Dermarolling for hair loss

Does Derma rolling work for hair growth?

In recent years, dermarollers have proven themselves an essential device in one’s beauty regime, who suffers from acne scarring, skin dullness, fine lines and stretch marks. However, lately, the device has gained traction due to its ability to reduce hair loss and equally contribute to hair growth, with scientific research backing to back phenomenon. Thus, it seems its not only your face which can benefit from this practice, your scalp can reap the rewards of the Dermarol also!

Will Derma rolling work if I have androgenic alopecia?

Studies have also shown, that no matter the cause of your hair loss, the derma roller is likely to work for you, whether you have alopecia areata, androgenic alopecia (AGA) or the most difficult case, called alopecia totalis. These genetic conditions are typically characterised by a receding hairline, or widows peak and thinning hair at the crown of the head, often progressing to partial or complete baldness. In recent years, clinical studies around androgenic alopecia have shown impressive results after derma rolling. This was proven to be true in a blind, randomised study on micro needling in alopecia patients in 2012. Over 12 weeks, 82 percent of participants, found a greater than 50 percent improvement in hair growth, thus proving the effectiveness of Dermarolling as a hair growth treatment.

How does it work?

Derma rolling over the scalp works as it does in other areas of the body, in which the needles create tiny insults and micro-injuries in its path, as it passes over the dermis causing micro-inflammation. It essentially triggers the body’s natural reaction, to initiate the wound healing process. In a similar way that the derma roller is used to stimulate collagen production in skin, it can be used to increase cell production and increase blood circulation around the scalp, which in turn will help with new hair growth.

To understand the efficacy and mechanics of derma rolling, it is important to understand the significance of collagen first. As the main component of connective tissue, collagen is the most abundant protein in mammals, making 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen molecule consists of amino acids wound together to form triple-helices. It is mostly found in fibrous tissues, such as tendons, ligaments and skin. The name collagen comes from the Greek κόλλα, denoting “glue”, and suffix -γέν, -gen, meaning “producing”, in short; glue producing.

Although minimally present in the hair shaft itself, collagen is present around the hair follicle bulb: supporting growth of new hair, it thickens around the root during the hair growth stage, anagen. The hair follicle losses a few layers of collagen when it enters the hair shedding stage, (catagen), thus additional collagen is key in promoting further growth.

Dermarolling will promote hair growth in two ways, in addition to stimulating greater collagen production in the scalp and in turn supporting the growth stage inside the hair follicle, the treatment also improves blood flow to the area. This is essential as a part of the wound healing process. When damaged, the epidermis reacts to the wound by sending more blood to the injury to heal the area and to aid in the nutrient dispersal to your hair follicles that they require to have sustainable and substantial hair growth. Scientists have also demonstrated more recently, the association between adult stem cells and hair follicle maintenance and proliferation. Within a hair follicle, stem cells should be present and active to become progenitor cells, which help the follicle to form hair. Thus micro-needling delivered by a derma roller, stimulates the production of stem cells that further contribute to a higher production of progenitor cells.


Thickens hair

Derma rolling with topical treatments

Derma rolling the scalp also assists in the absorption of other topical hair loss solutions, including the hair loss treatment, Minoxidil. You may also consider applying peppermint oil, which has been shown to outperform Minoxidil in both hair growth and re-growth. It is recommended however, to introduce this agent slowly, by mixing it up with a carrier oil like castor oil initially, as peppermint oil may induce some skin sensitivities and tingling if your skin is not accustomed to it.

Can you use castor oil after derma rolling?

Micro-needling causes small crack in the scalps natural barrier which can improve the delivery of peptide, antioxidants, and other nutrients to your hair follicles, thus derma rolling preps the skin to reap the full rewards of your regular scalp care routine.

This may include, the use of castor oil post needling. Castor oil contains ricinoleic acid, healthy proteins and omega acids which will promote blood circulation, leading to longer and thicker hair strands. Additionally, it is gentle enough to be massaged into the scalp after rolling. Castor oil will add moisture and shine to your hair, though it won’t stimulate hair growth without the accompaniment of micro-needling to promote the hair growth processes in thinning areas.

What not to use after derma rolling

Just make sure to stay away from potentially irritating substances like apple cider vinegar rinses or exfoliating scrubs for a few days.

How to Dermarol for hair loss

Rolling on the scalp is pretty straight forward. Similar to rolling on the face or any other area of the body, the roller needs to be disinfected first and the surface you’re rolling on, clean.

  • Firstly, comb through your hair before use to create a flat surface. On dry hair, place the dermaroller at the edge of your hairline, or the area you wish to instil growth
  • If you have long hair, part your hair in sections, and using gentle pressure, move the derma roller in one direction to prevent the hair getting caught in the needles.
  • Next you can start rolling in the opposite direction 3-4 times. Repeat this rolling process horizontally, vertically and diagonally in each of the problem areas of the scalp. If there is hair in the area, be sure to move in the direction of the strands whenever possible to avoid pulling hairs out.
  • After treatment, make sure to rinse your dermarollers cylindrical head in hot water and spray with a disinfecting alcohol solution, then allow the device to dry. Once dry, place your Dermarol back into its plastic casing for storage
  • After dermarolling some people like to apply hair oils, e.g. peppermint or castor to aid hair growth. You can leave the hair oil in until the next time you wash it, or overnight to increase absorption into the scalp.

How often should I be using a derma roller

When you first start micro needling the scalp, begin with once every one to two weeks. You should only ever dermaroll again once the area has fully healed. If this treatment schedule is appropriate for you, i.e. your scalp fully recovers in time for your next treatment, then consider rolling twice per week for roughly 10 minutes per session (depending on how much of your scalp you are treating). This regime has been proven to gain the most significant hair growth results.

These significant changes of achieving new hair growth, or prevent further hair loss, do require time and labour. It will take time to see significant results and a regular rolling routine. Derma rolling irregularly probably wont see a great difference.

How much pressure should I apply when Dermarolling my head?

Apply the roller with pressure you are able to tolerate. When starting out, it is best to use a light hand as your skin is not familiarised with the treatment. As you become more skilled at rolling, and are more accustomed to the sensation, it is recommended to apply with light to medium pressure.

What size will I need

Using a dermaroller carrying needles, 0.5mm to 1mm in length has been proven most effective for hair regrowth, when incorporated into a regular biweekly treatment regime.

Some people take a different approach in an effort to regain lost hair, by strategically alternating needle sizes. A roller with a smaller needle length, 0.25mm is best for increasing the absorption of topical scalp treatments as it only penetrates the epidermis layer of the skin. This dermaroller can be used every 3 days, as the wounds are quickly repaired.

A dermaroller with a longer needle length of 1mm to 1.5mm will penetrate further, into the dermis where the hair follicle is situated. Using a longer needle length significantly increases the production of endothelial growth factors, subsequently increasing hair regrowth without the aid of a chemical treatment. As the repair time is greater, it is recommended to use this roller size less frequently, every 1-2 weeks is best. Thus alternating dermaroller sizes should also prove effective in thickening thinning areas, when incorporated into a regular rolling regime.

The aftermath of micro-needling your head – will it hurt?

It is typical for your scalp to appear a bit red and sore post micro-needling – this is the normal and appropriate skin response. In fact, it’s a sign that the Dermaroller is working. On light Caucasian skin, the redness will be most visible, though should diminish by 50% within 4 to 6 hours post treatment. All signs of the inflammation usually fade away completely within 48 hours.

We would recommend speaking to a health professional about derma rolling if you are on blood thinners or other strong medications, or have a condition that slows the natural healing process of the body, such as diabetes. Furthermore, you should never derma roll over active acne, eczema or open wounds.

Will dermarolling damage my hair?

The small needles of the derma roller are not long enough to damage the hair follicles of the existing hair and thus will not cause any undue hair loss, or pull any hair out.

Dermarolling post care

After dermarolling, it is important to follow the below steps to insure your skin heals effectively and to encourage the most growth:

  • Wear a hat after treatment
  • Keep the area clean
  • Wear sunscreen every day

After micro-needling, you may feel the need to apply a cool lotion to relieve the slight stinging and heat though, it is important to avoid using skincare lotions that contain aloe Vera. Aloe Vera is a known DHT inhibitor and will most likely undo the good results you’re wanting to achieve.