All You Wanted to Know About Dermaroller for Acne Scars

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.” ― Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses

Dermaroller or microneedling is a way to treat scars left by acne or accidents. It can also be used for wrinkles and stretch marks. Dermaroller works by way of inducing collagen in depressed acne scars, thereby “filling them up”.

Who is dermaroller for

If you are only dealing with dark marks or hyper pigmentation left by pimples, without any pits in the skin, you do not need dermaroller. You will benefit from less complicated treatments like exfoliants and chemical peels.

Dermaroller treatment is suitable for atrophic scars, that is, scars that have a dent type appearance to them. Such scars cast shadows and make themselves look terrible depending on the lighting. For example, overhead lighting such as in a mall’s dressing room is cruel – it highlights all kinds of facial flaws including acne scars.

For hypertrophic scars, that is scars that have a raised appearance, there are other ways such as steroid ointments / injections and silicone gels.

If your scars are ice-pick or deep boxcar scars, then instead of dermaroller, you will benefit more from lasers or subcision. Dermaroller works well for shallow rolling type scars.

Does dermaroller work

Research shows dermaroller works extremely well for acne scars.

There was a study conducted at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, India, on 37 patients of atrophic facial scarring. The patients were given multiple sittings of microneedling (dermaroller) treatment. The state of their scars was recorded at the start as well as 2 months after the conclusion of the treatment.

More than 80% of patients assessed their treatment as ‘excellent’ on a 10-point scale. No significant adverse effects were noted in any patient.

Dermaroller before and after photos

derma roller before and after photosderma roller before and after photos
Reference: Microneedling Therapy in Atrophic Facial Scars: An Objective Assessment,  Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery. 2009 Jan-Jun; 2(1): 26–30

How does dermaroller work

Dermaroller needles are 0.5-1.5 mm in length. The needles pierce the surface of the skin and create really tiny holes without damaging the skin. This pricking of skin stimulates the formation of new collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen is the structural protein in the body and inducing collagen at the site of a scar can sort of “fill it up” and smoothen its appearance.

dermaroller treatment in India

Dermaroller treatment in a clinic

Dermaroller treatments are safest when done in a clinic. Dermaroller treatments in India can cost anywhere between 1500 to 2500 Rupees per sitting, depending on the reputation of the clinic. You will need between 3 to 6 sittings to see good results.

You might be thinking – is dermaroller painful? Do the needles hurt? The area to be treated is numbed with topical numbing cream for 45 minutes to one hour. After that, rolling is done in a criss-cross manner. Any bleeding that takes place due to the needling is taken care of.

The entire procedure lasts for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the extent of the area to be treated. A minimum of 6 weeks is recommended between two treatments as it takes that long for new natural collagen to form.

After the treatment, there is some swelling and redness, both of which can last for a couple days. There is no bleeding from the micro-holes after the treatment, since the holes close pretty quickly after the treatment.

Check out this video below from a skin clinic in Bangalore to see the dermaroller in action.

As bloody as the whole dermarolling session looks, lo and behold, the guy in the above video survived to tell the tale of his dermaroller success.

Using dermaroller at home

Home use dermarollers have needles up to 0.15 mm in length. Dermaroller in India can be bought from

Risk of infection due to bleeding from home dermarolling is very real, so sterilizing and disinfecting become that much more important. See this discussion about sterilizing dermaroller for home use.

Home use dermarollers are not that painful since the length of the needle is shorter compared to clinical versions.

Home use dermarollers are better suited for inducing collagen and increasing the penetration of skincare products rather than treating deep acne scars by yourself.

The video below shows how to use a dermaroller at home. It also answers common questions about self-use of dermaroller.

Is needling worth a shot

If your scarring is depressed and it bothers you a lot, to the point that your social activity is hampered, then you should consider dermarolling.

One way to go about it would be to get a set of dermaroller sessions at a clinic, then switch to home dermaroller. It is not a miracle cure if your scars are really deep, but research and evidence show it to be way more effective than creams and lotions.

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