So, What Even Is Microneedling?
Microneedling is a skin rejuvenation procedure that involves jabbing tiny medical-grade needles into your skin to create an inflammatory response. The tiny needles inserted into the dermis trigger a healing response in the skin.
It is believed that the release of the growth factors that aid healing may also aid hair growth. The microneedling procedure may also cause stem cells to proliferate, which could stimulate the growth of new hair. At this point, it is necessary to add that the procedure is not as painful as it sounds. The wounds are incredibly small and hardly big enough to hurt or leave scars.
Recently, some studies have been done to determine how viable microneedling is in treating hair loss. This is not surprising. After all, if you’re going to have your scalp pierced to improve hair growth, it had better be worth it. Ammirite?
But is there any truth to this hypothesis? Does microneedling actually improve hair growth?
Does Microneedling Work?
A study involving two groups was conducted to determine the efficacy of microneedling in hair loss treatment. One group was treated with only 5% minoxidil while the other combined 5%minoxidil with microneedling sessions.
Minoxidil is a popular solution used to stimulate hair regrowth. Based on the results, the group that used microneedling alongside 5% minoxidil treatment experienced a 400% increase in hair growth compared to the other group. So it is safe to say that microneedling does in fact work as a hair loss treatment.
Can Microneedling be used as a stand-alone treatment?
Some researchers believe that microneedling by itself might even be more effective than a stand-alone minoxidil therapy. A study on microneedling as a stand-alone treatment yielded a substantial increase in hair count, hair diameter, and total hair density.
What are the best needling lengths?
There aren’t many studies comparing needling lengths and their effects on hair regrowth. However, one study showed that a needle depth of 0.6mm tended to be more effective than 1.2mm in improving hair count and thickness. Experts suggest an optimal needle length of 0.6mm – 0.8mm.
What’s the best session frequency?
Microneedling sessions are generally held once every 7-14 days. There’s no research on the optimal session frequency. This, however, does not rule out shorter frequencies. In fact, there has been some anecdotal evidence that shorter frequencies yield even better results, at least initially.
Are automated pens better than derma rollers or stamps?
The type of device used doesn’t have much impact on the efficiency of the microneedling procedure. Regardless, automated pens have an edge over derma rollers and stamps in terms of precision and ease of use.
Unlike derma rollers and stamps, automated pens are motorized and can be programmed to obtain the optimal depth and speed thus minimizing the chance for errors.
How does Microneedling stack up against Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)?
For a while now, Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) has been the gold standard in hair loss treatment. But now, microneedling has been found to be just as effective in treating hair loss as PRP. This is expected since mechanistically, both procedures work in much the same way – by stimulating wound-healing pathways.
What’s intriguing however is the cost difference. A derma roller costs between $10 to $20 whereas a PRP session costs about $1200, and the treatment has to be repeated a few times.
The difference in cost is mind-boggling so for my money, microneedling wins all day.