Micro Needling For Hair Growth
What exactly is micro needling and is it good for hair growth? It sounds kind of painful.
Don’t worry, the needles are extremely small. Tiny even.
What is micro needling?
Micro-needling is also known as collagen induction therapy. That’s because very small needles are used to stimulate your skin to produce collagen which is one of the building blocks of healthy skin.
It can also be used to help with hair loss. The same way it stimulates collagen production it also can heal hair follicles.
Does Micro needling work?
There have been a few studies done on microneedling for hair growth. And they have positive results. Here’s a quote from one study:
“Dermaroller along with Minoxidil treated group was statistically superior to Minoxidil treated group in promoting hair growth in men with AGA for all 3 primary efficacy measures of hair growth. Microneedling is a safe and
a promisingtool in hair stimulation and also is useful to treat hair loss refractory to Minoxidil therapy.”
So this study, in particular, took a look at the difference between using minoxidil alone vs. minoxidil and micro needling together. It found that micro-needling was superior.
They used a derma-roller with 1.5 mm length needles and rolled it over the scalp in vertical, horizontal, and diagonal directions until the scalp mild erythema was observed. Erythema being redness of the skin. This was done once a week.
Another Study on micro needling and hair growth
This is one more study. It focused on patients that were using both finasteride and minoxidil for 2 to 5 yeards but, experienced no new hair growth. Their hair loss didn’t continue but, it didn’t grow back hair. Here’s the quote:
microneedlingshowed an accelerated response with additionof microneedlingprocedure leading to significant scalp density. This is the first case series to report the boosting effect of microneedlingwith respect to new hair follicle stimulation in patients with androgenetic alopecia who were poor responders to conventional therapy.”
After the 6 month period of
Once again this study used a dermaroller with 1.5 mm needles. They rolled it over the scalp horizontally, vertically, and diagonally until mild erythema was experienced. The procedure lasted 20-25 minutes each time.
Is it safe?
It is completely safe as long as you follow a few simple rules:
- Allow your skin time to heal. Longer needles require more time
- Needle lengths greater than .5 mm should wait 24 hours before applying any topical treatments.
- Clean your tools before and after use
Any side effects?
Side effects are typically minor if you follow the rules above.
The most common ones are skin irritation and redness. Bleeding is possible with longer needle lengths.
If you don’t follow the rules above, infection as well as more serious side effects from topical treatments are possible.
How effective is micro needling?
That depends on a lot of different factors.
- The type of tool you use, derma-roller, derma-stamp, or derma-pen
- Quality of the tool used (the type of needles used)
- Length of the needles used
- If you’re using it with minoxidil
It tends to be most effective when combined with other hair growth options like minoxidil and/or finasteride.
Microneedling with Minoxidil
While micro needling by itself can be effective for hair growth, it’s much more effective when used in combination with minoxidil.
Minoxidil is one of the top 2 options available to counter hair loss. The other being Finasteride.
Minoxidil absorption rate
Why is it so effective? Because micro needling increases the absorption rate of the minoxidil. However, depending on the needle length, it’s important to wait 24 hours before or after you microneedle to apply minoxidil.
I’ll talk more in detail about the needle lengths below. But, if you’re using minoxidil with a longer needle length like 1.5 mm, DO NOT apply minoxidil until 24 hours before or after you
Any topical treatment should be used at least 24 hours after using longer needle lengths.
With .25 mm it’s okay to apply minoxidil immediately.
The reason is because the longer needles used the more easily absorbed the solutions are. We don’t want a ton of any treatments going directly into our system.
Length of the needles
Needle length is very important to how effective micro needling treatment is. Needle lengths can vary anywhere from .25 mm to 1.5 mm.
Shorter needle lengths (.25 mm – .5 mm) will help with the absorption of topical treatments like minoxidil to make it more effective. This length typically doesn’t hurt and can be used more often.
Longer needle lengths ( .75 mm – 1.5 mm) will help boost collagen production and hair growth. These needle lengths hurt to use but provide more effectiveness. The study I quoted above used 1.5 mm needles. The 1.5 mm may cause you to bleed a little.
It’s no cause for concern if you do bleed. Just allow your skin time to heal.
Although you may bleed a little, the studies that had great success reported no bleeding. Only minor redness of the scalp.
The key is to avoid A LOT of bleeding.
Types of micro needling tools
There are three different types of tools available. Each has their own pros and cons. There is:
- The derma-stamp
- and derma-pen
Let’s talk about the derma-roller first. The derma roller is the fastest and easiest to use micro needling tool. It’s simply a roller with needles on it you roll across your head.
That said, it is not as effective as the other types. And it’s not recommended for people with a decent amount of hair as it can get caught in the needles more easily than the other tools.
The derma-stamp is better for those with longer hair as you don’t roll it, you press it on like a stamp. This takes a little more time to apply to your scalp than the other two options.
If you’re looking for an excellent derma-stamp I suggest this one. It’s adjustable so you can change the depth of the needles easily. That’s an invaluable option so if you find your scalp can’t handle a 1.5 mm length, you can easily tone it down.
The only issue is that due to the mechanics of the tool, it’s quite difficult to properly clean.
It’s easier to judge how far you’ve punctured the skin with a pen vs the roller. It’s difficult to gauge how much pressure you need to use with the roller. The pen you can just make sure it’s making contact with your skin.
The needles in the pen move up and down rapidly like a tattoo machine.
The downside to the pen is you will need to buy replacement cartridges. And they can be much more expensive than the other options.
Micro-needling tool quality
The quality of the tool is important to prevent any problems with bent needles. There are pros and cons to different kinds of needles. Two of the most popular types are titanium and stainless steel.
Titanium needles are much more durable and last longer.
Stainless steel needles are much easier to keep clean. So it’s easier to prevent infection. These needles are also much easier to sharpen because stainless steel isn’t as strong as titanium needles.
Cleaning your tools
It’s important that you clean your tools before you use them.
Use rubbing alcohol to sanitize your stamp or roller before and after use. Just to make sure everything is clean.
The upside to the pen is you just throw away the old cartridge and replace it. No cleaning needed.
How often do I need to do it?
The key is to allow your head to heal afterwards. Longer needle lengths and higher needle counts will require more time to heal.
For example, 1.5 mm should only be used once a month or month and a half. .25 mm can be used every other day.
That said, those are just guidelines, you may want to experiment to see what your scalp can handle. The study I mentioned above used 1.5 mm needles weekly.