What’s a Derma (skin) roller?

The derma roller seems to be the hottest thing right now in skin care. It has become increasingly popular over the last decade, as people – both men and women – use it for all sorts of skin-related problems such as acne scars, wrinkles, fine lines, stretch marks, cellulite, post-traumatic scars and even hyper-pigmentation.

A derma roller or a skin roller is a small device which consists of a barrel with hundreds of fine and tiny needles, which are called microneedles. The exact number of microneedles may depend on the manufacturer. Some say that a barrel typically contains about 200 microneedles. Other dermarollers, however, have different number of microneedles: for example, the 8-line model contains 192 needles (the best for rolling larger areas of the body) while the 3-line model has 72 microneedles (suitable for rolling hard-to-reach areas).

Microneedle Therapy

These microneedles prick the skin, creating micro-injuries and pushing the pores for only a short period of time. The penetration of the needles into the skin will trick the body into thinking that it has sustained a wound, leading it to release growth factors that stimulate its natural production of collagen and elastin. This causes the skin to repair, heal and renew itself, becoming more healthy, refined and youthful-looking.

The micro-injuries also allow serums and other active substances to be absorbed more easily into the epidermis (the skin’s outermost layer). These serums nourish the skin as it repairs and renews itself.

The derma roller can be used on almost all parts of the body, for the exception of the eyelids and lips.

The brief history of the derma roller

The first recorded instance of “skin needling” or “microneedling” dates back in 1905 in Germany, where noted dermatologist Ernst Kromayer came up with a device which consisted of rotating dental burrs run on a “motor-driven flexible cord equipment.” He used this device in treating scars, hyperpigmentation and birthmarks.

Fast forward to 1950s, a New York dermatologist named Abner Kurtin discovered Kromayer’s pioneering work, and from there Kurtin devloped the technique and further modernized the device. Instead of dental burrs, Kurtin included stainless steel wire brushes.

During the 1990s, a new technique was introduced. It consisted of hypodermic needles that were meant to minimize scars, wrinkles and fine lines.

These are just a few of the many forerunners of the modern derma roller. There is the original “Dermaroller,” the only model used exclusively by practitioners at several derma clinics and beauty centers. As skin needling rises to popularity, it has led to the proliferation of “copies” of the authentic Dermaroller. But that doesn’t mean exactly that these copies are no less good, although naturally some of the ARE more high quality than others. Read another post about choosing the right derma roller.