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No surprise here, but poking needles into your face isn’t exactly something people are lining up to try for themselves—unless it’s in the name of skin care, of course. Microneedling, a skin-rejuvenating procedure that uses tiny needles to puncture the skin and improve its appearance, has become insanely popular within dermatologist’s offices over the last few years—and for good reason.

Smoothed-out acne scars, less visible wrinkles and diminished dark spots are only a few of the benefits microneedling can deliver, making it a game-changing treatment for pretty much every skin care concern. However, the procedure can get a little pricey, which is why many people have turned to a similar, at-home solution to get those same, stellar results.

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Enter: dermarolling. “Dermarolling is like microneedling,” explains New Jersey dermatologist, Ingrid Warmuth, MD. “It creates small punctures in the skin to stimulate skin repair and skin regeneration.” While results won’t happen overnight (duh), they are still pretty drastic. Ahead, everything you need to know about dermarolling so you can achieve crazy-good skin without ever stepping foot into a derm’s office.

How does dermarolling work?
A dermaroller uses tiny needles to create small pinpricks along the surface of the skin, which later heal themselves by creating new collagen. The surge in collagen production can improve skin tone and texture, while the open cuts also allow for better absorption of topical skin care products. So, applying your high-quality skin care products on top of the “open” skin will allow the formula to penetrate much deeper, therefore delivering better results than if you had skipped the dermarolling step before applying the product.

What benefits can you expect?
Dermarollers use a variety of different needle lengths, so results can differ depending on the dermaroller used. “A 0.25 mm–long dermaroller needle treats the skin superficially and helps with absorption of skin products and with keeping the skin looking fresh,” says Dr. Warmuth.  “A 0.5 mm– and 0.75 mm–long dermaroller needle penetrates deeper into the skin, so it should help with mild to moderate wrinkles and mild scarring.”

How do you take care of your dermaroller?
“It is very important to clean the dermaroller before using it by letting it sit in isopropyl-alcohol for at least 15 minutes,” warns Dr. Warmuth. Also, be sure to cleanse your skin before doing the treatment, otherwise makeup and other impurities will spread all over your skin and lead to breakouts or infections. Once you’ve finished the treatment, clean the dermaroller thoroughly by soaking it in alcohol again and never let someone else use your dermaroller after you.

What safety concerns should you be aware of before dermarolling?
The most important safety tip? Don’t use a dermaroller on broken or inflamed skin. “Pimples, cold sores and warts can be spread all over your face if they come in contact with the dermaroller,” says Dr. Warmuth. “Skin rashes like psoriasis or eczema should also not be treated because we don’t know how this skin will heal with these micro-punctures—it could make matters worse!”

Finally, it’s also not recommended to apply harsh skin care products on the treated skin because it will most likely be too irritating and could even potentially delay the healing. “Most of the skin care products with acid in their name, such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid, are too harsh,” explains Dr. Warmuth. So, stick to soothing, hydrating serums with ingredients like hyaluronic acid instead.

Where can you buy a dermaroller?
If you’re looking to give dermarolling a try for yourself, invest in a trusted brand like the GloPro Microstimulation Facial Tool ($199). There are also some awesome, inexpensive options on Amazon, but be sure to read reviews and do your research on the product before purchasing.

Julie Ricevuto , Digital Beauty Editor