Sydney Times


Derma rollers – the pros and cons

Derma rollers – the pros and cons

The humble at-home derma roller is a beauty tool that many swear by as a game-changer.
Terri Vinson – a celebrated Australian skin scientist, cosmetic chemist, published author, and the founder of Synergie Skin – explains the pros and cons of at-home derma-rolling.

1. What is a derma roller?

A derma roller is a microneedling device to improve penetration of active ingredients. Its benefits can include easy and pain-free at-home daily treatment, an accelerated absorption of active serums and more effective delivery of serums.

 However, it is important to note that at-home needling devices do not directly stimulate fibroblasts in the dermis to produce collagen. Only medical needling devices (1.5mm in length or more) can penetrate the dermis.

 At-home rollers should be able to at least create shallow 0.25mm or 0.50mm ‘micro channels’ to break through the skin’s epidermal surface with no disruption or physical damage to the dermal layer. If completed effectively, these micro-holes create a pathway for better absorption of your active ingredients directly into the target zone, to enhance and accelerate results.

2. Why should someone begin using a derma roller? 

Skin needling is a great introduction to enhance the effectiveness of your skincare routine. An at-home derma roller device is usually made of fine, shallow needles that create pain-free ‘microchannels’ in the skin surface. These needles aid in the passage of active ingredients through the outer layer of the skin, allowing serums to penetrate directly into the target zone. It’s simple science that can improve the performance of your skincare


3. How does using a derma roller at home compare to micro-needling at a clinic? 

Professional skin needling refers to a minimally invasive skin rejuvenation treatment that uses a clinical needling device of 1.5mm or more in length to create a controlled injury to the layers of the skin. Light pinpoint bleeding is to be expected. It must be performed in a clinic in a sterile environment by a qualified skin specialist as it penetrates the dermis to trigger a significant healing response to instigate cellular regeneration and collagen production. A series of medical skin needling treatments can significantly improve acne scarring, fine lines, and poor skin texture via direct fibroblast stimulation. 

Despite some misconceptions, at-home derma rollers are not sufficiently long enough for dermal penetration, so can’t directly stimulate fibroblasts like an in-clinic treatment would. However, improving the delivery of active ingredients may indirectly increase natural collagen production.

4. What are some of the benefits a user may experience using a derma roller?

Incorporating a home roller device to your skincare routine improves the delivery of ingredients by up to 40 times
and minimise the appearance of fine lines. But remember, the results of home needling are only as good as the
products applied to the skin. It is imperative to improve your skin routine with high-quality active cosmeceutical
– Accelerates absorption of active serums
– Minimises appearance of acne scars
– Reduction in the signs of ageing
– Firmer and tighter skin
– Results will be at least 40 times more effective than applying the serums directly onto the skin and massaging by
5. Are there any side effects associated with using a derma roller? 

Minimal side effects can be expected. If you are using a derma roller with polymer needles the experience should be pain free, avoid any rollers with metal needles. After derma rolling avoid applying any products that will sensitise the skin and if wearing foundation, try opting for a mineral makeup instead.


6. Are there certain skin types that should avoid using a derma roller? 

The great thing about derma rollers is that it can be used anywhere on the body as long as it is used and cared for properly. Most skin types can tolerate a derma roller but avoid it if your skin barrier is compromised (highly sensitive, inflamed acne, or broken skin).


7. Are there any downsides to using a derma roller? 

Derma rolling essentially creates micro channels in the skin and because of this it is so important the process is properly sterilised to avoid the risk of infection. Derma rollers if not cared for properly may harbour bacteria, causing infections and breakouts.

8. How can someone make sure they’re using / storing / cleaning their derma roller effectively and safely? 

First time users should always start with 0.25 mm length needles and then advance to 0.50 after 6 to 9 months if necessary. To use, roll firmly and evenly over skin daily prior to applying serums. Roll over face and neck area, working back and forth 4 times in each direction. Repeat this in the morning and evening for maximum delivery of active ingredients.

Make sure to rinse thoroughly after each use. Clean only the head of the roller once a week using a gentle antibacterial solution such as Milton (do not soak) then allow device to dry completely. Replace every 9-12 months and make sure to never share a roller.

For more expert advice on results-driven skincare backed by Clean Science, visit

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