Microneedling with a derma roller is a highly effective skincare treatment that has many benefits such as a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles, acne scarring, stretch marks, enhanced absorption of skincare products, and promotion of hair/beard growth. Derma rolling is easy and safe to perform at home. You can read our in-depth guide to microneedling at home here.
One of the critical factors to ensure the safe use of derma roller at home is proper cleaning of your roller. When you derma roll your skin, the tiny microneedles may puncture it, and to prevent infection, the roller must be clean. Ideally, you want the roller to be sterile as well. The problem is that you cannot really sterilize a derma roller in a home setting because the roller handle and head are made out of plastic, which means that you cannot put the roller into boiling water to sterilize. If you try to do this, the roller will be permanently damaged.
So how do you clean a derma roller properly?
- After using the roller, rinse it under warm tap water and brush the roller head gently with a soft brush covered with hand soap. This will remove all skin debris and blood from the roller head and needles.
- Thoroughly rinse the soap away under warm tap water and place the roller head into a suitable container with 70% isopropyl alcohol for 20-30 minutes.
- Place the roller into a storage container until later use.
By following the above procedure, you will keep your roller clean and safe for many months of use. Cleaning with soap may not be needed after every use, particularly if you use short needles and there is no bleeding to contaminate the roller. But it should be done regularly no matter what needle size you use. Below you will find a more detailed description of how to clean your derma roller.
Standard Cleaning of Derma Roller: After Every Use
Step 1: After you finish using the roller, rinse it under warm running water for a few minutes. This will remove most of the loose contaminants.
Step 2. Put the roller head into a suitable container filled with a disinfecting solution such as 70% isopropyl alcohol. Make sure that the roller head is immersed entirely into the disinfecting solution. Let the roller stay in it for 20 to 30 minutes.
IMPORTANT: Pay attention not to drop the roller into the disinfecting solution. Doing so can damage the needles when they hit against the container’s bottom. Make sure that you place the roller into the container slowly.
Step 3: After disinfection, store the roller in the provided storage case.
Thorough Cleaning of Derma Roller: Once Every Two Weeks
Step 1. Rinse the roller head under warm running water to remove loose dirt and contaminants.
Step 2. Use a small soft brush to clean the needles thoroughly. A soft toothbrush is very convenient for this purpose (do not use it for brushing teeth after derma roller cleaning). Cover the brush with a bit of hand soap and brush the needles thoroughly but gently for a few minutes. This will remove traces of dirt, dead skin, and blood that rinsing alone will not remove.
Step 3. Rinse the soap away under warm running water.
Step 4. Disinfect the roller for 20-30 min with 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Step 5. Place the roller in a storage container until you use it next time.
Can You Make Derma Roller Sterile?
Unfortunately, it’s next to impossible to sterilize a plastic derma roller at home. Treatment with isopropyl alcohol, peroxide, or other alcohol will not kill all the microbes. You need to boil the roller for 30 min to make it sterile, but this will destroy the roller. The good news is that it is unnecessary to achieve 100% sterility for derma rolling to be safe. Keep in mind that there are many microbes in the air and that our own skin contains a huge number of microbes. So derma rolling cannot be done in 100% sterile conditions even if you sterilize your roller. All that is needed is to reduce the number of microbes on a derma roller to a sufficiently low level, and treatment with 70% isopropyl alcohol for 20-30 minutes achieves that perfectly.
Do you Need to Disinfect Derma Roller Before and After Each Treatment?
In short, yes. As explained above, disinfection with isopropyl alcohol does not make the roller sterile but only reduces the number of contaminating microbes to a sufficiently low level. During storage, these microbes may grow. This is why you need to disinfect a second type right before the derma rolling treatment.
How to Handle Derma Roller
Avoid dropping the roller or hitting the roller head against hard surfaces. The needles are very thin and can bend easily. Regularly perform a visual check if there are any bent needles. If you see bent needles, you should replace the roller with a new one. Rolling with bent needles creates a high risk of scratching the skin. Also, check if the roller head rotates smoothly and evenly. If the rotation is not smooth and even, replace the roller with a new one as there is a high risk of scratching the skin with such a roller.
By following the above cleaning regiment, you will keep your roller clean and safe for many months of use.