What I’ve learnt in my five years working in the beauty industry is that there are two kinds of skincare fans: Those who prefer the au naturel approach and “nothing too crazy” in the vicinity of their face, and those (and I fall firmly in this category) who will always put their hands up to try Fun New Things. Professional strength retinol? Liquid gold. Lip filler? Love it. Lasers to the face? Absolutely. I’m yet to dabble in botox, but hey—who knows what my next birthday might bring.
So when I stumbled upon a handful of compelling anecdotes raving about the effects of micro-needling while deep-diving the internet in search of a cure for my dark under-eye circles, you know I was intrigued. (Fun fact: Under-eye bags exist because the skin in that area is so thin, the darkness you can see is the blood pooling behind it.) Even more intriguing was the claim that micro-needling not only has the potential to treat dark under-eye tissue, but to fill in lines, plump the skin, and improve your complexion tenfold, too.
To take a step back, micro-needling (or derma-rolling) involves repeatedly moving a small device across your face—the only catch being that said roller houses hundreds of tiny, sharp needles designed to create micro-injuries in your skin as you roll. These micro-injuries work to stimulate collagen production, resulting in plumper, smoother, and thicker skin over time. It’s commonly used to treat hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, enlarged pores, and fine lines, and is basically your at-home introduction to Collagen Induction Therapy.
Just like that, I was ready and willing to commit to regularly needling my face. At-home micro-needling rollers come in a range of sizes, the most common facial needles being 0.25, 0.5, and 1.0 millimeters in length. With anything larger, I suggest you put that baby down and book an appointment with a professional instead. It’s important to note that needles shorter than 0.5mm might not reach deep enough into the skin to successfully stimulate collagen production.
As with anything involving piercing your skin, you’ll want to ensure you’re using a high quality roller and are properly sanitising it after every use. White Lotus has an amazing range that serves me well. It goes without saying, but please ensure your face is squeaky clean before you start. I’m talking a solid double cleanse—anything less than excellent hygiene will leave you open to infection. Not cute.
I started with the 0.5mm roller, but quickly progressed to the 1.0mm. Why mess around? As you can probably imagine, rolling hundreds of tiny needles over your face is not entirely pain-free. That said, it falls into the “uncomfortable” category more than it does “true pain.” Your eyes might water, but you’ll get over it. It helps to apply a hydrating serum to your face before rolling, too—Grown Alchemist has a facial oil I like to use. Because you’re effectively poking tiny holes in your skin, any product you apply will absorb more effectively than it usually would. Please note that this is not the time to apply a retinol or AHA serum—a one-way ticket to redness and discomfort.
Technique is important, too. It’s recommended that you roll both vertically and horizontally, five to ten times each way. If you’re going anywhere near your under-eye region, make sure to hold your skin taut and never venture above the bone. Remember those tears I mentioned? Yeah—that’ll do it.
Post-roll, my face is red, hot, and a little tingly (a feeling somewhat reminiscent of days spend at the beach when I was young and dumb and thought SPF was for losers). It’s nothing a solid dose of serum, moisturiser, and a good night’s sleep can’t fix, though—my go-to moisturiser is Dermalogica’s Skin Smoothing Cream. I wake the following morning looking refreshed, dewy, and with noticeably plumper skin.
After a few weeks of committed rolling, I noticed the fine lines around my mouth were softened, my skin had a new glow to it, and my under-eye bags were much less severe—success! A subtle difference, sure, but when you stare at your face every morning, you’re going to notice it—and that’s just after a few weeks.
Words, Carly Rogers.