Derma Roller: Exploring the Potential of Hair Growth

You may have heard of derma rolling for the skin, but what about using derma rollers for hair growth? Derma rollers are cosmetic tools that could promote hair growth. You can get treatment from a professional or use a device at home. Learn about the benefits and risks and discover if derma rollers are your next solution to hair loss.

Key takeaways:

What is a derma roller?

Derma rolling is a form of microneedling. Microneedling is a simple cosmetic procedure performed in a dermatologist's office. It reduces the appearance of acne, dark spots, scars, and wrinkles. Derma rollers have tiny needles. The needles create minor injuries on the skin to stimulate a wound-healing response.

As the skin begins to heal, the cells activate to produce collagen and elastin — proteins that keep your skin firm, strong, and smooth. Derma rolling and microneedling are often performed on the face, but they can be used on other areas of the body as well.

Can derma rollers help with hair growth?

Derma rollers may be effective for hair growth. The needles are long enough to target the hair follicles, increasing blood flow and proteins to promote hair growth. According to Cleveland Clinic, providers may combine microneedling with a topical medication. Minoxidil, better known as Rogaine, is a topical solution for hair growth. The combination of both treatments may increase the effects and deliver positive results.

A study was performed where participants used minoxidil twice a day and performed weekly microneedling. After 12 weeks of treatment, there was hair growth improvement. In another study, participants used a steroid cream before and after derma rolling. Participants had hair growth improvements at nine weeks.

There isn’t enough evidence to support home derma rollers for their effectiveness. Home devices can't penetrate deep within the hair follicle. They can exfoliate the skin and can improve absorption when using topical treatments like minoxidil.

Risks and side effects of derma rollers

If done correctly, derma rolling of the scalp is a non-invasive procedure with minimal to no side effects. Possible side effects include:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Redness
  • Soreness
  • Swelling

Skin damage is a risk factor when using a home derma roller. People may use home devices too often, assuming they will get quicker results. Overusing derma rollers can irritate the skin. When using a home derma roller, read the manufacturer's instructions for proper cleaning. Disinfecting prevents the risks of infection, breakouts, and flares for sensitive skin types. Just remember, you will never be able to fully disinfect a derma roller at home like you can in a doctor's office. Lack of proper disinfection can lead to infections, some of which require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. Infections can cause permanent scarring.

Who shouldn't use derma rollers on the scalp?

Derma rolling for hair growth may not be a suitable choice for everyone. Individuals with blood clotting disorders or who take medications to thin their blood should notify their provider, as microneedling can cause bleeding. You should also inform your physician if you have skin conditions like scalp psoriasis or other health conditions. Always check with a doctor first before starting derma rolling.

Recommendations before treatment

Microneedling offers a wide range of benefits, including hair regrowth. Consider the following recommendations before purchasing a derma roller.

Speak with a professional

If you are experiencing hair loss or thinning, the first approach is to talk to a provider. Hair loss conditions are complex. It is best to identify what might be causing the problem. Consulting with a provider can help you decide whether it is reasonable to consider a derma roller as part of your treatment.

Treatment expenses

Derma rolling can occur in a clinic with a professional or at home. The cost of microneedling in a physician’s office is higher. Insurance usually does not cover microneedling because it is a cosmetic procedure, which means paying out of pocket. There are a variety of brands to select from for home derma rollers. Prices range from $70–$300, but they may not give you the best results.

Comfort level

If you use a home device, you’ll have the comfort of your own space and use it on your own time. Home devices are helpful for people who have experience and familiarity with the device. If you are new to using derma rollers, you might want to have treatment at a doctor's office. With trained professionals, you can get guidance on what to expect before, during, and after the procedure.

How to use derma rollers at home

It is best to get proper training before trying derma rolling at home. Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and thoroughly before using your device. Derma rollers contain tiny needles, so handle them with caution.

  1. Before starting, make sure you have a clean scalp.
  2. Divide the hair into sections for easier access.
  3. Place the derma roller on the scalp and apply enough pressure to feel a prickly sensation, but not so much that it causes pain or discomfort.
  4. Roll the device over your scalp horizontally, vertically, and diagonally.
  5. Disinfect the device as instructed by the manufacturer.
  6. Use once to twice a week.

Alternatives to manage hair loss

Hair loss is a condition that affects many individuals. There are several treatment options available for management depending on cause and severity. Some options include:

  • Medications. Medications like minoxidil and finasteride work by slowing down or reversing hair loss.
  • Natural supplements. Supplements and herbs could aid in hair growth and improve hair health.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP). PRP is an in-office treatment that in which an individual's plasma is injected into their scalp to stimulate hair growth.
  • Hair transplant surgery. This procedure involves removing a small piece of skin from a part of the scalp with good hair growth and transplanting it to the balding areas.
  • Lifestyle changes. Eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, and reducing stress can help to manage hair loss.

Promoting hair growth can be a challenging task. However, the use of derma rollers is encouraging. Derma rollers can be an added benefit to your existing hair care routine. Always consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for your hair and to see if derma rolling is right for you.

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