Dermarolling for hair loss may seem intimidating at first, and maybe a little bit like a travel-sized medieval torture device with its rows of sharp needles. But, once you learn about the ins and outs of how to use it, it is much less daunting.
Aside from its use on the skin as a cosmetic device, some people are using dermarollers in conjunction with their hair loss treatments to hopefully improve results.
Below, we will cover just what dermarolling is, review the medication Minoxidil, explain the potential benefits of using both of these together, and go over a few studies that have paired both of these routes for hair loss treatment.
Dermarolling first came on the scene as a skincare device. But, it is now commonly being seen as an add-on or solo treatment for hair loss concerns as well.
Basically, for skincare, dermarollers make small puncture wounds on the skin with rows of tiny needles to kick the skin’s natural healing processes into gear and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin -- all good things when the goal is youthful and bouncy skin.
The same sort of process goes on when using dermarollers to aid in hair loss treatment. For hair loss, research suggests that these small punctures on the scalp may help stimulate stem cells and activate growth factors in and around the hair follicles. If you are also using a topical hair loss treatment along with dermarolling, the small punctures made from dermarolling may help the active ingredients get deeper into the dermis.
Minoxidil is a commonly used hair growth treatment. You may recognize it as the active ingredient inside of the over-the-counter hair loss medication, Rogaine.
Minoxidil was the first hair growth medication to come to market, it is easy to obtain, and can usually be safely used in all adults, both men and women. Because of these things, is it a common first-line treatment for the first signs of hair loss.
When used as instructed, Minoxidil has the ability to stimulate hair growth and slow balding. However, if the medication is stopped, the hair improvements will likely regress within months. So, if you want to try Minoxidil, plan on using it long-term to maintain the results.
Using a dermaroller along with topical Minoxidil can be a good plan to address early signs of hair loss.
Pairing the growth stimulation and increased scalp blood flow of the minoxidil with the growth factor enhancement and ability to access the scalp more deeply from the dermaroller may make for a more comprehensive hair growth treatment than either route alone.
Another potential benefit of this Minoxidil + dermaroller treatment is that both of these are available for purchase over-the-counter and do not require a prescription or doctor’s visit to try out. Although, if you did want to have the dermarolling performed in the office by a professional, that is an option.
However, it is important to note that Minoxidil is not a DHT blocker. DHT is a hormone that is the ultimate driving force for male pattern hair loss. And, as long as DHT is still around, follicular shrinkage can still continue and male pattern hair loss will progress. Pairing your growth-stimulating Minoxidil treatment with a DHT-blocking medication like Finasteride (maybe also with a dermaroller) may ultimately be the MOST comprehensive male pattern hair loss effort. At Strut, we offer either oral Finasteride tablets or a topical Finasteride + Minoxidil formulation through our secure telemedicine platform.
There have been a few studies looking into the effectiveness of combining Minoxidil with dermarollers.
In one small 2015 study, the researchers found 4 men that were currently using oral Finasteride along with topical 5% Minoxidil daily for between 2-5 years to address their male pattern hair loss. While these men did not experience worsening of their hair loss during the Finasteride + Minoxidil treatment period, they did not experience hair growth improvements. In order to see if dermarolling might improve the results of these 4 men who were unsatisfied with their results, the researchers had them include dermarolling treatments once a week for 4 weeks, and then every 14 days for 6 months total. At the end of the study period, all 4 patients showed a hair growth response of +2 or +3 on a 7-point scale, 3 out of 4 patients reported a 75% satisfaction, and 1 of the 4 reported a 50% satisfaction with the subsequent hair growth.
A 2018 study aimed to look into the comparison of using topical 5% Minoxidil twice daily vs using topical 5% Minoxidil twice daily along with 1 weekly microneedling session. 68 men with male pattern hair loss were randomized to be in either the Minoxidil only group or the Minoxidil + dermarolling group. The changes were assessed by taking before and after scalp photographs, and before and after trichoscopy images. The 2 parameters being assessed were the increase in hair count from baseline, and the patient’s self-assessment of hair growth improvements. At the end of 12 weeks, the hair count improvements were significantly greater in the Minoxidil + dermarolling group as compared to the Minoxidil-only group. Also, 4 participants in the Minoxidil + dermarolling group self-reported a better than 50% improvement, whereas 0 participants in the Minoxidil-only group reported this.
Finally, a 2020 study had 60 men randomized to apply either 5% Minoxidil twice daily or to apply 5% Minoxidil twice daily along with a dermarolling session every 2 weeks (with one of the daily Minoxidil applications done just after the dermarolling). After 6 months, the hair improvements were reported by collecting the patient’s and doctor's visual comparison assessments on a 7-point scale. The results stated that the Minoxidil + dermarolling group had better significant improvements as compared to the Minoxidil-only group. The most common side effects in this study were headache and skin redness, and these were reported in both treatment groups.
While larger-scale studies need to be done confirming the benefits of using dermarolling in conjunction with topical hair loss medications like Minoxidil, the studies that we do have seem promising.
If you are currently using a hair loss medication like Minxodil but are not achieved the results you hoped for, it may be possible to see better results by incorporating a dermarolling regimen.
Talk to your doctor about dermarolling before hopping into a routine to make sure this technique is safe for you. People with certain conditions or on blood-thinning medications should not attempt dermarolling or microneedling on their own.
Also, it may be easier and safer for some people to have dermarolling done by a professional. Talk to your doctor about your options and always follow instructions on proper cleaning of your dermaroller and the frequency of use.
Here at Strut, we carry a variety of customizable topical hair loss treatments with active ingredients like Minoxidil, Finasteride, Dutasteride, Tretinoin, Spironolactone, and Biotin. These topical medications can include more than 1 active ingredient and be paired with a dermarolling regimen if you like. We also sell our own Strut Dermaroller with titanium needles for only $11.99.
If you are interested in seeing if a prescription topical hair loss medication is a good fit for your hair loss needs, simply select the product you are considering, and complete a free online questionnaire and image-based telemedicine consultation with our US doctors in under 15 minutes.
Your assigned doctor will review your information and put together a treatment plan to suit your needs, if appropriate. Then, a US compounding pharmacy will put your medication together and ship it to your front door with our fast and free shipping.