A micro needling roller is a great addition to your existing skin care routine. It plumps up the skin and makes your products work better.  But what about an electric dermapen?

We know that they can give you much more dramatic results and work on more significant skin issues, but are they okay for home use?


When talking about skin needling either professionally or at home there are a few different types of micro needling devices. Each of the device types is a little different.

The one you choose depends on your preferences and comfort level with the process.


This is the most common type of roller for home treatment although they are also used by cosmetic clinicians.

One of their biggest draws is that they are really easy to use, even for beginners. Prices start around $10 and go up from there, but you don’t need to shell out a lot on an expensive device to get the benefits of treatment, but a good vitamin C serum will go a very long way.


Stamps or pens are less common since they’re slightly harder to use. It’s a bit more difficult to apply even pressure across the whole treatment area as compared to a roller. It’s also more difficult to cover larger treatment areas (like the thighs or stomach) as compared to a roller or an electric device. Still, some people prefer them to rollers.


Electric derma pens (also known as micro needling pens) are probably what you think of when you think of a professional micro needling treatment.

They have a small disposable head called a bayonet where the needles are located in a plastic casing. When the device is turned on the bayonet rapidly moves the needles in and out of the casing. The needles penetrate the skin at a very controlled depth because of the plastic casing acting as a guide against the skin.

The derma pen shown here is the Dr. Pen Ultima N2.

Electric Derma Pen Features

Electric derma pens have a lot of good features including:

  • Adjustable speed and depth of needles for customizable treatment from 0.25mm to improve product penetration all the way to to 2.0mm to promote collagen formation and fill in acne scars and wrinkles.
  • Very user friendly and much more control over results since all you have to do is make sure the plastic casing is in contact with the skin in order to get the proper level of penetration.
  • Replaceable heads so the device can be used by more than one person.

Even though derma pens have these great features a lot of people shy away from them for home treatment because they seem like they would be much more difficult to manage compared to  using a microneedling a roller at home. Apparently that isn’t the case.

Micro needling RESULTS

Micro needling results can be really impressive in general but comparison electric pen versus roller results isn’t so easy.

Although diagrams like this one are common in the promotional material of a lot of electric needling pen manufacturers, these claims aren’t confirmed by any of the clinical studies on micro needling.

micro needling electric pen vs roller

The before and after shots and results from electric treatments to seem much more dramatic than those of manual rolling, but the reason may not be the angle of the needles.

It could be that the needles cover and penetrate more evenly, which results in more consistent results. It could also be that the speed of the electric device just makes way more micro-punctures than a roller.

There is no definitive answer as of yet but it does seem that electric devices provide more dramatic results and also offer more versatility in treatment options.

HOW TO  use a derma pen like dr. pen

Using an electric derma pen at home isn’t very different from using a manual micro needling roller. The steps are the same:

  • Disinfect device (if applicable).
  • Apply numbing cream if using and wait 15-20 minutes. Anaesthetic is generally recommended with an electric device. Make sure to wipe off all residue as otherwise it can clog up the machine.
  • Thoroughly cleanse face.
  • Apply pretreatment serum, preferably hyaluronic acid.
  • Turn device on at the right depth for your desired treatment.
  • Run the device over skin in all directions (up and down, side to side, and diagonally) about 5 times in each direction. Extra treatment can be done to scars or deep wrinkles.
  • Following treatment apply vitamin C serum.
  • After treatment skin feels hot and may sting like a mild to moderate sunburn. If skin feels extra tight following treatment a hyaluronic acid sheet mask can be applied for 15 to 20 minutes (before vitamin C serum) which gives skin a nice moisture boost. Follow with vitamin C serum.

You can also see the full and detailed at home micro needling instructions.


There are quite a few different electric devices on the market.

The Starting Skincare list of best micro needling devices includes an electric pen category. The results are constantly monitored and updated. The current pick is the Dr. Pen Ultima N2 derma pen system.


  1. Hi there. Loved your articles on dermarolling. I’m hoping you can give me clear information on something I have been trying to research for some time, but can’t seem to find any information about online. I have the Dr pen A6 and see that there are cartridges available for this unit that are called painless nano needles. From what I can see….They don’t actually have any protruding needles and are rather like raised tiny pyramids on a flat metal sheet. What are these? Do they work or are they just a gimmick….are we waring money on them ?
    Any info wood be greatly appreciated.

    • Cristina Rosu Reply

      Hi Annie,

      Glad you liked the articles. The “nano needles” are new to me. I did a quick search and some of the promotional material seems to suggest that they’re supposed to increase product absorption which makes me think they might be trying to sell this as a pain free alternative to a 0.25mm micro needling roller, which has been clinically shown to increase product absorption. I don’t see how the nano needles could increase product absorption without penetrating the skin. That being said the Dr. Pen does come with two cartridges: the nano needles and the regular needles.

      Hope that helps and let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. Hi 🙂

    How often can i use the dermapen for acne scars on face? I have the Dr. Pen M5 and i plan to use 1.5 needle lenght. Heard that’s the best lenght for acne scars?

    • Cristina Rosu Reply

      Hey Mike,

      You should wait at least 4-6 weeks between treatments to give the skin enough time to heal and start building up the collagen.

  3. Thank you for this post – I have been trying to decide to give an electric pen a try or not and this was helpful & thurough!

  4. Got a question. Wife got the Derma pen. We got the 12 needles. At the place she was going to they did a deep blood line sort of thing. What are the size or many needles used in this procedure? Seems like more of a line than the 12 needles do. We’re trying to figure this out so I can do the same thing at home. Thanks

    • Cristina Rosu Reply

      Hey LeRoy. I’m sorry I don’t know what you mean by “a deep blood line sort of thing”. The size of the needles depends on what you’re trying to treat. Generally professional treatments use needles from 1.5mm to 3.0mm to treat everything from superficial fine lines to deep scarring. Hope this helps!

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