Derma Roller
Derma Roller Guide Skincare Guide

How to Clean & Disinfect a Derma Roller the Right Way

Learn the Safest Method to Disinfect Your Derma Roller for a Pristine Application Every Time

You don’t always have the time to squeeze in a dermatology appointment, but at-home serums and creams can only do so much. That’s where derma rollers come in. They provide a cost-effective solution to give your skin the boost it needs without leaving the comfort of your living room. However, when you’re puncturing tiny holes in your face, it’s crucial to ensure that your derma roller is as germ-free as possible. If you’re unfamiliar with the proper cleaning technique, it’s time to learn how to clean a derma roller.

How to Clean a Derma Roller in 3 Simple Steps

Derma rollers are microneedling tools that use tiny needles to puncture the skin, promoting healing and increasing collagen production in targeted areas. In the past, microneedling was primarily performed by licensed estheticians or dermatologists. However, with the advent of over-the-counter derma rollers, you can now experience microneedling at home.

While at-home microneedling can be cost-effective, the results may not be as significant as those achieved by professionals using longer needles that can penetrate the skin more deeply. Nevertheless, every skin puncture should be taken seriously. Just as you wouldn’t rub a cat scratch or an iron burn on a dirty carpet, it’s essential to avoid using an unclean tool on your face.

One of the most recommended methods to keep your derma roller clean is by soaking it in isopropyl alcohol.

Materials You’ll Need

To clean a derma roller at home, you’ll need the following:

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol (or higher)
  • Clean bowl or cup
  • Clean towel


Cleaning your derma roller is a straightforward process that only takes a few steps:

  1. Pour a sufficient amount of isopropyl alcohol into a bowl or cup to fully cover the needle portion of your derma roller.
  2. Submerge the derma roller in the isopropyl alcohol for approximately 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the derma roller from the alcohol and place it on a towel with the needles pointing upward to allow it to dry.

Remember to follow this cleaning routine before and after each use, but no more than twice a week. Just like with anything else, too much of a good thing can be detrimental.

Quick Tip

While cleaning your derma roller, take a moment to inspect the needles. Are they bent, broken, or appearing dull? If so, it’s crucial to replace them. Damaged needles can tear your skin instead of providing the desired benefits.

Derma Roller

Don’t Have Isopropyl Alcohol? Don’t Settle for Substitutes

So, you’ve prepared your bathroom counter for a derma rolling session but find yourself without isopropyl alcohol. Resist the temptation to grab the first available substitute. Many so-called “hacks” won’t sterilize your derma roller sufficiently, and here’s why:

  • Soapy water: While soapy water can eliminate dirt, dead skin, and oils, it’s not potent enough to eliminate all bacteria. Moreover, water itself contains bacteria that you wouldn’t want to transfer beneath your skin.
  • Denture tablets: Denture tablets’ bubbling effects may help remove dead skin and oils from your roller, but they won’t thoroughly disinfect it.
  • Hydrogen peroxide: There’s a common misconception that hydrogen peroxide can substitute for isopropyl alcohol in any situation, but that’s simply not true. Higher-grade peroxide can damage plastics, which are often used for derma roller handles.
  • Boiling water: Boiling water can indeed disinfect your derma roller, but most derma rollers have plastic handles that will melt when exposed to high temperatures. This defeats the purpose of cleaning it, doesn’t it?

The key takeaway here is that derma rollers create open wounds on your skin, making them susceptible to bacteria and infection. Unless you completely disinfect your tool using methods suitable for a surgical environment, you’re putting these open wounds at risk of infection. So, don’t introduce bacteria to your face or body just because you didn’t want to take a short trip to the cabinet for some rubbing alcohol.

Consider These Buying Tips for Easier Cleaning

Cleaning is only one part of the job. Make your life easier by selecting a derma roller that is designed for easy cleaning and less likely to harbor bacteria. When browsing online for a derma roller, consider the following tips:

  • Look for models with airtight covers or containers. It’s important to prevent your derma roller from staying wet, as moisture promotes bacterial growth. Storing it in an airtight container between uses helps keep moisture out.
  • Choose a derma roller with needles made from surgical-grade titanium. Surgical-grade titanium is the safest metal for pricking your skin. It’s no wonder that the highest quality piercing jewelry is made from surgical-grade titanium.
  • See if you can find a derma roller with a detachable head. Detachable heads allow you to use less alcohol and require less storage space during cleaning. They also ensure that every part of the derma roller can be fully submerged.

Take Cleaning Your Derma Roller Seriously

We’ve all forgotten to clean our gua sha tools at some point, and aside from a few unexpected blemishes, no significant harm is done. However, failing to properly disinfect your derma roller can pose a serious risk to your face and body. Puncturing your skin is not a matter to be taken lightly, and to achieve optimal results, you need to use the best and cleanest tools available. This means cleaning your derma roller before and after each use with isopropyl alcohol. Don’t worry; it’ll become second nature before you know it!

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