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Don't Try Microneedling If You Have This Skin Problem

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Microneedling is all the rage in the beauty world—it's basically the more accessible version of a laser treatment, and it can be done just about anywhere (check out our guide to at-home vs. in-office treatments). Visiting your dermatologist for a treatment or dermarolling at home has a number of benefits that are beyond skin-deep.

In case you're not familiar, the treatment involves rolling tiny needles (0.5 to 2.5 millimeters in length) over your skin, which create little punctures, allowing your products to seep through more easily, says Elizabeth Hale, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. It also helps smooth over any fine lines while boosting skin-firming collagen. This trend is blowing up because it allows patients to "take skin care into their own hands," Dr. Hale says.

When should you not take microneedling into your own hands? When you have a pimple or an active cold sore, Dr. Hale says. Microneedling opens up the pores and spreads anything that could be trapped in there, including the pus and bacteria trapped in your pimples, which—you guessed it—could mean a lot more pimples. Similarly, if you roll over a cold sore, you could easily spread the virus to other places.

Just have one small pimple? You don't need to worry—just avoid that area if you're dermarolling at home, Dr. Hale says. But if you're in the middle of a breakout, it's best to see a derm for a prescription retinol and wait until your skin clears up. It's tricky, she explains, because although microneedling can be great for acne scars, "there's no quick test to tell if acne is 'gone'" for good, and rolling over these acne scars could create new breakouts if your skin is sensitive. If acne is a consistent struggle for you, set up a consultation with your derm before you grab a dermaroller for an at-home microneedling sesh.

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