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Everything you need to know about scalp microneedling

Hoping to boost hair growth? We ask the experts to share why scalp microneedling might well be the answer

As the name suggests, a microneedling treatment involves the use of teeny tiny needles. These ‘micro’ needles are stamped or rolled along the skin, which doesn’t sound particularly appealing we know.

However, this popular treatment that’s suitable for all shades of skin, has been shown to be incredibly effective at improving texture and tone. But that’s not where it ends–in fact over the last decade or so, this gold standard youth-booster has proven to also have major scalp health and hair boosting benefits.

“Each needle prick causes a micro-channel that triggers the skin's natural healing mechanisms–think an increase in collagen production, growth factors, and blood supply. Just like the skin on our face and body, the scalp loses collagen with age, slowing down hair growth while leaving some hair follicles dormant,” shares International Training Manager for Dermaroller, Faye Aston.

Having the ability to increase collagen stores before the ageing process takes hold of our hair is priceless. “An increase in growth factors and nutrient rich blood supply can help extend the anagen phase, aka the growth phase of our hair,” explains Trichologist Ricardo Vila Nova.

What to expect from scalp microneedling 

One of the first things people ask is whether this treatment is painful. While it’s not painless, it’s most definitely a tolerable procedure that’s performed relatively quickly. “We begin with a deep cleanse of the scalp, and then set about using the sterile needles to gently pierce the skin,” shares Vila Nova, who offers the treatment at his clinics.

Not only does microneedling trigger a cascade of hair health benefits, but each puncture creates an opening in the skin that allows for topical boosters like platelet rich plasma (PRP) and exosomes to penetrate deeper within the scalp. It’s this ability to aid the absorption of these growth factor-rich treatments by helping them reach deep within each hair follicle, that truly turbo charges results.

Scientists at Dermaroller found that when applying any topical product to your scalp, only a minimal 0.3 per cent of the product gets absorbed. "However, utilising a 0.2mm roller can amplify product absorption by up to 1000 per cent, promoting the development of stronger, thicker hair,” shares Aston.

Who will benefit most from scalp microneedling?

If you’re experiencing thinning, traction alopecia (a loss of hair generally along the hairline caused by tight hair styling), androgenic alopecia (a genetic hair loss disorder caused by an excessive response to androgens), alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that triggers patchy hair loss) or telogen effluvium (temporary excess shedding caused by stress, medication, or hormonal changes), microneedling can be incredibly beneficial.

Many human studies have shown that when combined with complementary treatments, microneedling can coax back hair at an impressive rate. However, if you’re taking medications that cause hair loss or if your follicles have been permanently destroyed, no amount of needle therapy will bring these follicles back to life, or adequately counteract your medication induced hair loss.

And if you’re wondering if microneedling is worth trying if you’re not suffering from any hair loss conditions, the answer is yes. “It also makes for a fantastic preventative treatment for those who want to take care of their hair and scalp and keep on top of their hair health,” believes Vila Nova.

At-home vs in-clinic

DIY microneedling at home is on the rise, but be warned it’s not as easy as it looks. At-home rollers tend to use needles that measure between 0.1mm to 0.2mm, unlike in-clinic, medical grade, professional needles that measure between 0.5mm to 1.5mm.

The difference in size is important as 0.5mm works well to help stimulate blood circulation to improve nutrient distribution, while 1mm-1.5mm are ideal depths when it comes to naturally stimulating collagen and growth factors, alongside getting topical treatments further down into the dermis of the skin to boost hair growth.

“Not only is needle size important, so too is how you use your roller. If you press too hard and or over-use your roller you might experience bleeding, damage to the skin barrier and even infections. This generally makes in-clinic, professionally administered microneedling treatments far safer and beneficial,” says Aston.

However, if you want to support your in-clinic treatments at-home, Aston recommends using a 0.2mm Dermaroller home roller on a dry scalp, followed by the application of XCellarisPro professional hair ampoules weekly and XCellarisPro daily hair lotion immediately after rolling.

How often should you microneedle the scalp?

The general consensus is that professional grade growth factor stimulating microneedling treatments should be performed on the scalp once a week for the first month, and then once a month thereafter.

At-home microneedling using shorter needles, can be performed up to three times a week. “Our Original Dermaroller and XCellarisPro home rollers are designed for 50 uses and maintain their sharpness throughout that period. If you needle your scalp twice a week, the roller will serve you for six months. But note that it's essential to clean the roller with an antibacterial disinfectant spray after each use and allow it to air dry,” explains Aston.

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