If you’ve ever visited a skin spa, or simply searched for ways to improve your complexion, chances are you’ve stumbled across a microneedling pen (also known as a dermapen).
There are a number of different microneedling and microdermabrasion treatments available, each generally aimed at giving your skin a smoother and firmer look. These methods, including microneedling pens and derma rollers, have grown in popularity in recent years as a means to firm up one’s skin, hide the appearance of wrinkles, and smooth out acne scars.
While there are at-home microneedling pens available for purchase (our recommendations below), using a derma roller is generally considered the cheaper and safer alternative for at-home use. For that reason, I’d recommend sticking to our top derma roller pick before considering a microneedling pen.
Without further ado, I’ve scoured dozens of world’s best beauty resources and combed through countless reviews from verified purchases to recommend what we believe are the best microneedling pens and derma rollers for at-home use.
- Our recommendations
- Comparison chart
- What is a microneedling pen?
- The Best Microneedling Pen (For At-Home Use)
- Other at-home microneedling pens we analyzed
- The Best Derma Roller
- The best dermapen for professional use
- How to Choose the Best Microneedling Pen
- Caring for your microneedling pen, derma roller and yourself
- The best derma roller: Sdara Derma Roller ($16.00, Amazon)
- The best microneedling pen for at-home use: Dr. Pen Ultimate A6 microneedling pen ($143.26, Amazon)
- The best premium at-home microneedling pen: Dr. Pen Ultima A6S microneedling pen ($159.97, Amazon)
- The best for professional use: SkinPen® Precision
|Product||Price||Needle Length||Cartridges||Best For|
|Sdara Derma Roller||$16.00||0.25 mm||N/A||Most people, particularly those new to microneedling or those on a budget|
|Dr. Pen Ultimate A6 microneedling pen||$143.26||0.25-2.5 mm||(10) nano pins||Most people looking for a microneedling pen|
|Dr. Pen Ultima A6S microneedling pen||$159.97||0.25-2.5 mm||(3) 16-pin; (3) 32-pin||Those who’d like a better display and more power|
|SkinPen® Precision||See provider||See provider||See provider||Professionals|
What is a microneedling pen?
Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that could help treat several skin-related problems, including acne scars, wrinkles, and large pores. It is also occasionally used as a treatment for hair loss. A microneedling pen (or dermapen) is a small device that is utilized for the microdermabrasion process, also known as Collagen Induction Therapy. These pens vibrate causing their small needles to prick the skin. When used correctly, they can give your skin a tighter and more toned look.
The objective of it is to prick the skin with its needles to enhance the collagen production below the epidermis. The theory behind this is that these small pricks cause the skin to react, and generate more collagen. This process creates new skin cells, helping the skin appear young and luminous.
Microneedling is typically done with the help of a dermatologist, however there are some microneedling pens available to purchase for at-home use. While some patients do report results after one usage, it typically takes several sessions to see a noticeable difference.
The price of a microneedling pen can vary drastically. Some pens we analyzed sold for little as $130. Others came cost several hundreds of dollars to purchase (particularly, professional grade microneedling pens).
The Best Microneedling Pen (For At-Home Use)
If you’re going to use a microneedling pen at home, your options are fairly limited. Most of these products are significantly more expensive than a derma roller, however they do resemble the products you might find a dermatologist’s office. Read on for the best microneedling pens for at-home use and for professionals.
The Dr. Pen Ultima A6 Microneedling Pen is our choice for the best microneedling pen for home use. It is extremely effective on smoothing out acne scars, wrinkles, sagging skin, open pores, stretch marks, and more.
This Dr. Pen features a sleek design, and a micro-needling system that allows you to adjust the needle depth between .25mm and 2.5mm. The pen offers six different speeds, giving you more control over the experience. The adjustable depth and speed makes the pen a more flexible solution for microneedling different area of your body, whereas a fixed depth solution, the a derma roller, is typically designed for a specific area of your body (read on for more information).
The Dr. Pen Ultima A6S comes with everything you need for wireless usage, including the beauty pen, batteries, a charger, and a wired connector (in case wireless isn’t your thing). The product comes in two variations:
- One version includes (3) 16-pin cartridges; and (3) 36-pin cartridges
- Another version includes (6) 16-pin cartridges (read on if you need advice on how to pick)
What customers say
“It’s definitely more intense than a dermaroller, at least in my experience. Despite the pain, I believe this is an effective tool and I look forward to the results I will achieve with continued use.”
“Absolutely no issues with the micro needling device. It’s comfortable, intuitive use and quality made. The 2nd battery mine came with was DOA. I contacted the seller who shipped over a replacement. Overall, very impressed with both the product and the customer service.”
Other at-home microneedling pens we analyzed
The lower cost version of our top pick for best microneedling pen. Ultimately, we selected the Professional version, because it offered more microneedling cartridge options for just another $15. It also lacked the digital display to show you the speed.
However, we do believe this could be a sound choice for users who are comfortable with the limited cartridge options. This microneedling pen received a generally positive reviews, 82% a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon.
This is the upgrade version of our top pick for best dermapen. While it is a newer model, we decided there were not enough additional features to warrant the additional $20 cost vs. our recommended device. The pen also does not come with separate batteries – not a deal breaker, but something we hope to see in future models.
The N2 model microneedling pen is a solid choice for those who are shopping on a budget, however it does come with some draw backs. Specifically, the microneedling device itself is made of plastic vs. its sturdier successors. The N2 only has five speed settings vs. six speed settings for the higher priced models. In testing, the motor was also not as powerful as the other, more expensive models. While none of these were deal-breakers, we determined that anyone who was willing to purchase a dermapen over a derma roller would likely appreciate the additional features.
The Best Derma Roller
The Sdara Skincare 0.25mm Derma Roller is our top pick for at-home mircroneedling regimes. At just under $16.00, it’s one-tenth the cost of many at-home microneedling pens, and even less expensive than what you’d expect to pay for professional treatment.
The Sdara Derma Roller has been recommended by a number of the leading beauty publications, including Glamour, BuzzFeed, Byrdie and Bustle, and has a 4.4 star rating (from nearly 18,000 verified purchasers) and nearly 12,000 five-star reviews. For this reason, it’s no surprise the Sdara derma roller is the best selling product in the category.
What customers say
“I was completely floored how different my skin looked. My sunken scars were 70% gone. […] My skin was smoother than it had ever been, the texture was so even. I’m so happy.”
“I first ordered this roller after having a professional micro needling treatment. I was happy with the results, but the treatments were quite expensive. […] My skin seems more firmed and hydrated. I am also seeing some reduction in fine lines and wrinkles. I was skeptical at first, but I think that this roller, along with the two serums I am using, is making a positive difference in my skin!”
What the experts say
“Super affordable and boasts the dermatologist-recommended .25mm needle size.” – Bydie
“Sdara’s roller is safe for home use and provides an easy skincare treatment that is painless and effective and perfect for those who are new to derma rolling.” – Spy
The best dermapen for professional use
The SkinPen by Crown Aesthetics is our choice for the best microneedling pen for professionals. The SkinPen is the first microneedling device cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and claims that “with as few as three non-invasive and affordable treatments spaced 30 days apart, you can improve your appearance for six months after your last treatment.”
While we have not independently verified the SkinPen microneedling device, their site marketed the following benefits:
- 90% Would Recommend SkinPen to Friends and Family
- The World’s First FDA-Cleared Microneedling Device
- Works for All Skin Types
What customers say:
- “For the first time in my life, I’ve received compliments on my skin, thanks to my SkinPen treatments.” (Source: skinpen.com)
- “I couldn’t believe the results I got from SkinPen. I felt like my results were as good as a laser treatment but without any downtime. I love my SkinPen procedures!”
- “The results after one procedure made it very difficult for me to wait four weeks for my second procedure. I can’t wait to be on the beach in Mexico.”
- Blogger Amanda Kennedy wrote an informative post about her microneedling experience with the SkinPen. Ultimately, she did not believe the experience was worth it.
The SkinPen has been covered by a number of news outlets, including Good Morning America, USA Today, ABC News and Live with Kelly and Ryan.
How to Choose the Best Microneedling Pen
Microneedling has grown into a popular skincare routine, particularly among those looking for a quick and inexpensive solution to their skin issues.
While substantially cheaper than regularly visiting a salon, an at-home microneedling pen will still run you a pretty penny. And since we’re talking about machines with dozens of tiny needles, it’s best to do a little research before taking the plunge. Microneedling pens come in all shapes and sizes, so we’ve done our best to layout the key things to look for below:
Number of Needles
When contemplating that needle grouping to utilize, know the 12-pin is your norm. The 36-pin needles are similar to lancets, and they don’t penetrate as much as the 12-pin needles do – they created microscopic mini-tears instead.
Because of this, the 36-pin implants are far better suited to thicker skin and scar tissues. The length of the needle also effect the outcome on your skin. Longer needles cause a greater reaction on your skin, which may lead to more pronounced results – however it also increases the risk that you may inadvertently harm yourself in the process. It bares repeating: let the professionals handle the big needles – but if you absolutely must, start with a lower depth and work your way up slowly.
If you are using the micro-needling pen for baldness or hair loss, it’s encouraged that you utilize 12-pin capsules along with a shallow needle. Scalps aren’t fleshy, thus there’s absolutely no requirement to penetrate too deeply.
Depth of penetration
Different pens offer varying penetration depths (typically up to 2 mm). The area of your body you wish to treat determines the depth of penetration for a microneedling pen. Here’s a table outlining the lengths needed based on different conditions. Please note, most experts advise that you do not exceed .25mm for at home use. Please consult a professional if you need to exceed that needle length.
|Skin Condition||Needle Length|
|Deep acne scars||1.5 mm|
|Shallow acne scars||1.0 mm|
|Skin discoloration||0.2-1.0 mm|
|Sagging skin||0.5-1.5 mm|
Nearly all derma pens feature 4 or 6 different speed functions. If you plan to use a derma pen in multiple parts of your body, a six-speed product will likely offer you greater flexibility. You should have no problem finding products with speeds of 5000rpm, 6000rpm, 8000rpm, and 11000rpm where microneedling pens are sold.
After micro-needling, your skin is likely to be a little sensitive. You may also notice some swelling or perhaps bleeding, depending on the strength of the treatment. The recovery period should be relatively fast, and your skill should return to normal in a few days (it can take up to a week in some cases). Microneedling can help your skins absorb skincare products faster. We recommend using a vitamin C or hyaluronic acid serum after derma rolling or microneedling.
Remember, the benefits of microneedling depend on the collagen production inside your body, therefore it may take up to eight weeks before you see a noticeable difference.
In addition, you will need to take into account the value of various cartridge types. Do you want to test different cartridge types, or would you prefer to have more of a single type (you’ll should plan to replace a cartridge after a few uses).
If you know you are not likely to experiment, then consider buying a microneedling set that has more of a single type of cartridge. If you are still testing the waters, the consider buying a microneedling set with a variety of cartridges. Our pick, the Dr. Pen Ultima A6S, gives you to option of receiving six of the same cartridge or three cartridges in (2) different varieties.
The needle back-flow
In some cases, blood may be produced in the back of the pen tips – an occurrence called backflow. These areas are difficult to clean, and may cause some sanitation issues. The grade of needle can help mitigate this risk to a degree. There are two grades of needles, one is medical and another is surgical caliber – we suggest the surgical grade, which is better at prevent backflow.
Most at-home microneedling pens that we analyzed ranged from $130 to $300 (though some rang up as high as $800). While that is substantially higher than the a derma roller, it is a fraction of what you’d expect to pay for a microneedling treatment at a spa or dermatology center.
Caring for your microneedling pen, derma roller and yourself
Properly caring for your microneedling pen or derma roller can reduce the risk of bleeding, infection and other unwanted side-effects of at-home use. Here are a few of the common pieces of advice when using a microdermabrasion tool:
- Consult a doctor or dermatologist before starting a new skincare routine.
- Read the instructions for the device before using.
- Clean your microneedling pen or derma roller after every use with alcohol.
- Replace the needles often. Most products offer or come with replacement heads.
- Don’t press too hard, and don’t exceed the recommended needle depth.
- Start slow. Introduce it into your routine once per week, before ramping up usage.
- Read the instructions that come with the device before using.
Although micro-needling pens are available to purchase for at-home use, it’s best to leave the electronic tools to the professionals. Instead, we recommend starting with a lower-tech solution like our favorite dermaroller. When selecting the best microneedling pen or best dermaroller for your needs, consider the number of needles, depth, cartridges, and backflow. Again, when in doubt, consult a specialist. Your body is too important not to ask questions.
Last update on 2021-04-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API