Microneedling, also known as derma rolling, is an increasingly popular procedure. Proponents believe that applying light pressure to damaged skin via a derma roller coated with small needles can help minimize scar tissue, wrinkles or enlarged pores by encouraging collagen production. Microneedling procedures are a minimally invasive, relatively low-cost way to address these issues without invasive plastic surgery, which makes them popular with doctors and patients.
But what about DIY microneedling for thinning hair? To find out if it's worthwhile, VEGAMOUR took a closer look at using microneedling for hair loss. You'll want to read this before spending your time or money microneedling — plus learn what products you should actually be using to combat thinning hair.
What Is Microneedling for Hair Loss?
Microneedling for hair loss is performed in the same way that it is for skin issues: A practitioner uses a derma roller or a similar tool, equipped with rows of tiny needles, to create invisible microscopic puncture wounds in the skin. Some believe that microneedling can trigger the factors that promote hair growth.
Does Microneedling for Hair Loss Work?
Most of the research on microneedling for hair loss relates to people suffering from genetic hair loss conditions, such as female pattern hair loss, androgenetic alopecia, alopecia areata, androgenic alopecia and male pattern baldness, rather than microneedling for hair loss in general. However, there's some evidence that the treatments may work to support hair growth for those suffering from other causes of hair loss.
As cosmetologist Ghanima Abdullah puts it, "Microneedling can help produce more hair because both collagen and stem cell production is stimulated by microneedling."
For example, while hair loss caused by genetic conditions is different from the other causes of thinning hair, such as aging, hormone shifts and stress, the solution to all kinds of hair loss is the same — stimulating hair follicles to increase blood flow to the skin of the scalp. So if derma rolling can help treat alopecia areata, it stands to reason that general hair loss microneedling might also be effective in encouraging the growth of healthier hair.
"Microneedling is effective in much the same way that the procedure is effective in anti-aging treatments,"said esthetician and makeup artist Essie Button. "Much like the tiny punctures stimulate and increase collagen production, thus erasing wrinkles, age spots, scars and so on, the process stimulates the hair follicles in your scalp, encouraging stronger — and even new — growth. Microneedling is used to counteract medical hair loss conditions and premature balding, so why not for cosmetic purposes too?"
So while there's not a conclusive answer to the question of whether microneedling is a comprehensive solution for hair loss in general, it may be worth a shot.
Why You Should Never Do Microneedling Yourself
It may seem appealing to try DIY microneedling in the privacy of your own bathroom. Tools are deceptively cheap, and the procedure may seem as simple. But both Abdullah and Button say at-home microneedling is too risky and can paradoxically result in increased hair loss, rather than the hair growth you hope for.
Why You Should See a Professional for Microneedling
To prevent infection and ensure you're achieving the correct needle depth to encourage new hair growth, you should see an expert with experience using microneedling for hair regeneration. While it will cost more than doing it at home (sessions generally range between $100-700, depending on location), the potential damage of DIY microneedling at home is far too risky.
Here's why you should go ahead and book an appointment with a dermatologist or esthetician for microneedling:
You Need the Right Equipment
"Please see a professional for this procedure," said Abdullah. "To avoid injury to the scalp, it’s critical to use the right size device and needles. Some microneedling devices use long needles that can injure the scalp, while others have very short ones that might not be sufficient for the purpose."
Using the wrong size needle for an at-home microneedling treatment means that, at best, you won't actually be encouraging hair growth, and at worse, may further damage your stressed hair follicles.
It's Difficult to Perform Microneedling on Your Own Scalp
Abdullah also said that even if you use the appropriate needle length, it can be hard to use a microneedling device on yourself to successfully reactivate dormant hair follicles without causing damage. "You need to pass the device over areas of the scalp that are losing hair a certain number of times," she explained. "This can be difficult if there is hair still present as it is very easy to get it tangled in the microneedling device. Additionally, it can be very damaging if the device is not sufficiently sharp to make the passes without injury."
Pain Management Is Available
A microneedling professional can also numb your scalp to minimize the pain, if necessary, providing a more pleasant experience and consistent results. And the procedure won't take up your whole afternoon either. Experts can complete a round of treatment in as little as 10 minutes, but it may take longer based on the size of the treatment area.
Proper Sanitizing Is Extremely Important
Button agrees with Abdullah about the potential dangers of at-home microneedling and the damage it can cause to sensitive skin. "I would strongly recommend AGAINST microneedling at home!" she said. "The process involves puncturing your skin — or in the case of hair treatment use — your scalp with hundreds of tiny needles. The tools and environment need to be super-sterile and the process carried out by a trained professional. This is NOT something you should do for yourself at home! I strongly recommend professional supervision NOT DIY!"
Proper sanitizing is extremely important because of the dangers unsanitized derma rolling equipment can pose to your scalp and sensitive skin. If the needles that the derma roller uses to break the skin are dirty, there's a risk of bacterial infection. Unsanitized or improperly handled derma rollers can carry harmful bacteria, causing infections and breakouts, and even triggering skin conditions such as eczema, itchy inflammation, and discoloration including redness, bumps, or dark patches.
Find Out: How Much Hair Loss Is Normal?
How To Boost Your Microneedling Experience
So, about those serums. While it's not unheard of to do microneedling without an additional product applied to the treated skin, it can be beneficial. "Much like in skin care usage, the punctures facilitate the absorption of creams and serums to the scalp," said Button. "So any anti-hair loss serums or creams that the 'patient' may be using will be more effective."
Immediately after your appointment, work a daily hair serum, like GRO Hair Serum, deep into the roots. Applying a hair growth serum to scalp skin before treatment means that our powerful vegan phyto-active ingredients, including red clover, mung bean and curcumin, will penetrate much more deeply into your hair follicles to combat thinning hair. These active ingredients work together with the natural factors your body produces in response to microneedling treatments to increase visible hair density.
Other Solutions for Thinning Hair
Between microneedling appointments, there are many steps you can take to help encourage hair regrowth. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you're taking the best care of your hair:
Load Up on Micronutrients
There are lots of specific foods you can eat to help encourage thicker, fuller hair (including a few biotin packed favorites), but when it comes to regrowing your hair, the most important thing is balance. If you're not getting the micronutrients your body needs, you won't be able to regrow hair, even after undergoing a course of microneedling. Maintain balance by "eating the rainbow," introducing fruits and veggies of all colors into your daily diet.
Lower Your Stress Levels
There's evidence that stress and hair loss are linked, so if you're experiencing hair loss, you might want to consider the sources of your stress. Incorporating meditation, a quick afternoon walk, or a little stretching into your daily routine are proven ways to reduce overall stress. When your body doesn't have to maintain a constant state of flight or flight, it's able to focus on the important things, like hair regrowth.
Follow a Holistic Hair Care Routine
Combat stress from all sides with VEGAMOUR's groundbreaking new GRO+ Advanced Stress Relief Kit, our collection of hair wellness products designed specifically to target stress at the source. A scalp detox serum, replenishing shampoo and conditioner, and a course of gummies to help rebalance your stress levels from within, help target hair loss at the source.
Talk to Your Dermatologist
It's always useful to get a professional perspective on your hair growth challenges. If you're concerned about maintaining your healthy hair and scalp, checking in with your dermatologist can be a useful way to make sure there are no areas of wellness you're overlooking.
Microneedling for Hair Loss Takeaways
Microneedling has been proven to help with genetic conditions and may also help with general hair loss. Before you undergo microneedling, make sure you have a hair wellness routine in place that includes products to promote hair that appears thicker and fuller. Establishing this routine can help boost your results — from your first microneedling appointment and beyond.
More From VEGAMOUR
- How to Get Thicker Hair
- How Long Does It Take for Hair to Grow Back?
- Can Your IUD Be the Reason You're Losing Hair?
- Fact or Myth: Does Wearing a Hair Cause Hair Loss?
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