Saving money on pricey skin care treatments always seems like a good thing. But when it comes to at-home versions of those popular in-office treatments that are administered by dermatologists and licensed estheticians, safety becomes a big concern. Especially when needles are involved, as is the case with dermarolling (also known as microneedling). Credited with everything from stimulating collagen production to evening out skin tone, dermarolling has become increasingly popular. But since it quite literally involves rolling a tiny, needle-filled device over your face, finding the best dermarollers for at-home use is just as important as knowing how to use one in the first place. To get the lowdown on everything you need to know about (safely) dermarolling at home, Bustle spoke with Joie Tavernise, esthetician and founder of NY skincare clinic JTAV Clinical Skincare, who shares her expert advice ahead.
"I would only suggest a tiny microneedle for home use so you can't damage the skin," Tavernise advises. "Dermarollers create tiny micro-injuries so your body can respond and repair in order to build new, healthy collagen in the skin," she explains about how the tool works. To ensure that you aren't causing any real damage to your skin, Tavernise says that at-home dermarollers should never have needles larger than 0.5 millimeter, with even smaller needles being ideal for beginners. "A 0.5 millimeter dermaroller can be used once every three weeks," she says, adding, "I would be careful to search online and buy from a reputable company, too."
Another non-negotiable? Properly disinfecting your dermaroller. "Make sure you disinfect your roller with alcohol before and after every use," Tavernise says, noting that if you don't sterilize your dermaroller you run the risk of infection. And don't forget to replace your dermaroller when the needles dull (usually after about 10 to 15 uses, but be sure to follow your device's individual instructions).
Once your tool is properly disinfected, Tavernise says to cleanse your face before beginning to dermaroll using very light pressure. "Roll over each section of your face three to four times in one direction, and then repeat in the other direction," she says. "It's helpful to divide your face into sections, starting with the forehead and then moving to the cheeks and the lower face area." After that, wash your face again and clean and disinfect your roller. Because dermarolling boosts the efficacy of your skin care products, applying a serum that contains active ingredients (like hyaluronic acid or vitamin C) afterwards is also recommended. Tavernise just cautions that you should avoid applying retinol or AHA products right after dermarolling, as they can cause irritation.
Ahead, here are three of the best dermarollers for at-home use — including Tavernise's top pick.