How to Derma Roll Like a Pro: The Ultimate Guide

T here are so many beauty trends bombarding us lately—from 10-step to CBD to prebiotics and new acids–and one of the weirder ones has got to be derma rolling.

At least, I thought it was.

I mean, rolling needles over your face? Why, in God’s name…

But, late last year I happened to read a few articles about derma rolling, then watched a YouTube video or 2, and thought, “I’ll give it a shot.” 

I bought an inexpensive roller on Amazon, and I’ve been using it regularly for about 6 months now—no tears, no blood, and honestly, virtually no pain.

The biggest difference I’ve seen is that my skin is smoother the next day, like I used a good scrub; the texture of my skin is finer; and my serums sink in better immediately after using the derma roller.

Below I’ll go through all the whys and hows, including a great video clip showing exactly how to use the roller for maximum results.

Check out the free cheatsheet below, as well, that boils it all down with some great how-to tips.  

Unless you have trypanophobia (a fear of needles), the derma roller may be one trend that you don’t let slip by.

And no, this cute device won’t conjure up memories of your last tetanus shot at all. It looks like the innocuous razor that you use to shave your legs, and it may be just as handy.


So what is derma rolling, and what does it do?

There are at least 2 types of microneedling devices that are available: the professional type used by dermatologists in their offices—this includes the derma-pen procedure with which Kim Kardashian horrified us all with pics of her bloody face—and the at-home derma roller.

The doctor’s version uses needles that puncture tiny holes into the skin. This micro-trauma stimulates collagen growth as the body works to heal the damage.

Collagen is a protein that forms the building blocks of 70% of our skin, hair, fingernails, and joints and ligaments.

As we age we make less and less of it, leading to drier hair, more brittle nails, joints that creak, and skin that loses its elasticity.

More collagen growth spurred by micro-trauma can improve wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores, acne scars and hyperpigmentation—it’s effective, and rather pricey.

 At-home derma rollers have a significant difference from what you find in a doctor’s office—they use very short, fine “needles” (0.1-0.25 mm are safe lengths), which are not long enough to produce much collagen growth.

The at-home type of derma roller has a small wheel with barely-visible, very thin spikes or needles on a wheel. If you roll it over your thumb you’ll barely feel it.

So why are the at-home derma rollers so popular?

Two main reasons:

  1.  Those tiny, fine needles on the home derma roller are great for exfoliation and to reduce congestion and build-up in the skin.

2. And they help whatever you put on after it to sink in easier. Exfoliated skin absorbs better, and the tiny needles help push your serums into the skin a bit more.   

Derma rolling and hyaluronic acid serum go together like pb & j. Each enhances the other. If you want the low-down on how to amp up your skincare with derma rolling and hyaluronic acid, check out 5 Amazing Ways Hyaluronic Acid Benefits Your Skin.

Derma Roller Needle Lengths

Check out this beauty editor’s experience when she used a derma roller for a week.

How do you use a derma roller? 

Start with clean skin and a sterilized roller (spray or soak the roller in 91% isopropyl alcohol and then rinse with water).

Smooth on your favorite serum, then roll the tool in sections on your face (cheeks, forehead, nose, chin, neck), several times over each area before moving to the next.

Apply only enough pressure that is comfortable. I’ve noticed that while rolling never hurts, it does feel a little “pinchy” over areas with less fat, like my nose and forehead.

After rolling, apply another layer of serum, and continue through your skincare regimen. Sterilize the roller again before storing. That’s it!

This video does a great demo using the derma roller with a nice explanation of everything she’s doing. The demo starts around 5:38: 


Is it safe to use a derma roller every day?

 It depends. If you use a roller with needles in the 0.1-0.25 mm range (the shorter the needle, the more often you can use it if your skin tolerates it) you can build up to several times a week.  Esthetician Kerry Benjamin explains “I recommend .2-mm rollers for home use. They are super-safe, yet still highly effective,” she says. “Using this size roller, I recommend rolling three to five times a week to get the maximum benefit.”

You can start with once week and watch how your skin tolerates that, and go up from there.


Grab this free list of must-know tips for derma rolling below, even if you’re a veteran derma roller-er (betcha you don’t know #9!).

Free Download!

Derma Roller Important Tips+ Tricks


Banisher Roller

Designed specifically for acne scars

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Derma Roller Important Tips+ Tricks

Hey, natural beauty!

If you’re like me, you’ve long ago switched from plastic to reusable, you’ve tossed out those toxic air freshener things, and you support your local farmer’s market. And maybe you’d like to “green up” your beauty routine and swap some DIY beauty recipes. If so, you’re definitely in the right place!

Hi, I’m Soraya, an autism mom, a wife, former nurse, Zumba sub instructor, and East Coast transplant living in TX. I love to talk about all things natural beauty, DIY and essential oils.

So if you’re into that, too, grab a cup of tea or glass of wine and stick around. Learn more about me.



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