Convincing clinical evidence as well as a strong consumer response say, yes, the dermaroller works for scars. This is acknowledged by different sources such as studies, user experiences on acne forums, and medical professionals.
However, derma rollers don’t work on all types of scars. They are commonly used to improve the cosmetic appearance of depressed (atrophic) scars.
Another term used to describe the practice of derma rolling is micro needling.
Microneedling with a dermaroller is a relatively recent treatment developed to moderate the effects of scars; especially facial acne scars.
It is also effective for stretch marks, wrinkles, and for facial rejuvenation. It is a simple and relatively cheap form of treatment that can also be used for transdermal drug delivery (Doddaballapur, Satish, Jul-Dec 2009).
Background on Microneedling
Some of the earliest ad hoc studies on microneedling were performed after patients sought cosmetic tattooing for scar camouflage.
Dr. Andre Camirand, a Canadian plastic surgeon, made a chance observation of improvement in the texture and depression of the scars of some of his facelift patients after such tattooing.
He noted that the improvements seemed to come from the needling caused by the tattoo gun. He began experimenting himself using tattoo needles without pigmentation.
Dr. Camirand postulated that during the needling procedure, melanocytes were transplanted from normal skin into the area affected by scarring. He published the results of his observations in 1992 (MesotherapyWorldwide.com, n.d.).
Another microneedling pioneer was FrenchSwiss dermatologist, Dr. Philippe Simonin. In 1994, Dr. Simonin published a journal-report on his new groundbreaking technique, which he named Electroridopuncture (ERP).
He treated 600 patients divided into two groups (one having skin ageing and the other old scars). The results of his study reported a 40% improvement in the group with skin ageing, and a 60% improvement in the group having old scars. In the latter group, the best results were obtained for people with fibrous or depressed scars (MesotherapyWorldwide.com, n.d.).
Microneedling Equipment; The Derma Roller
The standard equipment used in microneedling is the dermaroller. The dermaroller is a drum-shaped roller studded with 192 fine microneedles in eight rows, 0.5-1.5 mm in length and 0.1 mm in diameter. (this is the most popular microneedle roller on Amazon)
The microneedles are either made of silicon using reactive-ion etching techniques or they are manufactured from medical-grade stainless steel. The single-use instrument is pre-sterilized using gamma irradiation (Doddaballapur, Satish, Jul-Dec 2009).
There are also dermarollers that can be sterilized by autoclave and re-used, where regulations allow this. When used at home dermarollers are generally cleaned with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or UV-C light wands.
How Microneedling Works For Scars
As the dermaroller is rolled over the scarred area, the microneedles pierce the stratum corneum of the skin to create micro-conduits (small puncture holes) without damaging the epidermis. During this therapy, rolling over an area about 15-times will result in approximately 250 holes per square-centimeter.
The Microneedling leads to the release of growth factors which stimulate the formation of new collagen and elastin in the papillary dermis. In addition, new capillaries are formed. This neo-vascularization and neo-collagenesis is believed to lead to a reduction of scars (Doddaballapur, Satish, Jul-Dec 2009).
In microneedling, a healing response begins at the moment of tissue injury. Blood components spill into the micro-punctures, causing platelets to come into contact with the extracellular matrix. This triggers the release of clotting factors, essential growth factors and cytokines, ultimately leading to the depositing of collagen into the matrix.
Successive microneedling treatments build new collagen progressively to fill in depressed scars and deep lines (MesotherapyWorldwide.com, n.d.). Dermaroller treatments are usually performed at four-to-eight week intervals, in multiple sittings, in order to achieve the desired results in the treated skin-areas (Majid, Imran, Jan-Jun 2009).
There are advantages that microneedling has over other treatments, such as laser resurfacing.
- Microneedling does not lead to the epidermal injury caused by laser treatment.
- Microneedling also has minimal downtime for patients compared to laser treatment,
- and is a far cheaper treatment.
- Microneedling can be performed in an office setting, without having to use expensive instruments requiring specialty training or at home by using a derma roller.
The simplicity of microneedling is making it become a popular treatment worldwide, both in scar-treatment and anti-ageing therapy (Majid, Imran, Jan-Jun 2009).
Microneedling can be safely performed on all skin colors and types. Since the basal-layer melanocytes remain intact during the needling process, there is no risk of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is a major distinguishing safety feature which sets microneedling apart from other more invasive procedures used in scar treatment (i.e., laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, and deep chemical peels)(MesotherapyWorldwide.com, n.d.).
Here’s a comment of a visitor of a former Squidoo lens (a web page) of mine which I thought would be useful.
Dermaroller Review by Sheri, Oct 4, 2011 @ 1:22 pm |
I’m using a derma needle roller on my face acne ice pick scars and I find that my skin is improving however there’s a catch. For me, since my skin isn’t real thick, my best results show when I use the smaller needles under 1.5mm. I haven’t used the 1.5mm long enough to see what it’s doing but the smaller one 0.5mm nearly made my face look flawless after just a few hours for a few days. Then I’d have to do it again. I naturally have soft skin and my scars aren’t as deep as a lot of people have but they are deep enough to notice.
When I use a derma roller, my scars spread out loose and get a little bigger. By the next day, or even within a few hours, the skin tightens and then firms up giving a more smoother look. After derma rolling your face, it’s very important to put a toner on and then vitamin E oil to help promote healing and new skin growth. Washing your face with a special scrub like apricot helps remove dead skin cells. Sun screen is also very important since your face becomes vulnerable to the sun even indoors.
Keep in mind, your skin feels how you feel. If you’re tired or feeling sick and lethargic, so does your skin. It’s not a good idea to derma roll your face when you don’t feel well because your skin may be more sensitive and scarring can look worse. This is why a healthy diet and water intake is important along with getting plenty of rest. I’m simply telling you this from experience.
Derma rolling should only be done once a week or two if needed. Results can take up to 30 or more treatments. It takes time and patience. Always give your face enough time for the little punctures to heal and shrink.
Derma rolling works as long as you’re using it with wisdom and being careful. Start with smaller needles. Check out videos about it on YouTube. In fact, you can see results for yourself by watching raysdermaroller channel on YouTube. He gives a great 33 day demonstration of treatment example and shows how the skin improves!
Hope this info helps!
The effectiveness of microneedling was first noticed after facelift patients began seeking tattooing to camouflage post-operative scars. It was noted that beneficial effects came not from the tattoo pigments, but from the needling effects of the tattoo gun. Afterward, some doctors began treating their patient’s scars using tattoo needling without pigments. Eventually, the dermaroller became the primary microneedling tool.
Microneedling creates small puncture wounds in the skin without damaging the epidermis. This stimulates the release of collagen and elastin, and the formation of new capillaries. Successive microneedling treatments at four to eight week intervals builds collagen progressively to fill-in and improve depressed scars and lines. The advantages of microneedling include simplicity, safety and cost-effectiveness, which sets microneedling apart from other more invasive scar treatment procedures.
Critical note: based on my own experience with treating scars, although surgical scars mainly, I would add that I do not recommend to use vitamin E oil as a topical agent. Its use is discouraged by experts. I would suggest to use a moisturizer of your liking.
For the treatment of acne scars and other irregularities a micro needle roller combined with vitamin C + E ferulic acid serum is very popular well-reviewed.
Doddaballapur, Satish. (Jul-Dec 2009). Microneedling with Dermaroller. J Cutan Aesthet Surg, 2 (2), 110–111. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2918341/?report=printable
Majid, Imran. (Jan-Jun 2009). Microneedling Therapy in Atrophic Facial Scars: An Objective Assessment. J Cutan Aesthet Surg., 2 (1), 26–30. Retrieved from: http://www.preswede.se/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Microneedlingtherapyinatrophicfacialscars.pdf
MesotherapyWorldwide.com. (n.d.). PowerPoint Presentation: Skin Needling—A New Treatment for Scars and Lines. Retrieved from: http://www.mesotherapyworldwide.com/images/pdf/Skin%20Needling%20for%20Doctors_MW.pdf