At-home skin rejuvenation treatments have skyrocketed in popularity as an affordable and convenient way to experience clinical skin treatments. And while their efficacy does vary from patient to patient, products like dermapens and derma rollers show that it's possible to enjoy the benefits of a procedure like microneedling with the user's convenience.
But what is the difference between dermapens from derma rollers? Both are microneedling devices that help rejuvenate the skin, but the dermapen is a more advanced tool that offers several benefits compared to the dermaroller. Aside from that, derma rollers are more accessible to the public, while dermapens are almost always found in medical and professional settings.
Microneedling is a process where tiny puncture wounds are made on the upper dermis of the skin. As the skin heals, the area experiences greater amounts of blood flow. This brings much-needed nutrients to the area, increasing the production of elastin and collagen. For that reason, microneedling is often called collagen induction therapy.
Derma pens and derma rollers are two types of handheld devices used for microneedling the skin. They have a wide array of applications, ranging from treating acne marks, reducing scarring, and managing hair loss. While they work in the same way – primarily by needles making tiny puncture wounds in the skin – their mechanisms are very different.
|Pure mechanical action, rolled against the skin||Machine-powered pulses oscillating the needle point head|
|Short needles and consistent puncture depth||Longer needles with programmable puncture depth|
|Can only roll horizontally against the skin||Vertical angle of entry, more maneuverable overall|
|Readily accessible both inside and outside clinical treatment||Somewhat difficult to access outside of professional and medical use|
Derma rollers use a rolling head of hundreds of stainless steel needles to prick the skin. They're typically used on wide areas like the face, neck, and abdominal area to treat wrinkles, acne scars, dark circles under the eyes, and other fine lines. Usually, they're combined with other skincare products like hyaluronic acid.
Using a derma roller is fairly intuitive and doesn't require a lot of training. However, it's important to keep it properly sanitized and sterile, since the puncture wounds can develop into infections fairly easily. However, the maintenance of a derma roller doesn't really require much outside of disinfecting and cleaning the needles, and perhaps finding a proper storage to prevent them from getting dull.
Derma rollers are an excellent choice if the patient only needs light treatment. They're best suited for stretch marks and other light wrinkles that don't need a lot of product or treatment. Combined with the right skincare product, using derma rollers can give the skin overall improvements.
Derma pens are handheld devices that are similar to derma rollers, but they work via oscillating pulses that quickly move the needle up and down the treatment site. Unlike rollers that move horizontally across the skin, dermapens move vertically. They're more maneuverable than dermarollers since they're easier to grip.
Using a dermapen requires little more time and investment since their needles and the pulses of the device can be modified to the patient's liking. This allows for a more versatile treatment option, but it also means that there will be more trial and error before the user finds their ideal setting.
Dermapens are an excellent choice for many professional procedures since it improves the results while reducing the common drawbacks of using a derma roller. For this reason, they're often limited to clinical and cosmetic practices, though there are a few commercial models that patients can buy and use at home.
Despite their similarities in their method of action, dermapens are ultimately better for both patients and dermatologists. Aside from being a marked improvement in handling and functionality, dermapens offers some distinct advantages over derma roller use:
Since derma rollers use a natural rolling action to puncture wounds on the skin, this means that the entire surface area of the roller will always hit the dermis. Derma rollers will always have a wide surface area of application, which may not be suitable for difficult areas like around the nose, eyes, lips and other dips and ridges on the body.
A dermapen has pinpoint precision with the exact area the needles touch. In addition, the settings can be configured easily to allow for more customization with how the dermapen works. This allows patients and dermatologists to consider factors like pain tolerance, expected results from the procedure, and other dynamic factors that can affect the treatment.
One drawback with the horizontal action of derma rollers is that the lateral punctures leave the skin at an odd angle, which increases the likelihood of scarring and bruising. Because of the wide surface area of the derma roller, each pass increases the tearing and the trauma that the skin goes through.
This can lead to tenderness, bruising, swelling, bleeding, and other skin blemishes that can affect the quality of life of the patient. However, since dermapens can be applied with precision to prevent any unwanted areas from being punctured. The smooth action of the mechanisms also mean that there's less chance of scarring.
Using a dermapen is more natural than a derma roller, especially when it comes to handling the device. Derma rollers are limited by their overall surface area and mechanism of action, which makes it rough and unwieldy on curved surfaces. This makes treating areas like the scalp difficult because there's no way to gauge or control how much pressure is required.
Dermapens can be adjusted right down to the needle depth, so all the user needs to do is to adjust the settings to account for differences in treatment area and overall pressure. The procedure is more comfortable since it doesn't last as long, and there's no need to maneuver around to treat tricker areas.
Using a derma roller can be unwieldy because of the wide surface area and the amount of needles in the roller. This doesn't afford a lot of control for the user, since they're limited by the roller's overall size and the rolling action required to use the tool effectively.
But the tool design of the dermapen is different. Since it's held vertically, the user can adjust the angle and the area affected to exactly how large or how small they want to cover. This allows for shallow treatments of wide areas and intense treatments of targeted areas for better results.
Derma rollers have a basic method of action, and consequently standard results. Aside from gross mishandling of the tool itself, patients can more or less expect some results after consistent and standard use, but nothing too visible or out of the ordinary.
However, dermapen use is more targeted and has better options for treatment compared to using a derma roller. This allows for visible results and flexible treatment plans if the user is skilled enough with operating it. For dermatologists and cosmetic practices, skilled use of a dermapen can help them give their clients results that are closer to their expectations.
Compounds like peptides and topical hyaluronic acid often work well with derma rollers, but they're a better fit for dermapens and their targeted needles. Because these serums often work on specific areas of the face and body, the puncture depth and overall maneuverability of the dermapen make it a better choice.
This is especially handy with products like PEP growth factor, which may improve the appearance of hair and reduce the signs of acne scars on the treatment site. With consistent use, it has the potential to boost the results obtained by microneedling alone.
One thing that's crucial to remember with using a dermapen is that it does require more time, investment, and cost. Derma rollers have the advantage as far as accessibility and pricing is concerned, but dermapens offer better results at premium prices. Ultimately, the choice between which tool to use is best left after taking those factors into account.
While dermarollers are more available for patients, dermapens are undoubtedly the better choice for more consistent results. However, it's important for dermatologists to set their patients' expectations about using either device; ultimately, the best results from microneedling will always come from professional treatment.
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Learn more: Can A Derma Roller Remove Stretch Marks?
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