Patch Testing Part II – Adding Actives

Yesterday I wrote about patch testing your dermaroller before you start using it. Today I want to follow up with a second post about slowly adding actives to your dermarolling routine.

Where we left off yesterday, you were using your dermaroller and a hyaluronic acid serum without any added actives. (Fun fact: if your serum is just hyaluronic acid and water, you don’t need to patch test it because your body naturally creates hyaluronic acid. Anything else should be patch tested.) Most of the suggested dermarolling protocols you can find on this site call for active ingredients of some kind. Mostly, these are delivered in the forms of serums and other things that you buy over-the-counter, though a few like melasma might use prescription treatments. People who are already into skincare know that you need to patch test these things anyway, but folks who are new to the hobby might be wondering, well, if I can buy it in CVS, why do I need to test it?

Skin is individual, and there’s no way of knowing how any individual person might react to any individual ingredient other than trying it out. Some people have pretty tolerant skin that will deal with just about anything they put on it, and some people have immensely sensitive skin that will reject lots of different ingredients. Some people think they have the first type until they encounter a certain ingredient that makes their skin go nuh-uh. So, we patch test.

This is doubly important when dermarolling. You are making tiny holes in your face and putting serums into those holes. Stuff can happen. You want to make sure that it’s the stuff you want, and not the stuff that sets your skincare goals back.

Why patch test again for serums?

There’s documentation of negative reactions to certain ingredients after dermarolling. Vitamin C is a big one. There are case studies that report granulomas in response to Vitamin C serums applied in conjunction with microneedling (Soltani-Arabshahi, 2014). In these described cases, the serum was applied first and needled into the skin, like tiny injections, rather than being applied afterwards.

You’re not going to apply the serum first in any of my protocols. We’re gonna patch test anyway. This is your face we’re talking about here.

So, after you have finished your initial patch test of your dermaroller, you can start patch testing your serums. It’s easy! The first two times you use your dermaroller, daub a little bit of the serum you’re testing into a discreet spot on your jawline. You can test two serums at a time if you so choose. Just use one on each side. (If you do two at once, you need to add a third patch test session where you use them both on one side before you put them all over your face.)

But I want the benefits right away!

Serums are great! Adding them can really amplify your dermarolling routine. But you don’t need them in order to see the benefits of dermarolling. That basic hyaluronic acid serum you’re using helps to rehydrate the skin and speed healing. Everything else is great, really, but if you chose to never use another product along with dermarolling, the roller and hyaluronic acid would get you results. (And, really, all the hyaluronic acid does is speed the healing along by keeping the skin hydrated. This is your body giving itself new healthy skin.)

So, do the patch testing, but by the time you’re using those serums all over your face, you will already be seeing the results of just the microneedling. You are not postponing or delaying the results of microneedling by not using serums right away.


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