How do you Perform At-Home Microneedling?

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.

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).

My original post on using microneedling 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.

Depth, Dermaroller and Dermapen

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.
  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.

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.

61 thoughts on “How do you Perform At-Home Microneedling?”

  1. I use a dermapen with 9 needles and i bleed everytime. I really does help in combination with minoxidil but it hurt like crazy and i dont want to apply numbing cream because of minox which i apply after the session.
    I heard that 12 or 36 pin needles are less painfull, is that true? Also which device are u guys using? my has a max speed of 16.000 rpm but it still kinda hurts.

    1. I believe it would be less painful if you use more needles. My reasoning is basic physics; the same amount of force would be distributed over more area. It’s the same principle people use to sit on a bed of nails. A few nails would puncture them, but many, many nails would mean that the force is spread out. I hope that helps, and anyone please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

      I use a microneedling device and have had no issues with bleeding. There’s no way I could do a dermaroller. I have tried, it tangles in my hair very easily, and is much more painful. I learned how to microneedle by watching the YouTube channel Hairliciously, and I recommend his channel to everyone. He seems like a good guy, and he gives a lot of hair loss tips. I hope that helps someone out.

      1. That principle doesn’t apply to mechanical microneedle devices because the motor forces every needle into your skin at the depth that is set on the device. It would apply to dermarollers or stamps, but the reason it hurts less is because you’re not getting as much penetration. So if you’re going for a certain depth you’re kind of defeating the purpose by spreading out the force and reducing the penetration.

  2. I used a protocol similar to what PinotQ mentioned, with a 1.5 mm roller once a week and a .25mm roller every other day. Used them for about a year, with minoxidil and, for the second six months, a weak solution of lithium chloride inspired by SwissTemples’ experiments.

    It hurt. It bled. I’m not sure the 1.5 mm roller hurt more; it had fewer needles and took a little less force to puncture my scalp. I had to really push with the .25 mm roller.

    It was a bit of a time commitment. Could never get the whole “macerate my scalp” procedure down to a speedy and efficient part of my routine.

    Not sure how much it’s talked about much regarding wounding, but infection IS a real possibility. I’m curious how Follica will handle the risk: are they abandoning plans for their at-home device in favor of in-office only procedures? I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, because it should be a major concern (and may be even for in-office visits). I kept everything sanitary, rolled with a clean scalp, soaked rollers in alcohol, etc., and still ended up at the emergency room with a bilateral posterior auricular lymph node infection. It wasn’t painful, but the doctors had never seen one before and they don’t tend to take scalp infections very lightly. Luckily, antibiotics cleared it up rapidly.

    That experience took the wind out of my sails. I *think* I had some limited regrow this of non-vellus hairs at my temples and crown, but nothing in front. It wasn’t enough to justify continuing. Maybe more time would have improved the results.

    I’d be willing to try it again IF there was some consensus about the protocol. Do you use minoxidil on puncture days? What depth? How often? Self experimentation is practically impossible on the time scale and with the regrowth rates we’re talking about.

    1. Damn Al O’Pecia!

      That sounds pretty serious. Sorry to hear you had that experience my friend. This not only seems time consuming, but also just too many variables currently for me to have any interest to try. I give anyone who has added this routine into their mix major respect! I have trouble finding the time to even do minoxidil twice daily these days and switched to once daily about 6 months back. Thinking I will switch back to twice daily though in the near future.

      Thanks again for sharing your experiences.

  3. Device: Derminator 2
    Needles: 12-Needle Cartridge
    Depth: .50mm-up to 1.75mm
    Schedule: Every Sunday Afternoon
    Duration: 5-6 months
    Norwood: 5V
    Regrowth: Observable thickening. Maybe new hairs (???).
    Satisfaction: 3/5. This was a few years ago and there wasn’t much pictorial evidence to inspire me—back when I believed RCH-01 would come out any minute and Tsuji was a definite backup. Anyways, I realize now this is a long game so I’ll need to needle for years to really judge whether or not this treatment can fully recover a high norwood like mine. I’ll think of this like bodybuilding—can’t become a muscleman in months, nor can I become a hairgod.

    Method:
    Part One for Density — I turn on the machine and set it to .50mm or .75mm on high speed. There is minimal pain so I can run the machine entirely over my scalp in one constant motion. My scalp will turn entirely red with some pin-point blood. I go for as much coverage as possible, no cm2 left untouched. (I think this is very close to Dhurat’s study; my scalp looks comparable to pictures I’ve seen—i.e. mild redness, some blood spots)

    Part Two for Depth — After I turn the depth up to 1.50mm. This feels very sharp, especially around the temples and bleeds easily. So I use small brush strokes and a damp cloth to wipe the blood from the area. I do this for a few passes around my head. In the beginning I immediately ran the machine 1.50mm / high speed and powered through my head quickly. But the pain was so immediately overwhelming I would feel nauseous and shaky afterwards. I think warming up at .50mm or .75mm is good for a jolt of adrenaline which improves pain tolerance for the higher depths.

    After: I wash the needles using my water pic floss machine (haha); I shoot the stream of water at the needles until they are clean. Then I fill a small jar with alcohol and soak the cartridge for a day. Then I take it out, rinse it off, and try it again next Sunday. After that session, I replace the needle. I’ve never had any problems: no infections, scabbing, scarring, bruising, etc. nothing.

    I apply minoxidil as I would on Monday to Saturday (sometimes once a day, sometimes twice). The redness on my scalp goes away after two or three days. It feels like a sunburn in the shower but otherwise doesn’t hurt to touch.

    Downsides: The pain, the sight of blood, the hassle of setting up the machine, and the timeframe: it could take a decade to recover a full Norwood 7, I don’t know. There’s no definitive method to go by for maximum results. We just need some guys with high Norwoods to stick with this for years and accumulate some impressive pictures.

    Upsides: It does actually work.

    I began needling again two weeks ago. I’m going to do this for the entire year. 100% fully committed. 2020: I’m getting my cure with or without the industry’s help. Let’s get this party growing!

  4. Hi… long time reader. Never post though.
    -1.5mm roller
    -192 needles
    -Once a week
    -I push as hard as someone putting on deodorant.
    -I don’t use minoxidil on rolling days as it can go systematic easier
    -I use 2% minoxidil because I had sides with the 5% (heart palpitations, dark circles under eyes)
    – The 2% I use once per day (before bed at night) no sides to speak of, prior sides went away.
    -I’ve had a lot of noticable growth after 5 months of this routine.

  5. I use a 2mm dermaroller every first and third Saturday morning of the month.
    Before rolling, I apply a towel full of ice cubes on each area, so that my scalp gets vasorestricted, aka bleeding is minimum, and there is some desensitization. It does really work, but you have to let the towel cool the area for more than 30 sec.
    I cool the area, then I dermaroll, then I remove the blood from the hemorrhagic spots and apply some betadin solution, and then I repeat the same process to an adjacent area again and again until all my balding scalp is rolled.
    Afterwards, I apply an expensive moisturizer that I use only on my scalp.
    Of course, scalp is red and sensitive right afterwards.
    I apply minoxidil in the afternoon, about eight hours after the dermarolling session.
    I shower three-four hours later and then I apply a couple of pea-sized drops of tretinoin (0.05% solution) on my dermarolled scalp (at NIGHT; You should not apply Retin-A in daylight hours).
    The next 12 days I apply minox in the morning, at ~7 am, and then again at 6-7 pm, along with a moderate amount of the scalp moisturizer. I use the 5% Rogaine solution, btw.
    Each Tuesday and Thursday I also apply tretinoin at night.
    I don’t dermaroller at smaller depths, but I may try it out. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
    Started this regime three months ago, but can’t really evaluate its efficacy, ’cause I shave my head. I’ll let it grow again in the summer, almost a year after sticking hopefully to this regime.

    Fingers crossed!

  6. I tried every combination I could think of from .5 mm to 1.5 mm at varying degrees of concentration and coverage from once a week to once every other week but can’t say I ever saw any results. I did find that on the day of and the day after microneedling, my hair would definitely get a cosmetic bump and look a little healthier and thicker. The one piece of advice I would give is that in my experience, a microneedling device is much less painful than a roller. Even at 1.5 mm, I do not feel much pain. I use an MD Pen which is expensive but very well made. I have not micro-needled for several years but recently am giving it another go at 1.5 mm every 2 weeks with a quick .5 mm 5 days a week. I use an 18 needle cartridge for 1.5 mm and a 36 needle cartridge for the .5 mm.

  7. I want to try microneedling too. I want to start with dermaroller I don t want to spend too much on a derma pen since I saw that is more expensive. The thing is that there are many needle sizes like 0.5mm, 0.75mm, 1mm, 0.25mm and so on. Does anyone know which size is recommended for regrowth and frequency usage in general?

  8. I have tried Microneedling for about 8 months, zero results. But without my daily dose of minoxidil (5% once a day) I would be screwed.

  9. Don’t understand how someone can buy a derminator and make their scalp bleed by trial and error. You are probably doing more harm than good and damaging follicles. The durhat study said light erythema of scalp, no bleeding. I have wanted to try light dermatollimg but afraid I’ll start shock loss and make things worse. There are some YouTube guys who grew back tons of hair doing it but it could be a hoax. Some German guy went from nw5 to thick nw1. He started fin, min and rolling all the same time.

    1. Yeah, I almost bought a derma pen and was going to start my journey with micro needling. We all have probably seen that you tuber who promotes it (name starts with a ‘H’) with pretty good before and afters. Keep in my mind he runs a business selling products. I decided against at home micro needling. I could be causing more harm then good, risk of infection, Don’t know what I’m doing, etc. For anyone wanting to try it – Go for gold. Judging by some of the comments, results are very mixed. My protocol now is 1mg of Fin per day and scalp massages. Honestly would love to see something come out in 2020 that actually helps with regrowing hair.

  10. If you decide to begin microneedling do yourself a favor and invest in a proper device. There is significant difference between the puncture from a mechanical pen and a roller. This fine puncture from the pen creates proper wound induction with induces collagen synthesis. The puncture from a roller creates more of a tearing type puncture which inducing more scarring and fibrotic tissue especially in deeper wounding for the scalp. This is why many dont find success with rolling. I wish i can find the study which goes into detail about this. Theres many devices out there that are affordable for proper microneedling. I personally use Vaughter wellness device. Its well built, affordable and the replacement needles are cheap but theres alot of options out there so choose what you feel is best. I have been needling for the last few years now with great results. I do once every 10 days at 2.0mm and use topical lithium chloride once immediately after my session, then followed by minoxidil mixed with cb0304 twice a day. I dont take any meds anymore, i just cant deal with the side effects of avodatt anymore; i guess im just to sensitive to 5ar inhibitors. But overall im happy i started to microneedle. Definitely got some really good regrowth and thecb has stopped the hairloss. It can be a chore because you wanna make sure everything is done properly and sanitarily but overall when you start to see results its worth it. Btw im not affiliated with vaughter wellness. Im not trying to promote there product in any way but since thats the one i use i just wanted to share my experiance with it

  11. No idea about concentration or frequency at either a shallow depth (.5 mm) or at the Dhurat depth of 1.5 mm……….or whether a combination of both would work. However, based on this https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3921236/ and other studies I have read, a .5 to .6 mm depth closes by electrical cell stimulation within a maximum of 15 minutes without any trace of scar tissue. The study also says that due to this rapid closure, the risk of infection is “very unlikely”. This is a study about microneedling for skin and not hair but if you are thinking about experimenting at home, this is a must read. FYI While had zero growth after extensive experimentation, one of the big positives is that microneedling definitely made my scalp feel better……for those with itchy scalps. And no shock loss for me at any depth.

    1. 10 cycles with a dermaroller at .5mm is optimal in mice.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064188/

      Figure with a roller you’re getting maybe half of the penetration of a pen at best, so .25mm, and 500 pricks per square centimeter if using a mechanical device. The big question is how do we extrapolate that to humans? If human skin is 2 to 3 times as thick as mouse skin does that mean we should aim for .5 to .75mm with a mechanical device? We don’t want to go too deep. A 1mm roller showed almost no effect on mice, and 13 cycles is too many.

      1. I noticed that someone said in other post something about going 1 – 1.5 mm and everything below has no effect but others say that around 0.5 mm is optimal (not deeper). It s quite difficult to know which choice makes more sense, at least for someone who doesn’t have much knowledge regarding follicle anatomy. I m still reading here and search on internet before I try microneedling.

    1. Derminator 2 is much more expensive, both for inital cost, and for replacement cartridges. The needles are finer though, which means less chance of scarring, although I’ve had a couple of needles get bent which concerns me. With the derminator 2 you are getting exactly the rated number of wounds per second, and the correct depth. Dr. Pen’s rpm numbers are grossly inflated. You really don’t know what you are getting, and the depth may be inconsistent as well.

  12. Johnny K I think the minox and cb is what is giving you regrowth. Maybe not the derma wounding.. did you start minox cb the same time you started derma needling?

    1. I have been using minox amd dut for many years, i only started using CB after i discontinued dut. Most of the original regrowth i had was from the dut. CB held onto most of the regrowth i had from the dut. The regrowth ive had from the microneedling is clearly new regrowth, not from the CB.

        1. The only place i found it was at kane shop. If i could buy it from someone else i would but unfortunately thats the only consistent source. Seems legit though, bought both CB and RU from him and havent had an issue so far but buy at your own risk. i’ve been considering switching back to RU. It’s much more cost effective and any vehicle will work for RU where as CB doesnt just simply dissolve in ethanol or minoxidil, especially at higher doses. I think i got better results from RU as well. I would just dissolve it in Lipogaine. CB i would use at a does of 5%, RU 30mg dissolved in 1ml of Lipogaine. So honestly you could pick either and get good results. If you decide to pick a topical i’d go with RU, much simpler to use but dont go crazy with the dose because you will get side effects, with CB i never had sides but the vehicle is difficult to make and it is cost prohibitive if you want to use it consistently at the optimal does from the breezula study (7.5% twice a day). But adding a topical androgen blocker will go a long way to halting your hairloss and maybe recovering a good amount back depending on when you start if you are consistent with your use.

  13. Nice research article. The repeated cycling and the 5 days per week seem consistent with the quorum sensing concept in the Follica Clinical summary. It also seems consistent with this research article https://elifesciences.org/articles/28875 stating that only a small number of cells near a damaged site will respond…..thus more concentration and more frequency may be required. The article also says that “they observed a quantitative decrease in proliferative hair follicle stem cells as early as 1 day post wounding.”…….possibly indicating that repeated needling might increase effectiveness. Repeated daily needling at .5 mm would seem safe while needling more often than at 1.5 mm may not allow enough time to move from the inflammation to the proliferation phase of wound healing.

    1. This is very interesting indeed. The daily interruption (which follica is doing) might be the most important factor.

      But I don’t know whether applying minox after microneedling is a good Idea..

      1. I apply minoxidil like 2 hours after microneedling 1-1.5mm with zero side effects. Ofc, been doing this only for the past 2 months

  14. looks like samumed’s clinical trials have been delayed by 6 months according to the clinical trial page. anyone got any more info?

  15. My hair is on the way out but thankfully right now I still have plenty left. Do I just..roll the dermaroller over my existing hair?

    1. If you are losing ground don’t waste time and start using finasteride and minoxidil, stay cheap don’t use brand stuff. Good luck

    2. Find a plastic surgeon that does Botox injections and ask if they will inject some into your scalp perimeter. It has been shown to stop hair loss (provided you do it twice a year) and even regrow lost hair. If you combine that with the dermaroller, you might not even need minox.

  16. The idea of shoving spikes into my head to keep what everyone has for free just makes me automatically not give a damn I’d rather not bother

  17. I agree with egghead. This is getting beyond ridiculous. Follica better have pulled a marketing stunt with that pic. If that is there best then it may not be worth people’s time to use their treatment.

    People shouldnt lose their hair or teeth. Took me an hour to style my diffuse hair this morning to look somewhat presentable. 2020 and all we have are big 3 and a potential new treatment that requires 2x the work for the same results.

    1. Hey James Booker,

      You might have overlooked it but read the 5th post by Al O’Pecia. He specifically talks about a personal instance he had an infection.

  18. Its already 2020 guys.
    We are about to find out if the cure is gonna come out or the prophecy of admin is not gonna be fulfilled.
    Lets hope we wont have to use these mediocre treatments and medications anymore.

  19. And does anyone here has before and after pictures? Sounds like not so healthy combination. I tried once minoxidil and it was enough. Couldn’t sleep in that night because heart felt crazy. Maybe i use it too much or because i use it after sauna. It was foam. Micro needling i also tried but have not enough faith to believe it works or are worth of risk.

    Just my thoughts and experience.

    1. I am a frequent viewer to this blog site. I don’t post regularly on here but have a few times in the past. I started dermarolling this past August 2019, and have to say I am seeing some kind of a result. I started fin (1.0 mg a day) back in Jan. 2017 and the first year revealed some good growth but not an entire fill in of my crown area (my main area of concern). I also use to use 5% minox for about 5/6 years but felt it wasn’t doing anything any more by year 5 and quit after 6 years, even after combining it with the fin, no major results. In 2018/19 I felt my hair was stable but had not achieved the desirable results on fin. So when I came across derma rolling examples where some guys were getting incredible results I had to look into this. Took me a bit to research and convince myself to try. If it weren’t for some of the legit efficacy studies I came across I dont think I would have tried this at all. Anyway, have been derma rolling since Aug. (once a week religiously w/ 0.5 mm roller). I will be having my partner take a pic soon of my crown area so I can see if there is any real major improvement or not. She says every once in a while she see’s dark baby hairs coming in. I look at my crown every day and feel there is some changes for sure. But it’s a bit odd, some days it looks like new growth in new areas, but also new thinning in other areas.

  20. Hey Rodri, you are right…sorry. just needed to vent. I’ll lay off the forums for a while. Nothing new will come out that I won’t hear about from other news sources anyways.

    Happy NYE everyone!

    1. Mjones,

      I think we are in the same boat. I’ve got diffuse thinning, and it’s becoming harder to disguise – and more time-consuming. If I “get it” in 30 mins, I’m delighted. Usually, though, it takes much longer, and still looks rubbish.

      I don’t have any issues with you mentioning it, or venting. If you ever want to vent, I’m happy for admin to give you my e-mail address.

  21. Mjones the world knows about your diffuse hairloss. You, me and thousands on here have diffuse hairloss etc. That I think is the main theme we here over and over about you, I think you just need to lay off of that for a while…and follicles treatment is better then just applying regular minox. If you cant see the difference many are having by rolling combined with minox then you need glasses. If you are saying that for the most part follica is rolling plus minox and that is upsetting, then yes you have a point.

  22. And I would also really like to know why samumed SM trial got extended by at least a other 6 months?
    Happy new year friends!

  23. Tom jones. Are you rolling with minox? I needle stamp but haven’t seen any results, actually just more thinning in that area I stamp. Been doing it 2x a week for the past 12 months. I’m probably doing it wrong, who knows. Those who got results and posted pics just got a few hairs that made barely any cosmedic difference in my opinion. There were some dudes that got massive growth but u think that is a scam. The German guy and that reddit guy. Most people just got a few hairs. Do you have any links to good responders I can check out? Wouldn’t mind trying their protocol

  24. Can we do something about grey/white plz guys? Really pissing me off, infuriating we can’t even get the blessed hair to colour itself on the way out in 2020, forget re-grow

    1. Mutruk – Same problem here. I haven’t tried this product, but I’ve been thinking about it – myhairprint.com
      It looks like a pain to apply to me. But if it does last 2-6 mos. as they say (which I doubt), I would be interested.

      1. Yeah I looked into it once or twice but didn’t quite get what the hell it was lol

        Might have another look especially if u say it lasts months…My issue is beard atm, although some head hairs r popping now too..Just for men really isn’t a viable option

  25. Mjones I did roll with minox a few times but I hot bad heart sides so I stopped. It is what it is…I have seen some studies of rolling and minox where the pictures looked great. If I could continue, I would….do you have any idea why samumed extended their trial? That was my last hope.

  26. I have no clue Tomjones on why samumed extended it. As long as they didn’t cancel it then we are still in good shape.

    What size needle roller did you use or did you use a stamp ?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *