Derma Roller Side Effects and How to Prevent Them
Almost all skin rejuvenation therapies carry a number of potential side effects and it is always a good idea to make sure you are aware of them before proceeding with any treatment. Many people worry about the potential side effects associated with dermarolling, however when used properly, the derma roller should not cause any serious side effects at all. It is a much safer treatment than other procedures such as lasers, peels and surgery.
In this article we discuss the side effects that may occur as a result of using a derma roller, how to prevent or minimise them, and any circumstances when it is not a good idea to use a derma roller.
Common (harmless) derma roller side effects
Dry, rough skin: This is a very common, harmless side effect of derma roller treatment, especially when using longer needle lengths and/or using firm pressure whilst rolling. It will last a few days at most and is nothing to worry about as it is simply the skin renewing itself. A good moisturiser will help.
Serious derma roller side effects
Less common derma roller side effects
Most of these are caused by misuse of the derma roller (and so are easily avoided) but may also occur if your skin is sensitive.
Pain whilst using the derma roller: Dermarolling is never completely painless unless using short needle lengths (0.25mm, 0.5mm), but most people find it tolerable. How painful you find it will depend on a number of factors, such as the amount of pressure applied, needle length, skin sensitivity and individual pain tolerance. If you find derma roller treatment painful you can use numbing cream or ice.
Bleeding: Temporary bleeding can occur when rolling aggressively when using longer needle lengths. This is not cause for concern however, as any bleeding will stop after treatment and blood spots should simply wash away. To prevent bleeding when dermarolling, Apply less pressure.
Bruising: Using long needles on thin skin or rolling too aggressively can cause temporary bruising. You can avoid this by making sure you select the correct needle length for the area of skin to be treated, and using moderate pressure only.
Scratched skin or visible pinpricks: Again, this is usually caused by being too aggressive with the derma roller, i.e. applying a lot of force, dragging the derma roller across your skin and/or rolling the same area repeatedly without lifting the derma roller after each roll. When using a derma roller you only need to apply enough pressure to allow the needles to penetrate the skin to their full length. You should also lift the derma roller after each roll to ensure that the needles create new micro-channels in the skin rather than going over the same ones repeatedly. Refer to our instructions page for more details.
Skin Irritation: Individuals with hypersensitive skin can in rare cases experience itching and/or skin rash with raised bumps or hives following derma roller treatment. Although this is uncommon and usually clears up of its own accord, it is best to consult a doctor if this occurs and/or stop using the derma roller.
Skin irritation caused by other products: Most side effects of dermarolling are not actually caused by the derma roller itself, but rather by the application of inappropriate products to the skin immediately after treatment. Dermarolling greatly enhances the absorption of skin products into the skin, therefore if any skin care product causes side effects, the derma roller can magnify them. Be especially careful with products containing Hydroquinine, Minoxidil or acid (e.g. acid peels). Always proceed with caution the first time you use a product straight after dermarolling – you can increase the amount used next time as long as you don’t experience any problems.
Acne/spots: Using the derma roller on active acne is not recommended because it can spread the bacteria around your face, making acne worse. If you have acne and you want to try dermarollling use a derma stamp instead, avoiding any areas with active acne.
Temporary hyperpigmentation: This occasionally can occur in dark skinned individuals and is usually caused by exposing the skin to the sun too soon after dermarolling. It is easily prevented by avoiding direct sun exposure/sun beds for a few days following a derma roller treatment and by protecting the skin with sunscreen between treatments.
Scars looking worse before they look better: Although not really a side effect it is worth mentioning here. This effect is common when rolling icepick scars because they start out deep and narrow. Dermarolling causes their walls to collapse which makes them shallower but wider (which can make them look worse). It is important not to give up at this point; continued derma roller treatments will cause them to fill in gradually.
Side effects caused by poor quality derma rollers: There are lots of poor quality derma rollers around – some with needles made from cheap, non-medical grade stainless steel/titanium alloy, some that haven’t been pre-sterilised, some with bent or loose needles, and some with knives instead of needles. These factors can cause a multitude of unwanted side effects and so it is best to buy your derma roller from a reputable online store or shop. We do not recommend buying cheap derma rollers from Ebay or Amazon as many of them will have one or more of the issues just mentioned.