What is scalp microneedling? How often do you need to do it? What type of results can you expect? Has it been tested on women? Is it best used with topical serums or on its own?

You have probably heard of microneedling for improving wrinkles using derma rollers. Derma rollers have rows and rows of small fine needles that puncture the skin. Your scalp is covered in skin too.

And whilst they are commonly known to improve skin texture on the face, there is now a large growing body of science behind microneedles and hair loss. And Flo Hive is extremely excited to report that many studies have included women.

Well praise be. At last – women are included in the hair loss studies!

Let’s go!

Key Takeaways – The Short Version

Mircroneedling has been shown to trigger hair regrowth, and in fact it outperformed Minoxidil 5% (Rogaine) in multiple studies.

Most studies use it in conjunction with Minoxidil (Rogaine) to compare to using Rogaine on its own. The combined use of Rogaine and microneedling outperformed Rogaine alone.

Flo Hive loves that we were able to find SEVEN research studies with only women, so often men are the ones being studied when it comes to hair loss!

The needles used across studies varied from 0.5mm – 1.5mm in length. Some treatments were done in a clinic setting, whilst others performed at home with a derma roller. The exact mechanism of action is still being studied, researchers believe that by inflicting tiny wounds in the scalp this triggers hair follicles to grow.

Jump to Flo Hive picks for derma rollers and topical serums HERE.

What is microneedling?

The tiny needles in the derma roller or derma stamp puncture the skin/ scalp. These small punctures cause a cascade of natural body reactions to come to the skins defence. For wrinkles it is the production of collagen to heal these tiny wounds.

But it also stimulates growth factors – which is especially important in hair loss. Growth factors increase that can prompt hair to regrow.

If you are scared of needles and blood tests, it is not like that at all. These needles are extremely small and shouldn’t be compared to the doctors needles. They are after all, micro needles. Emphasis on the micro!

Flo Hive Science Scoop

We are so excited because as I said earlier – women have been included in several studies. And Flo Hive is over the moon about this. So often when it comes to hair loss research – most of it has been done on men.

We have found a whopping seven studies that have included women!!

All of the studies saw an improvement in hair follicle count. Every single one.

But this is where it gets tricky because the studies tended to include microneedling AND a topical serum.

Usually it was Minoxidil 5% (Rogaine for Women). Researchers have been wanted to compare using Minoxidil on its own with Minoxidil plus microneedling to see which group performs better.

So it has been impossible for us to find a study that simply took a group of women who were not using any other type of hair loss treatment and had them use a derma roller. And recorded results against a control group.

The best study for us women to look at we think is this one. They recruited only women. The women were chosen because their current interventions were not working anymore. And by that we mean – they had plateaued.

They had worked, yes, up to a point and then couldn’t get better results beyond what they already had achieved.

The study had the women apply Minoxidil 5% once a day, but not on needle treatment days. Microneedling was done 6 times over 3 months (every 2 weeks).

All patients reported an improvement in hair growth. This was confirmed by researchers using the Sinclair Scale. Some had a mild improvement, some moderate, some were significantly improved. None of the women had zero improvement.

The results are impressive, especially given the short amount of time. A longer study of at least 6 months would have been better. But just six treatments and an improvement in 3 months is definitely worth a round of applause.

What are the side effects

Local irritation can occur but it is quite rare. In fact in all the studies we reviewed, none of the participants reported any adverse effects.

However, if you have eczema or psoriasis, any type of inflammatory skin condition then unfortunately, microneedling shouldn’t be used in your case. And microneedles should never come into contact with open wounds or sores.

Can I just do needling or do I need a serum too?

You could just try microneedling on it’s own if you wished. Several studies have shown an improvement with just microneedling and nothing else.

But keep in mind that most of the studies compared microneedling to microneedling PLUS a topical serum. Usually this was Minoxidil 5%. In every study the two things together (needles plus serum) outperformed needling on its own.

The device used in the study was made by Follica, who are currently creating a pen like microneedling device that can deliver topical treatments (like Minoxidil) directly to scalp. A two in one device. Needle plus the therapeutic!

Very cool. Looking forward to when it becomes available.

In the meantime whilst we wait for thing new fangled gadget – we can replicate the study at home using topical products with weekly microneedling sessions.

Flo Hive recommends using Rogaine for Women or Rosemary oil or Nanoxidil as your topical serum. There are a huge amount of hair serums on the market. Many of them are of dubious efficacy.

But Minoxidil and Rosemary do have the science to back them up.

You can read our science reviews for these products here –

Rogaine for Women

Rosemary oil

Nanoxidil

Please steer clear of Vegamour GRO Hair, which has the dubious title of Biggest Science Fibbers Ever. Their capacity for stretching the truth is mind boggling.

And this company is a really good example of the type of scientific sorcery Flo Hive is determined to expose.

Where can I buy the right size derma roller?

Most facial derma rollers are 0.25mm, so it can be tricky to find ones that are longer!

The derma roller should be between 0.5 and 1.5mm.

We recommend products and services based on their research backing, as determined by a review of clinical studies. We receive compensation when readers purchase the products or services we recommend.

But here are some Flo Hive has discovered:

And remember to only be using the roller on your scalp once a week. More is NOT more when it comes to derma rollers!

You don’t want to over stimulate the skin and promote irritation.

To replicate the research, you should ideally be using a derma roller with a topical serum such as Rogaine –

Rogaine (Minoxidil 5%)

If you have a sensitive scalp, consider Nanoxidil instead.

Formulated to address the irritation some people experience with Rogaine. Try Spectral DNC-N instead –

If you want a natural DHT blocker, choose Rosemary oil and a carrier oil (sweet almond or jojoba):

Conclusion

Flo Hive is overjoyed to see a number of studies that included women. And one that specifically was designed to only study women with hair loss.

Hopefully there will be more studies done soon, as women really should be included in the hair loss conversation.

The most interesting thing I think from taking a broad look at all the studies is the inclusion of a topical serum with microneedling.

They already knew that Minoxidil 5% works, but could it work even better? Yes it can. Clearly researchers were onto something. And for a few extra minutes a week we think it is worth the effort to combine the two methods.

References

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34222595/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8776974/

https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/microneedling-devices-getting-point-benefits-risks-and-safety

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34714971/

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