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The Truth About Micro-Needle Derma Rollers

Micro-Needle Skin Rollers and Collagen Induction Therapy

People are willing to try just about anything for smooth, youthful skin. Surgery, fractal laser resurfacing, Botox, chemical peels, expensive skin care products and even snail slime are all said to improve skin's texture and appearance.

Recently, derma rollers have been getting a lot of media buzz and Internet chatter, but do they work?

Micro-needle skin treatment.

Micro-needle skin treatment.

How Do Micro-Needle Rollers Work?

Proponents of micro-needle rollers claim they diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and scarring by catalyzing the skin's repairing and regeneration mechanisms. Their small needles puncture the skin when rolled over it, which is supposed to stimulate collagen and elastin production. In addition, they may enhance the absorption of certain skincare products after use.

Micro-needle rollers are fitted with a rotating head lined with tiny acupuncture-type needles. These delicate needles gently and painlessly pierce the skin everywhere the roller is rolled. The roller is moved up and down, back and forth and diagonally over the face, creating a series of tiny channels in the skin.

These micro-channels allow two things to happen. First, they encourage medicated treatments to be absorbed deeply by the skin. Second, the tiny punctures actually signal to the body that it has been wounded. The body rushes collagen and elastin to the area to repair the skin, resulting in fewer wrinkles and healthier skin as collagen levels are boosted.

Are Micro-Needle Rollers Safe?

The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has not approved micro-needle rollers for at-home use. A number of micro-needle derma rollers produced outside of the US are on the FDA's Import Alert red list, since their needles are classed for clinical use only. This doesn't necessarily mean they're unsafe, but it does mean the FDA doesn't think they're appropriate for at-home skin care.

Several medical studies have proven the effectiveness of micro-needle treatments on acne scars. One study in JAMA Dermatology warns of the possibility of severe allergic reactions when micro-needling is followed by serums or irritating skincare products.

In June 2012 Rodan and Fields, an American skincare company, suspended sales of their AMP MD micro-needle roller while the FDA was investigating the product. Rodan and Fields claimed their own testing demonstrated the AMP MD was a cosmetic tool, but the FDA wanted to assess whether or not it should be classified as a medical device (as many imported micro-needle rollers are). The RF skin roller passed the FDA a second time is now available again.

A concern for at-home micro-needling is the inability to recreate a sterile clinical environment. Studies have only proven the effectiveness of micro-needling in a clinical setting, but if you do decide to do it at home, be careful to keep the roller as clean as possible, and avoid any irritating skincare products either before or after usage. Home-use rollers' needles are usually only 0.2 millimeters long, while clinical-use ones may be longer.

See the needle rash I got from using a cheap derma roller here: Micro Needle Skin Rollers

What the Press Is Saying About Micro-Needle Rollers

Micro-needle rollers have received a lot of attention. Here is what different fashion magazine and news outlets have said about them:

In October 2013, New York Magazine beauty writer Cheryl Wischover wrote a piece about micro-needle rollers. In her article, she talked to various dermatologists and researchers, trying to discern the validity of collagen induction treatment. Dermatologists in the piece wouldn't speak to its effectiveness, but stated that it was an affordable alternative to laser treatment, and operated on the same principles.

According to CNN, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are among micro-needle therapy's celebrity proponents.

InStyle September 2011 covered the Rodan and Fields AMP MD saying: "The tool ran over every contour of our face painlessly (granted, we didn't push hard). When we applied the serum from one capsule, it was absorbed in seconds, leaving our skin smooth and not at all sticky."

The Today Show named the Rodan and Fields AMP MD one of The Best Anti-Aging Products for 2011. Email me at for more information.

Kathryn's lips before & after

Kathryn's lips before & after

My Experience with Micro-Needle Rollers

I have personally used a .22-millimeter micro-needle roller and found it to be easy to use, painless, and effective. I have used the roller on my lips and found the roller did make my lips a little fuller and rosier on its own. The results with a good lip serum were even more dramatic.

Many micro-needle rollers come with special serums, meant to be used after rolling. On my skin, though, I experimented with using the roller alone for five days, with no added serums. Even with just the roller, if you look closely, you will see fewer small lines around my mouth and more fullness and definition in my lips, especially near the corners.

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Have You Tried a Micro-Needle Roller?

Have you tried the a Micro-Needle Roller?

Please Sign the Micro-Needle Roller Guestbook

Stella Diaz on July 04, 2015:

Great info, new to this, but already love the roller..

Kathryn Darden (author) on October 03, 2013:

@seodress: Thanks for the visit and the nice comment!

Kathryn Darden (author) on October 03, 2013:

@anonymous: The Redefine line (formerly Anti-Age) really is a great line of anti-aging products.

seodress on July 04, 2013:

Awesome Micro Needle Roller Lens.

Kathryn Darden (author) on January 14, 2013:

@anonymous: Yes, near the top there's a whole section about people who have used micro-needle skin rollers including myself.

anonymous on January 14, 2013:

Has anyone used and want do they think does it work or not!!

anonymous on October 19, 2012:

I love that Rodan + Fields derma roller you have listed here. Their whoe Anti-Age line is really fabulous!

Kathryn Darden (author) on September 01, 2012:

@fitnessdad70: Feel free to ask me any questions about it.

Kathryn Darden (author) on September 01, 2012:

@Melissa Miotke: It is a great tool. I will announce here as soon as it is available again. In the meantime, it is always a good idea to get your face ready for the roller by building up the collagen with the Night Renewing Serum while we wait for the roller to be reissued:

Melissa Miotke from Arizona on July 26, 2012:

That looks like it makes a big difference. Very interesting!

fitnessdad70 on July 23, 2012:

never heard of the roller before.

Kathryn Darden (author) on February 25, 2012:

@Heather426: Thanks for the comment, Heather. Yes, the AntiAge Regimen with the Roller is very effective. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at

Heather Burns from Wexford, Ireland on February 25, 2012:

wow, never heard of this, but it sounds amazing! I'm a fan of acupuncture, so it sounds like it would work.

Kathryn Darden (author) on February 25, 2012:

@chromegrrrl: You're welcome! Thanks for stopping by to learn more about the Rodan + Fields Skin Roller.

Kathryn Darden (author) on February 25, 2012:

@chromegrrrl: You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by to learn more about the Amazing Rodan + Fields Anti-Age AMP MD Roller. Let me know if you have any questions. You can email me at skin_and_health@yahoo.comskin roller!

Kathryn Darden (author) on February 25, 2012:

@Scotties-Rock: Thank you! If you decide to try it, you can find the roller along with the other Anti-Age products at Rodan + Fields Anti-Age. Let me know if you have any questions. You can email me at skin_and_health@yahoo.comRodan + Fields Anti-Age. Let me know if you have any other questions. You can email me at

Clairissa from OREFIELD, PA on February 24, 2012:

Nicely laid out! I may have to try it. :)

chromegrrrl on February 23, 2012:

I hadn't heard of this before. Thanks for sharing all your research!

Kathryn Darden (author) on February 22, 2012:

@gottaloveit2: Thank you! I think this is the most innovative product to hit skincare and beauty since retinal! It really retextures skin, removes wrinkles, evens skin tone and has been proven to make skin DNA become healthier. What's not to love?

gottaloveit2 on February 22, 2012:

Interesting concept. You did a nice job explaining it.

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