As a cosmetic procedure that has taken the beauty world by storm, microneedling is now a therapy that you can use to treat hair loss. The process involves using a device called a dermaroller, which features small fine needles that make tiny puncture holes in the skin. In response to this method, your body begins producing some of the chemical factors required to make your scalp thrive.
The practice of using microneedling to reduce hair loss and encourage hair growth is in its infancy. How useful it is will depend on the type of loss you’re experiencing, as well as the approach you take. Understanding more about the treatment will help you determine whether it’s right for you.
What is microneedling?
Microneedling involves moving the needles on the dermaroller across the skin to produce a controlled injury. Said injury comprises of small pinpricks, which are barely visible to the human eye.
Providing you’re not suffering from an infection or ongoing skin injury, microneedling is safe. The theory behind this process is that the controlled injury encourages you to produce collagen. As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is central to maintaining a healthy scalp. Additionally, its production aids healing processes.
Following this collagen synthesis, the cells in the area you treat behave as though they’re younger. Their ‘young’ behavior arises because collagen provides them with strength and integrity, allowing them to reach peak function.
Microneedling benefits for hair loss
As a new area of hair loss science, microneedling for hair loss is an area that isn’t covered by much research. However, ongoing and published studies do show promising results.
For example, one ongoing study suggests that disrupting the epidermis results in better hair growth. Your epidermis is the uppermost layer of your skin, and it plays a significant role in maintaining your scalp’s integrity. According to the researchers of this study, epidermal disruption such as microneedling leads to fresh epidermal cells across the scalp, encouraging better hair growth.
Similarly, The University of Pennsylvania is looking into the theory that causing a controlled injury to the skin aids wound healing. Part of the team’s research included focusing on hair growth in mice that underwent microneedling-like procedures. So far, results have demonstrated that taking this approach leads to better hair growth. This could mean promising results for those who have suffered hair loss due to dermatological conditions rather than hormone-mediated ones. However, as we’ve already stated, you can’t use microneedling if your scalp is presently infected or if there are open wounds.
However, for those who suffer from androgenic alopecia, there’s good news. A randomized controlled trial performed in India highlights how using microneedling produces better results than treating your hair loss with Minoxidil. As we know, Minoxidil is one of the most effective topical treatments out there. As such, the study’s results are promising indeed.
Does microneedling for hair loss work?
Whether microneedling prevents, reduces, or treats hair loss depends on a number of factors. If your hair loss arises from conditions such as psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, or stress, you may need to exercise caution. Although there is evidence suggesting controlled injuries are useful for wound healing, such studies don’t tackle infections. As such, we can’t conclusively state whether microneedling is effective or safe in said groups. When it comes to stress-related hair loss, addressing your underlying stressors should always be your first step before you begin introducing other treatments.
Those suffering from androgenic alopecia, though, should consider microneedling. In addition to the studies cited above, further research from the same team demonstrates how the procedure leads to denser and stronger scalp follicles. These follicles produce healthier hair, making microneedling worth the effort.
While the aforementioned study highlights microneedling’s efficacy through strengthening scalp follicles, other areas of research have discovered the specific chemical pathways behind its success. For example, a study published in Annals of Dermatology found that it activates the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, which is a signal-conducting pathway that allows cells to work and communicate with each other. It also promotes expression of VEGF, which is vascular endothelial growth factor. In other words, more blood vessels will develop in the area, allowing for the delivery of oxygen and removal of toxins.
Does microneedling for hair loss hurt?
It’s natural to wonder whether a treatment that involves the use of a ‘controlled injury’ is going to cause pain. Few studies focus on patient-reported pain during this procedure. However, anecdotal tales from across the Internet indicate that it’s sometimes painful, but is often worth the results.
As microneedling for hair loss targets the epidermis, it also interacts with the nerve endings that are responsible for pain transmission. However, you can avoid excessive amounts of pain by using your dermaroller lightly rather than applying too much pressure. Most of those who do report pain also state that it is short-lived, and that the benefits of hair growth outweigh the pitfalls of noxious sensations.
The best dermaroller for hair growth
If you’re now sold on the idea of using a dermaroller for hair growth, it’s worth opting for one of the best ones available. Unlike many cosmetic procedures, dermaroller use is widely available to the public. As such, you can purchase your own and engage in its use whenever is convenient for you.
Our suggestion is the SDARA Derma Roller. It uses titanium microneedles, which means there’s less risk of the device degenerating. Similarly, titanium isn’t an attractive metal for toxins or bacteria, so you can maintain high hygiene standards.
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Other reasons for choosing the SDARA Derma Roller include:
- It comes with a storage case. This means you can keep it sterile between sessions.
- Its needles are .25mm. This is the length dermatologists recommend for at-home use.
- It arrives sanitized. Which further reduces the risk of infection.
MATKAS recommends that you purchase a new dermaroller after 25 to 30 uses. However, as each session is spaced apart by at least two weeks, this means the device will last for at least a year. As such, it’s cost-effective.
Which microneedling mm is best for hair growth
Microneedling dermarollers are available in a range of sizes. As we’ve already mentioned, dermatologists recommend the use of a device with .25mm needles. There’s evidence to suggest that choosing this size helps to absorb any topical agents you use alongside the roller. We’ll discuss said agents in a moment.
However, if you want to promote hair growth after making your scalp healthier through the use of a derma roller and topical agents, you should double the needle size. Alternating between the two sizes may work to your advantage. While the .25mm needle allows for topical agent absorption, the .50mm promotes stronger hair growth after the agent has a chance to work its magic. Try experimenting with different sizes and routines to see which is best for your hair loss.
How to use microneedling for hair growth
First of all, you need to space your microneedling sessions apart by two to four weeks. Using a dermaroller on a daily basis isn’t effective, and it will likely make your hair loss worse. The aim is to cause a controlled injury that has the opportunity to heal, not to inflict one that consistently worsens.
Before using microneedling for hair growth, ensure your scalp and remaining hair are wet. Wetting your hair reduces the chance of it tangling with the roller, which then allows the needles to work without disruption. If the hair does tangle, you may miss patches and diminish the efficacy.
When using the dermaroller, make sure you move in a variety of directions. Start with horizontal, then diagonal, and then vertical. Opting for all three directions ensures you don’t miss a patch of skin, allowing you to see the full benefits of collagen production. A word of caution: only use light to moderate pressure. Applying the needles too firmly doesn’t result in a controlled injury.
Using microneedling with Rogaine
As we’ve mentioned, the .25mm needle is ideal for helping topical agents absorb. Rogaine is an over-the-counter product that contains Minoxidil, which is a blood pressure agent that promotes hair growth. When used in its topical form, it combats the effects of androgenic alopecia, without any side effects for your heart.
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To use your dermaroller with Rogaine, apply the substance evenly across your scalp after the microneedling process. We feel as though the use of Rogaine foam is more beneficial than opting for its liquid form. As foam doesn’t spill easily, it allows you to achieve an even distribution and will permeate at a rate that’s conducive to safe hair growth.
How often should I use microneedling for hair loss?
If you use microneedling for hair loss too often, you may make the problem worse rather than better. Remember, you’re inflicting a controlled injury and you need to give them time to heal.
Ideally, you’ll use microneedling for hair loss every four to six weeks. To ensure you’re getting the most out of your experience, keep a microneedling diary.
Microneedling side effects
As with any hair loss treatment, microneedling comes with some side effects. These include:
- Temporary redness in the area where you use the derma roller
- Oozing from your scalp’s follicles
- The appearance of Milia, which are small milk-colored spots. If they do appear, they’re easy to remove.
- An exacerbation of dermatological conditions
If your side-effects are particularly severe, it’s advisable to stop microneedling. Make sure you track them in your microneedling progress diary.
While microneedling was once used for skin complaints only, today it proves useful in reducing hair loss and promoting hair growth. Although it isn’t effective for dermatological conditions, plenty of evidence demonstrates its efficacy in treating androgenic alopecia. Alternating between mm sizes and implementing the use of Rogaine Minoxidil produces the best results, allowing you to boost hair regrowth.