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So, this website is called “Dermaroller at Home”, so this post distinguishing between ‘home use’ and ‘medical use’ dermarollers is way overdue.
What is typically called a “home use” dermaroller has needles that are less than or equal to .25mm. It’s used only for product absorption–for that reason, it can technically be used to treat any skin condition in that it improves the effectiveness of any serum that might treat that skin condition, but it isn’t actually penetrating deeply enough to spur percutaneous collagen induction or to serve in any of the protocols described on this website.
Because these .25 needles are not the ones used in dermatological research, I don’t really write about them here. You can use them. They aren’t bad or anything, and the mechanism that they cite for how they improve product absorption makes sense. It’s just not what this blog is about. (Most of the guides you find online about DIY dermarolling are talking about these .25 rollers, so heaven knows there’s no shortage of other blogs talking about them.)
The longer-length needles (.5mm+) that are referenced in the protocols are generally termed “medical use”. The easiest way to draw a distinction between the two types is that the ‘home use’ ones are just intended to make your products more effective and the ‘medical use’ ones are intended to actually have an effect on your skin themselves by creating micro-traumas in the skin that your body then rushes to heal. They are the ones used in a medical office, though, of course, as this blog seeks to demonstrate, you can also use them at home.
Home use microneedling has caught on in a big way–you can buy that expensive Sephora dermaroller that will go unnamed here that has a set of .25 needles and comes with all types of elaborate snap on heads. (You should still be replacing the heads! Don’t buy a super-pricey dermaroller or dermastamp unless you can afford to replace it frequently!) However, in the internet age, any home user can get ahold of a medical-grade dermaroller as well. Some people would say that ‘medical’ means you shouldn’t use it at home. I obviously don’t agree with that, provided that you’re using proper sanitary practices!
I think it’s really important to make this distinction because a lot of the more general and less research-supported things you might read about dermarolling talk about using it every day or every other day–for a .25 dermaroller, that’s fine. You should start with every other day. But to try that out with a medical-length dermaroller like the ones recommended to resurface skin would be a recipe for absolute disaster. It’s like the difference between using a Stridex pad to exfoliate every night and using a TCA peel every night! Strength matters.
Knowing the distinction between medical-grade and home-use can help every individual make choices about what makes sense for them, and then to follow usage practices that are safe for the tools they’ve chose. It matters!