Facial massaging using a derma roller can increase skin blood flow for more than ten minutes after the massage. It can also improve vasodilation — the widening of blood vessels, — in the long-term, according to a study by researchers in Japan.
Beauty experts rave about them, and millions of us buy them, but what do scientists make of face massage derma rollers? Few studies have so far investigated the effects of using facial massage rollers over time.
The Science Behind Face Massage with a Derma Roller:
To address this gap, Naoyuki Hayashi of the Institute for Liberal Arts, Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and colleagues at Tokyo Healthcare University and the Research and Development Center, MTG Co. Ltd., conducted short- and long-term experiments involving participation of healthy male and female volunteers to examine the effects of using a massage roller on facial skin and blood flow.
25% Increase in Facial Skin Blood Flow
In the short-term experiment, even a five-minute massage can significantly increase facial skin blood flow in the massaged cheek, with a relative change of up to around 25%. Visualization of the change in blood flow was achieved using a non-invasive technique called laser speckle flowgraphy.
One surprising outcome was the duration of the effect immediately after the five-minute massage. “The increase in skin blood flow after applying the derma roller persisted much longer than we had expected,” the researchers say in their study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine. “Short-term mechanical stimulation by a facial massage roller increased skin blood flow for more than ten minutes solely in the massaged cheek.”
Daily Massage Using a Roller Improves Blood Flow Response
In the long-term experiment, the researchers examined the effects of daily massage on the right cheek over a five-week period. They also examined the reactivity of facial blood vessels to a heat stimulus, involving application of a heating probe set at 40°C, in order to test whether there were any changes in vascular dilation response.
Findings from the long-term study suggested that using a roller improved blood flow response, or the so-called vasodilatory response, to heat stimulation. One explanation for this could be that endothelial cells in the massaged area produce more nitric oxide, which is known to be a potent vasodilator.
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- Akane Miyaji, Kaori Sugimori, Naoyuki Hayashi. Short- and long-term effects of using a facial massage roller on facial skin blood flow and vascular reactivity. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2018; 41: 271 DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2018.09.009