By no means microneedling is a new technique. It’s actually been used by derms and cosmeticians for years. And with these microneedling pens, everyone can now undergo this procedure at home. If you’re not familiar with microneedling, (I wrote more about it here), it’s a collagen-boosting therapy, which works with vibrating pens that are loaded with tiny needles. Just like the so-much-adored rejuvenating LED masks, or high-frequency devices, microneedling pens also made their way into our homes. Continue reading to explore the best microneedling pens for home use and learn more about this technique.
What is microneedling?
In case you’re skincare-obsessed, it’s impossible you haven’t heard about microneedling. At the very base, microneedling is a beauty technique that creates itty-bitty punctures in your skin intended to improve its texture by inducing collagen production. The procedure uses tiny needles that penetrate the skin to create superficial wounds, meant to stimulate collagen and elastin production. Thus, the old skin tissue is replaced by a new, firmer, smoother, and youthful one.
Hence, you’d want to undergo microneedling procedure if you want to tackle acne scars, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles or help your cells regenerate for glowing and healthy-looking skin.
Is it safe to do it at home?
Microneedling at home is considered a safe procedure as long as you follow some basic instructions. In the end, the technique involves creating tiny holes in your skin, so it’s hard to ignore some possible risks. However, as long as you follow a few rules, the chances of infections or scarring are non-existent. As you would have probably presumed, the most important thing is to work sterile, have a cleansed and dry skin, and a disinfected tool. And never reuse a cartridge!
Another possible risk can occur if your skin is not ready to use a microneedling pen yet. What does that mean? I’ll start with my own experience. As an over a decade acne sufferer (scars included!) I went to a cosmetologist saying and I quote, “Pleeeease, make my skin flawless, I want to get rid of acne, all these scars, and dark spots left by breakouts – I want the dermapen thing.” And you know what? It took me one year of monthly visits to get rid of the acne I had until the cosmetologist could even consider microneedling my skin. Conclusion is, never do the microneedling if you have active acne. You actually risk spreading the bacteria and get even more breakouts. So using a microneedling pen on breakouts or wounded, irritated skin is a no, no!
How to use microneedling pens?
Using a microneedling pen wrong can cause micro-tears in the skin, which can lead to scarring and hyperpigmentation. The key to using a microneedling pen at home is to be gentle when pressing the needles onto your skin. You wouldn’t want to bleed, but only to create tiny controlled injuries that tell your skin to regenerate itself. In turn, your skin will turn red, and that’s OK. If you’re bleeding, it means you’re putting too much pressure, and you risk compromising your skin. That you have to work clean and sterile, I don’t have to mention, right? OK, then, so that your skin is ready for microneedling cleanse it and generously layer a serum — a HA serum does wonder to all skin types.
What do I apply to the skin after using the microneedling pen?
What you apply post-needling goes straight in the opened pores, so you wouldn’t want to layer anything that might dry out your skin like alcohol, fragrances, or any potential toxic ingredient. These can likely trigger irritation, and how that’s something you want to avoid by all means, here is what you can apply after microneedling.
How frequently can I undergo microneedling?
One answer doesn’t fit all. The frequency depends on the pen needle’s size and how sensitive your skin is. However, you wouldn’t want to use it too often since the skin needs time to boost collagen and some time for recovery. Hence, once a fortnight will do just fine.
Supposing you worked the puzzle of how to undergo this technique yourself, now you may explore the best microneedling pens to use at home.
Dr. Pen Ultima A6 Microneedling
Dr. Pen is praised by everyone since it’s one of the best brands when it comes to microneedling tools. And this one truly rocks! With 0.25 mm needles and adjustable speed, it makes the perfect choice for beginners. The kit includes 24 tips, which theoretically should last you up to 2 years, and oh yes, it works hands-free! Get back that glow and smooth texture with Dr. Pen, one of the best dermapens for home use out there!
PIPM Microneedling Derma Pen Kit
PIPM makes things easier with two cartridges and LEDs that target different skin concerns. While the red light helps promote collagen production and restores skin elasticity, the blue one helps repair damaged skin with a calming and soothing effect. High-rated on Amazon, this microneedling pen is beginner-friendly, has 6 adjustable speed levels and 0.25mm needles, so it’s very likely to work for every skin type, sensitive included.
Pen Ultima A6S Microneedling Pen
Welp, since Dr. Pen is a pioneer, here’s another great device created by them. A6S aims to make your skin glow with 16 pins of 0.18 mm, a better fit for skins’ texture, inducing less trauma and faster recovery. Also, it’s a smart microneedling device since it can memorize a pattern and execute it automatically to match your routine habits — everything is better when technology reaches high standards. Everybody is raving about it, especially those who are novices in microneedling.
Thappink Microneedling Pen
This one comes with two types of cartridges, a slender one with 12 pins for hyperpigmentation and acne scars and a denser one with 36 pins for skin rejuvenation and collagen boost. Not only that, but it’s cordless and equipped with 6-speed levels so that you can treat different areas of your face and body. And now, the best of it: this microneedling pen features four LED lights — red, blue, green, yellow — which help boost its effects, calms the skin, reduce redness, have antibacterial and collagen-boosting roles.
Koi Beauty Dermapen Professional Microneedling Pen
As one of the best microneedling pen, Koi Beauty’s product promotes luminous and vibrant skin, reduce visible wrinkles and brings the skin one step closer to perfection. This professional dermapen has a dial to adjust the needles penetration depth so that it may be easily used by every skin types. Besides, it comes with a gel masks that reduce redness and stinging feeling post microneedling.
URYOUTH Microneedling Pen Kit
You can adjust the length of the needles (0.25mm, 0.3mm), and it comes with two types of cartridges, of 12 and 36 pins, plus that it allows you to set up five levels of different speeds. You can use it all over your face and also on body areas that need a refresh for a more even texture. Made with high-quality titanium, this microneedling pen is easy and safe to use, with a price that beats its competitors.
Which microneedling cartridge is right for you?
When it comes to using a dermapen at home you have to be careful as one mistake can results in a nightmare for you and your skin. Choosing the wrong micorneedling cartridge or needle length for your skin type and condition can lead to side effects such as bleeding, redness, slight bruising, dryness, irritations, or skin flakiness. It may even disrupt your skin barrier. To avoid any nasty situation while using a microneedling pen you need to know what cartridge is right for you. Common options for home use are nano, 12 pins, 24 pins, and 36 pins cartridges:
- The nano cartridge is for regular use and is good for fine lines, dark pigmentation, or saggy skin. As it has a max depth setting of .25mm, nano cartridges are considered safe for every skin type.
- 12 and 24 pins cartridges are more aggressive and should be used cautiously. They help improve acne scars, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and collagen loss. Because they can go to 2.5mm in depth, they may help to promote collagen by entering into the dermis. Warning: 2.5mm may be too much for the face area so don’t rush things.
- 36 pins cartridges work more evenly on the skin and they improve discoloration, stretch marks, collagen, and skin hydration.
Which needle length is safe and effective for home use?
The needle length is another major factor that influences how well the dermapen will work. Choosing your needle length should depend on what area are you are looking to improve and the thickness of your skin.
- For forehead: use 0.25-0.5mm if you have thin skin, 0.5-0.75mm for thick skin.
- For nose & eye area: use 0.25-0.5mm for thin skin, 0.5-1.0mm for thick skin.
- Cheek and chin: use 0.5-1.0mm for thin skin, 1.0-2.0mm if you have thick skin.
- For facial scaring: use 1.0-1.25mm for thin skin, 1.5-2.0mm for thick skin.
- For stretch marks: use 1.5-2.0mm for thin and thick skin.
There’s actually no general rule for the best needle length. You have to constantly use the dial to adjust the needle’s penetration depth according to the treated area and your skin condition. You should also adapt the needle length depending on how your skin feels.
How to take care of your skin before and after microneedling
Taking proper care of your skin before and after using a microneedling pen can minimze the side effects, enhance the benefits and make the experience more enjoyable. Althought using a gentle cleanser and moisturizer after microneedling might be enough, there are more things you can do to improve the treatment.
- Never skip sunscreen, especially after microneedling. Use it constantly for the first 2 weeks after your dermapen.
- Avoid long sun exposure after microneedling.
- Avoid harsh ingredients, especially exfoliants such as retinol or glycolic acid after microneedling.
- Use hyaluronic acid after microneedling to reduce irritations and dryness and also to boost collagen production.
- Use a conductive gel before microneedling to create a protective film between your skin and the device.
- Don’t use makeup for the next 48 hours.
Now you have everything set up: you found the best microneedling pen for you, you know what cartridge and needle length to use and you know how to prepare your skin before and after microneedling. If you still have questions about dermapens, take a look below:
- Is microneedling effective and safe for acne scars?
Microneedling is a popular technique used to treat acne scarring. While you shouldn't perform micro-needling on active breakouts, for scarring is truly helpful! Scars are trauma left in the skin by pimples. What a derma pen will do is stimulating the collagen and elastin fibers, instigating a greater scar repair.
- Can microneedling ruin your skin?
Microneedling is less risky than other treatments, such as chemical peels or laser therapies, so it's very unlikely to ruin your skin. Though there are risks involved with the treatment – including bleeding, bruising, infection and scarring- it might be worth trying out microneedles if you've had trouble clearing up your complexion in other ways!
- Can microneedling make pores bigger?
No, that's a fallacy. You may have heard microneedling creates tiny wounds in the skin's dermis, and that's totally true. That can possibly make your pores look enlarged and skin rough. BUT, once the repairing process is over, the newly formed skin cells replace the old, damaged ones, resulting in less visible pores and smooth skin. That's because collagen production increases, making your skin look plump, tightened, and pores smaller.
- Why does my skin look worse after microneedling?
Don't panic if your skin becomes dryer or more irritated than usual. After microneedling, you might experience water loss due to pricking from needles that damage the cells. It's all normal! Those initial few days following microneedling can feel rough, but if you notice anything severe like prolonged redness or irritation that lasts longer than 48 hours, go back down one needle size or lessen the frequency of microneedling.
- Do I need a numbing cream when using dermapen?
Not necessarily. If you know your skin sensitive, you can purchase such a cream, but really, most people don't need it.
- Does at-home microneedling pens have in-office-like treatment results?
Not really. Microneedling pens used by professionals have longer needles to penetrate deeper into the dermis, somewhere between 1.5 to 2.0 mm. The ones intended for home use shouldn't be longer than 0.5mm. Now, you can assume why microneedling at home doesn't have the same results as in-office treatments. Still, the effects are visible, just not as dramatic.