Dermapen™ Skin Needling

Dermapen™ Skin Needling

Dermapen™  is an evolution of the dermaroller- skin needling. Medical grade Dermapen™ treatments gives patients an entry-level treatment for acne scars. Scars that respond best to Dermapen™ treatments are ; mild to moderate mixed, atrophic and rolling acne scars.


Dermapen™ is best to be combined with other treatment modalities to produce optimal results.  Treatments often combined are fractionated laser treatments which produce overall higher results when compared and this is due to the controlled release of heating produced from the laser technology.   The advantage that Dermapen™ has over fractionated laser treatments is that is a cost-effective specialist supervised treatment that still gains considerable results.

  • Dermapen™ provides an evolution for non-energy based devices.
  • Skin needling can remodel collagen and improve acne scarring.
  • Skin needling can be used in all skin types.
  • Early, mild to moderate mixed, rolling and atrophic scars respond best.
  • Average recovery times range from 3 to 7 days.
  • Medical grade Dermapen™ treatments can reach scars 2.5 mm from the skin’s surface.
  • Dermapen™ skin needling is an entry level treatment for acne scars treatments which starts at a lower cost.
  • Fractionated laser devices including Fraxel® and CO2 lasers are more effective in treating scars compared to skin needling.

Skin needling

A procedure pioneered over a decade ago. Medical skin needling uses multiple surgical needles 2.5mm long and 0.25 mm in diameter attached to a roller. This roller creates multiple pin-point puncture wound in the skin, extending into the middle dermal layers of the skin. Dermal damage breaks down scarring collagen, and in turn releases growth factors. This causes ‘neogenesis’- the formation of new collagen and elastin. Neogenesis forms the basis of scar revision.  The new collagen fills the depressed scar from beneath, eventually lifting the depression to a level that approaches the surrounding skin.

Medical Dermapen

An evolution of this process, and uses vertically orientated needles, and not out dated ‘rolling’ methods.

Dermapen comes in 3 types –

Dermapen Personal: super safe, at home kit. Very user friendly, ideal for extremely early very mild scarring. Effects on established scars are minimal.

Dermapen Professional: safe, but should be medically supervised. Will need numbing cream if performed correctly, can have some effects on correct scar types.

Dermapen Medical: Specialist choice. Can have modest results on atrophic and rolling scars. Will definitely need numbing cream. Can be used with LED Red light dermal phototherapy to decrease healing times, and quicken recovery.

The 2 main differences between laser fractional treatments and Dermapen fractional skin needling are-

  1. Lasers are precise in their action. With any one of our fractional lasers, Specialist can dial in the exact depth and coverage of treatment. In fact lasers are so accurate, they are within one hundredth of a millimetre of accuracy.
  1. Lasers produce controlled heating of the target. This provides denaturation or break down of scars and collagen within and surrounding the target areas. Denaturation of collagen is essential in scar revision as this stimulates the process of new collagen formation.

Fractional laser such as Fraxel, Profractional, and CO2 resurfacing provides BOTH controlled heating AND collagen breakdown in the one sitting.

All things considered, lasers are more superior compared to Dermapen for most forms of acne scarring.

The advantage of Dermapen Skin Needling is the cost – treatments start at $240 and are conducted by our Specialist Laser Nurses.

Cost. Dermapen Skin Needling is an affordable acne scar treatment for the majority of patients. Westside Laser Dermatology has elected to include this procedure as a cost effective, entry-level therapy. You will not get the same results with Dermapen compared to say CO2 CORE or Fraxel laser, but you will get some improvement in your acne scars.

The procedure is affordable because Dermapen machines are 1/200 the cost of laser machines- that’s right, they are 200 times cheaper than state of the art lasers. This cost saving is passed onto patients.

Check out our price list for up to date costs.

Skin needling is a form of non-laser fractional resurfacing. Needling works by destruction of old dermal collagen and stimulation of new collagen. Apart from acne scars, Dermapen can also treat the following conditions-

  • Stretch marks (3-4 treatments – 20% improvement for old stretch marks)
  • Chicken pox scarring (3-4 treatments – 30% improvement)
  • Solar damage skin (sun damaged skin, loss skin tone, coarse wrinkles)

Dermapen Skin Needling physically breaks down collagen and scars.

Ideally for best scar remodelling, 2 processes are needed- firstly physical destruction of scars and old collagen, secondly heating of the surrounding tissue to provide collateral collagen denaturation. Lasers provide 2 of these processes, whilst Dermapen Skin Needling provides only one. No heat is generated with Dermapen Skin Needling, however this treatment does break down old collagen.

In summary, Dermapen is effective in treating some forms of acne scarring, however it is not as effective as fractional lasers.

There are five steps in skin needling at Westside Laser Dermatology

First Step – assessing acne scars

The first step is to establish the type of acne scars you have. Early, mild, atrophic, and mixed rolling scars respond best to skin needling. An accurate assessment * will reveal if you are the correct candidate for Dermapen needling.

Second step – photos and planning

With all cases of acne scar revision, we map and photograph the affected areas prior to treatment. This establishes a baseline so that we can follow up your treatment progress. If you decide to go ahead with skin needling, we will have to allocate a suitable time slot for this procedure. The whole process takes approximately 70-90 minutes to perform, this includes anaesthetic cream.

Third step – treatment day, pre treatment numbing cream

A special local anaestheic cream is applied 45- 60 minutes prior to skin needling. This super strength numbing cream is similar to the FRAXEL numbing gel used for laser procedures.

Forth step – Treatment itself

Dermapen skin needling uses a patented delivery system to deliver needles into the acne scars. Treatment intensity and depth will depend on the extent, and depth of your acne scars. We typically range treatment depths from 1.5 mm thru to 2.5 mm. Dermapen produces thousands of microscopic holes in the treated areas. Each hole that punctures your skin will lead to collagen remodelling.

Step five – Dermapen Follow up

For cases of extensive acne scarring and deeper settings, your specialist nurse may elect to schedule a follow up visit 24-48 hours after the procedure to ensure you are healing as expected. Sometimes we can arrange follow ups by email and Skype.

*For Dermapen Skin Needling patients are assessed and triaged by a Specialist Laser Nurse. Cost for this assessment is $98 and is fully refundable should you undertake Dermapen treatment.

No. Our Specialist Team use a special formulation of numbing cream that is compounded. In fact we use this anaesthetic cream for much more invasive procedures like laser treatment.

This cream is applied to the treated areas for 60 minutes prior to needling. For highly anxious patients, we do offer mild ‘twilight sedation.’ Rest assured your skin needling experience will be as painless as possible.

Each session takes 10-20 minutes to perform, however a numbing cream will be applied for 45 minutes BEFORE treatment.

In some cases you may elect to use the Dermapen LED treatment – this takes an extra 10 minutes to perform as we use red light phototherapy to compound the collagen stimulation of skin needling, and aid in recovery time.

More on DERMAPEN – LED for acne scars

  • Moderate redness and swelling is seen 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.
  • Swelling and bruising can be seen for up to 2-4 days post Dermapen needling
  • Flaking, peeling and crusting can be seen 3-5 days after the procedure.

Recovery times range from 3-7 days, depending on the extent of the procedure. Your Dermapen therapist will discuss with you the expected recovery at the time of consultation.

The majority of patients can expect to see modest results after several treatments. Collagen remodelling is maximal 3-4 months after the procedure, hence results are best assessed 3 months after the final needling session. On average, scars improve by 10%-15% after one treatment using Medical Grade 2.5 mm Dermapen Needles.

Fractional laser resurfacing produces better improvements in acne scars than skin needling due to greater stimulation of collagen via controlled heating.

The advantage of Dermapen Skin Needling is that this procedure, though not as good as laser treatment, is affordable to almost everyone. Treatments start from as little as $240 per session.

As a guide we recommend 3-4 sessions, spaced 6-10 weeks apart. The number of sessions depends on your response to the treatments, your ability to deposit new collagen (better in younger skin and non smokers), and most importantly the severity of scarring. We do not recommend treatments at more frequent intervals, as this time frame coincides with maximal collagen remodelling.

Skin needling can be used on areas not affected by acne but can be performed on scared areas. We strongly suggest you start on an effective acne treatment program if you do suffer from acne. Untreated acne can lead to scarring.

The Acne Free RF Program has a 99% success rate for the treatment of acne. We also use a less invasive method of scar revision known as Ematrix RadioFrequency to help remodel and remove early acne scars.

Dermapen treatment is a type of FRACTIONAL SKIN RESURFACING, however no laser-light –heat is generated. This is why it is a super safe treatment.

Side effects and risks are similar to fractional laser resurfacing, and are rarely encountered. Side effects and complications include-

  • Changes in the colour of your skin (Very rare)
  • Delayed swelling (very rare)
  • Infection (very rare, however we do take precautions with deeper Dermapen treatments and place you on anti-viral medications)
  • Poor wound healing (very rare, and usually secondary to infections)

It’s vitally important that you choose a center who can deal with side effects should they occur.

Dermapen Skin Needling is our entry-level acne scar revision treatment, and compared to high-end laser treatments, affordable for most people. This is because Dermapen machines are 200 times cheaper than laser machines!

Please contact us for pricing.

Pay for 5 treatments upfront, and receive the 6th Dermapen treatment for free!

* A pre – consultation with a Specialist Nurse is essential as we perform Dermapen resurfacing to the highest MEDICAL STANDARDS. Assessment includes mapping, photography, and medical history as well as examination. This fee is refundable and goes towards your Dermapen treatments.

** Medicare does NOT cover Dermapen skin resurfacing, however procedures such as surgical scar revision, and laser resurfacing under Specialists are partially covered by Medicare.

Our Specialist have been involved in Skin Needling for over a decade- well before the invention of fractional laser, RadioFrequency and Dermapen. Our experience over the past 10 years has been passed on to our Specialist Nurses who triage and perform Dermapen needling.

The Acne Specialist Clinic treats over 3,500 cases per year of acne and acne scarring, making us one of the most experienced clinics in Australia. Additionally we are a training faculty for the Griffith School of Medicine, and the College of Dermatologists.

Skin Needling performed at our center is conducted to the highest standards, using the MEDICAL DERMAPEN series. This is the most powerful Dermapen series on the market, with 2.5 mm needles. We have kept the cost of this treatment down to a minimum, ensuring that acne scar patients with budget constraints can still receive treatment by a Specialist team.

A referral is NOT needed for Dermapen Skin Resurfacing.

This procedure is carried out by our Specialist Laser Nurses. You can book in directly with Specialist Nurse Emily Hyde or Kristy Macpherson for this procedure. Dermapen Skin Needling is designed as an entry level, affordable treatment for patients with acne scars.

Call reception on 07 3871 34 37 to schedule a time for a DERMAPEN acne scar assessment with our Specialist nurses. The assessment will take between 15-30 minutes, and costs $98. This is fully refundable with your first Dermapen treatment.

** We conduct Dermapen resurfacing to the highest MEDICAL STANDARDS, and not at the Spa or Salon level. Assessment includes mapping, photography, and medical history as well as examination.

We use the DERMAPEN MEDICAL series to treat patients – this is a step above Cosmetic – Spa clinics.

I have been involved in skin needling for over 10 years. We first started this ancient method of acne scar revision with a needle held by needle holder. Wow- talk about time consuming! In 2005 I started skin needling with a roller- the old fashioned Derma-roller. This was a modestly effective method of scar revision in darker skin types- well before Fraxel and Erbium Fractional lasers came on the scene.

The DERMAPEN provides an evolution, rather than a revolution in skin needling. The principles are exactly the same as they were 10 years ago, however the device is now electrically operated, and obviously much quicker. Needless to say we have replaced all our skin rollers with the medical grade DERMAPEN series.

Is it as good as laser? No, however it does provide patients with an entry-level treatment that is very cost effective- treatments start from $240. Fractional lasers are more effective due to the controlled collateral heat generated from the laser- this is a positive side effect that breaks down scars and collagen, in turn stimulating even more collagen formation.

Regardless, patients with mild to moderate atrophic scars, box scars and mixed scars will see a mild to modest improvement with Dermapen Skin needling, in the 2.5 mm Medical Grade setting.