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Microneedling for hair growth: is it worth your time?

Microneedling is having a big moment right now across the aesthetics world. It seems you can’t turn a corner without seeing an advertisement or anecdote promising very impressive results from what is a relatively minor procedure. The face, neck, eyes – and yes, even for hair regrowth. 

Does microneedling help hair regrowth and is it worth your hard-earned money?


Will a derma rolling help to regrow hair?

The answer, like a lot of things in the world of modern cosmetic treatments, is… it’s complicated. 

What can microneedling do for the hair?

Microneedling (AKA: percutaneous collagen induction therapy) uses a device lined with fine needles to induce micro punctures either through rolling or stamping a sterile device across cleaned skin (We prefer a stamping device but more on why in a bit). The needles can range in depths from less than a millimetre to a few millimetres, and the procedure can be performed at home or, preferably, by a doctor or aesthetics nurse in a medical office. 

The purported benefits of microneedling abound on the world wide web, but the widely accepted medical mode of operation is that the microscopic punctures can induce wound healing and collagen production, thereby improving the look of skin and some scars. 

In the realm of hair regrowth, it’s hypothesized that the microscopic wounds increase growth factors in the treated vicinity (which can be enhanced with the addition of PRP therapy) and activate stem cells in the hair bulb. The result can be a mild increase in density and length. Though the exact way microneedling helps with hair growth has not been definitively demonstrated, medically controlled studies do support its use, particularly when paired with other therapies.

 The most impressive results with regards to microneedling and hair regrowth is seen with androgenic alopecia and mild cases of alopecia areata. It’s also thought that microneedling might help deliver some medications deeper into the skin, such as topical steroids.

So far, so good. But microneedling is not risk free. It’s easy to overdo it, especially if you’re trying this at home, and let’s not forget the risk of infection anytime you puncture the skin. Microneedling done improperly can cause trauma and scarring to the hair follicle, which can put a hair transplant later on at risk. There’s also little control over the quality of devices available for at home use, and sterility is a concern. 

It's also good to keep expectations in check. Though microneedling can have positive results, it’s not going to be a miracle cure for hair loss. You shouldn’t expect to see dramatic results from microneedling alone. It’s really best as a complementary therapy.

Inexpensive Prescription Hair Loss Medication Delivered To Your Door.

 

But people on the internet are posting amazing results! 

There are a lot of unknowns when looking at someone else’s anecdotal results, such as what other medical therapies they might be using, what kind of hair loss they’re experiencing, and the specific device and depth of the needles. 

How diligent people are with their treatments is also a big factor, and consistency is key. When potential therapies are researched in a medical setting, stringent controls and double blinds are used to make certain that any results you’re seeing are due to the therapies being tested and not another variable. Sample sizes are also crucial to medical studies, and they need to be much greater than one. Though personal, documented journeys can be helpful and very inspiring, remember that they’re just that – anecdotal. You need to take them with a grain of salt. 

Anecdotal stories online can also unintentionally spread misinformation. For example, popular at home microneedling solutions of rosemary and olive oil will not help with hair growth. And though medical research suggests caffeine could be beneficial, we don’t recommend microneedling with DIY, unsterile coffee solutions.


Leave the olive oil, rosemary, and coffee in the kitchen. Skip the DIY solutions in favour of properly formulated product that work. (Promotion opportunity? If you want to try caffeine, look into a properly formulated shampoo like ours…)

I hear your warnings about DIY… but a derma roller is already in my shopping cart. 

As always, if you’re experiencing hair loss and looking for treatment, we recommend you find a doctor who specializes in hair regrowth. First line medications are the most effective starting point, then you can discuss whether microneedling is something you want to try. Microneedling alone is not a first line defense, it’s a complementary therapy, and trying it alone will most likely yield disappointing results. Other complimentary treatments you can discuss include PRP (platelet rich plasma) and low-level laser light therapy, both of which can increase hair regrowth.

I think it’s always best to consult a medical professional when seeking treatment. However, microneedling is in the lower risk spectrum of procedures you can do at home. For those dead set on ordering an at home microneedling device, consider using it no more than weekly, using a shallow depth needle, and using disposable cartridges to decrease the risk of infection. For more of my thoughts on microneedling for hair regrowth see my video on microneedling here.

 

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Written by
Kristi Charish
Edited by
Dr. Gary Linkov
The content of this newsletter is for entertainment and educational purposes only. This content is not meant to provide any medical advice or treat any medical conditions. Patients must be evaluated by an appropriate healthcare provider on an individual basis and treatment must be tailored to meet that patient’s needs. Results and particular outcomes are not guaranteed.

 

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