What Is Microneedling?
If you struggle with hair loss, you have probably scoured the internet looking for any potential solutions that might be out there. Hair loss is a frustrating, discouraging issue to deal with, and it can leave you desperately searching for anything that might help. If you've been on the hunt for a hair loss prevention treatment that works, you may have stumbled upon microneedling.
A popular method of treating both hair and skin, microneedling may have some significant benefits for you if you are dealing with thinning hair. However, it's always best to approach any new hair treatment with equal parts curiosity and skepticism. Make sure you have all the information you need before deciding on microneedling or any other hair loss prevention treatment!
In this post, we'll fill you in on everything you need to know to get started with microneedling. Stick around until the end to find out what microneedling is, how it works, how much it costs, and whether it is right for you. We'll also discuss the pros and cons of this hair and skin treatment. That way, you can weigh the upsides and downsides yourself and determine whether microneedling is right for you.
How Microneedling Works
Microneedling is a hair and skin treatment technique that can be performed by a professional or at home. Professional microneedling involves the careful, precise use of tiny needles to stimulate the skin. These needles create small tears in the skin, prompting your body's skin cells into repair mode. DIY microneedling is less precise and can be difficult to perform, but it is much less expensive. For the sake of this post, we'll primarily focus on professional microneedling.
A skincare professional performs a microneedling session with a specialized roller. As the dermatologist gently uses the roller, its tiny needs stimulate your skin cells. This process can be painful without an anesthetic, so a dermatologist typically uses a topical numbing agent to minimize any discomfort.
The restorative power of the needles promotes the production of essential proteins that keep your skin healthy and resilient – namely collagen and elastin.
Who Can Benefit From Microneedling?
As your skin's collagen and elastin production increases, it can become more elastic, firm, and youthful-looking. For anyone dealing with skin problems, the microneedling process can be restorative and rejuvenating. Dermatologists often recommend microneedling as a potential solution for acne scarring, wrinkles, and other skin problems.
- Sufferers of acne scarring may benefit from microneedling. Breakouts leave scars behind as your skin heals and restores itself. However, these scars often take months, or even years, to fully recover. If your acne scarring has lasted a long time and resisted other treatment methods, talk to your dermatologist about microneedling. You may benefit from the treatment!
- If one of your skincare goals is to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, microneedling may help you as well. Microneedling can stimulate collagen and elastin production in your skin cells, helping to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and other signs of aging. Talk to your dermatologist about using microneedling for wrinkles if you are curious about whether this type of treatment might help you.
- Finally, if you are dealing with thinning hair, microneedling is one potential treatment worth considering. A dermatologist can use a microneedling tool on your scalp, stimulating your hair follicles and potentially increasing hair growth in affected areas. Microneedling can be especially effective in treating androgenic alopecia, the most common form of hair loss in adults.
What Is Androgenic Alopecia?
There are multiple types of hair loss, and your treatment strategy can vary depending on which type you're aiming to prevent. Although multiple varieties of hair loss exist, the most common by far is androgenic alopecia. This type of hair loss affects 50 percent of men and 25 percent of women over the age of 50, as well as many younger people. It's also a form of hair loss that may be treatable through a combination of microneedling and a comprehensive hair care regimen.
Also known as pattern hair loss, androgenic alopecia does not cause complete baldness. Instead, it typically affects specific parts of your head, causing noticeable thinning over time. As the condition progresses, you may lose nearly all of your hair in a certain part of your head, creating a "balding" look.
For men, androgenic alopecia commonly causes a receding hairline and a growing bald spot at the top of the head. This area is often the target for microneedling in men with androgenic alopecia.
For women with androgenic alopecia, the most commonly affected area is the divide between the two sections of hair on the head. This "part" is where thinning is often most visible. For women dealing with this type of hair loss, the thinned-out area often expands over time, covering more and more of the top of the head as androgenic alopecia develops.
Androgenic alopecia is primarily caused by one specific hormone – dihydrotestosterone, or DHT for short. DHT is an androgen, part of a class of hormones that regulate masculine physical characteristics in your body. Whether you are male or female, young or old, your body produces DHT. However, males produce more DHT and other androgens than females. In addition, your DHT levels vary throughout your lifetime, starting to rise during puberty and continuing to rise as you age.
DHT causes androgenic alopecia by constricting your hair follicles as you age, slowing down hair growth. Fortunately, though, DHT's effects on your hair can be inhibited and even reversed with a powerful hair loss prevention regimen.
So, can microneedling treat androgenic alopecia?
Microneedling for Androgenic Alopecia: The Pros and Cons
Before you make a decision about whether microneedling is the best treatment for your hair loss, let's examine some of its pros and cons. Then, you can make an informed decision.
- Microneedling can make your scalp more receptive to treatment with minoxidil. Also known as Rogaine, minoxidil is an FDA-approved hair loss treatment commonly used for treating androgenic alopecia. By stimulating your hair follicles, microneedling can work alongside minoxidil and other topical hair loss treatments to create a hard-hitting combination.
- The treatment can also promote collagen and elastin production in the skin on your scalp. Increasing your skin cells' production of these proteins can help your scalp stay strong and healthy.
- Microneedling may cause side effects. Bruising, bleeding, and swelling can sometimes appear after a microneedling session. While these side effects are uncommon, you may be more vulnerable to them if you have a skin condition or take blood-thinning medication.
- Professional microneedling can be expensive. One microneedling session can cost nearly a thousand dollars in some cases. In addition, it is difficult to effectively perform the treatment on your own head at home. While you can buy your own microneedling tool, it's wiser to have your dermatologist perform the procedure for you.
- Microneedling is rarely covered by health insurance. Since microneedling isn't a medical treatment, you will most likely need to pay for the procedure out of pocket. Professional microneedling can be worth the investment, but its cost often falls solely on you rather than your insurance provider.
What Else Can I Do To Treat Thinning Hair?
Are you looking for other effective ways to take great care of your hair? You've come to the right place.
GroMD's shampoo, conditioner, and follicle activator spray are designed to combat DHT-related hair loss and get your hair's natural growth cycle back on track. Our products can be used on their own or paired with other treatments like Rogaine and microneedling.
You can find all of our growth-boosting, doctor-backed hair products on our website.
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.
Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology (ncbi.nim.nih.goy
Collagens at a glance | Journal of Cell Science (jcs.biologists.org)