By Catherine Spinley
I’ve made some dubious beauty decisions. My eyebrows were non-existent from ‘95-’04. In college, I paid way too much money to dye my hair Angela Chase red only to have it wash out the next day and fade to a terrible muddy maroon color. I’ve felt the pain of loss when that first eyelash extension falls onto one’s cheek.
So no one reading should be surprised that I’ve taken to sticking tiny needles into my face in the name of plumper, healthier looking skin. It’s called dermarolling and I’m not endorsing it, or saying it changed my life or making any fantastical claims yet. It’s still too soon to tell if my Nurse Jamie Beauty Stamp will make it to Top of The Tower status but if it does what it says it does (aids in microexfoliation and product absorption), you will be the first to know.
Until then, let’s talk about masochism in the name of beauty. At-Home Dermarolling is done with a microneedling roller or stamping tool containing clusters of tiny needles (.5 to 2mm in diameter). After cleansing, toning and applying a serum, you roll or stamp your face with the tool. It creates microscopic pinholes in your skin which are said to help with exfoliation. The holes help product penetrate deeper into the skin and some people apply another layer of serum after rolling. Microneedling is a similar procedure but is done with devices containing larger needles and should be done by a professional dermatologist. With larger needles comes bigger benefits: the punctures kickstart the skin into “healing mode” which means it produces new collagen which plumps and tightens the skin. It also helps fade scarring and discoloration.
A Google search of the word “dermarolling” provided 526,000 articles. I could read them all but I don’t have to - a lot of the hype around dermarolling and microneedling is simply anecdotal. In fact, even as I roll, I sometimes think I’m being a bit foolish. Can this really work? Am I chasing another skincare pipe dream? Finding an article from The Cleveland Clinic helped legitimize my 4x a week rolling habit.
I roll at night only - right before bed. It hurts. My skin flushes. Maybe I’m more sensitive than the average bird, but I stop in the middle of stamping, take a few deep breaths and soldier onwards. Sometimes when my body is feeling super-dramatic, it commands my eyes to tear just a tiny bit. A few minutes after stamping the redness fades, my skin has a healthy flush and looks plump and dewy. I sleep soundly dreaming I will wake the next morning with the skin of an ethereal nymph.
If you’re interested in joining me on this little journey, here are some of my favorite tools:
Catherine Spinley is a sometimes-writer and photographer based in New York. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read more from her at Worepaint.com.