Facial Rollers: What Are They For and How Are They Used?

Facial rollers have established themselves as the latest aesthetic novelty. We'll teach you what their benefits are and how to use them.
Facial Rollers: What Are They For and How Are They Used?
Diego Pereira

Reviewed and approved by el médico Diego Pereira.

Last update: 05 March, 2023

Facial rollers are the latest trend in skin care. Their main function is to massage the face, and they exist in a wide variety of distributions. You can find them made of quartz, wood, stainless steel, plastic, jade, and other materials. Today, we’ll teach you the myths and the truths of facial rollers according to scientists.

Indeed, and as with other aesthetic tools or products, advertising can misrepresent the benefits of facial rollers in their favor. They’re also known as derma rollers and have been said to delay aging, slim down the face, and even cure diseases. But let’s see how much truth there is behind these claims and what we know so far.

What are facial rollers for?

A facial roller is a small tool used to massage the face. It consists of a handle and a rotating head. The head is made of different materials, which allow various sensations during its movement, depending on the case.

Many myths have been created around these gadgets, although scientists have found specific benefits from their use. We’ll leave you with the most important ones.

Increased blood flow in the face

Facial rollers are helpful.
Although facial rollers may seem like nothing more than a trend, there are some studies that justify their use.

A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine in 2018 evaluated the use of facial rollers for 5 minutes on the right cheek of 12 subjects.

The evaluation spanned 5 weeks, after which an increase in skin blood flow was found for at least 10 minutes after the massage. An increased vasodilation response to thermal stimulation was also reported on the right cheek.

Reduced swelling

An article published in PLoS One in 2017 suggested that using massage devices on the face can reduce puffiness. The effect is only temporary and lasts only a few minutes after its application.

Therefore, they can be useful to alleviate some consequences of a bad night’s rest, the sequelae of surgical intervention, and the laxity of the face due to age.

A calming effect

According to researchers, facial massage could reduce signs of stress and anxiety in a short period of time. Facial rollers could thus have a calming effect, one that can be taken advantage of in moments of emotional destabilization. They could also help control anger, sadness, and negative moods.

Facial rollers help you fall asleep

There’s aslso evidence that facial massage for at least 20 minutes increases people’s subjective sleepiness. Their use would then be recommended just before going to sleep, especially in people who suffer from sleep disorders or have trouble falling asleep. This is an effect directly related to the previous one (the calming effect).

Improved appearance of the skin in general

Finally, an article published in Skin Research and Technology in 2016 evaluated the effects of facial massage using three-dimensional computed tomography.

The results indicated morphological changes of the nasolabial folds, in the lower, upper, and lateral cheek, and in the lower eyelid in more than half of the subjects. The skin takes on a smoother appearance after the massage, although the effect is only temporary.

All effects noted and supported above are temporary. They’re maintained on average between 10 and 15 minutes after the massage before the skin returns to its previous condition. This is something to keep in mind when using facial rollers, as many campaigns fail to be completely honest in this regard.

It’s also important to remember that face rollers don’t have a miraculous effect. They can’t cure underlying diseases (despite the existence of many therapies that use them for this), they don’t slow down the aging of the skin, and they can’t make the face slimmer. Outside of these myths, the use of facial rollers is associated with modest positive benefits.

Tips for Using Facial Rollers

Facial rollers as part of skincare.
It’s important to view facial rollers as a complementary aspect of skincare so as not to neglect other skincare basics.

If you’ve come this far, it’s probably because you want to start using or are already using a facial roller. It’s a useful tool to incorporate into your skincare routine, at least when you have realistic expectations. We’ll leave you with some very useful tips to take full advantage of them:

  • Use a facial roller only when you’ve finished your face care routine.
  • Make sure your face is dry so that the roller can move in all directions without friction.
  • Start from the neck and go up with progressive and upward movements.
  • Avoid applying too much pressure, but also rolling without applying any pressure at all. Don’t make very long movements, but rather concentrate on short back-and-forth movements.
  • Spend a few extra seconds or minutes on the areas where you feel the most tension.
  • Be sure to massage your entire face, including your eyelashes and nose.

If in the process, you perceive any discomfort, it’s a sign that you are applying a lot of pressure. If after reducing it, the discomfort persists, suspend its use. We’ve already mentioned that there are many options in terms of materials, so you can explore various alternatives until you find the one that provides you with the greatest comfort.

After each use, you must wash the roller. Its maintenance varies depending on the manufacturing material, so you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

It’s important to keep from exposing the roller to non-sterile surfaces, so it’s best to store it in a case. If the rotating roller cracks, you should change it immediately. You can also do this periodically for greater safety.

  • Caberlotto E, Ruiz L, Miller Z, Poletti M, Tadlock L. Effects of a skin-massaging device on the ex-vivo expression of human dermis proteins and in-vivo facial wrinkles. PLoS One. 2017;12(3):e0172624. Published 2017 Mar 1.
  • Ejindu A. The effects of foot and facial massage on sleep induction, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate: crossover pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2007 Nov;13(4):266-75.
  • Hatayama T, Kitamura S, Tamura C, Nagano M, Ohnuki K. The facial massage reduced anxiety and negative mood status, and increased sympathetic nervous activity. Biomed Res. 2008 Dec;29(6):317-20.
  • Nishimura H, Okuda I, Kunizawa N, Inoue T, Nakajima Y, Amano S. Analysis of morphological changes after facial massage by a novel approach using three-dimensional computed tomography. Skin Res Technol. 2017 Aug;23(3):369-375.
  • Miyaji A, Sugimori K, Hayashi N. Short- and long-term effects of using a facial massage roller on facial skin blood flow and vascular reactivity. Complement Ther Med. 2018 Dec;41:271-276.

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