By now, we're well-versed in the art of microneedling. No matter if we're talking about the professional or the at-home kind, we've graduated from microneedling 101 to earn a symbolic degree in the collagen-boosting skin treatment. We know it's an effective way to diminish acne scars, disguise dark circles, and plump up lips. We even know the best serums to pair it with. What we didn't know, however, was that the potential benefits of microneedling extend past our skin to include our hair. That's according to The Zoe Report; the publication reports that microneedling can boost scalp health in such a way as to treat and prevent hair loss, keeping hair full and healthy for longer. Keep scrolling to learn how.
First let's get back to basics and go over the science behind microneedling. Each derma-roller is covered in tiny needles, which when rolled over the skin, pierce its surface and cause micro-injuries. (The word injury has a negative connotation. In this case, each "injury" is minuscule, nowhere near large enough to cause pain, bleeding, or scarring. In fact, the only physical change in the skin you should see after using a derma-roller is a little redness). The skin responds to these micro-injuries by ramping up collagen production, leading to a plumper and glowier complexion.
Microneedling for Hair Loss
The same science explains why it could potentially treat and prevent hair loss. After all, skin is skin, so that which covers our scalp is similar to that which covers our faces. "Just like the skin on our face, the scalp also loses collagen as we age, resulting in slow hair growth and dormant hair follicles," Natasha Jay tells The Zoe Report.
Meet the Expert
- Natasha Jay is a Sydney hairdresser. She is also the founder of Pump Haircare, a 100% Australian made haircare line.
- Joshua Zeichner, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist with a specialty in treating acne and rosacea. He practices at Zeichner Dermatology and is Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
As Dr. Joshua Zeichner tells the publication, collagen and hair follicles exist in the same strata of the skin. When collagen production drops off (which it usually does around 30 years of age) it leaves hair follicles susceptible to weakening. Weak hair follicles don't grow long and strong hair. "Think of it like the frame of your mattress," he says. "Without it, the mattress would be clumpy and wrinkly." It's in this way that collagen is necessary for maintaining healthy hair follicles.
While microneedling revs up collagen production in the scalp just like it does on the face, "it also brings blood flow and nutrients to the scalp and induces new stem cells that support hair growth," Jay explains. Studies support this. One in particular found that patients who used microneedling in conjunction with traditional hair loss therapies showed a greater improvement in hair re-growth after only 12 weeks.
How to Do It
Most facial derma-rollers are studded with minuscule needles so as to not irritate the gentle skin. However, larger derma-rollers are widely accepted for scalp use, since they're able to better infiltrate through the hair—not to mention any scalp build-up that might be present. Try using a tool like the Pump Haircare Derma Hair Growth Roller. "Wet the hair down first to create a flat surface, and start by rolling in one direction first to avoid getting hair caught in the roller," Jay told the publication. "Once you feel confident, you can roll in the opposite direction also, applying only light pressure." Start with microneedling once a week for a month. Then ramp it up to twice a week for a month. After that, Jay says you only need to microneedle once a month for "upkeep."
Use your weekly microneedling treatment as an opportunity to apply a calming or soothing scalp serum like Oribe's Serene Scalp Leave-On Treatment ($48). It will help mitigate any minor irritation or redness that could result from the practice. Plus, it's just luxurious.
Some Final Notes
"Infection is a risk if you do not clean the roller after each use," Jay says. "Do this by applying rubbing alcohol to the roller and allowing it to dry before putting it back in its case." Avoid microneedling if you have a scalp condition or concern (or at the very least consult a dermatologist first). Also remember to only use light pressure; microneedling shouldn't hurt or cause any physical distress to the scalp aside from a little bit of redness. Keep in mind that the pressure with which you press isn't equivalent to the quickness with which you'll see results. In fact, you could be damaging the thin skin on your scalp. Like with anything else in beauty, it's better to follow the advice from the pros.
Next, read all about almond oil and how it can give you smoother, healthier hair.
Singh A, Yadav S. Microneedling: advances and widening horizons. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016;7(4):244-254. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.185468
Dhurat R, Sukesh M, Avhad G, Dandale A, Pal A, Pund P. A randomized evaluator blinded study of effect of microneedling in androgenetic alopecia: a pilot study. Int J Trichology. 2013;5(1):6-11. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.114700