What if I told you there is an easy, fast and cheap way to get rid of small lines and minimize wrinkles, lift sagging jaw and neck and get rid of the dark under eye circles?

As an acupuncturist, I am well aware how needling creates micro-trauma and stimulates the body’s own healing mechanism. When micro-trauma is repeated and affects the deeper layers of the skin, it stimulates the body’s own way of skin remodeling. No fillers or surgery can beat your own body’s way of making new skin, never mind getting such a natural looking result. When collagen and elastin production is stimulated, and the blood flow to the outer layers of the skin improves, you can expect to see an amazing difference. Here are the benefits of micro-needling the skin:

  • Triggers increased collagen and elastin production by creating micro-trauma to the skin
  • Filling in the small lines and reducing large wrinkles as a result of skin remodeling
  • Reducing the crepey skin appearance on decolette, arms, knees, elbows
  • Improved skin tone and lifting of the chin line
  • Breaking down scar tissue such as acne scars
  • Fading of stretch marks
  • Reducing dark eye circles resulting from re-building thicker skin under the eyes which will hide the dark blood vessels
  • Stimulating hair growth by increasing the blood flow to the skin on the head
  • Enhance the penetration of therapeutic skincare products by making tiny holes in the dermis (applying skincare products on top of the skin is almost useless as they don’t go through the skin seal)
  • Reduced pore size

What is a dermaroller?

The micro-needling technique recently became popular, but few people know that dermarolling is based on acupuncture. It does involve tiny needles but it does not have to hurt and it won’t make you bleed, unless you have a bleeding disorder. A dermaroller looks like a tiny lint roller and has several rows of short needles on its head ranging in size from tiny 0.2 mm to 5 mm. A different style of dermaroller looks like a stamp on a handle, and has a lot less needles. These devices are widely available online. Here is one example of this device, but keep in mind they come n different shapes and colors.

Micro-needling the skin with a dermaroller creates minor trauma to the tissue, which in turns stimulates our body to produce elastin and collagen. It also stimulates blood flow to the skin and exercises small blood vessels that tend to become less efficient as we age.

An important benefit of increased blood flow on the head is stimulating the hair growth for those of us with thinning hair. Derma-rolling is also very effective for surgical or acne scars and stretch marks but less effective for cellulite and enlarged pores. It has wonderful rejuvenating effect on the skin and evens out skin tone and texture.

Choosing a dermaroller

Any derma-roller will work as long as you will use it regularly. Don’t get hung up on choosing the best one, however, the length and number of needles are important. A great derma-roller can be purchased for under $15 on amazon and we recommend this as the fastest way to start using it. Once you start and see the results, you can invest in different styles and sizes to see which works best for you. A more expensive derma-roller generally is made from better quality materials, but more importantly it would have more needles on its head and will require less work from you to achieve results. The needles may also stay sharp longer but again the cost of the more expensive dermaroller may not be worth it if you can easily replace the cheaper one. Typically there are about 300-600 needles on a derma-roller so it is quite an efficient little device.

Some estheticians use a derma pen, which is basically a fancy electrically powered dermaroller. If you go to an esthetician, you will end up paying a high price for a dermaroller treatment, probably comparable to a high end facial. Some plastic surgeons, dermatologists or nurses may laos offer a derma pen or roller treatment, which is basically the stronger and bloodier version of the treatment you can do at home. As an acupuncturist, I can assure you that best results don’t come from severely bloodying your face and spending more money, but from the consistent application of the dermaroller.

Remember, all dermarollers work on the same principle – to create a micro-trauma to the skin to stimulate the body’s own regeneration mechanisms. It does not matter if you do it with a super cheap or the most expensive device, or if you get it done in a beautiful office. Just get it done, and get it done yourself so save money, time and to ensure you do it consistently to get results.

The size of the needles matters. The typical derma-roller’s needle length can range from 0.02mm to 2 mm and here are the reasons for this. The longer the needle, the deeper you can reach within the layers of the skin. If you start out with the shortest needle size, you will only be going through the superficial layers of the epidermis and not creating enough injury to the skin to stimulate collagen effectively. The shortest needles work mostly to allow the products you use on the skin (such as hyaluronic acid or vitamins C and E) to penetrate deeper.

Generally you would need to space out the derma-rolling sessions more when using the longer needle.

How to dermaroll

1) Make sure the skin is clean. We don’t recommend using alcohol because it dries the skin. You can use your usual cleanser or hot water with soap. I personally don’t go to extra lengths to clean my skin before dermarolling as I prefer to do it right after taking a shower.

2) We recommend doing a skin test on a small area first. This is mostly done to test how much redness you will experience after rolling. If you know that you are prone to excessive redness, you can plan your rolling sessions accordingly (see also what to expect after rolling).

Roll the face in 4 ways – up/down, left/right, and diagonally (bottom left to top right, bottom right to top left).

Make sure you pass over every area of the face at least once. Do not roll on your eyelids and use less pressure under the eyes as this area is more easily bruised. Otherwise roll pretty vigorously instead of just sliding over the skin. It may sometimes be a little sensitive but we don’t recommend numbing the skin for this procedure. First, the pain level is definitely manageable and the amount of discomfort can be totally controlled by you (if you feel pain, back off on the pressure). Second, when the area is numb, there is less effect, less blood flow and the limited sensation can cause you to roll unnecessarily strongly.

Sometimes you may see a tiny amount of blood, but generally you won’t bleed as this kind of needling is even less than from facial acupuncture where bleeding from a needle can occur but is rare.

The dermarolling can be done the same way on both the face and body. The idea is to penetrate the skin and create as many needle pricks as possible to trigger collagen production.

3) Do not roll over active acne, open wounds or larger moles (rolling over small flat moles and freckles is totally safe though)

3) rolling the body. A common area to roll is décolleté where the skin may appear aged and crepey due to sun exposure. Rolling over stretch marks, scars, hands and elbows is also effective. You can roll on any area that is starting to wrinkle, sag, loose tone and look dull in general. Generally you need longer needles for most body areas than for the face (see out summary table). The more tissue/fat you have in the area of the body, the longer the needle length.

4) after you are done, you can apply some nourishing products to your skin. The best serum is simple vitamin C serum, which is sometimes combined with ferulic acid, vitamin E or hyaluronic acid. All of these products should be clear of toxic chemicals, as they will penetrate directly into your bloodstream. If you are applying vitamin C or retinol products, you may feel some tingling which is normal and will pass in a minute. You can moisturize the skin after this with jojoba, coconut, MCT or olive oil.

I recommend staying away from applying liquid foundation right after dermarolling because it will also be absorbed right away. If you must wear makeup right away, use pressed powder, preferably the one based on minerals from a health food store.