I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Derma rolling is nowhere near as painful as getting a tattoo, but it sure brings the pain of getting one to mind. Six weeks prior to writing this article, I purchased a $13 derma roller (read about it here), a skin needling instrument that's used to lightly perforate the surface of the skin. The claims are as follows.
- Better penetration of products applied after use
- Increased collagen production (wrinkle plumping)
- Diminishes scars
How And When I Used My Derma Roller
The basic premise is to use the roller at least once per week. Cleanliness is imperative, as you can very easily transmit bacteria into the skin with a dirty (spiky!) tool.
I already have a very long (and ever-growing) face routine, but I tried to remember to do this before a sheet mask and after an exfoliation day(s). All in all, I used my derma roller every five days 90% of the time, skipping a week while in California (not exactly a carry-on-friendly skin tool).
This tool doesn’t have a short term payoff, in my opinion. I had to closely examine the before and after photos to determine if it had helped. Sadly, I had a new zit in the area where I was using it, and I have been breaking out a bit recently.
Here's my before photo...
...and here's the after.
The results aren't super clear, but six weeks of any non-invasive treatment isn't terribly long in the grand scheme of things. Consistency is key for these types of tools, but I don’t know if I can commit to indefinite use, aka intermittent mild torture. It’s not terribly painful, but I don't want to add yet another product, numbing cream, into the mix, so I'm basically shit out of luck--unless I start feeling stabby on the regular.
- Cleaning the roller is easy, but I couldn't tell if I was being thorough enough
- You can't use the roller over active zits (But then, why would you want to? Ouch.)
- Low-end models get dull and snaggy rather quickly, while high-end models come with the cleanliness worries of long-term use
- Storing in the bathroom is sketchy
- You probably can’t bring it on an airplane
I’m concluding that this technique has the potential to be effective, provided you use it to the letter. But there is hope for those like me who want to try this but can't commit to the routine (or the self-inflicted pain): see a professional. Many dermatologists and estheticians provide this service with a regular facial.
There are sources, which xoVain readers have brought to my attention, that suggest that derma rollers don't work at all. Though I don't 100% agree, I think it's a very long-haul method. I'm not one to be afraid of dedication to a routine, but this one is, well, painful! I’d rather keep trying awesome products from around the world than feel even a smidgen of the pain I feel when getting tatt zapped.
Beauty may be pain, but this is taking it too far for me, and the threat of infection grows in my mind like the curdles in the past-date milk in the fridge that I keep ignoring. Because I am literally afraid of spooky germs.
- Have you tried using a derma roller? If so, what were your results?
- Do you guys think I’m wimpy?
- What should I try next?
Photos by Darnell Scott