Micro needling, or collagen induction therapy, is the process of running tiny needles across the skin to create superficial punctures just below the surface. These punctures induce a healing response in the skin, which results in collagen formation below the surface of the skin.

A happy by-product of this damage and healing cycle is that damage to the surface of the skin like dark spots, fine lines, and scars are also healed along with the tiny punctures. Skin tone and texture are clinically proven to show significant improvement.

Another often overlooked benefit of microneedling is that it’s also clinically proven to increase product absorption by up to 1000x. It’s like supercharging your skin care products to make the most of them.

There are three keys to making the most of micro needling:

  1. Choose the right device for your needs
  2. Combine it with the right products
  3. Use it at the right frequency

Quick Reference 

Product Absorption

Acne Scars & Dark Spots

Stretch Marks & Deep Scars

Hair Loss

Healthy Care 0.25mm Derma Roller

Toexy 3 in 1 Derma Kit

Dr. Pen Ultima Therapy System

Dia 1.5mm Derma Roller

0.25mm to 0.5mm devices can be used up to twice weekly as part of your regular skin care routine to increase product absorption.

This product has a range of needle lengths that can be used for a twice weekly regular regimen or more targeted treatment. Versatile and offers greatest value.

Adjustable electric derma roller in the range of 0.25mm to 2.5mm for highly targeted treatment.

Ideal needle length for clinically proven hair regrowth in combination with minoxidil.

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Best for Increasing Product Absorption

If your goal is to boost the effectiveness of serums and creams get a device with short needles, like the Healthy Care 0.25mm Derma Roller. You can use shorter needles as a regular part of your skin care routine as often as every other day. Just remember to sterilize before each use and replace your device every month.

If you want a multipurpose device that increases product absorption but can also be used for anti-aging, acne scar, hair regrowth and stretch marks then I recommend the Toexy 3 in 1 Kit which includes three treatment heads with lengths of 0.5mm, 1.0mm, and 1.5mm. If that isn’t available the Derma Advance kit is also good.

If you live outside the USA I recommend the TinkSky 0.5mm Micro Needle Roller (Canada), and the Derma Roller 0.5mm Needle (UK.)

According to clinical trials the best addition to a micro needling regime is vitamin C serum because it’s clinically proven to aid in collagen synthesis.

Vitamin C is most effective in the form of L-ascorbic acid. According to clinical studies the combination of L-ascorbic acid with ferulic acid and vitamin E is especially effective.  There are serums with this specific formula at different price points and for different needs. Some of the best are Drunk Elephant C-Firma, Timeless Skincare Vitamin C + E + Ferulic, and Cosmetic Skin Solutions CE Serum.

Everyone’s skin and needs are different. The full ranking of vitamin C serums can be found here 67 Vitamin C Serum Reviews To Help You Choose. vitamin c reviews

Best for Anti-Aging, Acne Scars & Dark Spots

The ideal needle length for anti-aging and minor acne scars and dark spots is 1.0mm.

A great multipurpose micro needling kit is the Toexy 3 in 1 Kit which includes three treatment heads in 0.5mm, 1.0mm, and 1.5mm. You could also opt to just get the 1.0mm needle alone like this 1.0mm roller by Vansaile.

For anti-aging or to reverse the signs of aging a 1.0mm needle is a good starting point. Retinol is the only skin care ingredient proven to reverse the signs of aging. Consider Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day & Night if you’re new to retinol or Paula’s Choice 1% Retinol for more advanced retinol users.

Also be aware that needling increases product absorption by up to 1000 times so even if you are an experienced retinol user you may want to needle a few times without the retinol to get your skin accustomed and when you do use retinol consider using a weaker formulation until your skin adapts.

Of course, always wear sunscreen. Dark spots can be lightened but it takes a long time for them to fully disappear. If I go in the sun without sunscreen for as little as 30 minutes my spots start to re-darken.

Best for Stretch Marks & Deeper Scars

Stretch marks and scars are notoriously hard to heal. Despite what Pinterest may tell you, no amount of coffee scrubbing is going to get rid of stretch marks. Stretch marks are a type of scar, and scars  involve deeper damage to the skin that’s much more difficult to heal than superficial issues like dark spots or fine lines.

Luckily, stretch marks and scars respond very well to micro needling.

There are two ways that micro needling can provide visible improvement to scars and stretch marks. First, shorter needle micro needling devices in the range of 0.25mm to 0.5mm like the ones recommended above increase the absorption of scar and stretch mark lotions significantly.

Use a reputable treatment like Maderma Advanced Scar Gel or NewGel + E Advanced Silicone Gel in combination with consistent treatment regimen, either every other day or twice a week. Second, you can opt to use longer needles in the range of 1.5mm to 2.0mm less often, while maintaining a consistent treatment regimen with a good scar treatment cream. The Dr. Pen Ultima is a good choice. It has adjustable needle length from 0.25mm to 2.5mm which allows for a variety of treatments.

Electric derma stamp or pen devices are perfect for targeted treatment of spots, lines, stretch marks and scars. The cost may seem higher at first, but when you consider how often needling devices should be replaced they don’t end up costing that much more.

A roller is still easier to use for larger areas so I wouldn’t recommend an electric device just for regular product absorption or for hair loss because it might take a little longer than a roller would but if you also want targeted treatment, or you have some scars or stretch marks to treat, then an electric device is the best option for you.

Best for Hair Loss

If more people knew how good micro needling is at amplifying the effects of minoxidil products like Rogaine then every box of Rogaine would have a micro needling device included. It’s that effective.

The ideal needle length to amplify the effects of minoxidil is 1.5mm, like the Vansaile 1.5mm roller.  Again, if you want to use it for more than just hair regrowth then the Toexy 3 in 1 Kit is a great value as it includes a wide 1.5mm needle length attachment perfect for hair loss micro needling treatment along with 2 additional treatment heads.

Needle Length & Frequency of Use Chart

Micro needle chart

Length of needles 0.25mm-0.5mm 0.5mm – 1.0mm 1.0mm-1.5mm 1.5mm-3.0mm
Purpose Increase penetration of skin care or hair growth products. Dark spots, fine wrinkles, mild sun damage or aging skin. Acne/burn scars, stretch marks, loose skin, sun damage, fine lines & individual deep wrinkles. Deep scars and stretch marks.
Ideal Frequency of Use Less than 0.5mm: every other day. More than 0.5mm: once or twice a week on the same area. 1.0mm: once every 2 weeks on the same area. 1.5mm: once every three – four weeks on the same area. Once every 5 weeks or more under supervision of a professional.

Things to Look Out For

Research indicates that a device can be used up to 100 times but your mileage may vary. Keep devices clean and keep an eye out for these common signs of wear.

micro needling device bent needles
Bent needles on a needling device
debris in needling pen
debris in micro needling stamp
rust forming on a micro needling device
rust forming on a micro needling roller


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7 Comments

  1. Courtney Callen Reply

    Thank you so much for this!!! It’s been extremely helpful!!

    • Cristina Reply

      Glad it’s helpful for you Courtney! Let me know how it goes for you.

  2. hi, I can’t find the dr. beauty kit anywhere – do you have a recommendation on where to get it
    Thanks

    • Cristina Reply

      Hi Amanda. Unfortunately it happens sometimes that micro needling products go off the market unexpectedly, sometimes never to be found again. I know it isn’t ideal but you may just have to settle for individual devices rather than a kit.

  3. Sheryl Osentoski Reply

    I haven’t tried this yet, I bought everything but I want to be sure of a few things. I apply the C serum directly after and leave it on, then how long do I have to wait to apply moisturizer? And how long before sunscreen?

    • Cristina Reply

      Hello. You have two options. Take this with a grain of salt because it really depends on your skin type, hydration, products used etc etc.

      1. You can apply the serum before needling, which is what I usually do. Afterwards it will be mostly absorbed and you can apply moisturizer right away, then wait until it’s absorbed (skin is no longer cool or wet) and apply sunscreen. You could also opt for a moisturizing sunscreen, also my preferred method.

      2. Apply the serum after needling then just wait until it’s absorbed (i.e. your skin has dried enough that it doesn’t feel cool anymore, but hasn’t dried so much that it feels tight.) Then follow with moisturizer and sunscreen.

      A good sign that you haven’t waited long enough is that your product clumps together into little lint like fibers on your skin.

      Best of luck and let me know if you have any other Qs.

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