skincare Apr 29, 2022
The pros and cons of at-home facial microneedling

Something that people often ask me about is at-home microneedling. This treatment has become very popular in the last few years and there are several tools on the market for use at home.

I’m always happy to share my knowledge with all of you. But I’m also the first person to admit when I haven’t got expertise in a particular technique or tool. At-home microneedling is one of these – I haven’t tried it myself, so I don’t want to recommend it to others without that first-hand knowledge.

Fortunately, someone who does know plenty about microneedling is facialist and author, Abigail James. So, when Abigail joined me on the Face Yoga Expert Podcast recently, I took the opportunity to get the low-down on the pros and cons of at-home facial microneedling.

Abigail had some great advice to share on this topic. She’s a fan of microneedling generally and says it can bring some fantastic benefits to the skin. But she also cautions that at-home microneedling is a very different treatment than the microneedling done by a professional in a clinic setting. If you want to try it at home, Abigail has some tips for how to do it safely.


Microneedling is a skin-regeneration technique that involves inserting very fine needles into the skin. This controlled trauma stimulates the body’s natural cell regeneration processes and boosts collagen production.

Abigail has offered microneedling for many years but has seen a noticeable increase in the popularity of this treatment in the last six months. She says it can noticeably smooth skin texture, reduce fine lines, and treat scars and wrinkles.

However, there’s a difference between the microneedling treatments offered in a clinic and those that are available for use at home.

In her clinic, Abigail has two microneedling devices. The first, SkinPen, is a pen instead of a derma roller and the needles penetrate much deeper into the skin than any at-home device. The second, the Focus Dual, combines microneedling with radiofrequency, creating heat. 

In both cases, Abigail will often apply a numbing cream to the skin before use, as the needles penetrate deeply enough to cause occasional blood spots. In contrast, at-home microneedling devices only have a needle depth of 0.2 – 0.5mm.

Although these at-home devices will still bring benefits, the needles only penetrate superficially into the skin and won’t have the same effect as the professional treatments.

Despite having the same name, at-home microneedling and in-clinic microneedling treatments are actually very different things. This is worth being aware of before you decide whether to try microneedling at home.


I’ve tried out a lot of at-home skin therapies, partly because I’m curious and partly because I want to try these devices myself before I recommend them to anyone else. However, one of the reasons I’ve shied away from trying microneedling is that several people have told me they’ve ended up with an infection after using these devices at home.

I asked Abigail to share her tips for microneedling at home safely. One of the most important pieces of advice she had was to make sure the device you choose is from a reputable brand. It needs to be sterile out of the box, so you want to know that it has been manufactured and packaged in a safe environment.

Make sure you cleanse your face thoroughly before you use the device. When you use it, you just want to roll gently over your face. Don’t press into your skin.

Take your derma roller in the same direction with each stroke. You don’t want to drag in lots of different directions over your skin. Although you won’t end up with tears, changing direction repeatedly can lead to roughness.

You also need to choose your skincare products carefully. Microneedling creates tiny microchannels into the skin. You won’t see them, but they mean whatever you use on your skin before and after rolling will absorb more quickly and penetrate deeper into your skin.

Most over-the-counter skincare products aren’t designed to work in the dermis (middle layer of skin) but to sit on top of it. If you’re using these products at the same time as microneedling, you might find ingredients are penetrating your skin that will cause irritation.

Take advice from a professional when choosing what serums to use with microneedling. Abigail also suggests opting for the professional skincare ranges that are more likely to have been tested for use with this kind of treatment.

After using your derma roller, spray it with an alcohol solution to clean and sterilise it. Your roller needs to be clean every time you use it to avoid infections.

You should also plan to replace your derma roller regularly. How often you need to replace it depends on how often you use it, but if you’re rolling once or twice a week, you’ll need to replace it after three months.

If you follow these guidelines and use your derma roller with care, microneedling at home can bring many benefits to your skin.


Abigail recommends starting with one evening a week and seeing how your skin reacts. How often you do this treatment also depends on what else you are doing for your skin.

Like me, Abigail is a huge fan of facial massage. She suggests doing massage before microneedling, not after, and cleansing thoroughly in between. She also says that three times a week is the maximum for microneedling, less if you are also having professional treatments.

If you use retinols, be aware that microneedling will make these products absorb faster and deeper, which can cause irritation. It is best to avoid applying retinols on the evenings that you use your derma roller.


There are some very cheap derma rollers available, but Abigail says this is one area where she’d avoid the cheapest options. Anything less than £40 – £60 is unlikely to have been manufactured and packaged in a safe, sterile environment.

Look for titanium needles, as many people react to cheaper metals. Nickel allergies are fairly common too, so you want a device that uses high-quality metal.

When Abigail uses a derma roller as part of a facial in her clinic, she uses a Clinicare VitaRoller. It has 540 titanium needles on the roller, which is more than many brands.

Another brand she recommends is BeautyBio’s GloPRO. Although it is an investment, typically costing around £180, their customer care and guidance are excellent.


Abigail says that microneedling technology is amazing when done right. It works with the body’s natural ability to regenerate itself. No chemicals are involved. It can be a great complement to other skincare regeneration treatments.

The important thing is to do your research. If you are doing microneedling at home, follow the safety tips and make sure the device is clean and sterile before you use it. If you are going to a clinic, make sure the practitioner knows what they’re doing.

You can find my full conversation with Abigail over on the Face Yoga Expert Podcast. I heartily recommend giving it a listen – we didn’t just talk about microneedling, but also discussed running a wellness or beauty business, finding the right balance on social media, and the importance of surrounding yourself with a supportive team as a female entrepreneur.

Find the full episode here.