Derma Roller for Light Acne Scars and Large Pores - Johannesburg, South Africa

I've had problems with acne for many years. I was...

I've had problems with acne for many years. I was really hoping that in my 20's things would get better and that I would be less prone to outbreaks.

The acne left me with light scaring and large pores on my cheeks. And I still get pimples.
I've tried various treatments such as chemical peels and mircodermabrasion but nothing has left me satisfied. I've also been on accutane three times, and while on the medication my skin was nice (although I still had the scars and large pores) after each treatment the outbreaks came back - I won't consider doing another round of accutane, the side effects in retrospect were not worth it. (this includes a massive deterioration in my eye sight)

I had been looking at getting some laser resurfacing done, and went as far as going for a consult, but I didn't feel comfortable with the doctor. They had suggested I do Fraxel. As I was doing more research on the resurfacing and other doctors in my area I came to realise that the reviews on fraxel were very mixed. Some people had great results and others experienced a fair amount of damage. I also found reviews with people saying that initially their results were okay but two years after their procedures their faces had started to sag and that collagen seems to be lacking. Many people said they looked older than before and that they now had to seek out other treatments such as fillers to plump up their skins. This (and with a heavy heart - as I desperately want to believe everything will work) put me off the fraxel lasers.

So I searched for other treatments they may help me and came across the derma roller. I liked it as it stimulates your own collagen production and it doesn't take off layers of your face.
I saw online that one can purchase rollers rather cheaply but ultimately decided to go the professional route as I didn't know how hard to push down and what depth of roller I needed.

I went in for a consult and was told that I may get great results from doing 3-4 treatments.
I would have to buy my own roller (from them) as they don't use rollers on different people as it's an HIV risk. I didn't mind this. My roller cost me R1000 (about $100), this is a once off expense, and my roller is 1.5mm deep. One thing I didn't like was that the doctor would keep the roller (even after my treatments were done). The treatment itself would cost R700 ($70) per treatment and the doc suggested I do a light mango peel the first time with the treatment to jump start my skin. The peel cost another R300 ($30).

I went in this morning and a numbing cream was put on my face and neck for about 30 mins. Then the doc came in and did my face section for section. She cleaned the numbing cream off my forehead first, and started rolling there. It does hurt. Even with the numbing cream you can feel needles pricking into your skin, but it's not unbearable and luckily it doesn't last long. She did my face section for section, first cleaning the numbing cream off and then doing the rolling. I must say I needed that time while she was cleaning the cream off before rolling again to prepare myself for the discomfort.

After doing the face and neck she applied the peel, I think it was mango - definitely some fruity peel and not a harsh chemical peel. The peel burnt a fair amount but it was only left on my skin for about a minute. Then my face was neutralised and a collagen cream was applied.

As you can see my face was pretty red, and felt hot.

It's been about 5 hours now. Face is still red and feels hot, like a really bad sun burn.
I have another appointment in 6 weeks. Will keep you posted.
Thank you for sharing your very detailed review. I feel the same, I would be nervous to do the treatments myself. I wonder why they have to keep the roller at the clinic, I would feel more comfortable taking it home, did you ask them why that is? I am thankful you shared photos, they are very descriptive and will be helpful for other people interested in this treatment. 
Hi Eva, thanks for your comment. I did ask why I could not take my roller home and was told the specific roller can only be purchased and used by clinicians and professionals. It is also to prevent home use. My roller has my name written on it and is locked up in a cupboard. It is sterilized before and after each use. The roller can apparently be used up to 10 times, so if my face only takes 3-4 sessions, I can use it on other parts on my body.

2nd and 3rd day after treatment

On the second day I had a fair amount of little whiteheads. The redness had reduced but was still visible. My skin felt tight and dry.

Today the 3rd day I had dubbed peeling day. I was told this would happen. The redness is very much reduced. My skin feels dry an rough to the touch - like a person who works with their mans rough.


Lol I should really review my reviews before posting - not a person who works with their man (lol) rough but a person who works with their hands.
After going through your treatments do you feel you could have done the rolling yourself?
I have a very similar skin history and appearance. I'm 30yr female turning 31 in a few months, and I finally want to do SOMETHING to help my scarring. I just purchased a microneedle from Ora and I should have it next week. I'm excited to finally be taking a step forward besides peels and microderm, which do sort of help the overall general texture and clarity but do nothing for the bigger picture. I too did not do lasers because of extensive and exhaustive research which pretty much scared the crap out of me. I do NOT want to be WORSE!!! I can't imagine dropping thousands of dollars on laser sessions only to have a bad outcome. So this is my course of action. Thank you so much for your thorough review. I will be posting one of my journey as well!
Thanks for the rely newskin14, I hope that you gets the results you deserve. Please keep me posted of your progress. And don't forget to get a numbing and after care cream - I don't think I could have done it without the numbing cream.

5 weeks after 1st treatment

It's now been 5 weeks since I have had my 1st treatment. I'm not sure if my scares or pores have diminished yet but what I can say is that my skin texture and tone is so much better, I'm also having fewer outbreaks.

I have my second appointment next week. Will keep you posted.
Question . Have you seen difference in your ice picks acne scars ?
Sorry dkl56, I've never used over the counter peels, I've actually never seen them in South Africa so don't know if they are even available here. I hope someone on the forum can help you.
Hi Rlhill, thanks for your reply and I will be holding thumbs that your skin can be something you like again. I completely understand how hard it is looking at these crevasses on ones face and hating them and your face for letting you down. It's good that you have a sense of humor about it :-) I've only had one treatment and have another one scheduled for next Thursday, so far I would consider doing this at home but I would definitely have to have the numbing cream, and a few days off to recover. Please keep us informed on how you come along.
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