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Around 25 it occurred to me that I was actually going to get older, which wasn’t new information but still kind of freaked me out. In my early twenties I still looked very young, and I still felt more or less like I did when I was a teenager, and, like everyone else, it felt like aging wouldn’t happen to me, specifically.
When I was a teenager the trends were tanning beds and deep tans in general (remember Lindsay Lohan’s self-tanner brand? Oh, 2006.). I also used extremely harsh skincare products to nuke my acne, and my top layer of skin got nuked along with it. There’s much more of a skincare emphasis now and it’s no longer cool to show up looking like you’re wearing last night’s eye makeup. I think it’s great that younger people are thinking about taking care of their skin and aging well.
So, with those beautiful babies in mind, I’ve written up a short dermaroller protocol for anti-aging for people who aren’t seeing any signs of aging yet, or who are maybe just starting to see the finest of lines. (For me, I had “fine lines” across my forehead that appeared only when dehydrated and that disappeared the second I put makeup primer on for many years–maybe 23-27?. That is the earliest sign I can remember of skin aging).
This is a general-use protocol for people with youthful skin who want to have youthful skin indefinitely. There are only a couple of situations where it shouldn’t be used:
- Don’t use this protocol to roll over active acne. If you can go around just one or two pimples, do so. If you’re having a big breakout, skip the dermaroller until your skin is clear.
- Don’t use this protocol in addition to another protocol–if, for example, you’re currently treating old acne scars on your cheeks using the protocol for acne scarring, don’t use this on your cheeks as well. You can use different treatment protocols on different parts of your face though.
- Don’t use this protocol or any other if you’re prone to keloids or have any of the other traits that mean you shouldn’t use a dermaroller.
What you need
- 0.5 mm dermaroller
- Hyaluronic acid serum OR
- Hyaluronic acid sheet masks OR
- Silicone reusable skincare mask (optional! I really like mine though.)
What to do
The day before and the day of your treatment, stop using any chemical exfoliants. If you’re using tret or any other prescription topicals, take two days off from those too. If your skin responds well, you can experiment with decreasing the amount of time off from your topical and figure out how much time you personally need. (For myself, I skip my exfoliant the night before and the night of, but I’m fine using my Differin the night before. Everyone is an individual, so play it safe.) The day before and the day of, use sunscreen–but if you’re so on top of anti-aging, you’re definitely already doing that!
On the same day every week, dermaroll your face. You can find directions for how to use a dermaroller here. For anti-aging, you’ll want to pay special attention to where lines would eventually form: across your forehead, between your eyebrows, around the corners of and below your eyes*, between your nose and the corners of your mouth.
For bonus improvement in skin texture that you’ll be able to see after a few uses, pay attention to the innermost parts of your cheeks, closest to your nose, where pores may be visible. Tough cookies can roll the sides of their noses (I do!) to see the same benefit, but this is a more painful area to roll.
*About the eye area: my mother always said you only get two eyes! If you feel around the eye socket with your finger, you should be able to feel your orbital bone, the part of your skull that is shaped around your eye. Keep the roller on the orbital bone–this makes sure that you’re not putting needles anywhere near your actual eyeball. If the bone is underneath the roller, you are safe. If it is not, you are taking on an unacceptable amount of risk. You cannot roll your eyelids. YOU CANNOT ROLL YOUR EYELIDS.
Once you’re done, wash your face. There should not be much, if any, blood with a 0.5 roller. It is completely possible to do everything right and see no blood at all–just means your skin is a little thicker.
After you’ve rolled and washed your face, apply your serum or serums. I usually apply them a little more thickly than I would on a night I haven’t rolled, because you’ve increased the surface area that you’re applying to (the surface of your face, and then the “walls” of the prickmarks, if that makes sense). If you prefer the sheet masks, that’s also a great option. If you use the silicone reusable sheet mask, you can apply that either over a thick layer of serum or over a sheet mask.
Sample schedule for this protocol:
- skip retinol and exfoliants
- skip retinol and exfoliants
- PM: dermaroll with 0.5mm roller
- Hyaluronic acid mask
Mon – Fri
- Regular routine for your skin
And so on.
What I like about this protocol is the opportunity to use a pretty small investment of time and money to fend off aging and all the time and expense and insecurity that comes along with trying to correct skin that is already aging. A 21-year-old who starts using this protocol can expect to buy a new dermaroller every two months (about $12) and a new bottle of hyaluronic acid every four months, depending on whether or not she uses the hyaluronic acid on non-dermarolling days. She can expect to spend about 25 minutes a week dermarolling. And, honestly, it does hurt a little bit. But in exchange, she makes a huge investment in keeping her skin youthful and saves a ton of money down the road on fillers, lasers and all the other things that people do to fight off aging once it’s already arrived.
(It should go without saying that this assumes you’re using sunscreen every day! There’s no anti-aging replacement for sunscreen every day!)
Using this protocol? I’d love to hear about it!