The Dermaroller and How It Works

Microneedling with dermaroller is a new technique that treats scars, stretch marks and wrinkles, and for overall facial rejuvenation. It is a hassle-free and comparatively cheap modality which can also be used to administer drugs through the transdermal route.


Dermaroller first became popular as a simple way of treating scars, specifically acne scars. With minimum training, any licensed dermatologist can safely use it.

The Dermarolling Instrument

The common dermaroller used for acne scars is shaped like a drum and has 192 microneedles, each with a length of 0.5 to 1.5 mm and a diameter of 0.1 mm, neatly arranged in eight rows. Reactive ion techniques are used to stamp the microneedles into silicon or medical-grade stainless steel. Pre-sterilization of the instrument is done by gamma irradiation. Medical dermarollers may only be used once.

How It Works

Each medical dermaroller needle is 0.5-1.5 mm long. During treatment, the needles cut into the stratum corneum of the skin, creating microconduits or holes without causing damage to the epidermis. Dermarolling over a particular area 15 times makes about 250 holes for every square centimeter. Microneedling causes the release of growth factors that stimulate new collagen (natural collagen) and elastin formation in the top layer of the skin known as the papillary dermis. Additionally, new capillaries are formed, and with this post-treatment neovascularisation and neocollagenesis comes a visible reduction of scar tissue. Therefore, the procedure is suitably called “percutaneous collagen induction therapy,” and is often used to treat photoageing treatments too.

Dermarolling Acne Scars

Microneedling or dermarolling is fast and simple procedure that can be done in any office. The treatment area is first anesthetized using topical anesthesia for 45 to 60 minutes. When the area has been readied, the dermatologist begins dermarolling, making 15 to 20 vertical, horizontal and oblique, horizontal and diagonal strokes. Saline pads are then used to wet the site. The whole procedure runs for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area.

Before a second treatment is performed, at least six weeks should pass – the period required for the formation of new natural collagen. Moderate acne scarring usually require three to four successive treatments.

After Care

Patients are generally known to tolerate microneedling, except the procedure can cause erythema, which can last for up to three days after the treatment. Dermatologists recommend photoprotection for a week, as well as the application of local antibiotic creams. Patients are normally able to return to work the following day.

Self-use Dermarollers

Home-use dermarollers are often shorter than 0.15 mm in length, and are very useful for the transdermal delivery of lipopeptides and many other anti-aging substances. Most brands may be used twice weekly for up to a hundred times. After each use, the rollers should be cleaned using hot tap water and shaken dry.

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