A guide to micro-needling for skin rejuvenation

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a) What is micro-needling?

Micro-needling is known by a number of names; skin needling, dermal rollering and collagen induction therapy. The dermal roller is a device which has micro surgical steel needles that reach the inner surface of the skin. This promotes skin repair from the inside out. This process stimulates collagen & elastin production in the skin without causing damage. This makes it a very effective and attractive treatment growing hugely in popularity over recent years.

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b) Micro-needling treatments for different skin indications

Rollering treatments are able to stimulate, regenerate and repair improve skin cell turnover, reducing the visibility of scar tissue and improving overall skin condition.

Cosmeceutical product usage ensures readiness for treatment. Cleansers control the activity of bacteria and improve pH balance. Antioxidants reduce free radical activity assisting regeneration and hydrators maintain the moisture balance of the skin as well as calm and soothe.

Typical indications for micro-needling include –

  • Acne vulgaris and acne scarring
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Rough, uneven skin texture
  • Ageing skin
  • Acne rosacea
  • Stretchmarks


Scar tissue can be significantly reduced with skin needling particularly indented or atrophic scars such as will be seen with acne conditions. Deep regeneration will reduce indentation and the skin will become much smoother in appearance.


Pigmentation issues are complex but generally are either genetically predisposed and physiological or linked to photo ageing other external causes. An in-depth consultation and skin analysis are imperative to ascertain influencing factors. This will determine whether a needling treatment will help lift pigmentation staining.

Skin struggling with pigmentation issues, particularly darker Fitzpatrick skin type is at higher risk of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation following treatment. Indeed, if pigmentation changes are caused as a result of previous regenerative treatments, micro-needling would be contraindicated.

A treatment that wounds the skin will instigate the healing cascade and the first phase of this response is inflammation. Inflammation in deep skin can cause excess pigment.

Micro-needling is safe & effective for all skin types following correct procedures. Skin priming along with anti-pigment agents will further improve the result as will a good home care routine.

Skin redness, vascular damage and rosacea

Many skin types can show erythematic issues, telangiectasia or broken capillaries or general flushing from sensitives. These skin types can be helped by skin needling. The initial wound will create more pin-point bleeding but the healing process stimulates and regenerates new stronger capillaries fortifying the network of vessels. Over time the visual appearance will improve significantly. Skin priming is essential with anti-redness actives.


Micro-needling increases the density of the skin as it results in the regeneration of collagen. This improves cellular function and lessening of visible signs of ageing that are seen on the skin surface.

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c) Manual vs mechanical dermal roller

Needling rollers fall into two main categories – Manual and mechanical.

Both types of devices are physically rolled or moved over the skin systematically to cover the treatment area, focusing on specific needs. Commonly both types of devices are usually used with topical active such as growth factors or hyaluronic acid. Such a method is known as mesotherapy.

Manual devices are powered by the practitioner, whereas a mechanical device is powered by a force, that automatically allows the needles to be taken in and out of the skin.

Manual rollers

manual micro-needling roller - skintherapy.uk

Manual devices have a handle and a roller head of about 2cm wide. Needles sizes range from 0.2mm up to 3.00mm. Aesthetic practitioners are permitted to provide treatment up to 1.5mm.

To perform a manual micro-needling treatment, the device rolled in a specific pattern over skin.

Needle depth will be selected based on skin/type condition and rolling history. Manual rollers are one-time use only.

Mechanical micro-needling devices

  • Mechanical micro-needling devices are ‘pen-like’ in appearance and have a small needle head cartridge that is selected and then inserted into the pen device itself. One use only.
  • Needle tips are available in varying lengths from 03-3mm.
  • As with the manual device the skin is prepared and topical actives applied, the device is moved over the skin, whilst at the same time an automatic mechanism will cause the needles to enter and withdraw the skin vertically at a predetermined speed. The pressure applied by the practitioner will not alter the treatment.
  • There are many types. Below are some that represents the variety of those available


Dermapen - skintherapy.uk

The Dermapen is a fractional micro-needling pen with a spring-loaded needle tip that operates through a motorised treatment handle. It will provide mule-speed options and adjustable needle lengths. A needle cartridge holds 11 medical grade surgical steel precision needles.

Similar models are widely available and include the Skin pen, the m.pen, the Eclipse micron and Rejuvapen.

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d) What are the advantages of microneedling over other skin regenerative treatments?

  • Non-ablative – Micro-needling offers a controlled wound healing. It doesn’t remove skin layers.
  • Enhances product penetration – Active products have better penetration allowing regeneration to be maximised.
  • Short courses of 3-6 – 6 weeks apart – Micro-needling offers quick and long-lasting results.
  • No skin damage – Adverse reaction is reduced.
  • No sensitivity to UV light – Minimally affected, rollering will not result in any sensitivity to the sun.
  • No risk of permanent skin discolouration – Micro-needling is good for skin types 4-6. It’s effective regeneration without the risk of PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.)
  • Suitable for all skin types and conditions – Thin, fragile, mature etc
  • Little pain – Micro-needling can seem frightening but the needles are actually probes and less discomfort is actually felt than often perceived. A topical anaesthetic can also be applied.
  • Short healing time and minimal downtown
  • Minimal post-treatment discomfort – The skin can feel dry and tight. Specific skincare products can help to counteract discomfort.
  • Adverse reactions are rare – Good consultation & rollers required.

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e) How does microneedling compare to ablative skin treatments?

Ablative skin treatments are aggressive, they cause the destruction of skin tissue by creating 2nd-degree burns. Think CO2 laser, medical-grade dermabrasion and deep chemical peels. These treatments are very effective at collagen induction but can present some risks that include –

  • Prolonged, widespread inflammation
  • Significantly increased healing time
  • Acute UV Sensation
  • Potential hyper/hypopigmentation
  • Permanent scarring

Micro-needling doesn’t carry these risks. Generally, ablative treatments are performed or recommended for the treatment of dark/deep skin.

Non-ablative skin treatments which include micro-needling and other such as Fraxel and pixel lasers induce high levels of new collagen without the aggressiveness associated with ablative treatments.

  • Post-treatment inflammation subsides within a few days
  • Accelerated healing
  • No or minimal UV sensation
  • Very low-risk side effect.

laser resurfacing vs micro-needling - skintherapy.uk

As you can see from the diagram to the left, micro-needling treatments are truly non-aggressive. Laser resurfacing evaporates the top layer of the skin during the treatment process.

Micro-needling, on the other hand, penetrates the skin in small channels that can close within a matter of minutes. The skin is preserved and remains intact. Lasers will cause 2nd-degree burns. Both treatments induce collagen effectively.

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f) Enhanced product penetration with micro-needling and home rollers

Studies show that skin needling will dramatically increase the penetration and therefore the therapeutic effect of any topical products that are applied either during or after the treatment. It is, however, very important topical products used are specifically designed for use with skin needling to ensure the positive effect and to eliminate the possibility of adverse reactions. It must be remembered that needling is still highly effective without the need for any topical agents.

Dermal rollering at home

Considering the effect of enhanced product penetration, home rollers are a great addition to a home care routine. Typically, home rollers are 0.2-0.3mm in length. Rollers can be used daily or more often 3 to 4 times weekly to enhance the penetration of all actives including retinol, antioxidants, hydrators, anti-pigmentation actives, anti-redness actives and of course anti-acne actives. A great selection of these products can be found on The Ordinary, FaceTheFuture and rummaging Amazon. Keep an eye out for product reviews on site.

Correct application of such products, rollering technique and hygiene practices are often discussed during treatment consultation. Home rolling is a perfect complement to professional micro-needling treatments.

The most important thing to remember is quality. Many cheap rollers purchased off the internet are likely to cause damage to the skin. Choose Titanium rollers CE marked rollers. To better understand product selection please see – A guide to cosmeceuticals and skincare products.

Aufgeld AG600 Titanium Detachable Microneedle Derma Roller

Aufgeld AG600 Titanium Interchangeable Head Derma Roller with Removable Replaceable Head – Easy to use professional skincare tool for skin regeneration.

Whilst rollers greater than 0.3mm are available to purchase online, Microneedling at greater depths increase the risks of skin damage and permanent scarring. Opt for professional treatments over 0.3 and home rollers to complement the treatments.

How to Choose the Aufgeld Derma Roller Needle Size

0.2mm / 0.25mm / 0.3mm – Homerollers
needle size is not really intended to treat wrinkles and scars. It is strictly used for boosting topical skincare product absorption. As a result, this will increase the concentration of topical active ingredients inside your skin.

0.5mm – Professional
If you are looking to treat shallow wrinkle, scars, UV damage and hyperpigmentation with the added benefit of boosting skincare product absorption, then you should look into using 0.5mm roller. This is a popular roller for anyone looking to have multiple treatments on a monthly basis.

0.75mm to 1.0mm – Professional
rollers can induce collagen growth more effective than 0.5mm. In addition to reducing sun damage and hyperpigmentation, these rollers are the perfect solution for treating shallow to deep wrinkles, scars and stretch marks, cellulite.

1.5mm to 3.0mm – Professional
rollers can treat DEEP / SEVERE scarring or stretch marks, cellulite. It is safer to use them on your body than on your face.

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