Category Archives: Microneedling

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, Follica and Other Brief Items

Thanks to commentator “Karl” for posting a link to a new study from China regarding electrodynamic microneedling in the comments to my Indian microneedling post from August.

Microneedling and Follica

Yet again, microneedling seems to lead to significantly increased hair growth when used in conjunction with Minoxidil versus when using just Minoxidil by itself.

However, even more interesting, microneedling by itself led to more hair growth than Minoxidil by itself in this study. Totally crazy that wounding works better than one of the only two ever FDA approved hair loss treatments. The other being Finasteride. Of course more such results need to be emulated before this becomes believable.

Follica has for a long time claimed that skin disruption in and of itself leads to new de novo hair follicle growth. In the India microneedling post, “Karl” made an interesting lengthy comment related to the above study, and it is worth a read in its entirety. I will paste part of it related to needling depth here:

“Personal observation: that difference of 1.5mm to 2.5mm might seem small, but if you’ve ever done it, you know that it’s HUGE. 1.5mm hurts a lot already, and for some people is borderline unbearable. 2.5mm is getting into torture level lol. Pity they weren’t more specific about their procedure. The question of depth, wounding, and scarring seems an open question in research afaik and is discussed frequently on forums”.

Other Hair Loss News this Month

— In August, I covered groundbreaking new research related to successful hair regeneration in mice. The work was led by scientists from USC (in particular, Dr. Mingxing Lei and Dr. Cheng-Ming Chuong). For some reason, a new CNBC article on this now relatively old news appeared in October and became the most widely covered hair related story this month. Three different people posted the exact same CNBC link in the comments to the last post. To be fair, even people on Reddit Futurology seemed to think that this was a new development.

— Samumed added a new page on its site regarding the status of each of its clinical trials.

— Replicel’s hair loss work covered in Forbes magazine.

Fecal matter transplant regrows hair in two alopecia areata patients.

— Dr. David Saceda has been responding to questions by “Tim” in my messotherapy with dutasteride post.