Micro needling and derma roller problems – are they safe?

I would like to have your opinion on derma roller. How often we should do it and which size is better to use first and what to apply after, cream or serum?

So as with everything in cosmetic/aesthetic dermatology, I think that the first rule is and to quote, “First, do no harm.” This applies to these currently unregulated (FDA) devices. My understanding is that the FDA is moving to create a category for these so they can be regulated because it IS possible to do harm with them.

Derma Roller problems currently occurring all over the world and in the U.S.:

  • Some of these derma rollers, the way they are used, have absolutely no effect, wasting your time and money.
  • Some of the derma rollers cause scarring themselves, probably because the “pins” are too large, especially when used improperly.
  • They can open up tiny channels in the skin where bacteria can invade causing infections, occasionally serious ones.
  • Skincare products introduced into the skin through these tiny channels magnify and make allergic reactions, if one occurs,  to a product much worse;

The derma rollers themselves are being found to actually CAUSE allergies to chemicals in skin care products to occur. This happens because a skin care product put on top of the skin, has a natural barrier to it getting into the blood stream. If you create little channels into the dermis and the blood vessels, the skincare products end up in the blood vessels which can create an allergy where there wasn’t one before.   This process is called sensitization.


The information at the last conference I went to caused most of the experts in the room to decide to wait for a lot more data before going ahead with these. There are only a few skin care products that are being used with these devices that have been found to be safe in a study.

If you feel determined to use one, try using it after cleaning the skin well with alcohol or Hibiclens and use the device without any skin care products. More info here.

Hope this helps,   Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!