The expert’s guide to microneedling

30 Sep 2022 | |By Felicity Carter

What is microneedling and can you do it at home? Skincare expert Teresa Tarmey shares her insight

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Microneedling: if you haven’t tried it yourself, you’ve almost certainly heard talk of this vaguely terrifying skincare technique. Celebrities and facialists swear by it, few and far between are the aesthetic clinics that don’t offer it – but what actually is it and (more importantly) does it hurt? 

To get to the bottom of all things microneedling we called on London-based facialist and skincare guru Teresa Tarmey. Proud bearer of a long list of accolades, not only is Tarmey a facialist to the stars (including Julianne Moore, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Naomie Harris to name a few), she’s also the Global Skincare Expert at Dior and founder of an eponymous skincare line. 

teresa tarmey
Teresa Tarmey

Having crafted her facial technique over the past 25 years, Teresa is passionate about the power of microneedling and its potential for brightening and rejuvenating the skin. Here she explains everything you need to know about this advanced skincare treatment.

What is microneedling?

Microneedling is a treatment which, as the name suggests, uses lots of tiny needles to create slight trauma to the skin in order to allow it to heal and produce more rejuvenated skin. It also creates lots of tiny channels which can be used as a delivery system for skincare products with specifically designed vitamins to reach deeper than would be possible if just placed directly on the skin surface. 


It may sound daunting but microneedling is nothing like getting an injection or a tattoo. The needles are very short and tiny, penetrating just the first few layers of skin and resulting in, at most, mild discomfort. For more powerful results, microneedling is best undertaken by a professional in a skincare clinic. However, there are lots of at-home options on the market that are ideal for giving your skin a boost between facials. 

How do I microneedle at home?

First off, double cleanse. Double cleansing is super important in the evening, especially when you are about to apply a treatment. By doing this, you make sure you’re removing all the makeup, dirt and oils from the day and this will allow your treatment to penetrate more effectively. This is particularly important when prepping your skin for microneedling.

I am personally not a fan of oils and if you are prone to breakouts or acne, I’d recommend taking them out of your routine, even if they are ostensibly for cleansing. I always recommend my clients to use a gel (oil-free) cleanser; you don’t need oil to remove dirt and makeup and, depending on the oil and brand, it can clog pores. My cleanser uses natural surfactants to create a gentle foam that effectively dissolves dirt and oil from the surface of the skin, leaving it clean and hydrated and ensuring the actives you are about to use work more effectively. It genuinely doesn’t dry your skin out, it’s beautifully hydrating.  

Teresa Tarmey Cleanser

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Get to grips with your dermaroller

Having spent 50,000 hours treating skin, it became clear to me that microneedling is a science that simply works. Done just once a week it can dramatically enhance the skin, helping to improve brightness, fine lines, skin texture and strength. In response I developed a 12-week microneedling programme, helping to hone technique and providing powerful products that benefit most from the increased penetration offered by microneedling.

Teresa Tarmey Microneedling Kit

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The treatment starts with the application of peptides before you get to work with the dermaroller. Having a good dermaroller is key to seeing results when microneedling at home – mine is manufactured in Germany and, as the needles are only 0.2mm in diameter, they’re never going to make you bleed. I’m a huge fan of little and often to continuously trick the skin into being damaged so it can heal and produce new collagen.

Roll the dermaroller over the skin using medium to firm pressure. Don’t be scared – it doesn’t hurt! Roll horizontally, vertically and diagonally across the skin and repeat two to four times. There is no set way, just do it a few times over each area. You can’t really go wrong at this level.

Give your face a good massage

After microneedling, reapply the peptide treatment and massage it into your skin to allow the ingredients to work their magic. However, it's important to note that you shouldn't use any old ingredient or skincare product after microneedling. Certain active ingredients respond far better to the delivery system created by microneedling, while others may aggravate lightly traumatised skin. The cocktail of vitamins in my kit has been specifically designed to do the former. After this, you are done! You don’t need to apply any further products. Get ready for the glow in the morning and repeat once a week for 12 weeks.

Neostrata Skin Active Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum

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My approach to skincare has always been little and often. I don’t believe in complicated routines and multiple steps. Simply identify what you want to treat and find a product that targets those issues. I am personally not a massive fan of moisturisers, especially thick, heavy creams as they tend to clog your pores. I don't have my own serum (yet), but I love the Neostrata Skin Active Tri-Therapy Lifting Serum.

Read more: The Beauty Edit