How To Use a Derma Roller and Minoxidil to Regrow Hair!
written by Matt Dominance
In this post you will find out:
- What is a derma roller?
- Optimal derma rolling frequency for hair regrowth!
- How to use derma roller?
- Best derma rollers types!
What is a derma roller?
Derma roller is a small device with hundreds of tine micro-needles which are meant to promote controlled tissue injury through the formation of micro-channels in the skin.
Another benefit of derma rolling on the scalp is promotion of stem cell activity in the hair bulge area.
Science behind micro-needling for hair loss
Anti hair loss therapy with the derma roller is used to induce collagen formation, neovascularization and growth factor production of treated areas.
Micro-needling is a technique that promotes controlled tissue injury through the formation of micro-channels.
Scientific evidence suggests that micro-channels created by derma roller promote the absorption of anti-hair loss products applied topically e.g. Minoxidil (Rogaine), topical Finasteride, etc.
Micro-needling with a derma roller 1.5 mm can improve hair count on a treated area without adding any topical products! Study
Derma Rolling Frequency based on Derma Roller type
Frequency of using a derma roller for hair regrowth depends on the size of its micro needles!
The longer the micro needles are, the lower the frequency. The shorter the micro needles, the more often you can use it!
How to Derma Roll
- Choose a derma roller of your choice (preferably 1.5 mm)
- Start rolling it on your scalp in a longitudinal, vertical, and diagonal directions until you experience pinpoint bleeding (erythema)
- Your derma rolling session is finished. Wait 24 hours before you apply Minoxidil (Rogaine), topical Finasteride or any other alcohol- or propylene glycol-containing topical product which might irritate your scalp.
When you can start seesing results?
First hair regrowth can appear after 12 weeks of doing derma rolling. In this study (below) they compared Minoxidil 5% + Micro-needling with the derma roller 1.5 mm vs Minoxidil 5% only and after 12 weeks the hair regrowth in the derma roller + Minoxidil 5% group was already significant (better than in the Minoxidil 5% group).
Is derma rolling painful?
When the roller’s needles are only up to 0.5 mm long, the procedure is essentially painless.
The pain increases as the depth of needle penetration increases. Either if you increase the rolling pressure or use a roller with longer needles than 0.5mm.
It also depends on the thickness of epidermis and dermis layer which influences the overall pain.
How many hairs can you regrow?
This will depend on 2 factors.
How many hairs have you already lost? If you have already clear bald spots on your scalp (or spots with vellus hair – 2 mm long hair), derma roller won´t help you regrow any new hair in these areas. Derma roller only works on the areas with terminal hair incl. terminal hair which started to miniaturize recently.
How well do you respond to conventional treatments like Minoxidil 5%? Since derma roller potentially acts as a transcutaneous penetration enhancer, it will greatly benefit all patients who are positive responders to Minoxidil. We know that combining Minoxidil + Derma roller can regrow more hair than using Minoxidil or Derma roller separately.
Derma Rolling for non-responders to Minoxidil and Finasteride
This study observed (unfortunately only) 4 patients who failed to respond to conventional therapy for treating male pattern hair loss – Minoxidil 5% and Fiansteride 1 mg.
Case 1 - 6 months after Derma Rolling
Case 1 — A 30-year-old male was suffering from AGA since 8 years. He was on oral finasteride and topical 5% minoxidil regularly since 4 years and also had underwent hair transplantation surgery 2 years ago. He reported an arrest in hair loss but was unsatisfied in terms of cosmetic scalp coverage.
Case 4 - 6 months after Derma Rolling
A 40-year-old male with female pattern type III of hair loss was taking conventional therapy for over 3 years but unsatisfied with respect to new hair growth
3 Dont's of Derma Rolling!
1. Respect the proper Derma Rolling frequency!
If you roll more than you need, then you may transect some of your scalp hair. The more frequently you roll, the more often such transection with derma roller can occur.
When the hair is wet it is more flat and this id won´t stand up and potentially get in a way of the microneedles.
2. Don´t apply Minoxidil right after!
You´ll still get boost in your hair regrowth if you apply Minoxidil 24 hours later so don´t rush with it.
We known that Minoxidil contains alcohol, some versions even Propylene Glycol which have been shown to be skin allergens causing irritation by some people even without prior derma rolling.
By using it right after derma rolling you´ll experience stinging, and skin drying , which makes the healing slower.
Rather use vitamin A or vitamin E rich oil. Vitamin A influences 400–1000 genes that control proliferation and differentiation of all major cells in epidermis and dermis, and Vitamin E is an anti oxidant that supports skin health (almond oil).
During the micro-needling studies they also used saline or betadine for cleansing the scalp after the derma rolling session. This also applies to any alcohol and PG containing topicals and even topical Finasteride which often times contains alcohol or PG as a penetration enhancer.
3. Clean your roller properly after every use!
Forgetting to take a proper care of your derma roller can promote spreading bacteria and potential infection next time you use it.
The better you take care of it, the longer you can use it.
Most of the studies done on derma rolling and micro needling have been done in clinics or medical institutions where the micro-needling device like derma roller is going to be properly sanitized after the session or the pin needles of an automated micro-needling device like derma pen are being used only 1 time for each patient.
For home use, I know many of you are re-using the same derma roll.