Professional SkinPen® Microneedling VS. At Home Dermal Rollers

TRUTH Image--Microneedling vs. Dermal Roller Blog

We’ve all seen and heard the headlines, right?  “Roll Your Way to Beautiful Skin!”  “Perfect Skin from a Pen!”  Microneedling Collagen Induction Therapy is an increasingly popular treatment both in your physician’s office AND for home use.  With benefits that range from smoothing fine lines to softening the appearance of acne scars, it’s no wonder why countless companies are racing to launch their own devices.  But, what is the difference between a Microneedling treatment you receive at your Physician’s practice by a licensed provider versus a device you purchase for home use from your friend who is selling the latest Multi-Level Marketing option? As it turns out, the difference is substantial and can impact the safety and health of your skin.

The Science Behind Microneedling Collagen Induction Therapy

Whether you’re “Penning” or “Rolling,” the principal behind how Microneedling works is the same. Tiny needles create small, micro injuries to the surface of the skin.  This, in turn, stimulates your skin’s natural wound healing process which encourages collagen synthesis.  Collagen is the component of our skin that gives it a youthful fullness, smoothness, spring and bounce.  As a result, we see improvement of fine lines, wrinkles, surface scarring and enlarged pores over time due to your skin naturally healing itself.

SkinPen® Microneedling by Bellus Medical

SkinPen® is a Microneedling treatment which is only offered through your Physician’s Office, or at an establishment that is under medical directorship. It is classified as Medical Device by the FDA.  Most often performed by a Licensed Aesthetician with advanced training in skin and Microneedling technique, a SkinPen® treatment begins with topical numbing of the skin.  Because the small, sterile, surgical-grade stainless steel needles which are used in SkinPen® are longer than what you can legally purchase for home use, this numbing is required to keep you comfortable during your treatment.

Once your skin is numbed, your Licensed Aesthetician will move the pen over your skin in a series of passes while paying special attention to key areas which need improvement.  During treatment, much consideration is given to the absolute sanitation of the implements and treatment room to ensure the safety of your skin. No needles are EVER reused and treatment begins with a new, sterile pack.

The small needles gently vibrate over your skin at a rate of 6,000-8,000 rpm as they create the small injuries which invoke collagen synthesis.  As your skin heals in the subsequent days after your treatment, and as you repeat the process, an overall improvement in skin smoothness, volume, pigment and lift will result.

At Home Dermal Roller Treatments

Microneedling devices used at home are oftentimes called “Derma or Dermal Rollers” due to their round, drum-like shape that is covered in small needles.  These are devised to be rolled over the skin 2-3 times per week and are advertised to open the “channels” of the skin to allow better product absorption.  Like SkinPen®, these device manufactures claim an improved appearance of skin over time.

Dermal Rollers are intended to be used at home, at your own risk, and without the guidance of a trained or licensed professional.  Unlike SkinPen® in which the needles are disposable and a sterile pack is opened for each treatment, in Derma Rolling, the same device is used over and over again on the skin.

Key Differences Between SkinPen® Microneedling and At Home Dermal Rollers

During a SkinPen® treatment, your Licensed Aesthetician can control the depth of needle penetration along with the rate of penetration.  For example, she may use a deeper setting and more passes over an area that has a chicken pox mark or enlarged pores.  This versatility translates into faster results with more structural improvement to the skin.  With Dermal Rolling, your only option is to pass over an area such as this with more rolling which can cause dramatic skin irritation and even scarring.

SkinPen® is performed by a licensed professional who will have a solid understanding of how to create a sanitary environment to perform the treatment to avoid the risk of injury and infection.  She will also know appropriate treatment parameters for your skin type/condition and will customize your Microneedling to safely achieve the results you’re looking for.

Unlike Dermal Roller needles which, due to the round shape of the roller, enter your skin at an angle, SkinPen® needles enter the skin vertically.  Because of their slanted angle, Dermal Rollers can cause extreme irritation to the skin and even run the risk of truly tearing and scarring your skin.  In many cases, this will create a larger open channel to the skin than intended and can lead to escalated irritation from subsequent products applied and even infection.

What does the FDA say about At Home Dermal Rollers?

The FDA has not approved ALL Microneedle Rollers for at home use.  In fact, many of the rollers produced outside of the US are on the FDA’s Import Alert Red List because the length of the needles technically classifies the roller as a “Medical Device.”  As with many things, this does not necessarily mean that the FDA considers Derma Rollers unsafe, but just not appropriate for at home use.

One of the most popular and readily accessible Derma Rollers on the market is manufactured by Rodan and Fields.  Intended to be retailed through a Multi-Level Marketing Platform, the AMP MD Derma Roller is sold by company consultants and no licensing in skincare or aesthetics is required.

In 2012, Rodan and Fields suspended the sales of this device while the FDA investigated whether or not it needed to be classified as a “medical device,” and therefore, have its sale regulated.  Due to the minimal depth of the needles used on the device, the Rodan and Fields skin roller passed the FDA.

A key concern of the FDA is the difficulty in creating a sterile/sanitary environment for at home use.  If a roller is not properly cleaned before it’s next use, you may be introducing harmful bacteria to open channels in your skin and injury and infection may ensue.

Curious about Microneedling?  Want to discuss SkinPen® to improve the appearance of your skin?  Schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our Licensed Aestheticians by calling (651) 632-9700!