Hair oils, hair creams, essential oils, medicine, name it, and there’s probably a treatment out there somewhere that claims it can solve all your hair loss woes. And like any good sales pitch, many of these products promise a lot, but few deliver.
There’s only so much that external products can do. And if none of these hair care or hair growth products are helping you fight hair loss, maybe it’s time to turn inwards by kick-starting your body to encourage hair growth. That’s where microneedling for hair loss comes in.
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Microneedling for Hair Loss
What is Microneedling?
As its name might suggest, microneedling involves pricking the skin with numerous sterilized needles.
Microneedling was initially used to treat scars in the 1990s, but its efficacy led people to start experimenting with microneedling as a hair loss treatment.
Today, this treatment is a popular treatment for combatting hair loss, particularly the dreaded androgenic alopecia, more commonly known as male pattern baldness.
However, microneedling for hair loss isn’t for everyone. Some people have a lot of reservations about the process, and who can blame them? The prospect of having multiple tiny needles wound your scalp doesn’t sound like a very good idea!
But there is evidence that it does work. So for those still on the fence about microneedle treatment, read on.
To understand why microneedling for hair loss is so potent, we’ll first need to talk about alopecia.
Alopecia, or more precisely, androgenic alopecia, is a condition that affects a lot of people. It’s also the leading cause of hair loss. In fact, 95% of men that lose hair do so because of androgenic alopecia. The worst part about androgenic alopecia is that, more often than not, it’s in your genes.
The effects of hair loss vary from person to person, but studies have found and documented that hair loss causes a significant loss of quality of life for affected individuals.
Hope isn’t lost, however. There are ways to fight back against hair loss – yes, even genetic hair loss – and one of those methods is micro needling.
How Does Microneedling for Hair Loss Work?
Microneedling for hair works the same way as it does for the skin. By stimulating collagen and elastic production on your scalp, microneedling encourages your body to produce more essential building blocks for strong, healthy hair.
The idea behind microneedling is that the small wounds left behind by these needles will encourage your body to synthesize more collagen and elastin. These two proteins are responsible for keeping your skin both healthy and young-looking. Coincidentally, these two proteins are also responsible for beautiful, healthy hair.
The one-two punch of protein stimulation that microneedling delivers means that it’s great not only for getting rid of wrinkles and crow’s feet but also turbocharging your body’s protein synthesis and delivery. Microneedling also stimulates stem cells in your scalp, though this bears further research.
Microneedling can also work by helping your body absorb topical treatments better. This treatment works great in tandem with medicines such as minoxidil or rogaine or collagen and elastin supplements.
Side Effects of Microneedling for Hair Loss
Like any medical procedure, microneedling does carry the risk of some side effects. These can include:
- Swelling and redness
In addition, pregnant women and those with serious health conditions should avoid microneedling until their condition stabilizes.
Home Microneedling Kits versus Professional Procedures
Some people may choose to perform microneedling treatment at home rather than go through the expense of having it done at a clinic. On the other hand, doing microneedling this way is a lot cheaper. However, you’ll also run the risk of doing it wrong and maybe even injuring yourself. While the risk of self-injury is quite low, you may still want the expertise of medical professionals.
If you’re planning to do a home micro needling session, you’ll want to be prepared. You’ll not only need a really good derma roller, but you’ll also want to invest in some aftercare items. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need to look out for.
What is a Dermaroller?
The first thing you need is a derma-roller. A dermaroller is a handheld device that features microneedles on its business end while having an easy-to-use grip or handle on the other end.
Types of Derma Rollers
There are two general types of dermarollers: stainless steel dermarollers and titanium dermarollers. These two kinds of dermarollers are labeled based on what their needles are made of. Both offer their advantages, so you’ll need to pick one out based on what you need.
Stainless steel is very resistant to corrosion and is an extremely sanitary material. As your dermaroller will be piercing your skin, cleanliness should be very high up on your list of things to look out for as an infected wound (especially on your scalp) is painful and deadly if left untreated. Stainless steel needles are also very sharp, so stainless steel dermarollers can be expected to last longer and perform better on thicker skin. On the downside, stainless steel isn’t as tough as titanium.
Titanium dermarollers are much stronger than stainless steel. This fact means that not only will titanium dermarollers last longer and puncture better, but they’ll also last you much longer as the needles won’t blunt as quickly as stainless steel ones.
That’s all you need to know when buying a dermaroller, but it’s wise to invest in a dermaroller with an ergonomic or rubberized grip; those needles are sharp, after all, and can cause accidents and injury due to a slip of the hand.
How to Use A Dermaroller
Using a dermaroller is, indeed, as simple as rolling it over your hair. There are a few things you need to be aware of, though.
First off, you should press down firmly enough to feel pressure from the dermaroller, but not so much that you feel pain.
Second, you should pass the dermaroller over your scalp: horizontally, vertically, and then diagonally. Avoid hitting the same area multiple times, as that can cause bleeding.
If you’re planning to use a topical treatment like minoxidil, the best way to go about this is to complete your microneedling session first, then apply your medicine.
Remember to go lightly as your skin will likely be sensitive after the dermaroller!
FAQs about Microneedling for Hair Loss
Does microneedling for hair loss hurt?
That depends on your tolerance for pain. Most people report a buzzing or tingling sensation during the process. In general, though, it shouldn’t hurt – especially for the scalp. And if you decide to microneedle anywhere else, you should have a topical anesthetic, so you don’t feel any pain or discomfort!
How long does it take to recover from a micro-needling session?
Most people fully heal within 24 hours of the operation. Depending on how intense your treatment was, it can take up to 2 or 3 more days to fully heal.
What precautions should I take after microneedling my scalp?
Avoid any dirty surfaces, and be sure to sleep on a sterilized pillow. If your hair gets dirty or sweaty, wash it to help prevent infection.
Can I wash my hair directly after a microneedling session?
It’s recommended to leave your hair and scalp alone for at least 4 hours after a microneedling session.
Should I wash my hair before microneedling?
Always wash your hair before a microneedling session, even if you’re going to have a professional do it. By washing your hair, you’ll minimize the amount of sebum on your head and reduce the risk of wound infection.
My scalp is flaking after microneedling. Is this normal?
Some flaking is normal and is actually a good sign. It means that your body is reconstructing your skin and hair!
What’s the difference between microneedling and collagen induction therapy?
The difference is just in the name. They’re the same procedure.
How long does microneedling take?
Most microneedling sessions don’t take more than 10 minutes. If you’re planning to go for a long and involved treatment, this can take longer.
How many microneedling sessions will it take before I see any difference?
Most people will need 4 – 6 microneedling sessions before seeing any visible difference.
How often should I microneedle my scalp?
Clinical studies have shown that microneedling once every 1 – 3 weeks is enough to promote healthy hair growth. It’s equally important to not microneedle more than once a week as that can actually cause damage.
Can I take collagen supplements alongside microneedling sessions?
Yes, you can, and these will boost the results of your microneedling.
Microneedling for Hair Loss: A Viable Solution
With all that said and done, the bottom line is this: yes, microneedling for hair loss does indeed work and is much more efficient when used in tandem with another treatment. Also of note is that microneedling is not a be-all, end-all solution to hair loss, so it’s important to not jump on the treatment bandwagon and first assess why you’re losing hair.
However, for those who’ve tried everything, microneedling is a promising solution. The bevy of evidence shows that microneedling does indeed stimulate collagen and elastin production and is a scientifically sound solution to hair loss.