How to Roll – A Complete Guide

Derma roller users have their own way of rolling, to suit their needs and preferences. However, though, the rolling procedures must always be clean and hygienic to avoid possible infections.

It’s because the derma roller has hundreds of needles that prick the epidermis or the skin’s outermost layer. It creates micro-injuries on the epidermis which trick the body into thinking that it is injured, prompting it to release collagen and elastin which causes the skin to repair and heal itself. The tiny injuries also allow substances (such as serums) to be absorbed faster by the skin. This regenerative process leads to the skin to become smooth, supple and youthful-looking.

You must have complete and clean materials for the derma rolling procedure:

  • Derma roller – Make sure that you have chosen a derma roller’s needle length based on your skin’s condition. Check out the article: “How to Choose Needle Length for Derma Roller” to help you determine which needle size is suitable for your condition.
  • Treatment creams – The type of cream depends on what you’re treating. Just make sure they are safe to use with a derma roller (no fragrances, chemicals, etc.)
  • Topical anesthesia or numbing creams – EMLA is widely used as a numbing cream, but you can use any topical anesthesia or numbing creams that contain lidocaine.
  • Antiseptic solution – in this case, the antiseptic solution consists of 70% isopropyl alcohol and purified water.
  • Disposable gloves.
  • Cosmetic cotton pads.
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle, to be used to for disinfecting the derma roller after use. Spray bottles can be bought at warehouse stores.


  • Prepare the equipment on a clean table before you. You can also place the equipment on a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Clean the skin area that you’re treating.
  • Put on a pair of gloves.
  • If you’re using a numbing cream or any other topical anesthetic, apply it on the area that you’re treating according to label directions. The area can be wrapped in plastic cling film for better absorption. Some people like to roll the area lightly using a 0.5 mm roller before applying the cream to enable better absorption. If you’re applying Emla, leave it on the skin long enough to take effect, a minimum of about 40 mins.
  • Remove the numbing cream or topical anesthetic thoroughly by washing it off with cold water or by wiping it with damp cotton.
  • Clean the skin area with the antiseptic solution, using cotton pads.
  • Apply the cream of your choice on the skin and massage lightly.
  • Wash the roller with warm running water for a few seconds. There’s no need to disinfect it if the roller is brand new (new rollers should come pre-sterilized).
  • Roll the area in a star pattern, applying a bit of pressure, but do not push it too hard against the skin. You should do four rolls vertically, four rolls horizontally, and four rolls on each diagonal – that should be enough number of rolls. Do not over-roll.
  • After rolling, gently apply and massage more of the same cream (or any other skincare product) of your choice (that you have applied earlier).
  • Leave the cream (or any other skincare product) on your face for at least an hour.
  • Next, wash the cream off your face with cold water, if you must. Some people do not wash their face until the next day, to ensure that the cream was completely absorbed by the skin.
  • During this time, do not use any harsh soaps on the treated area for the next couple of days.
  • Re-applying the same cream (starting the following day) can be allowed, although it won’t be absorbed by the skin as it did while rolling because the tiny holes should have been closed by then.
  • If you have rolled on an exposed area (such as the face or arms), avoid going out in the sun for 1 to 2 days, and after that for the next week or be sure to wear sunblock (with an SPF 30 minimum).

Cleaning and storing the roller (this should be done immediately after rolling):

  • Wash the roller under warm running water for a few seconds, to remove tiny remnants.
  • Spray the roller with alcohol a few times.
  • Let the roller air-dry for at least 10 minutes before putting it back to its case.
  • Make sure that while in the case, the roller’s needles will NOT touch any surface (usually, the roller comes with a special plastic box which is designed accordingly for this purpose).