Learn about how to microneedle for hair loss, the best size needle to use for the scalp, how often to microneedle, and the potential side effects.
Microneedling, derma-rolling, derma-pens, and derma-stamps are all terms for the techniques and tools used in a relatively new way to help support and enhance healthy hair growth.
These rollers, pens, and stamps are all designed to do the same thing -- create tiny punctures in your scalp in order to stimulate stem cells, circulation, collagen production, and, hopefully, increase the growth and thickness of new hairs.
The studies on the use of microneedling for hair growth seem promising, but this technique seems to be even better when paired with topical hair loss medications like Minoxidil.
Of course, nothing is magic, and while microneedling may help enhance hair growth and health, it isn’t going to take you from bald to needing a haircut in weeks. The benefits are modest, but when incorporating microneedling into a robust hair growth routine, it can definitely be a welcome addition.
Below, we will cover the specifics of exactly how to microneedle for hair loss, that size needles are normally used on the scalp, how often to microneedle for hair loss, plus potential complications and who is a good candidate for microneedling.
Microneedling can be tricky, and it is best to leave it to professionals. Microneedling appointments can be scheduled with hair specialists, dermatologists, and other medical professionals that specialize in hair loss procedures.
But, if you want to try out microneedling yourself at home due to the ease or the cost savings, you should have a pretty good idea of how to do it safely and effectively before you begin.
First off, the pressure used to press down on your microneedler needs to be relatively light, maybe a similar pressure to applying a deodorant stick. You don’t want to draw blood or damage your scalp from the pressure, and if you see blood pinpricks, you are pushing too hard. The pressure should be firm enough for the scalp to turn a little pink after a few seconds, but nothing too painful.
Then, you will want to apply water to your scalp to matt down any current hairs and prevent them from getting caught in the roller.
Finally, roll the clean roller from front to back (or back to front) applying a light pressure to the scalp, and then pick the roller up at the end. You want to avoid going back and forth as you may snag some hairs in the roller. Go over the whole scalp front-to-back in lines, rerolling over each area 2-3 times in the same direction.
After you have completed the front-to-back lines, you can complete the same steps going from one side to the other across your scalp, making sure to pick up the roller after each pass and rewetting the hair as needed. You will want to comb any hair in the direction of the roller’s motion before starting to help things go smoother.
At this point, you can stop microneedling, or you can use the same technique to go over the scalp diagonally.
For anyone with relatively long hair, you may want to use the technique of parting your hair to expose a line of scalp in your part and brush the hair down straight, then rolling side to side across the part to avoid tangling the hair, all the way down to the end. Then, you can re-part the hair an inch or so to the side and redo the microneedling side-to-side motion. Continue parting the hair and microneedling until the majority of the scalp has been microneedled.
If at any point your scalp is feeling painful and irritated, stop and apply pressure more gently next time.
After you are done microneedling, you will want to apply a calming and soothing lotion all over the scalp. If you are currently using topical hair loss medications, you may be able to apply them as well. Ask your doctor when they would recommend applying your specific topical medication after microneedling. Do not apply lotions to open wounds.
You can find microneedles with needle lengths anywhere from 0.2mm all the way up to 2.5mm. And, it is important to make sure to choose the right length before you start using one on your scalp.
The very short needles, like 0.2mm, are more likely to be used on the face to help with things like scarring, fine lines, and skin regeneration, but you may need something slightly longer for the scalp in order to get through any hair or scalp buildup that may be present.
For scalp microneedling, you often see needle lengths of 0.5mm to 1.5mm, although you should leave the longer lengths to the professionals. 0.5mm is a good starting point for scalp microneedling at home when done carefully. Try to find a microneedler that is made for the scalp, instead of for the face.
Experts recommend starting off microneedling the scalp once a week for the first month, then twice a week for the second month. After that, you can switch to microneedling just once a month for overall maintenance.
Listen to your scalp, and if your scalp seems irritated or it is still healing from using too much pressure previously, do not microneedle that day. If you can’t seem to get it right, go see a professional for microneedling treatments.
These microneedles will be slightly puncturing your skin, so you need to take extra care to ensure that your microneedler is very clean. Before each treatment, be sure to clean and disinfect to prevent infections. For this reason, you should also never share a microneedler with another person.
After microneedling, it is normal to see a slight pinkness or redness to the skin, or to feel a little inflammation, itching, or stinging. However, if your scalp is feeling very irritated, is bleeding, or very inflamed, the pressure was too much or the needle was too long. See a doctor if pain, inflammation, or infection occurs with microneedling. Bruising, oozing, redness, and swelling can also occur.
Not everyone is the best candidate for microneedling for hair loss. Women who are pregnant should not microneedle. Also, people who are on blood thinners or who have hemophilia may bleed too much with microneedling and should avoid this procedure. Those who have conditions like diabetes that may inhibit proper wound healing should also avoid microneedling.
Some people use topical hair loss medications like Minoxidil or Finasteride after microneedling, although your doctor may recommend that you wait a few hours or a day before applying after microneedling. For some hair loss patients, they find that combining the microneedling with a topical hair loss treatment can help them achieve better hair regrowth and thickness than just the medication or microneedling alone.
Some people may also find benefits in using microneedling along with oral hair loss medications like Finasteride or Dutasteride (off-label).
At Strut Health, we carry a range of hair loss medications for men and women. We have oral and topical medications including Finasteride, Dutasteride, Spironolactone, and Minoxidil. Our doctors can help craft a topical formulation specifically for you based on your current hair status, your hair goals, and what you have tried in the past.
You can have a free online questionnaire and image-based consultation with our U.S. licensed doctors to see if a prescription hair loss medication is a good fit for you. If you are also interested in using a topical formulation in conjunction with microneedling our doctors can answer your questions and help find a good routine for you.