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

Derma Advance 5 in 1 Kit

Dr. Pen Ultima Therapy System

Moon tree 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 Derma Advance 5 in 1 Kit which includes four treatment heads with lengths of 0.5mm, 1.0mm, 1.5mm, and 2.0mm. If that isn’t available the Angel Beauty and Premium Derma Kits are 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. I’m currently using Drunk Elephant C-Firma but I’ve previously used Timeless Skincare Vitamin C + E + FerulicAmara Organics, Serumtologie and Cosmetic Skin Solutions CE Serum.

My favourite so far has been Cosmetic Skin Solutions, but I’m still waiting to see how C-Firma does in a couple weeks. Of course everyone’s skin and needs are different. You can see my full ranking of vitamin C serums 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 Derma Advance 5 in 1 Kit which includes four treatment heads in 0.5mm, 1.0mm, 1.5mm and 2.0mm. You could also opt to just get the 1.0mm needle alone like this 1.0mm roller by Koi Beauty.

Following treatment I used serumtologie C serum with hyaluronic acid, ferulic acid and vitamin e. Days I didn’t needle I used Neostrata Cream Plus AHA 15.

For anti-aging or to reverse the signs of aging go with a 1.0mm needle and consider starting a retinol regimen. 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 Moontree 1.5mm roller.  Again, if you want to use it for more than just hair regrowth then the Derma Advance 5 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 3 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

I don’t recommend a manual derma stamp or pen as your only device. I’ve purchased one in the past and found it very hard to use because I couldn’t tell how much pressure to apply.

Make sure you replace your device frequently. Your mileage may vary but as a general rule devices with shorter needles can be used for 2 weeks to 1 month (depending on frequency and condition) while devices with longer needles can be used 3-4 times. I’ve gotten away with a lot longer than that with consistent cleaning. Always sterilize and inspect devices before use and watch out for common issues like bent needles, rust and debris.

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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I write about wellness and ideas that make you better, whether that's a new book, a better way to travel, a skin treatment that works or an ergonomic aromatherapeutic work space. You are the biggest and most important project you'll ever work on. When you take the time to nurture and invest in yourself the returns will multiply through all facets of your life. If you want to have it all, begin with yourself.

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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