Prone to wrinkles and blemishes? Our pick of the best derma rollers will get you glowing
The key to perfect skin is an elusive beast – is it hiding in litres of water we’re advised to drink, in expensive topical serums or monthly facials? New ways to achieve wrinkle and blemish-free skin, smaller pores and a greater glow crop up all the time with varying results. One of the most popular and effective new treatments is Derma rolling, also known as microneedling. While this can be done in a clinic, there’s an increasing number of tools and kits to enable people to reap the benefits of derma rolling in the comfort of their own homes.
Shaped rather like miniature paint rollers, derma rollers boast hundreds of small spikes that are rolled across the skin on one’s face after cleaning, penetrating the skin. This fools the skin into thinking it has been injured and needs to work to regenerate by producing collagen (which makes skin firmer) and other and other naturally occurring healing substances. Derma rollers also create deep channels into the skin that alloproducts such as serums and moisturisers to be absorbed better. It is worth noting that the longer the needles, the more effective the treatment will be.
It takes very little time, isn’t as painful as it sounds and can help with wrinkles, acne scarring and uneven skin tone. With this said, it’s important to keep in mind that professional microneedling in a clinic, where the needles are longer, is going to be more effective than at-home derma rolling.
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How to choose the best derma roller for you
Are derma rollers suitable for all skin types?
No. People with eczema, psoriasis, active acne, warts, a history of blood clots or sunburn should steer clear of derma rollers.
How do I clean a derma roller?
Because of their invasive nature, it is essential to clean your derma roller religiously and thoroughly after every use – being lax about this will cause infection. Derma rollers can be cleaned firstly with dish soap and then with a surgical spirit that will blast out any lingering impurity. Don’t try to sterilise with boiling hot water – this will damage the roller.
Do I need to use a specific serum or face cream in conjunction with a derma roller?
You don’t need to use anything at all with a derma roller but plenty of people choose serums rich in hyaluronic acid. Your favourite moisturiser will work nicely.
What length needle should I pick?
The longer, the more effective but also the less comfortable and the more difficult to handle if you aren’t a professional. We advise starting with short needles – say 0.5mm or less.
What do I actually do? And how long do I do it for?
Having thoroughly cleansed your skin and the roller, you start by applying serum to your face. Then, gently move the roller horizontally, vertically and diagonally across your face for around two minutes. After that, apply more serum or hydrating cream.
Anything I shouldn’t do?
Avoid direct sunlight or applying makeup – this is why we think it’s best to derma roll at night.
Never share your derma roller with anyone else.
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How often should I use a derma roller?
Start by using it once a week and, once you’re comfortable, take that up to twice a week. More than this isn’t recommended – your skin needs a chance to recover.
Is it painful?
Most of the rollers used out of clinics have short needles and are unlikely to cause more than a slight sting.
How we test derma rollers
At Expert Reviews, we know that hands-on testing gives us the best and most complete information about a product. So, we personally test all the derma rollers we review – on the same person, with the same pressure and for the same duration, twice a week, in the evenings.
During use, we assess the comfort of the handle and the sensation of the roller on the skin itself. We note the skin’s condition immediately afterwards, then the following morning, then after both one week and two. We realise that the more you use derma rollers, the better the results – with between two and six months of consistent use yielding the best outcome – and we take that into account in our evaluation.
We also make sure to note any pain, any breakouts, or any broken skin.
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The best derma rollers to buy in 2023
1. Brushworks Micro Needle Derma Roller: Best budget roller
Price when reviewed: £10 | Check price at Amazon
This is a great option for anyone who is new to derma rolling – and is worried about spending a lot of money in unchartered territory. This is incredibly inexpensive compared to other products on the market and its needles are short at 0.5mm. The packaging reflects this – it’s pretty basic – but the roller itself looks sleek, feels light and is easy to hold.
The needles are about 0.5mm in length and didn’t cause much more than a minor prickling that was, can you believe, strangely relaxing. Our skin was slightly red afterwards, but in no way angry. Serum sunk in beautifully.
We used this twice a week for two weeks and we have to say one of the things we noticed was that our pores looked smaller, especially on our nose where pesky blackheads like to set up home.
Key specs – invasive: yes; length of needles: 0.5mm
2. Ecooking Derma Roller: Best for necks
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at Ecooking
We love how this arrived, in a sheer grey gift bag with a spray container for disinfectant. This roller is part of a Danish skincare line started by one woman who, having experienced a personal crisis that badly affected her skin, set out to create skincare to heal.
We really focused on the neck and décolletage with this roller, given the brand states that helping to reduce wrinkles and signs of aging in these areas is one of its (many) USPs.
We loved how weighty this was without being heavy of cumbersome to use. It rolled smoothly, even over collarbone bumps and there was no pain. Skin felt tingly and a blush of colour grew over our neck. We moisturised well afterwards and, this might sound cheesy but it’s true – our skin felt alive even after just one go. We can see how people get hooked on doing this.
Key specs – invasive: yes; length of needles: 0.5mm
3. BeautyBio GloPro Microneedling Regeneration Tool: Best electrical version
Price when reviewed: £199 | Check price at Amazon
From the moment this arrived, we got the sense that we were in ‘the real deal’ territory. For a start, it’s perfectly packaged in a gorgeous box with pink velvet and ribbon accents.
Then, there’s the fact that it’s battery-powered – complete with a charging cable that makes you think this tool means business. There’s also a bottle for disinfectant – it seems that this, as with other brands, are really keen on keeping the cleaning process front and centre as it is essential for keeping skin healthy.
The instructions within were frustratingly not in English but on the Cult Beauty website they are laid out comprehensively – in a video, in fact.
We tried this at night, on squeaky clean skin. With a simple button press, the end of the tool – the roller part where the needles are – lights up red and you’re ready to go. We set a timer for 60 seconds and worked our way around our face methodically, repeating the process for neck and décolletage. The key thing here is – you don’t need to apply pressure, the tool doesn’t need it. It didn’t hurt but it tingled – and continued to tingle after use. This active feeling made us really believe that change was afoot in our skin – even more so when we applied plenty of serum.
Key specs – invasive: yes; length of needles: 0.3mm
4. Roll Time Golden Derma Facial Roller: Best for non-invasive rolling
Price when reviewed: £35 | Check price at Wing It Cosmetics
If you feel you just cannot face (no pun intended) the needle aspect of derma rollers, then Roll Time could be a brilliant alternative. Instead of invasive needles, it boasts blunt bumps. Wing It advises that we use oil or serum first, before rolling, so we lightly massaged the Wing It Squalane Oil over our face and let it sink in. We rolled with moderate pressure – there should be no pain – over our face in upward and downward motions for the recommended four minutes. The handle also doubles as an acupressure tip which we were dubious about but experimented with and found surprisingly relaxing.
As an object this is just so pretty: the gold is super chic, it is weighty and substantial, yet smooth to operate and slight in one’s hand. This would make a great gift.
Key specs – invasive: no; length of needles: n/a
5. Skingenuity skin rejuvenation home kit: best for salon standard treatment
Price when reviewed: £300 | Check price at Skingenuity
While this does the job of derma rollers, it’s actually a tiny applicator covered in needles that you press into your skin, rather like a stamp. The bottle attached to the applicator contains Regenerative Solution which goes through the needles and seeps into the skin.
If this sounds confusing, don’t panic. The box comes with a built-in screen to play a video explaining what this kit is all about. We have to admit the technology part is heavy but interesting – showing how our skin gets damaged and how Skingenuity can help heal it. The ICM technology in this kit has been developed by specialist plastic surgeon to help improve even deep wrinkles, reduce the size of pores and tighten sagging skin.
Having watched the video, everything was straightforward. We loved how all the different components – applicator, solution for the applicator and ancillary serums were all laid out separately. The Empress applicators come in their own individual, sealed boxes with individual corresponding bottles of Regenerative Solution.
We were a bit nervous about pressing the needles in – it somehow felt more brutal than rolling but actually it was nothing more than mildly uncomfortable. We started on the chin and went up over the right side of our face, trying to cover all the skin but not repeat patches. We were really wary of using this in the eye area and so we gave it a wide berth. Our skin felt extremely clean afterwards – like it had just had a good work out and showered off! It was a totally new feeling – an invigoration on steroids and the skin had a plumped-up quality to it immediately. Users are supposed to go through this process, (plus using the anti-aging serum and accelerator products also contained) for eight weeks – and we can well imagine how good skin will look and feel after that!
Key specs – invasive: yes; length of needles: 0.2mm