Paula Begoun: Don't do derma rollers
There can be no doubt that women are encouraged to give pretty much anything a go when it comes to turning back the hands of time. We’ve had snail and bird poo facials, leeches used as beauty products and the freakishly named vampire face lift after all. While many will turn their noses up at those, suggesting they are just a step too far, it seems the jury is still out when it comes to derma rollers.
These are hand-held devices which are pitted as a way to kick-start collagen production, which sounds great initially. They are covered in micro needles which you roll all over your face to product thousands of columns. The idea is that this makes your dermis repair itself, with that regeneration meaning your skin looks younger. Not everyone is so convinced though, among them Cosmetics Cop Paula Begoun who is the woman behind the Paula’s Choice skincare line and has written many books aimed at helping women make safe skincare choices.
“One of the things that I know you guys hear a lot about is how fast and how deep can you get ingredients into skin. There's this new derma roller thing where you're supposed to wound the skin and make little channels to get ingredients into skin. First of all, derma rollers are terrible. They're just terrible, terrible, terrible. Have I said terrible?” she told Cover Media. “When you constantly wound the skin, like those derma rollers do, you're actually making the skin... the skin has to repair itself, because you've damaged it. You've created a hole.”
According to Paula, while you skin does create collagen after this process it’s not the good kind. There are more than 20 different types of collagen in your body, with types I and III the main ones in the skin. But derma rollers can increase the amount of collagen II, which is good for joint health and other things in the body but not so relevant to skin. In fact, it can actually stiffen it and make it harder for products to be absorbed.
This is a big deal, as on the whole skin likes absorbing things. The key here is that products are made with different molecular structures, which means the right amount of each ingredient is sucked in by skin. This is, for example, why sunscreen sits on the surface as it should – otherwise it wouldn’t offer the protection benefits we expect. It’s also the reason that serum absorbs so well.
“When they tell you that they've got some special way, like derma rollers, to make channels, to make things absorb better, just know that skincare ingredients love absorbing. And that it's all based on molecular weight. You cannot tear skin open and damage it to get any benefit of molecular absorption,” Paula insisted. “It's too damaging and in the long run anything that hurts skin like that actually causes collagen breakdown, elastin breakdown, keeps the skin from being able to repair, etc. Skincare ingredients love absorbing and you don't want them absorbing to the point where they go away and you absolutely don't want to hurt skin to make them absorb.”