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Because they break the skin, dermarollers need to be kept clean. The hygienic steps for keeping it clean are linked in other guides on this site about using a dermaroller at home but let’s break them down in detail here.
For the purposes of this post, I’m assuming that you don’t have a home autoclave. (Honestly, I’m not entirely sure that the plastics used in all dermaroller handles would survive an autoclave! Even if you do have access to an autoclave, I don’t suggest you try it!)
Starting off right
All dermarollers that you buy should come sterilized, in a sealed package. The most recent one that I’ve purchased* looked like this:
This is how it looked when I took it out of the box. You can see that it’s the dermaroller, in its case, in a sterile package that is paper on one side and plastic on the other. This way, I can know that it’s clean and hasn’t been exposed to anything in storage or (worse yet) used and returned.
When you buy from OwnDoc or another one of the higher-end retailers you can be confident that you’re getting a sterile product. If you buy on the cheap like I do, the sterile packaging is incredibly important. If it didn’t come in sterile packaging, send it back.
The first time you use a new dermaroller, you don’t need to do anything special before using it because you know that it is sterile.
After your first use/each use
After you’ve used your dermaroller, put it down and wash your hands thoroughly with the dish soap. I usually pick the roller back up and wash just the handle while my hands are still soapy.
Cleaning the barrel with the needles goes in two parts: cleaning with dish soap then sanitizing with isopropyl alcohol. (You can get both of these at any drugstore, but if you’re buying this stuff from Amazon: dish soap* and 70% isopropyl alcohol*.)
First, the dish soap. Squirt a little soap into a large cup or small bowl, and add water until you’ll be able to submerge the whole dermaroller barrel without it touching the bottom. Agitate the cup until you have some bubbles, and then hold the dermaroller in the water and let it hover in the water, fully submerged but not touching the bottom or sides. (This is to avoid bending a needle!) Gently stir the barrel around, taking care not to whack it against the bottom or sides, for a minute, then take it out and place it on a clean towel to dry.
1.5 mm :
Once the water has dried, take the dermaroller and place it SO GENTLY into a small cup. A shot glass is really ideal for this because it will allow you to submerge the barrel without having to use a ton of the isopropyl alcohol. Place it SO SLOWLY and SO GENTLY into the cup–this is still to avoid bending needles, which will ruin your roller. Add enough of your isopropyl alcohol to cover the barrel, and let it sit for five minutes, then pull it out and let it air dry. While my dermaroller is sitting, I also use some of the rubbing alcohol to wipe the inside of the dermaroller case (this is just to be safe, because the needles don’t actually touch the case itself).
After the barrel has soaked in the alcohol, you can place it back in its case and leave the case open to let it dry. Once dry you can pack it up and put it away.
Before using a sanitized roller
If you aren’t using a brand new roller, repeat the same process before you use your dermaroller. Dish soap, rubbing alcohol, let it dry fully.
It’s best to do these cleaning steps fully both before and after just in case. If there are any blood particles left behind after you’ve cleaned your roller, you catch them with the next cleaning, before the roller touches your skin again.
FAQs on cleaning a roller
Can I use 99% isopropyl alcohol?
70% isopropyl alcohol is best for disinfecting objects because it evaporates more slowly. 99% evaporates off the needles before it’s fully cleaned them. Don’t use 99%.
Can I use an alcohol wipe?
You can’t use alcohol wipes because you won’t be able to submerge the barrel. We want it totally immersed for at least five minutes, and the alcohol off the wipe will evaporate too quickly. You also won’t be able to be sure you got all the way around the base of each little needle.
Can I use Chloramine-T instead of alcohol?
Yes! I would not recommend that someone new to dermarolling shell out for Chloramine-T in case they decide dermarolling is not right for them, but if you get to the end of your bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol and want a cheaper sanitizing solution, you can buy small quantities of Chloramine-T very affordably from OwnDoc, and it will last you forever. One note, though–you can use Chloramine-T to sanitize your rollers, but you CAN NOT use it to clean the skin in a treatment area. Please note that some people are allergic to Chloramine-T.
Can I just boil my roller in a pot to sterilize it?
No–it will be knocked all over the place by the bubbles from a rolling boil and will likely damage the needles on your roller.
Can I put my roller in an open flame to sterilize it?
No. This is an incomplete sanitization method that shouldn’t be used except in an emergency. Dermarolling is never an emergency!