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Last year, after much thought, I decided to buy a derma roller. I was tempted to lay my hands on this miracle product after watching many YouTube beauty bloggers vouch for it. The derma roller is a small, hand-held instrument with a drum-shaped roller on the other end. The roller is embedded with tiny titanium or medical grade stainless steel needles of 0.5mm 2mm length. When the instrument is rolled over your facial skin, the needles create small injuries on the surface. These injuries trigger the repair mechanism of the body which responds by sending a whole lot of collagen to the affected areas. When the skin is bombarded with so much collagen, it is triggered into repairing all the scars and blemishes. In the end, after all the pain, you get a scar-free, smooth complexion.
My friend whose facial skin pockmarked by aggressive acne in her teen achieved great results after a couple of derma rolling sessions. When used under medical supervision by a professional, it can indeed perform miracles. ( medical supervision and a professional are the operative phrases here) In the hands of a professional, it is a magic want, but in your own clumsy hands, it is nothing lesser than a medieval torture device! So if you are swayed by the zillions of beauty bloggers who are pushing you to try the derma roller out at home, hear my side of the story and some expert warnings before you go roller-happy on your skin!
Derma rolling nightmare
Good derma rollers are expensive, ranging anywhere between Rs 2000- Rs 5000. But I got mine for Rs 600 from an online shopping portal. The first time, I followed general precautions and used a sterilising liquid on the roller before and after I ran it across my facial skin. I won t lie; it hurt quite a bit. Why wouldn t it, considering you are dragging around 200 sharp pins across your face. My skin turned red and rough for the next two days, but on the third day, it started looking amazing. Over the weeks, I could see a marked difference in my scars. I got the same results a month later when I repeated the process.
However, third time round, I was not so lucky. Barely a few hours later derma rolling, my skin looked suspiciously inflamed. A day later, my face was full of nasty boils. It turns out, it was a staph infection. My dermatologist was shocked to know that I used a 1.5 mm roller on my skin without medical assistance. A few creams and tablets later, the inflammation subsided but not without teaching me a critical lesson: Never attempt derma rolling at home without a professional.
Expert opinion on what went wrong
Renowned dermatologist, Dr Jaishree Sharad CEO of Skinfiniti Skin & Laser clinic, explains what went wrong.
Not all derma rollers are safe for home use- Home use derma rollers which have 0.5mm long needles can be used. However, a lot of asepsis has to be maintained; else it could lead to infections. A lot of people buy the professional derma rollers which have a needle length of 1.5mm to 3mm which is extremely unsafe to use at home, says the dermatologist. My 1.5mm roller was too risky to be used without professional intervention. My advice is not to try using derma rollers at home. However, if you really want to use them, use rollers with 0.5mm depth only, adds Dr Sharad.
Without medical assistance, there will be risks involved- Bacterial infection, pus boils, exacerbation of acne, the spread of viral warts or viral infections like molluscum contagiosum are commonly seen side effects of home use derma rollers. Increased pigmentation and scarring, when used incorrectly, are other known side effects, she says.
If you must use derma rollers, follow proper care- Wash them in hot water. Be gentle when rolling them on the face. Avoid using derma rollers if you have boils, acne, herpes or warts on the face, says Dr Sharad.
Do not reuse Derma rollers are for single use only. Reuse needs extra caution. Blood stains need to be cleaned, and roller washed well in hot water both before and after treatment. Needles become blunt after use so chances of scarring could be there if you reuse the roller more than three times, she says.
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