What’s Risky: Microneedling At Home

It's hard to ignore the extreme dangers that arise when unregulated beauty tools get into the wrong hands, including when it comes to microneedling.

Also known as dermarolling, the process involves moving a handheld tool packed with needles across the face. The goal is to stimulate the production of new collagen and hyaluronic acid by igniting our body's wound-healing response. 
The trend for microneedling shows no sign of slowing down, with Google searches for the treatment and its aliases up over 1500% in the last 12 months alone. With skin-care show-and-tell the new norm, social media has fueled the uptick in popularity, as celebrities and influencers advocate microneedling as the secret to their glowing complexions.
Using needles to regenerate the skin may sound scary, it is virtually pain-free and low-risk when performed by a professional using a topical anesthetic. Touted for reducing fine lines and scarring, smoothing the skin's surface, improving skin elasticity, and evening out skin tone, it’s no surprise that the growing popularity of the treatment has caused an exponential rise in DIY devices. However, unlike putting lemon juice in your hair or giving yourself an at-home manicure, perforating the skin with hundreds of tiny needles could leave you with permanent damage if done incorrectly.

Part of the reason at-home microneedling is so risky, is that cosmetic (epidermal-needling) and clinical (dermal-needling) are two very different treatments. Typically, an at-home device would vary between 0.1mm-0.3mm in terms of needle depth and is primarily designed to enhance skin-care ingredient absorption. With a professional treatment, the depth increases to 0.5mm-1.5mm in an aesthetician's clinic, or even deeper — up to 3mm — in a dermatologist's clinic, as the aim is to create a wound to trigger regeneration.

Frighteningly, these professional-depth rollers are now readily available online for anyone to buy and use at home. Originally, you had to have either a medical background or be an aesthetician trained in microneedling to be able to access them and perform the treatment. It has only been in more recent years that professional rollers could alarmingly be purchased online by the general public.
Prices for professional microneedling treatments start at about $245 a session, but an online search brings up thousands of professional-depth rollers at a fraction of the cost, some as cheap as $9. Online marketplaces are flooded with these unregulated tools, which are often poor-quality imports with minimal information about the manufacturer or correct usage. The individual needles can prove hazardous, too, if not made from reputable materials such as titanium or surgical steel. This increases the risk of bent needles which, although imperceptible to the naked eye, can cause severe damage to your skin.
Risk of infection is very high when using unregulated devices in an environment that is not clinical or sanitary; it is also very easy to unknowingly roller a part of the face that is already infected. In a clinic, each treatment uses a new, single-use sterile roller per client which is subsequently disposed of, whereas those microneedling at home often reuse rollers multiple times. Using alcohol does disinfect the tool, but it is difficult to sterilize it completely, so not all harmful microorganisms are killed. The needles also become blunt when reused, which severely compromises technique. Not only can you create bruising and track-mark lines from using too much pressure, but the wrong technique can easily cause micro-tears in the skin, leading to scarring and hyperpigmentation.

Despite the trend, not everyone is a suitable candidate for microneedling. "here are times when the treatment simply isn’t recommended, which is why clinical needling should only be performed by a qualified practitioner following an in-depth consultation and skin assessment.
There are severe risks associated with at-home microneedling, for those on the hunt for a glowing complexion, the reality is that making microscopic wounds in your skin should undoubtedly be left to the professionals.
For a safe at home micro needling “like effect” we recommend Julie Lind Ageless Beauty Wand 2.0.
Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.