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derma roller can help reduce loose and sagging skin2012-06-10 22:37:55
Treat or torture? The Dermaroller can now be used on the stomach to reduce loose and sagging skin
The Dermaroller was last year's cult beauty hit - despite looking like an instrument of medieval torture.The needle-studded roller, reportedly loved by Angelina Jolie, works by puncturing the face with 0.5-1.5mm pins, causing it to bleed and stimulating the body's natural healing process.
It sounds barbaric, but advocates claim that the wounds encourage new collagen and elastin to form, which rejuvenates the skin, improves hydration and thereby reduces lines and scarring.
Now, the contraption's inventor, cosmetic doctor Michael Prager, has revolutionised the procedure so it can be used on the body.
He uses the longest needle lengths yet (3mm) to target stretch marks and sagging skin - making it a popular choice for people who've lost a lot of weight or are in post-pregnancy.
'My post-pregnancy tummy was saggy and covered in loose skin,' says Stephanie Jones, 37, who lost 4st after the birth of her second child. 'It bothered me so much that I booked myself in for a tummy tuck.
'I'd lost weight by eating healthily and exercising. I just wanted my tummy to look great again,' she says. 'I'd saved up £7,000 for my tummy tuck operation, and had had rows with my husband who was furious at what he felt was a waste of money.'
Then Stephanie heard about the Demaroller body treatment and decided to be the first person to try it out.
'I was sceptical about the Dermaroller working, but at just under £500 a treatment, it was a lot cheaper, so I thought I'd give it a try,' she says.
The roller works by piercing the tiny blood vessels in the top layer of skin. The resulting bleeding releases platelets, which help to repair and regenerate connective tissues, stimulating the production of collagen. It's the same principle that applies to facial peels and laser skin treatments.
However, rather than damaging the top layer of skin - as is the side-effect to both of peels and lasers - the Dermaroller penetrates straight through into the dermis without the trauma.
The treatment itself lasts just 20 minutes, but it's not exactly relaxing.
After a topical anaesthetic cream is applied to the area being treated, the device is rolled across the skin 16 times in a star-shaped formation, creating around 250 tiny punctures per centimetre square. You couldn't treat an area bigger than a stomach, for example, in one session.
Stephanie's loose tummy area had very poor circulation. So poor, in fact, that Dr Prager wasn't convinced the treatment would work.
'I thought Stephanie needed a tummy tuck,' Dr Prager explains.
'Her stretch marks were so severe that I didn't think even the Dermaroller would make much difference'.
After the Dermaroller application, Dr Prager uses topical treatments to increase the effect.
Transderm - a needle-free injection system which uses electrical impulses to push ingredients into the skin - delivers hyaluronic acid and pentapeptides into the skin to help its tone.
Next, a cream is applied, which also stimulates collagen production. Stephanie was sent home with instructions to apply this cream daily for four weeks.
'Even with the anaesthetic cream, the process was agony,' says Stephanie. 'For the last five minutes I was screaming.
'But I suppose it's still less painful than a tummy tuck. I walked out of the clinic straight after, and although I was bruised the next day, I didn't need painkillers.'
A fortnight after her treatment her stretch marks began fading and the folds of loose skin on her tummy were tightening. She's going back for one more treatment to further improve skin tone.
Not everyone is as full of praise for the treatment though. Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Mervyn Patterson suggests that the pain suffered by being effectively stabbed would be intense and that results are by no means guaranteed.
'This is the worst end of aesthetic medicine,' he says. 'There are no trials to support this treatment'.
But Dr Prager is adament it works. 'This treatment harnesses the body's in-built abilities to heal,' he says. 'Our bodies were designed over a million years ago. It makes sense that rather than some technical solution, we have our own inbuilt techniques to rejuvenate our skin.'