Microneedle Patches vs. Dermarollers - Which is Better for Your Skin?

Microneedle Patches vs. Dermarollers - Which is Better for Your Skin?

Clear and youthful skin can sometimes seem like an endless pursuit, with so many skincare products and tools to choose from. But with 95% of 11 to 30-year-olds in the UK suffering from acne and the global anti-aging market growing continuously, distinguishing a fad from an effective remedy has never been so important [1, 2]. Luckily, microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy, has the science to back it up. Research shows that microneedling improved the appearance of facial scars in 99% of women, and illustrated its effectiveness in treating fine lines, skin laxity and texture [3, 4]. Many have tried microneedling at home using dermarollers, but for some, microneedle patches may be more effective. Finding what the best microneedling device is for you could put an end to the quest for perfect skin. 

What is microneedling?

Microneedling involves using tiny needles to puncture the outer layers of skin, known as the epidermis. This stimulates the body’s natural collagen rejuvenation process and enhances the absorption of skincare products. The cosmetic procedure is minimally invasive and is often used by dermatologists to treat a variety of skin conditions such as wrinkles, acne, scars, pigmentation and so on. Microneedling can be done at dermatologists’ offices or at home thanks to easy-to-use microneedling devices such as dermarollers and patches. 

Is microneedling safe?

At-home microneedling is considered very safe for most people. The length of needles in microneedling devices are shorter than those used by dermatologists, so you’re unlikely to cause any damage to your skin. However, microneedling is not recommended when you have an active skin infection, such as active acne, or for pregnant women. It is also not recommended for those on Accutane, as this medication can impact healing. What is essential is that anyone using microneedling devices practices good hygiene and keeps the devices completely clean.

Microneedling is known for its ability to combat acne. However, dermarolling is not recommended for use on active acne, but can be used on acne-prone skin when skin is clear. On the other hand, microneedle patches can be used to reduce acne in as little as two hours, with one application being sufficient in reducing most pimples. If you’re in desperate need of clear skin quickly, patches may be the way to go.

What’s the difference between dermarollers and microneedle patches?

Dermarollers are small wands that you use to roll over your face, similar to a small paint or lint roller. The rollers are covered in small needles, which puncture the skin as you roll. Microneedle patches apply the same principle of microneedling, but use a more targeted approach. The small needles are loaded with active ingredients for specific skin concerns, which penetrate into the skin before dissolving. 

What is the best microneedling device for me?

Although dermarollers and microneedle patches apply similar concepts, they are quite different in their use and pros and cons. Dermarollers are great for applying to large areas and are arguably the more sustainable option. They are also quicker than the patches, taking only a few minutes to apply. However, microneedle patches can be more effective on sensitive areas, such as active spots and delicate eye areas. They’re also less hassle, where ingredients are already infused in the dissolvable microneedles and there’s no need to clean the device afterwards. Above all, choosing the best microneedling device can depend upon specific skin concerns such as acne and wrinkles, and how much of a stickler you are for cleansing your device frequently.

How do I use dermarollers?

The skin should be thoroughly cleansed before using a dermaroller to remove bacteria and avoid any possible infections. You can then apply numbing cream if necessary, before selecting a serum for your skincare needs. Next, ensure the dermaroller is clean and begin rolling lightly across your face for approximately two minutes avoiding sensitive areas such as above the lip and close to the eyes. After dermarolling, you can then apply the serum again - just be sure to avoid harsh ingredients such as retinol, which can irritate the skin. It is usually advised to dermaroll once or twice a week, but be sure to follow the device’s instructions on how often to dermaroll. 

How do I use microneedle patches?

Cleanse and thoroughly dry the skin before using microneedle patches. Remove the patch from the pouch with care and position on the face. Don’t rub or press too firmly on the patch. If using Vice Reversa’s patches, you can then leave the patch on for two hours or even overnight to achieve maximum results. Peel the patch from the skin and discard after use. It is recommended to use microneedle patches twice a week.

Dermarollers: pros and cons

Pros:

  • Dermarollers are a popular microneedling device that can be used over and over again. They are also widely available, meaning you can purchase one at a fairly low cost. 
  • The wand is generally easy-to-use, and lets you apply the microneedling procedure to different areas of your face. 
  • The process generally takes a few minutes, making it easy to build into your weekly skincare routine.

Cons:

  • Although dermarollers can be used more than once, they require sufficient cleaning to avoid build up of bacteria and possible infections. 
  • Another downfall of dermarollers is the need to select and apply appropriate skincare products. Unlike microneedle patches that are preloaded with the right ingredients for specific skin concerns, dermarolling requires preparation and a bit of product knowledge. 
  • Most users find that dermarolling is painless, but some pain is possible if you roll too firmly.

Microneedle patches can be more effective on sensitive areas, such as active spots and delicate eye areas which can be to sensitive for a dermaroller.

Microneedle patches: pros and cons

Pros:

  • The procedure is gentle and painless, and poses less risks than dermarollers thanks to the dissolvable microneedles. 
  • Microneedle patches are great if you’re not sure what ingredients you should be using. For example, Vice Reversa’s pimple busting microneedle patches contain hyaluronic acid, salycic acid, totarol and green tea which help treat pimples at the source and keep the skin clean. On the other hand, their plumping microneedling patches contain hyaluronic acid, collagen and peptides, to soften skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. With patches, there’s no need to scour the internet for what products to use.
  • The benefit of using patches over dermarollers is that you can leave them on overnight to achieve the longer-lasting results. 

Cons:

  • Microneedle patches involve dissolvable needles, which means they are single use only.
  • Although microneedle patches have been around for a while, they aren’t as well known as their dermaroller counterparts. This means they aren’t as widely available as dermarollers, but fortunately you can find microneedle patches from reputable brands such as Vice Reversa.

What is better for acne: dermarollers or microneedle patches?

Microneedling is known for its ability to combat acne. However, dermarolling is not recommended for use on active acne, but can be used on acne-prone skin when skin is clear. That means, if you currently have pimples or an active breakout, dermarolling should be avoided as it can actually spread acne bacteria further. Once the acne has cleared, dermarollers can be used to reduce the appearance of acne scars and help prevent future breakouts.

On the other hand, microneedle patches can be used to reduce acne in as little as two hours, with one application being sufficient in reducing most pimples. If you’re in desperate need of clear skin quickly, patches may be the way to go. They should also be with caution - avoiding use on wounds, dermatitis, eczema or broken skin.

What is better for wrinkles: dermarollers or microneedle patches?

Recent studies have demonstrated the efficacy of microneedle patches for combatting fine lines. A randomised study on 34 women with mild to moderate crow’s feet found patches to be more effective than topical applications with the same ingredients at reducing wrinkles and improving skin elasticity [5]. Dermarollers have also shown to be effective for improving the appearance of wrinkles, however they are more suited to forehead lines and less so to delicate, thin skin close to the eyes. Both microneedling devices can be effective, but it may be worth considering which areas of the face you’re targeting.

Conclusion

Microneedling can be an extremely effective way of improving a variety of skin conditions, such as wrinkles and acne. But it’s important to consider what microneedling device is best for you, based upon their ease-of-use and suitability. Although dermarollers have become the go-to method, microneedle patches can be great for first-timers; they’re painless, preloaded with the right ingredients, and proven to be effective. 

References

  1. NHS Overview: Acne, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/acne/
  2. Statista, Size of anti-aging market worldwide from 2020-2026https://www.statista.com/statistics/509679/value-of-the-global-anti-aging-market/
  3. Majid, I (2009) Microneedling therapy in atrophic facial scars: An objective assessment, Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 2(1) 26-30
  4. Ablon, G (2018) Safety and effectiveness of an automated microneedling device in improving the signs of aging skin, Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 11(8) 29-34
  5. Choi, S. Y., Kwon, H. J., Ahn, G. R., Ko, E. J. Yoo, K. W., Kim, B. J. Lee, C and Kim, D (2017) Hyaluronic acid microneedle patch for the improvement of crow’s feet wrinkles, Dermatol Ther. 30(6)