You might be concerned, or even sceptical, of the idea that rolling hundreds of small needles on your head will promote hair growth for male pattern baldness. It doesn't sound very comfortable, or much fun, does it? But, derma rolling is one of the latest, most innovative skin rejuvenation methods on the skincare market.
Derma rollers are usually marketed toward those looking to cure acne scars, hyperpigmentation, irregular skin tone and stretch marks.
The benefits of derma rolling, or microneedling as it's also known, extend beyond just facial skincare. Turns out, rolling hundreds of fine, specialised needles across your head can indeed improve hair growth.
And, it works: derma rolling for treating male pattern baldness, or thinning hair, is becoming commonplace.
What is a derma roller?
There is a growing body of evidence that derma rollers improve dermal papillae stem cell production — they are a safe, non-invasive and cost-effective way of promoting hair growth for male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia.
A derma roller is a small, handheld device with a roll of fine, little needles, usually with a needle length of one to one and a half millimetre in size, on top. You simply hold the handle and roll it across the affected area no more than three to four times.
When the derma roller is rolled over the skin, the needles on the roller puncture the skin. This is superficial damage: depending on your pain threshold, it shouldn't hurt. The skin pricking is a controlled skin injury — no long-lasting, actual damage to the outer layer of skin will occur, even though you are technically "harming" your scalp.
But rest assured, derma rolling will not cause any long-lasting harm to your scalp.
Pilot's Hair Growth Booster Kit is designed to support healthy hair growth and it includes the Derma Roller, which stimulates scalp follicles and encourages growth.
Alongside the surgical-grade stainless steel tool, the kit also contains the Thicken Shampoo & Keep Conditioner, which helps create an environment for hair follicles to thrive and gives them the best possible start at life.
Rounding out the kit is the Biotin Hair Gummies, which are formulated with biotin (vitamin B7) to help support the synthesis of keratin, which helps to make hair stronger and less prone to damage.
How does a derma roller work for hair growth?
So, why do all this needling to your poor scalp? Well, by gently rolling the derma roller over your scalp, these tiny needles rupture the outer layer of the dermis, therefore creating blood flow to the area, and triggering a wound-healing reaction.
This microneedling treatment stimulates the dermal papilla in hair follicles to promote hair growth.
By causing microscopic wounds, the body's healing response kicks in and, in turn, boosts collagen production and activates hair follicle growth in the affected areas, stimulating new hair growth and preventing thinning hair. Hair regeneration with derma rollers is, according to studies of androgenetic alopecia and how to stimulate hair growth, most effective when used in conjunction with medications for hair growth.
The medical team at Pilot can guide you in this area; the TGA prohibits us from discussing the specific prescription medication for hair loss treatment. You can speak to a real practitioner who will prescribe you a personalised treatment plan for hair loss, and who can advise you on prescription medication, where 83 per cent of people keep their hair and 66 per cent regrow it.
Why should I use a derma roller over hair transplant surgery?
While using a derma roller won't produce the same results as hair plugs, it's a good place to start before looking at the more permanent and costly procedure. Here's why you should begin your hair loss treatment journey with derma rolling:
It is a non-invasive hair growth treatment
A derma roller for hair loss is a non-invasive way to stimulate hair growth for people experiencing androgenetic alopecia.
Derma rollers are far, far less invasive than hair transplant surgery, which involves taking healthy hair follicles from the back and sides of the head and transplanting them into areas of the scalp where there is thinning hair.
Any surgery carries risks of infection, bleeding, nerve damage and allergic reactions to anesthesia, and hair transplant surgery is no different.
It is more cost-effective
A hair transplant procedure can often cost between AU$11,000 to AU$18,000, sometimes going up to $25,000. Derma rollers can cost anywhere between $40 to $150 depending on the brand.
Derma rolling can take time, sometimes up to a few weeks, to see the results. But, hair transplant surgery will involve bed rest and a lot of care for the wounds and scabbing involved.
How do I use a derma roller on my scalp?
Using a derma roller on your scalp is simple. But, it's important you are doing it in a totally clean environment as you are, essentially, creating small wounds across your dermal layer.
If you are ensuring cleanliness, you can cause infection and inflammation to your scalp.
Here's a step-by-step guide on how to use your derma roller safely.
- Disinfect: Let your derma roller soak in 70 per cent isopropyl alcohol for approximately five to 10 minutes. Make sure it is completely dry before using.
- Wash: Use a clean, low-fragrance, effective shampoo and conditioner for ridding your scalp of dead skin and dirt. Ensure your hair is totally dry before you apply your derma roller. Do not use it on wet hair.
- Roll up: Start rolling it on your scalp in a longitudinal, vertical, and diagonal directions until you experience pinpoint bleeding (erythema). Your derma rolling session should stop once you notice this.
- Oil up: This is where essential oils are useful for your hair regrowth journey. Massage a diluted essential oil such as lavender, or even caster oil, into the scalp using cotton balls. Do this over the tiny punctures and let it absorb into your skin. We recommend you stick with therapeutic-grade essential oils in order to avoid infections, otherwise, you could damage your skin and actually contribute to furthering hair loss.
- Clean up: After each derma roller session, you must sanitise and disinfect it. The hundreds of tiny needles that have just punctured your skin will have traces of your dead skin cells and blood on it, so ensuring it is sanitised and dry for your next use is very important.
After rolling, the skin over your scalp may be:
- Red for a couple of hours
- Feel like you've experienced a slight sunburn
- Feel like your scalp is pulsing — this is because the blood is circulating as your skin starts to repair itself.
If you are feeling pain or a burning sensation, more than just a light sunburn, speak to a healthcare provider.
What should I avoid after derma rolling?
For the first few days after microneedling, you'll need to avoid any products that contain harsh exfoliants, especially chemicals such as glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids on the scalp.
Avoid using any chemicals or oils that are highly fragranced with synthetic chemicals.
Who should not use a derma roller for hair growth?
Derma rollers are effective and safe microneedling devices that, when used properly, can stimulate the regrowth of hair for male pattern baldness. However, not everyone should turn to derma rollers.
We cannot recommend a derma roller for hair growth for the following reasons:
If you have eczema
Anyone dealing with a chronic skin irritation such as eczema or psoriasis on their scalp should not use a derma roller.
This will only inflame the area and cause you a world of pain — the last thing eczema-affected areas need is a hundred tiny needles puncturing their skin.
If you have conditions that slow down healing
Some health conditions such as diabetes affect blood circulation, causing blood to move slowly and therefore not deliver nutrients to wounds.
The effectiveness of derma rolling relies on blood circulation to heal the punctures made on the scalp in order to promote hair regrowth. But, if this isn't happening quickly, the wounds will just be wounds and will take much longer to heal.
It's also not recommended you use a derma roller if you're taking prescribed, oral, anti-acne medications. These meds also delay your skin's healing process.
If you are on blood thinners
If you need to take blood-thinning agents such as warfarin, ibuprofen and aspirin, it's not recommended you use a derma roller for hair growth.
One of the side effects of regularly taking blood-thinning medications is being much more likely to bleed and bruise when you experience even superficial wounds.
If you don't need to take these medications regularly, wait for about a week after taking them before you start derma rolling to make sure your blood is back to its normal consistency.
If you have moles, herpes warts, burns or other skin irritations on the scalp
Essentially, applying a derma roller to an area where you can worsen skin irritations is a bad idea.
Only use a derma roller under your hair if your scalp is healthy and irritation-free. Speak to a qualified professional on scalp health, such as a dermatologist, if you are unsure.
How often should I use my derma roller?
Using a derma roller to treat hair loss isn't a one-time, silver bullet treatment for hair loss. It's a process that works over multiple uses over time. For best results, you'll be using your derma roller regularly over weeks to months to see improvements.
You may start to see results at the three to four-month mark, but most people report seeing results at the six month mark.
It's a long haul, but completely worth it: if it works it will bring back your hair for good.
Can everyday use of a derma roller damage the skin?
Yes, everyday use can cause damage to the skin, which may lead to inflammation. Thus, it should be used depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
How much time would it take the hair to regrow after the use of a derma roller?
Men have reported seeing a difference in their hairline within eight to 12 weeks. But it does depend upon your hair follicles.
Most of the clinical evidence suggests taking a prescribed hair growth medication alongside doing your fortnightly microneedling treatment. Doing both will put you in the best position possible for faster hair regrowth.
You can speak to Pilot's hair growth experts for more information about prescription medication. Men who treat hair loss in the early stages can prevent further balding and have a better chance at regrowing their hair.
Can I use a derma roller for beard growth?
It seems the scientific jury is still out on whether or not a derma roller for hair growth will work for your beard. It technically should work in the same way as it does for your scalp, but more research needs to be done in this area before we can make a call! Watch this space.
Plenty of hair loss products will promise the world. We've has spent a lot of time doing the research to make sure what we’re providing is based on clinical evidence.
We're also able to provide hair loss treatments and medications at a lower price than anywhere else because:
- We operate entirely online
- We don't rely on unfair margins
- We're an established Aussie company
- We're here for the long haul.
Take a peek at Pilot's Hair Growth Booster Kit, which includes a derma roller, to help you kickstart your hair regrowth journey.