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Here’s everything you need to know about dermal rolling from someone who’s had it done.

Here’s everything you need to know about dermal rolling from someone who’s had it done.

I hate needles. I can’t deal with getting them, I can’t look at them, and I can’t even look at other people getting them. So when I was told I would be reviewing a treatment that involved my whole face being pricked with microscopic needles, I was totally cool, calm and collected*. (*I was neither cool, calm, nor collected. I may have curled into a little ball and hyperventilated a little.) But because I am determined to do my darndest to test all the things so you know what’s what, I womaned up and booked in for a few sessions with Laser Clinics Australia. I know, how selfless am I?

Skin needling, or dermal rolling, is a treatment that is said to improve the appearance of acne scarring, pigmentation, pore size, black heads and a range of skin conditions that are a blight on our faces. It does this using a small roller (kind of like a mini paint roller) made from tiny little surgical needles that’s rolled over the face. The “tiny puncture channels” as they’re called in the marketing blurb, are said to stimulate collagen renewal and regeneration. Real talk? It basically tells your skin it’s in a minor amount of trauma so it starts fixing itself. But although it sounds like a tiny rolling nightmare to any needle-phobe, it’s not even close to as bad as it sounds. And the results... well those made the pain well worth it.

When I first arrive, my Laser Clinics therapist slathers my whole face in a numbing cream, wraps my face in cling wrap and says she will be back in half an hour. Over the course of the time, my face starts to tingle and feels really weird. I keep touching it to make sure it’s still there, because honestly if feels like the whole darn thing has gone to sleep without telling me.

When my therapist comes back in, she shows me the little roller and it’s nowhere near as scary as I imagined. It’s very small. And right now, my face is so numb I am pretty sure I wouldn’t even be able to feel if it I was given a swift backhand to the cheek. She asks if I’m ready... and then it begins.

And it’s not that bad! It feels like someone is pressing a stamp or something into my face really hard. It’s not painful, just slightly uncomfortable. I’ve had laser hair removal, I can deal with this, I’m the queen of the world! Then she warns me to brace for the forehead. “It’s generally the most uncomfortable because it’s close to the bone,” my therapist tells me. Eep.

Here’s everything you need to know about dermal rolling from someone who’s had it done.

When she rolls the device over my forehead I wince, not because I can feel it, but because I can hear it. It’s like this crunch sound and... no. Just no. I wish for this part to be over quickly because this noise I can hear through my skull is not OK.

“So,” my beauty therapist says, “Do you want to take a photo before I wipe off the blood?” Um, what? There’s blood? I whip out my camera for a selfie, and yep, my face is dappled with little pinpricks of red all over, like I’ve somehow face planted and grazed my face. Once I’ve snapped away, it’s time to continue for round two. Two passes allow the treatment to really take hold, and give the therapist time to go over any spots that need more attention, such as scar sites.

Here’s everything you need to know about dermal rolling from someone who’s had it done.

When the treatment is finished (and the whole process including waiting for the cream to numb takes about an hour), my therapist tells me I might want to head straight home because... well look. 

Here’s everything you need to know about dermal rolling from someone who’s had it done.

I look like I’ve been burned. She tells me to avoid any active ingredients (retinol, AHA/BHA acids) for three days post treatment and skip exfoliating for five days. No makeup for the rest of the day if I can avoid it, no SPF today either, because my face is basically covered in thousands of microscopic wounds that can’t handle chemicals in them right now. I need to keep a hydrating spray on hand because my skin needs moisture, and use a rejuvenating serum 3-4 times per day (I buy some Skinstitut Rejuve Serum, which was applied on me post-treatment). Tomorrow I need to use sunscreen and opt for mineral makeup if I can.

The first day, my face feels hot... a LOT. I learn quickly to keep a cold water bottle or ice pack on hand to cool my skin and give me some relief. I use my hydrating mist a lot, spraying whenever I need to turn down the heat. I’m also told to avoid excessive exercise for a few days. Whatever you say, experts!

It takes a day before my skin looks completely back to normal and I notice I have very VERY faint dot track marks on my forehead showing the roller’s journey. These fade fairly quickly, so it wasn’t a real concern. But as much as my skin looks normal, my skin is quite dry and I need to make sure to apply serum and moisturiser regularly.

Since four to six treatments are recommended for best results, I book myself in for a few more sessions, each a month apart to give skin time to recover.

Session two is very similar to my first dermal rolling outing, but session three is when it gets REAL. See, no one told me they increase the needle size each treatment (and I mustn’t have noticed during my second treatment.) But this time, the needle goes from being slightly uncomfortable to, well, painful. The first pass - while the numbing cream is still working - is fine, but as that starts to wear off, ooooh boy. I grit my teeth and bare it. Because beauty and journalism.

When my sessions are done, I look at my results and guys, I am IMPRESSED. My total mental breakdown over needles, and the much-less-hurty-than-I-was-expecting treatments were all so worth it. Pigmentation what was present on my first session has faded markedly. My pores are smaller, my skin looks brighter and some scars I’ve lived with for YEARS have faded so much I barely have to conceal them anymore. I feel like my skin has been given new life. Because it involves needles, this won’t be for everyone, but if you can stand the heat, get into the beauty chair and get some skin needling.

Here’s everything you need to know about dermal rolling from someone who’s had it done.

Treatments were at Laser Clinics Australia using a Cosmedical DNC Derma Roller. Prices at LCA start at $127.


Elizabeth Best is a beauty expert and writer with more than a decade of experience working for some of Australia’s most prolific media outlets. She enjoys long romantic walks along the makeup aisle, and fully expects for her profound love of travel and food to bankrupt her one day. You can follow her never-ending obsession with food and makeup on Instagram.



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