The Truth About Micro-Needle Derma Rollers
Micro-Needle Skin Rollers and Collagen Induction Therapy
People are willing to try just about anything for smooth, youthful skin. Surgery, fractal laser resurfacing, Botox, chemical peels, expensive skin care products and even snail slime are all said to improve skin's texture and appearance.
Recently, derma rollers have been getting a lot of media buzz and Internet chatter, but do they work?
How Do Micro-Needle Rollers Work?
Proponents of micro-needle rollers claim they diminish fine lines, wrinkles, and scarring by catalyzing the skin's repairing and regeneration mechanisms. Their small needles puncture the skin when rolled over it, which is supposed to stimulate collagen and elastin production. In addition, they may enhance the absorption of certain skincare products after use.
Micro-needle rollers are fitted with a rotating head lined with tiny acupuncture-type needles. These delicate needles gently and painlessly pierce the skin everywhere the roller is rolled. The roller is moved up and down, back and forth and diagonally over the face, creating a series of tiny channels in the skin.
These micro-channels allow two things to happen. First, they encourage medicated treatments to be absorbed deeply by the skin. Second, the tiny punctures actually signal to the body that it has been wounded. The body rushes collagen and elastin to the area to repair the skin, resulting in fewer wrinkles and healthier skin as collagen levels are boosted.
Are Micro-Needle Rollers Safe?
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has not approved micro-needle rollers for at-home use. A number of micro-needle derma rollers produced outside of the US are on the FDA's Import Alert red list, since their needles are classed for clinical use only. This doesn't necessarily mean they're unsafe, but it does mean the FDA doesn't think they're appropriate for at-home skin care.
Several medical studies have proven the effectiveness of micro-needle treatments on acne scars. One study in JAMA Dermatology warns of the possibility of severe allergic reactions when micro-needling is followed by serums or irritating skincare products.
In June 2012 Rodan and Fields, an American skincare company, suspended sales of their AMP MD micro-needle roller while the FDA was investigating the product. Rodan and Fields claimed their own testing demonstrated the AMP MD was a cosmetic tool, but the FDA wanted to assess whether or not it should be classified as a medical device (as many imported micro-needle rollers are). The RF skin roller passed the FDA a second time is now available again.
A concern for at-home micro-needling is the inability to recreate a sterile clinical environment. Studies have only proven the effectiveness of micro-needling in a clinical setting, but if you do decide to do it at home, be careful to keep the roller as clean as possible, and avoid any irritating skincare products either before or after usage. Home-use rollers' needles are usually only 0.2 millimeters long, while clinical-use ones may be longer.
Skin Rollers on Amazon Are Typically Not FDA Approved for In-Home Use
What the Press Is Saying About Micro-Needle Rollers
Micro-needle rollers have received a lot of attention. Here is what different fashion magazine and news outlets have said about them:
In October 2013, New York Magazine beauty writer Cheryl Wischover wrote a piece about micro-needle rollers. In her article, she talked to various dermatologists and researchers, trying to discern the validity of collagen induction treatment. Dermatologists in the piece wouldn't speak to its effectiveness, but stated that it was an affordable alternative to laser treatment, and operated on the same principles.
According to CNN, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are among micro-needle therapy's celebrity proponents.
InStyle September 2011 covered the Rodan and Fields AMP MD saying: "The tool ran over every contour of our face painlessly (granted, we didn't push hard). When we applied the serum from one capsule, it was absorbed in seconds, leaving our skin smooth and not at all sticky."
The Today Show named the Rodan and Fields AMP MD one of The Best Anti-Aging Products for 2011. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
My Experience with Micro-Needle Rollers
I have personally used a .22-millimeter micro-needle roller and found it to be easy to use, painless, and effective. I have used the roller on my lips and found the roller did make my lips a little fuller and rosier on its own. The results with a good lip serum were even more dramatic.
Many micro-needle rollers come with special serums, meant to be used after rolling. On my skin, though, I experimented with using the roller alone for five days, with no added serums. Even with just the roller, if you look closely, you will see fewer small lines around my mouth and more fullness and definition in my lips, especially near the corners.
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