Whether you’re looking to reduce fine lines, minimise acne scars, boost hair growth or achieve a radiant glow, a home-use microneedling tool can help address a host of concerns. The practice of microneedling (also known as derma rolling) is commonly performed in skin clinics, but it can be carried out at home too.
Microneedling involves the use of a hand-held roller covered in ultra-fine microneedles being passed over the face. “The needles create microscopic ‘pin-pricks’ on the skin’s surface, which prompts it to repair itself,” explains aesthetic surgeon Dr Munir Somji. “These pin-pricks trigger a healing response in the skin, which in turn, stimulates the body to create more collagen and elastin, leading to a reduction of fine lines, sun damage, scars, stretch marks and pigmentation.”
As uncomfortable as it sounds, the results can be transformative.
Home-use derma rollers are made with shorter and duller needles, so they do not pierce the skin as deeply as medical-grade devices, but they can still perform noticeable results.
“They can help loosen the top layer of the skin and boost skin cell turnover, leading to an improvement in texture, while aiding better absorption of skincare,” says Dr Somji.
When it comes to shopping for microneedling devices, Dr Somji offers some words of caution. “Be sure to use an accredited or genuine product from a licensed stockist, pick a needle length no longer than 0.2 to 0.3mm and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.”
Since the product will be piercing the skin, albeit superficially, cleansing the treatment area and sterilising the device before and after each use is crucial, as is using the correct rolling technique. “Use a firm and even pressure, ensuring not to drag the skin, and if you’re prone to acne, eczema, rosacea, pigmentation or sensitivity, consult an expert before purchasing one.”
We trialled a variety of derma rolling devices that can be safely used at home, to treat a variety of concerns, assessing their ease of use, comfort levels and results.
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The best derma rollers for 2021 are:
- Best overall – Face Gym hyaluronic roller dissolving microneedling tool: £75, Net-a-porter.com
- Best for stimulating hair growth – BeautyBio rejuvenating scalp + fuller hair therapy: £199.20, Currentbody.com
- Best for signs of ageing – Environ micro-needling gold luxe set: £199, Facethefuture.co.uk
- Best for boosting eyebrow growth – Re:Brow brow roller: £10.50, Rebrow.co.uk
- Best for dull skin – Sarah Chapman skinesis meso melt infusion system: £96.60, Lookfantastic.com
- Best for clinic standard results – Teresa Tarmey microneedling kit 12 week programme: £220, Teresatarmey.com
- Best for beginners and versatility – Skn Rehab derma roller: £25, Sknrehab.com
- Best for needle phobics – Osmosis Beauty epic tool: £135.84, Osmosisbeauty.eu
Face Gym hyaluronic roller dissolving microneedling tool
This easy-to-use device is great for derma rolling newbies as the needles are made from crystallised serum, which gradually evaporates as they are rolled over the skin, making it less invasive than stainless steel options. The individually wrapped rollers are designed with 3000 microneedles that are filled with hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and peptides.
The roller was passed along the face and neck for around ten minutes without any discomfort. Immediately after use, the skin on the cheek area was mildly flushed, but 15 minutes later came the most radiant glow. The following morning, hydration levels were ramped up and we were even able to skip a layer of skincare. This is a great option for dry skin sufferers or for an immediate complexion boost before a special event.
BeautyBio rejuvenating scalp + fuller hair therapy
Best: For stimulating hair growth
The main purpose of this kit is to promote hair growth for those afflicted with mild to moderate hair loss – be it the first signs of thinning or postpartum.
It comes with a nutrient-rich scalp serum containing loquat leaf, rosebay extract, larch tree, camellia leaf extract and zinc, which have been selected to improve hair density, eliminate build-up and regulate oil production in the scalp.
The GloPro scalp microneedling tool has been ergonomically designed to hug the contours of the scalp and stimulate hair follicles. It also features red light technology to boost healing.
After parting hair, the roller was passed back and forth, in parallel lines with the hair strands. This felt like a relaxing massage and we were impressed that it did not tug on the hair. You then rub in a couple of drops of the weightless serum.
We used the device for one month and found that scalp flakiness had disappeared, making this a good tool for eliminating product build up or dandruff. No new hair growth was visible; however, the makers say it may take two months of use to see results.
Sarah Chapman skinesis meso melt infusion system
Best: For dull skin
Facialist Sarah Chapman’s eponymous Skinesis Clinic is hailed for its needling treatments. This home-use kit is designed to be used once a week for three weeks. It comes with a silver handled roller, along with three single use needling tips and the brand’s meso-melt pep stem cell serum ampoules.
The dissolving needle points are made from solidified active ingredients, including a trio of firming peptides and hyaluronic acid. The first step involves passing the device over the face and neck in various directions for 10 minutes. This action is painless and is said to create micro-channels on the skin’s surface to prepare it for the next step. You then slather on the contents of the ampoule, which is brimming with a stem cell, peptide and hyaluronic acid serum. More rolling is instructed in order to release the contents of the microneedles. At this point, the skin felt slightly tingly. The entire process takes around 20 minutes and since the needles dissolve, you know exactly when the session should end. There was minor redness after use, which disappeared after half an hour, leaving the complexion looking significantly smoother and brighter for several days.
Environ micro-needling gold luxe set
Best: For signs of ageing
This elegant roller certainly looks the part. It’s plated in 14 carat gold, which naturally suppresses bacteria growth. It also has 260 ultra-thin needles at a length of 0.2mm which are made from the highest-grade surgical stainless steel.
Microneedling veterans can use this daily, but to begin with, twice a week is recommended.
It’s fairly straightforward to use – after cleansing, the roller should be run over the skin vertically, then obliquely and finally horizontally, for around three to five minutes, until the target area has been covered. You then use the included peptide-infused focus care youth+ avance DFP312 elixir, which targets hyperpigmentation, dehydration and wrinkles.
The roller is also easy to clean with warm water and once a week with the environ instrument cleaning solution, which can be purchased separately (£27, Facethefuture.co.uk). After using the tool twice-a-week over a seven-day period, the skin’s overall tone and texture had improved and fine lines around the mouth appeared less prominent.
Re:Brow brow roller
Best: For boosting eyebrow growth
This nifty tool is perfect if you are experiencing brow loss, thinning or for those who have been overzealous with plucking.
The roller has a small head containing 180, 0.25mm titanium microneedles. The makers recommend using it two to three times per week after application of the brand’s hair-growth enhancing brow booster serum, which can be purchased separately (£50, Rebrow.co.uk).
The rolling action is said to aid in the stimulation of dormant follicles and promote the growth of new hair. When rolled over the eyebrows the area felt slightly sensitive, but there was no discomfort. We tested the device twice a week for six weeks. After five weeks of perseverance, new growth had started to appear in some sparse areas that had previously been over threaded. Patience is a virtue with this device and it may not work on those who have always had thin brows. If you once had fuller brows and want to restore them back to their former glory, this is worth a try.
Teresa Tarmey microneedling kit 12 week programme
Best: For clinic-standard results
Designed by Kate Moss and Sienna Miller’s facialist Teresa Tarmey, this program must be followed once a week over three months in order to see an improvement in issues such as fine lines, scarring, sun damage and dull skin. Inside the box are 12 single-use ampoules filled with a cocktail of niacinamide, glycerine, peptides, mulberry extract and vitamin C. There’s also a reusable silicone mask and a derma roller studded with 0.2mm needles. The roller is made by Genuine Dermaroller, a German based company who are regarded as the leaders in microneedling.
You start by applying two thirds of the ampoule onto clean skin, then use the derma roller in target areas in an upward and downward motion, left to right and diagonally for a few minutes. There’s a useful step-by-step online tutorial for guidance.
You quickly become accustomed to the feel of the needles passing over the face. You then massage in the remaining peptide treatment and apply the reusable silicone mask, which helped soothe red and tingly skin. Redness had subsided by the morning and skin had that fresh from a facial glow. After week two, pores gradually began to shrink too.
Skn Rehab derma roller
Best: For beginners and versatility
This affordable device is perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to commit to a regular microneedling routine. The roller is instilled with 0.3mm needles, which gently penetrate the skin and feel virtually painless. It can be used on the face, hands and parts of the body to address issues such as stretch marks and keratosis pilaris. We used it on the fronts of the hands and noticed that hand creams were absorbing better. As a result, after just two weeks of consistent use, the hands had a noticeably smoother texture and appeared more youthful.
Osmosis Beauty epic tool
Best: For needle phobics
This is a great option for those who are afraid of needles. The copper tool features two rotating spheres fixed with hundreds of mini-pyramids. We like the fact that it can be used daily and on any part of the face, neck or body. After applying a serum, the tool should be passed along the skin in downward strokes – starting at the forehead, moving across the temples, down the cheeks, the jawline, lips and then the neck. It glides effortlessly along the contours of the face, without causing any irritation – this is another one that felt just like a relaxing massage.
The rolling is said to create micro-channels just beyond the lipid barrier, which the makers claim aids product absorption by up to 30 per cent. After daily use for seven days, we found that the rolling action certainly sped up circulation, acting like a boot-camp to revive dull and tired skin.
The verdict: Derma rollers
While all the derma rollers we tested delivered positive results, the Face Gym hyaluronic roller dissolving microneedling tool is our top pick. The dissolving tips make it fool-proof and the single use rollers negate any hygiene concerns. Just one session imparts a long-lasting and deeply hydrating glow, sans any irritation.
We like Skn Rehab derma roller for its affordable price and versatility – it can be used to tackle multiple concerns on the face and body. What’s more, since it doesn’t come as part of a program, there is no commitment if you find that microneedling is not for you.
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