Do You Need Serum with a Derma Roller? Expert Guide on Pairing Serums with Derma Rolling

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derma roller and serum

If you’re considering trying derma rolling to help improve your skin’s texture and appearance, you may be wondering if you need to use a special serum too. Is layering on a serum afterward really necessary to get good results? Or can you effectively rejuvenate your skin with needling alone?

According to our experience at Face Med Store, using a serum in your derma rolling routine can provide additional nourishment, hydration, and skin-enhancing benefits. However, serums are not absolutely required in order to see results from derma rolling alone.

Can You Use a Derma Roller Without Using Serum?

Yes, you can perform dermarolling without applying a serum afterward and still experience collagen stimulation and skin rejuvenation. 

According to a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), histological examination of skin treated with four microneedling sessions one month apart showed up to a 400% increase in collagen and elastin deposition at six months postoperatively. 

The minor injuries caused by the microscopic needles trigger your skin’s natural wound-healing response. This boosts the production of collagen and elastin to plump, firm, and smooth the complexion.

However, while serums are not essential, they can provide added skin benefits when paired with microneedling

A study titled “Derma rollers in therapy: the transition from cosmetics to transdermal drug delivery” found that derma rollers create micropores in the skin, which can be utilized to either induce collagen production or permeate applied formulations to the site of action within the skin. The serum nutrients can better penetrate into the micro-punctures created by the roller for enhanced absorption and effectiveness.

Is Serum Necessary for Derma Rolling?

While you can derma roll without serum, applying a topical serum after your microneedling session is recommended to amplify the anti-aging and rejuvenating effects on your skin.

According to a study published in PLOS ONE, microneedling plays a role in dermal remodeling, increases epidermal differentiation, and might also have a direct effect on collagen synthesis. 

The tiny channels created by the microscopic needles allow vital ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, peptides, and growth factors to be transported below the skin’s surface where they can improve texture, increase hydration, and stimulate healthy collagen.

What Serum Should I Use with a Microneedle Roller?

derma roller and serum

With so many facial serums on the market, choosing the right one to complement your at-home microneedling can seem tricky. Face Med Store suggests looking for serums that contain one or more of these skin-enhancing ingredients:

Hyaluronic acid 

Attracts and binds moisture to the skin for hydration. A 2021 study evaluated a hyaluronic acid serum for facial photoaging. Participants applied the serum to one side of their face for 6 weeks. Corneometry showed that the serum increased hydration by 55% versus untreated skin. 

Participants and evaluators also observed improvements in plumpness, smoothness, and overall appearance. The researchers concluded hyaluronic acid serum significantly hydrates and improves photoaged skin across Fitzpatrick skin types.


Another humectant that draws water into the skin. A 2017 study found daily application of a fluid with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and Centella asiatica extract improved skin hydration for 24 hours and enhanced barrier function.

Aloe vera 

Soothes, calms, and moisturizes skin while providing wound healing benefits. A systematic review found Aloe vera can prevent skin ulcers and treat wounds. It concluded Aloe vera retains skin moisture and integrity and prevents ulcers.

Vitamin C

A powerful antioxidant that stimulates collagen production and helps even out skin tone. A study conducted in 2023 found that microneedling with topical vitamin C and E serum showed better results in treating recalcitrant facial melasma compared to microneedling alone.

Vitamin B5 

This hydrating vitamin conditions and softens skin while also strengthening the skin barrier, which is disrupted during microneedling. It provides restoration and moisture essential for skin healing after derma rolling, as proven by a 2014 study. 


Amino acid chains that signal the skin to increase collagen production for firmer, more youthful-looking skin. A PLoS ONE study found that microneedles can substantially enhance the skin penetration of peptides.

What’s the Best Serum to Use with a Derma Roller?

There is no universal “best” serum for derma rolling that suits all skin types and concerns. According to our experience, the ideal serum depends on your individual skin goals:

Skin GoalRecommended Serum IngredientsBenefits
Anti-AgingVitamin C, vitamin B5, peptides, growth factorsMinimize lines, boost collagen density, restore firmness
Acne ScarsNiacinamide, centella asiatica, peptidesFade marks
DrynessHyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe veraAttract and seal

Always patch-test any new serum on your forearm before applying it after microneedling. Ensure it does not cause any irritation or reaction before using it on your face.

How Many Times Should You Use a Derma Roller?

When first incorporating an at-home derma roller into your skincare routine, start slowly. According to a study titled “Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons,” treatments are performed at 3–8 week intervals and multiple sessions are needed to achieve the desired effect on the skin. 

The study explains that the final results cannot be viewed immediately because new collagen continues to be laid down for approximately 3–6 months after treatment has ceased.

Face Med Store recommends needling every 3 to 4 weeks for the first 1 to 2 months. This allows your skin time to adjust to the micro-injuries and initial collagen stimulation. After the first couple months of gradual acclimation, you can increase the frequency to every 2 weeks for maintenance. 

Ultimately, it depends on the needle length. For example, a dermaroller with 1.5 mm needles should be used once every 3–4 weeks, while a dermaroller with 0.5 mm needles can be used 1–3 times a week.

However, we advise not derma rolling more than once per week, even for experienced users. Your skin needs adequate time to fully heal between needling sessions to avoid over-exfoliation.

How Do You Use a Derma Roller with Serum?

If you choose to pair your at-home dermarolling with a facial serum, make sure to apply it correctly for maximum results:

  1. Cleanse and tone your face to remove dirt, oil, and makeup so the roller glides smoothly over your skin.
  2. Sterilize your derma roller before each use with isopropyl alcohol to prevent infection. Allow needles to fully dry.
  3. Roll across treatment areas in multiple directions. Apply light pressure and roll 4 to 6 times over each section. Do note that the number of times you roll over each section can vary depending on your skin’s tolerance and the specific instructions provided with your derma roller.
  4. When finished needling, rinse your face with lukewarm water to clear away any pinpricks of blood. Gently pat dry.
  5. Apply your chosen serum and massage it into your skin where you rolled. This helps the nutrients penetrate the microchannels.
  6. Let the serum fully absorb for several minutes before applying moisturizer and SPF.

Should You Derma Roll Before or After Applying Serum?

For optimal absorption of your skin serum, it’s best to apply it after completing your derma rolling. A review of applications of dermarolling g explains that through physical trauma from needle penetration, dermarolling induces a wound-healing cascade with minimal damage to the epidermis. 

This allows for enhancement in the absorption of mainstay topical therapies across the thick stratum corneum, which is the outermost layer of the skin.

By needling first, you create tiny micro-channels into the dermal layer through which the serum can be transported deep below the surface. Applying serum beforehand could push it deeper during rolling, which is unnecessary. 

Once ready, follow the steps we laid out above to ensure proper application. 

Contact Us Now to Learn More About Pairing Derma Rolling with Effective Serums

derma roller and serum

At Face Med Store, our goal is to provide derma rollers and serums that help customers reveal their most youthful, confident complexion. If you have any other questions about combining microneedling and facial serums, don’t hesitate to chat with us. 

We also offer derma rollers, hyaluronic acid serums, and other skin solutions at affordable costs. 

All content in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not medical or legal advice. Please consult with lawyer or a medical professional.