Microneedling is a hair and skin treatment that has grown in popularity in the last few years.
The treatment involves the use of a specialized rolling tool covered in tiny needles. These needles create small tears in the skin, prompting it to restore itself by producing more of the proteins that keep it healthy and resilient.
Your skin kicks into healing mode in response to any wound, including the tiny tears caused by microneedling. Microneedling is designed to kickstart your skin's restorative process without causing any significant damage or pain.
The microneedling process can help men and women deal with certain forms of hair loss, especially androgenic alopecia. Also known as pattern hair loss, androgenic alopecia is the most common form of hair loss in adults, affecting over half of men and a quarter of women over 50. Microneedling may also increase the effectiveness of other hair loss prevention treatments.
DIY Microneedling Versus Professional Microneedling: Is One Better Than the Other?
Microneedling is often performed by a skincare professional. However, a professional microneedling session's cost is often steep, with the average for a single session ranging from $200 to $700. Multiple sessions are often needed, so you can see how this adds up quickly. In contrast, you can buy an at-home microneedling tool for less than a hundred dollars. Given the high cost of professional microneedling and the considerably lower price tag on performing the treatment yourself, you might be wondering if professional microneedling is worth the money.
So, can you save money and do your own microneedling at home? Let's find out.
At-Home Microneedling: What to Expect
If you opt for at-home microneedling, make sure you follow the steps listed below before getting started.
- You'll need your own microneedling tool. If you go to a microneedling session with a dermatologist, you may have to pay more, but you save time and effort. When you microneedle at home, you need a tool, sanitizer, and a clean environment for doing your work. A dermatologist takes care of all of these aspects of the process for you. The added time and effort are some significant cons of at-home microneedling.
- You'll need to be precise. Microneedling takes a steady hand and careful, gentle movements. If you're too harsh, you may hurt yourself and end up doing more harm than good with your microneedling tool. Remember that microneedling, as the name suggests, really does involve tiny needles – too much pressure or rough movements can leave you with cuts and scrapes.
- You'll need a good vantage point. Visibility is especially essential when you microneedle your head at home. If you can't see where your tool is going, you run the risk of hurting yourself. Make sure your workspace is well-lit and set up as many mirrors as you can, providing plenty of angles to use as points of reference.
- You'll need to keep things clean. After every use of your microneedling tool, it's always important to clean up the right way. Post-microneedling cleanup typically involves alcohol or another disinfecting agent. You'll use your disinfectant of choice to sanitize your microneedling tool, getting it ready for its next use.
- You'll need to stick to a schedule. When microneedling at home, it's smart to keep track of each time you use your tool. Microneedling sessions should not be too close together – overdoing it can put you at risk for side effects. It's generally safe to microneedle your scalp every 4 to 6 weeks. However, if your scalp is feeling irritated, has a cut, or is otherwise not ready for treatment with a microneedling tool, it's best to wait.
- Be careful with other topical treatments when microneedling. When you do your own at-home microneedling, you may make your scalp more vulnerable to side effects from topical hair loss prevention treatments. If you are using minoxidil to prevent hair loss, microneedling may make the treatment more effective, but it can also increase the severity of its potential side effects. Minoxidil can sometimes irritate and dry out your scalp, and the irritation and dryness that you experience as side effects from the treatment can worsen with microneedling. You can counteract the side effects of minoxidil by using GroMD's hydrating, nourishing shampoo and conditioner.
When you approach at-home microneedling with the necessary amount of caution and care, you may see great results. However, it's worth considering the potential benefits of professional microneedling before deciding which method is best for you.
Professional Microneedling: What to Expect
Professional microneedling administered by a dermatologist differs significantly from the procedure you'd perform at home. Below are a few of the main differences between at-home microneedling and professional microneedling.
- Professional microneedling may be more effective. A dermatologist is a trained skincare expert with the proper training to perform microneedling treatments. Your dermatologist's training and experience can lead to more effective treatment of your scalp.
- However, professional microneedling costs more. The starting cost for microneedling is typically several hundred dollars. This price tag is a far cry from the $20 to $30 that you'd spend on a personal microneedling tool. Professional microneedling may be more effective, but it's also astronomically more expensive.
- You may need follow-up appointments. One microneedling treatment is usually not enough to get the results that you want. Since individual microneedling sessions are already expensive, the cost of regular treatments can add up quickly. The number of treatments that you need can vary depending on the severity of your hair loss. You may need to visit your dermatologist once every month for several months before they decide your treatment can end.
- Professional microneedling is generally safer. At-home microneedling can put you at a higher risk of hurting yourself. If you aren't careful, you can end up with long-lasting aches and pains due to a botched DIY microneedling session. If you want to minimize the risk of injuries, professional microneedling is the way to go.
The Bottom Line: Which Microneedling Method Is Right for You?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both DIY and professional microneedling. If you are on a tight budget, professional microneedling sessions may be out of the question, which naturally will prompt you to opt for the at-home method. Likewise, some people will default to avoiding DIY microneedling for fear of hurting themselves, regardless of the higher cost.
Ultimately, it's up to you to decide which microneedling method is best for you based on the upsides and downsides of both. The factors that can influence your decision include your budget, the severity of your hair loss, your confidence in your ability to microneedle yourself, and more.
If you have questions about hair care or hair loss prevention, visit the GroMD blog to learn more, or you can even contact us directly. We're committed to providing you with all the information you need to take great care of your hair and prevent and reverse hair loss.
In addition to reading up on hair care and hair loss prevention, you can visit our products page to take a look at everything GroMD has to offer your hair. If you are getting microneedling treatments professionally or doing your own microneedling at home, you can benefit from adding GroMD products to your daily hair care routine.
Our shampoo, conditioner, and follicle activator spray can help you keep your hair and scalp nourished, soothed, and hydrated while you undergo microneedling treatments. Our products attack the root causes of hair loss, and they make the perfect additions to your hair care routine alongside treatments like minoxidil and microneedling.
Dr. Amir Yazdan, MD, is an internationally renowned hair transplant surgeon, expert guest on Dr. Phil and The Doctors, creator of the GroMD hair restoration product line, ISHRS member, accredited member of the IAHRS and a visceral advocate for patient care. Learn more about Dr. Yazdan or read rave reviews from his patients.