I see a doctor bring one near me, I turn fifty shades paler and find the need to throw up. So, when I heard of people rolling tiny little needles in the form of a dermaroller across their faces, I was instantly turned off by the idea. I will do a lot of things for skincare, but constantly pricking my whole face with a needle-covered device is not one of those things—or so I thought.
Microneedling, which has been around since the mid-1990’s, has gotten some hype for its skin-refining effects, with a variety of skincare gurus and celebrities (ahem, Kim K) pledging allegiance to its collagen-inducing powers. While it seems like it’s not for the faint at heart at first, it’s actually a great outlet for boosting your skin’s overall appearance, says Cindy Kim, co-founder of NY-based facial bar Silver Mirror Facial Bar and K-beauty retail site Peach and Lily.
So, how does it exactly work? According to Kim, the procedure involves the use of a dermaroller or other device with ultra-fine needles to create thousands of tiny “punctures” on the top layer of the skin. “These punctures are essentially microscopic wounds that trigger your body to create collagen and elastin,” she says. “As a result, you see improvement in the texture and firmness of the skin as well as reduced pore sizes and scarring.”
To see if the benefits of microneedling outweigh the intimidating punctures, I decided to put my fear of needles aside and try it out for myself at the Silver Mirror Facial Bar—and I’m addicted to it.
When I first walked into the spa, I had no idea that I was about to have hundreds of tiny points rolling across my face until my facialist alerted me that it would be part of my treatment. At first, I was a bit reluctant, but my nerves were calmed when she said she would be using a .25mm needle—which, according to Kim, is one of the smallest lengths that only superficially penetrates the top layer of the skin for better product absorption.
I took a deep breath and agreed, and as I closed my eyes I felt the cooling sensation of what only felt like a million tiny spikes hitting my forehead, and it felt good. Never in my life have I ever thought that a roller covered in micro needles would give me a soothing, almost therapeutic effect, but lo and behold, this microneedling session was surprisingly euphoric.
After the microneedling, my esthetician slathered a few serums and oils on my face, put my head in a hi-tech LED light therapy device for a few minutes, and then ended it off with oxygen therapy that spritzed my opened pores and microwounds gusts of calming air. Once I was finished, I was shook—my skin felt amazing. It was velvety-smooth to the touch, and had a dewy plumpness that I only remember having as a young child. I felt like the most radiant woman on the A train, and at that moment I knew I was hooked on the microneedles.
A few days have passed since my microneedling virginity was taken, and my skin still feels supple, but it could definitely use another refresher. So, my weekend plan is to make the investment into an at-home dermaroller to use when my skin looks like it needs a collagen boost.
If you’re on the hunt for a dermaroller too, Kim notes that these microneedling devices come in a variety of sizes, so choose wisely. “At-home rollers will normally have needle lengths of 0.25mm to 0.5mm,” she says. “0.5mm can be slightly painful, but will stimulate collagen production and provide visible results.” If you want anything larger than that, Kim advises seeing a medical professional for a treatment, and to expect some healing downtime.
Also, know that microneedling can cause some issues for a few skin types. Kim notes that people with a history of raised scarring, eczema, psoriasis, herpes, and severe active acne should steer clear of the treatment.
If you’re in the clear and want to try some at-home microneedling, Kim suggests starting off with a shorter needle length and slowly ease your skin into the practice. And when it comes to microneedling, remember that patience is always a virtue: “Don’t overdo it,” Kim says. “Like all skincare, you must be consistent about microneedling at regular intervals and be patient with the results.“ Also, make sure you keep your microneedling device clean to avoid infections or bacteria buildup!
Below, check out a few of our favorite dermarollers:
Environ Gold Roll CIT
If you want to give yourself the ultimate luxury treatment, then this is the dermaroller for your “extra” lifestyle. Its plated with 14k gold, and as 260 ultra-fine .2mm needles made of stainless steel to help reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and give your skin a glowing, smooth finish.
Beauty Bioscience GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool
Just about every influencer, beauty editor, and celeb has this microneedling tool. And there’s a reason for that: it’s a go-to for microneedling 101. It combines the effects of microneedling with red LED light therapy to give your skin the ultimate collagen boost, plus you can change the head to customize your experience from head to toe.
This roller has .2mm needles, the finest length you could choose from. It acts more as an exfoliation tool than a dermaroller, and helps slough away any unwanted flaking and rough texture to reveal smooth and refined skin.
Nurse Jamie Beauty Stamp
This isn’t exactly a dermaroller—unlike the other tools, this pick acts as a “stamp” that you lightly press across your face. It gives you some more control, so you can get those tough to reach areas and pinpoint areas to treat.
Ora Face Microneedle Dermal Roller System
Don’t let this drugstore buy fool you with it’s inexpensive price: its .5mm depth will get deep into your skin to ignite some good ol’ collagen production instantly. You may feel a little more pain from this size, but no pain no gain, right?
Sdara Skincare Derma Roller Cosmetic Needling Instrument
As Amazon’s top-rated dermaroller, you can expect this budget-friendly wonder to help you achieve a healthier glow. It has ultra-fine .25mm needles, puncturing your skin just ever so slightly to allow it to absorb all of your favorite serums, oils, and elixirs at ease.