Skin rollers have been around since a German company created the Dermaroller® in 2000. Dermaollers were first used to assist drugs to pass through the skin’s protective barrier and to help with light to moderate scarring. However, over time it was discovered the skin rollers — when used properly — could help rebuild collagen and stimulate healthy skin growth.
Soon celebrities like Angelina Jolie were traveling to exclusive clinics to have the expensive procedure known as needling to help keep their skin flawless. Recently, a lot of needling devices have turned up on Amazon and other websites. But since the procedure involves deliberately creating holes in the skin which can require several days of downtime while the red and irritated skin heals, is needling safe and should you try to do it in your home?
Needling was designed to be done in a clinic, and all the micro-needle rollers you see on Amazon and most other sites come with notes (which should also appear on all the sale pages) that the device is intended for medical use only. The needles on the skin roller devices found online are typically .5 MM to 3 MM long — which penetrate much deeper than is necessary to stimulate collagen production. In fact. these needles irritate the skin, can cause bleeding and infection, and can lead to the transfer of diseases like AIDS and Hepatitis if rollers are shared. So, while a good dermatologist or doctor can perform needling safely in the office, most derma rollers are not intended and not recommended for in-home use. Unfortunately, these product sales pages do not appear to be regulated currently, and there is growing concern in the skin care industry about this issue.
Furthermore, the micro-needle rollers sold on Amazon and most other sites are flimsier than what a reputable doctor or dermatologist would use in the office or clinic. When needles get dull, they don’t work as effectively. Worse, when the tips get bent, they can actually snag the skin. Most skin rollers have needles that go all the way through the barrel with a tip on either side. A poorly made derma roller will allow the needles to be pushed deeper into the barrel on one side and to extend further out on the other, causing the tool to be uneven, and the protruding, longer needles can hurt and draw blood. Even the roller in the “recommended” box on this page should not be sold for safe, in-home use.
Is there a skin roller you can safely use at home? Yes. In 2010, leading dermatologist team Dr. Katie Rodan and Dr. Kathy fields (creators of Proactiv Solution for acne and the new AntiAge line of products), released the Anti-Age AMP MD roller, the only patented for in-home used. The delicate .2 MM needles, akin to acupuncture needles, gently pierce the epidermis just enough to signal collagen production and to allow the accompanying serum to be absorbed into the skin. Independent clinical trials tested the safety and performance of the Rodan + Fields Anti-Age AMP MD System with Micro-Needle Roller with an unheard of 100% positive results. The AMP MD roller reduces and eliminates wrinkles, fine lines, light to moderate acne scarring, plumps lips, firms and tones skin and has been found to rejuvenate the way skin cell DNA behaves. The AMP MD System comes with sterilizing tablets and a storage container to keep the roller performing optimally for a year before it has to be replaced.
I don’t recommend buying the rollers on Amazon and on most websites. They don’t perform well and are invasive, even painful and not recommended for home use. The two best ways to have needling done safely are in a clinic or with the Rodan + Fields AMP MD roller.