There are a handful of procedures performed in the dermatologist’s office like lasers and chemical peels that can tighten the skin and increase collagen production. At home, there are also some options that prove to be effective. One of those, though it’s not necessarily new, is the derma roller.
Available for the last few years, the derma roller hasn’t seen much limelight, however, many dermatologists say it’s a best-kept secret. “It is a good treatment for fine lines, stretch marks and acne scars,” says Smithtown, NY dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD.
So what is a derma roller? It’s a stainless steel device containing numerous tiny needles that puncture the skin to create microscopic injures in order to induce collagenesis, says Peredo. In laymen terms, these tiny needles stimulate the skin to repair itself prompting the skin to produce new cells, collagen and elastin. “It’s like aerating your lawn,” says Houston dermatologist Jennifer Segal, MD. “And we see a lot of benefit from it,” she says, citing studies that have been published on the effectiveness of controlled cellular injury.
The derma roller is also great for helping products penetrate the skin. “You can apply serums with antioxidants and growth factors right after the procedure for greater absorption,” says Dr. Peredo. And while the roller can be used all over the face and body with great results, it can also be used on places that are difficult for products to penetrate like the neck, décolletage and lips. “These are all areas that are really tough to penetrate with products alone,” says Dr. Segal.
Here is how to use the derma roller safely. Start off once a week by lightly rolling it over areas you want to treat. Make sure not to drag the device over your skin as this could scratch the dermis. Create a grid—up and down and side to side all over the treatment area. “Less is more at the beginning. See what your skin can tolerate, and then bump up treatment to about twice a week, but no more than that,” says Dr. Segal.
Will it hurt? “No. It generates a bit of swelling, but that’s all,” says Dr. Segal. After a couple months of continued use, you should see plumper, firmer skin.
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