For some people, the mere thought of needles can make them squeamish. But what if needles are the secret to getting beautiful skin? Dermatologists have employed a technique called micro-needling to treat scarred skin and prevent aging for decades. In recent years, the method has become much more popular due to the surge in at-home kits that allow people to get similar results at a fraction of the price.

“Micro-needling creates micro injuries in the skin in a controlled manner, and that is what will cause the skin to repair and start making new collagen and elastin fibers,” says Daisy Jing, founder of Banish Acne Scars. “Over time, it will help fill in scarring, fine lines and increase skin cell turnover.”

If you’re interested in micro-needling, you need to know that it can be quite an involved process that requires attention to detail and proper procedures. If you tend to be impatient with reading directions or like to take shortcuts, this may not be something for you to do at home. Here are some of the things you need to keep in mind if you’re just starting out with micro-needling.

In order to micro-needle at home, you’ll want to get a high-quality micro-needle tool, which often comes in the form of a derma roller. The needles on the roller vary in length from 0.3mm to 3.0mm; the shorter the needles, the less trauma your skin endures. For needles 1.5mm and longer, it is recommended to micro-needle with a skincare professional as incorrect usage can do more harm than good.

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As you are essentially wounding your skin with small holes, it is incredibly important to sterilize your tools with an antiseptic like isopropyl alcohol thoroughly before and after use. Rollers also need to be carefully examined to ensure the needles are not bent or rusty. They have quite a short life span, so may need to be replaced every few months depending on how frequently they are used. This is to cut down on the chance of contamination and damage from dull needles.

When it comes time to actually putting the roller on your skin, you want to be very careful to follow the safety precautions and best practices carefully. For extra guidance, you can follow YouTuber Morgan from The Beauty Breakdown for a step-by-step demo.

You can use the roller all over your skin as long as there are no active breakouts or irritated sections of skin. While you can feel the needles on your skin, it shouldn’t be unbearably painful. You shouldn’t see blood or visible tears (remember, this is micro-needling)!

This practice helps skincare products more effectively penetrate the epidermis because it literally breaks skin’s outermost layer. For protection, choose a lightweight serum since oils and heavy creams are generally not recommended post-rolling. Vitamin C serum is a popular choice as it has brightening and anti-aging benefits.

Afterward, avoid wearing makeup for at least 24 hours and if you venture outside or anywhere with sunlight, make sure to apply extra SPF.

If you’re interested in trying out micro-needling, you’ll most likely need to find derma rollers online because they are not often in stores. They can go for as little as $10 on sites like Amazon to well over $100. Keep in mind that you want a good quality product that you can trust, so you don’t cause more damage to your skin. Do research and read reviews before purchasing micro-needling products and, if possible, purchase from a seller that provides customer support and offers returns if you aren’t satisfied with your experience.

All in all, micro-needling is not a simple walk in the park compared to your usual skincare treatment. It’s important to be conscientious of all the appropriate steps including how to properly sanitize your tools and hands. You also shouldn’t expect to see changes overnight. It takes time for skin to repair itself naturally. Substantial results can take weeks to fully reveal themselves.

Have you tried micro-needling before? If so, we’d love to read about your experiences in the comments! If you haven’t tried it, does it pique your interest?

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