Category Archives: Dermarolling

At-Home Microneedling for Hair Loss

Microneedling, also known as collagen induction therapy (CIT), entails wounding for skin or hair regeneration. In my prior posts on Follica, people have made lengthy and informative comments about at-home microneedling for hair growth. If you are one of those, please copy and paste your comment in this post where it will be more appropriate and very useful.

Update: A June 2020 study from China found Microneedling and Minoxidil combination treatment to be superior to either one by itself. The underlying mechanism involves activation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway.

My original post on using dermarolling in combination with Minoxidil was published all the way back in 2013. More evidence on the benefits of microneedling for hair loss reversal came in 2017, courtesy of Dr. Rachita Dhurat.

At-Home Microneedling for Hair Growth

Over the years, there has been a lot of online discussion about DIY at-home microneedling for alopecia. I was planning to write a post on this subject in the past, but kept delaying it till today. For one, there are numerous hair loss forum and Reddit threads on the subject running into 100s of pages.

Moreover, when it comes to microneedling for facial skin rejuvenation related applications, there is even more information available online. Including numerous reviews and before and after photos. Hard to weed through all the real and fake testimonials.

According to a summary of  papers on microneedling, the procedure can help numerous dermatological conditions. These include skin rejuvenation (via increases in collagen and elastin); reduction of acne scarring, wrinkles, fine lines, stretch marks and surgical scars; improvement in undesired skin color changes such as melasma; and enlarged pore reduction. Note that in 2016, a Japanese research team found age-related hair loss to be caused by reduced collagen.

An increasingly common use entails using microneedling or skin puncturing for better transdermal drug delivery. In the hair loss world, many doctors and surgeons are using microneedling in tandem with application of hair growth serums, Minoxidil, PRP and Exosomes.

Needle Depth, Dermarollers and Dermapens

Among the key questions when trying out at-home microneedling on the head:

  1.  What is the appropriate depth of needles for microneedling on the scalp for hair growth? For thinner facial skin uses, fine needles of 0.25 mm and 0.5 mm depth seem to be preferred. For thicker scalp skin, many people recommend 1.5 mm to puncture the skin and epidermis sufficiently. Reader “PinotQ” mentioned a possible treatment regimen of 1.5 mm once a week, and 0.5 mm daily for maintenance. A September 2020 study from Iran found a depth of 0.6 mm to be more effective than a depth of 1.5 mm.
  2. What device is the best? There are hundreds of dermarollers and dermapens on sale online. A large number of those seem to have great reviews. It seems like most people prefer dermarollers to dermapens when it comes to the scalp, although the lower price of the former could be a factor. While the dermaroller needles enter the skin at an angle, dermapen needles enter vertically. Each device and delivery method has advantages and disadvantages.
  3. Safety precautions, including: making sure that the needles are sterilized and clean to prevent infection; not using too much force when rolling the device to avoid damaging the dermis; aftercare and cleaning up correctly in case of bleeding or other skin injury.
  4. How often to use the dermaroller or other micro needling device? Can one get away with just once a week treatment? Note that some people may easily bleed or have overly sensitive scalps, making microneedling impractical or even dangerous. For those with seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis of the scalp, it is best to consult a dermatologist before starting treatment.
Microneedling Dermaroller Device
A Dermaroller for Microneedling.

Note: Dermarollers are very cheap on Amazon. However, sizes range from needle depths of 0.25 mm to 0.5 mm to 1.5 mm. The rolling drum size can also vary significantly. You will need to read the comments to this post before deciding on the best product (s) for scalp hair growth purposes.

Dermapen Microneedling Pen for Hair Growth
Dr. Pen Dermapen.

Many people also use handheld motor powered dermapens (more expensive) for microneedling. These are also known as micropens. An alternative product that some people praise is called the dermastamp (or derma stamp).

For more information, see this article on dermaroller versus dermapen. These two devices are also sometimes termed as microneedling roller v/s microneedling pen.

User Reviews on Microneedling at Home

Ultimately, the point of this post is to benefit from crowdsourced reader comments about this subject matter all in one place. I might even start microneedling myself in 2020 if I get more motivated after reading about people’s experiences.

Follica’s recent statement seems to indicate that many kinds of wounding and skin injury can regenerate hair. Follica’s tried and tested in-office version and device will likely be the most effective. But for the time being, at-home use will have to suffice.

Microneedling via a Dermaroller and Minoxidil

Update: June 2020 — A new study found the microneedling (via a dermaroller) and Minoxidil combination to be very effective in treating a 70-year old man’s hair loss. Also make sure to read my post on at-home microneedling for hair loss.

There is increasing evidence that dermarolling benefits hair growth. Microneedling via the use of a dermaroller is often being conducted to enhance the absorption of topical hair loss products such as Minoxidil (Rogaine).

Creative and intelligent hair loss forum members are also experimenting with the addition of prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) inhibitors and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) to this mix. The logic behind these experiments is related to the wounding and resulting hair regrowth that a company named Follica is attempting.

Microneedling via Dermaroller Enhances Effectiveness of Minoxidil

Moreover, a recent study concluded an enhanced positive effect of Minoxidil when used in combination with microneedling. The wounding was conducted via the use of a dermaroller device.

Microneedling and Minoxidil Hair Growth Before After.
Microneedling (via Dermaroller) and Minoxidil Hair Growth Before and After.

The dermaroller had 1.5 mm sized needles and was rolled over scalps. Before and after microneedling photos are shown on the right and below.

This study provides further impetus towards the excitement surrounding this unique concept of wounding and hair growth.

I myself have seen decent results from applying Minoxidil to my scalp for a number of years. I may try dermarolling in the future, although I will have to conduct significant research regarding needle depth and equipment recommendations.

Dermarolling for Hair Growth Experiments

Dermaroller 1.5 mm for Hair Growth.
Dermaroller 1.5 mm for Hair Growth.

A number of blog readers are experimenting with dermarolling their scalps for hair growth. I will elaborate on this subject in more detail in future posts.

Dermarolling and Minoxidil Threads

For now, I encourage readers to go through the following massive threads on some of the main hair loss forums out there in order to gauge the excitement around this issue.

Wounding and Hair Regeneration

Over the years, wounding has garnered a solid reputation in both medical and cosmetic fields. Research on wounding and hair regeneration is progressing rapidly.

For example, a 2018 study found wounding induced hair follicle neogenesis in an elderly patient. Hopefully this can be replicated on a larger scale across balding scalps.