Cleanliness is the most important thing to remember while using derma rollers. “They are safe to use as long as you clean your derma roller before using it,” says Dr. Lal. “Unhygienic methods can lead to skin infections.”
Coppola adds, “The way you store your derma roller and the way you care for it, in terms of maintaining its cleanliness, are probably some of the most important factors regarding safety for at-home use. You need to make sure that you clean it before and after each use with an antibacterial cleaner and then with 70 percent isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.”
Another key factor to consider for safe use is needle length. “You want to make sure that the device you purchase does not go deeper than 0.3 millimeters to 0.5 millimeters in depth,” says Coppola. “Penetration at or greater than these depths can cause significant injury to the skin that can result in scarring and an increased risk of infection.”
And for those who have certain skin conditions like existing acne or deep acne scars, you may want to steer clear of derma rollers altogether. “If you have active acne, you should not use derma rollers, as you could spread acne-causing bacteria on unaffected skin,” says Dr. Lal. “If you suffer from significant acne scars or very poor skin texture, you are probably best served by a professional microneedling treatments done at an appropriate depth and in the right environment that will yield greater results safely,” Coppola adds. “However, if you are just looking to slightly improve the texture of your skin at home, derma rolling is relatively safe to use following these guidelines.”
Also, “anyone prone to keloids or melasma or has had a negative experience with microneedling in the past should use caution before considering this line of treatment,” says Dr. Greenfield.