Derma rolling is fast becoming one of the beauty world’s favourite skin fixes. It is known to promote healing and can improve signs of ageing as it promises to reduce wrinkles and fine lines, has been credited with reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks, and can even treat hair loss. 

This trendy treatment has become widely accessible since you can do it at home, but using a knock-off product or using it incorrectly can have unpleasant consequences for your skin.

Read more: Roll out those wrinkles!

Choosing to buy an inauthentic, cheap or low quality roller can affect your skin, explains Phoebe Williams, cosmetic scientist and owner of Hey Gorgeous Skincare

Williams says that while some of her clients prefer titanium needles because they stay sharper for longer, others like the stainless steel rollers as they are easier to clean. She also explains that the quality of the roller is not dependent on whether it is titanium or stainless steel and efficacy and results are the same.

The issue is when knock offs purport to be either titanium or stainless steel, but are in fact neither.

“Knock offs use a low grade alloy which means needles can bend easily and these could scratch or damage the skin. Now, this is not to say you won’t get a bent needle with ‘proper’ rollers. It happens. People drop them or there could even be a manufacturing default but this is far more unlikely than the norm. With knock offs, however, I would urge caution,” she says.

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Sites like and eBay stock the rollers for as little as R20, while stores like Takealot, Hey Gorgeous and Derma Roller Systems South Africa’s starting prices are around R250.  

“I question how a quality roller can be made for just R20! If you are interested in rolling then our recommendation is to purchase from a company who understands your skin goals and your motivation for using a roller. It's not just about rolling but how you look after your skin in between rolling sessions that matters too,” adds Williams.

Here are some guidelines to consider when purchasing and using a safe, high quality roller, according to Williams.

If a roller is unbelievably cheap it is most likely fake. That said, a highly priced roller does not necessarily mean it is authentic. Sellers could be tricking you into believing that a high price equals a real derma roller.

Always purchase from a reputable company. As mentioned, quality rollers do have their quirks too, but a quality roller comes from a reputable factory and sold by a reputable supplier who would never put customers at risk.

Ensure the roller you are purchasing is CE and/or FDA approved and insist on a replacement warranty. If they don't or won’t offer this, ask why. Always purchase from a company who provides ongoing post sale support.

Consult a derma roller expert if you suffer from psoriasis, eczema, raised moles or warts and are prone to acne breakouts. Also avoid a skin infection by sterilizing your roller after each use and do not share your roller with anyone.

Lastly, do not be tempted to needle your skin more than the recommended number of times. The skin takes time to heal and build collagen so needling your skin too often will cause injury, thereby disrupting the process of healing.

Remember, a quality derma roller should maximise the benefits and reduce the side effects. If your roller seems to be doing more harm than good, stop using it immediately.

Do you use a derma roller or have you ever used a fake one?

Tell us about your experience.