There really is no worse feeling than looking in the mirror and noticing that your hair is thinner.
There’s no denying that having a thick, healthy head of hair just makes you feel more confident. Right?
If your hair has been falling out more than usual – and you’re looking for a way to help counteract it – check out microneedling for hair loss. While it may sound unusual, the results are well worth trying something new!
The pros here at Skin Pharm have all you need to know to convince you it’s worth a shot!
Microneedling basics – here’s what you need to know
Generally speaking, people tend to get hung up on the “needle” part of the word. However, microneedling isn’t likely what you think.
To start, microneedling is considered a cosmetic procedure, meaning that it was designed to help enhance or change a person’s appearance in some way. While there are needles involved, they aren’t the large, hypodermic needles that people tend to initially picture.
These needles stay true to their name, “micro,” and are very small. They are also sterilized for your protection, as anything that is able to break the skin can also be an infection risk without proper precautions.
Generally speaking, microneedling has been used to help combat the signs of aging on the skin. The small wounds that are made by the microneedles can actually help trigger the skin to produce more collagen and elastin, both of which are essential for keeping the skin looking youthful and radiant.
This benefit is why microneedling is also commonly referred to as collagen induction therapy – and it’s really earned that title. When used on the face, it can help with a wide range of different concerns, including:
Fine lines and wrinkles
Loss of skin elasticity
But what exactly can it do for hair loss? Here’s what you need to know.
How does microneedling for hair loss work?
First of all, it’s important to point out that microneedling for hair loss has been studied and proven helpful even with people diagnosed with two different forms of alopecia (alopecia areata and androgenic alopecia).
The general theory of why microneedling for hair loss works is similar to how it is able to stimulate collagen production. However, instead of collagen, microneedling may be able to induce the hair follicles to activate stem cells when used on the scalp.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of stem cells, they are cells in the body that can produce more of themselves (in indefinite numbers). With more stem cells in the follicle comes a far increased potential of additional hair growth!
Another use for microneedling for hair loss is as a supplement with other products. This is similar to the way that microneedling can help the face. When you microneedle the scalp (or the skin) before applying hair growth products like Rogaine (minoxidil), topical steroids, or even platelet-rich plasma (PRP), it significantly increases the absorption rate.
When used together, these techniques can help jumpstart the hair follicles to start to speed up the regrowth process, helping with both hair loss and thinning hair. This has been backed up with science, so you can trust that it’s not just some new fad that will disappear in a week without giving you the results you’re looking for.
What is PRP?
No talk about microneedling would be complete without discussing PRP, or platelet-rich plasma.
PRP has been made famous by those Instagrammable “vampire facials” that have been so popular with celebrities. But it is also majorly misunderstood.
Platelets are just one component of our blood and are best known for being the part that helps our blood to clot when we’ve been injured. With PRP treatments, which are used to help supplement the microneedling process, those platelets actually come from your own blood.
A medical provider will draw your blood and spin it down in a centrifuge, separating the red blood cells from the platelets. Those platelets are golden in color, not blood red like so many photos make them appear! That’s why we refer to it as “liquid gold!”
The PRP is then injected into the skin with either a microneedling device or by syringe. It helps to supercharge the microneedling process and can also speed up healing afterward. PRP uses the body’s own natural healing system to achieve the desired benefits.
Basically, it helps trick your body into doing the work, and it’s not nearly as “bloody” as people claim it to be.
What Is The Microneedling Process Like?
Now, the question you’re all wondering. What exactly is the microneedling process like? What can you expect to feel when you have it done or afterward? The fear of needles is very real for a lot of people, so learning more about the process before you go can help ease anxiety. It’s not nearly as bad as you might think!
Prior to treatment, we ask that you discontinue the use of NSAIDs, Aspirin and certain supplements like vitamin A and E for one week. This may help to minimize the bleeding and bruising that can happen temporarily as a result of the procedure. You’ll also be asked to avoid caffeine, alcohol, spicy foods, smoking and anything high in sugar or carbs for 24 to 48 hours.
We offer topical numbing cream to help make the process as comfortable as possible. We then use a serum packed with antioxidants and hydrating ingredients on the area receiving treatment before starting to use the device.
The entire process usually takes an hour, and you can expect to feel some pressure and possibly minimal discomfort. It has been described as a combination of a razor and a vacuum, and some people even say that it can tickle!
Afterward, you can expect some sensitivity, and we ask that you avoid anything that may cause excessive sweating (including exercise) for at least 24 hours. That’s it! You won’t even have to see the needles, and the entire process is done with your comfort in mind.
Are there any side effects to microneedling for hair loss?
While the side effects of microneedling for hair loss are minimum, you may expect to see a few mild symptoms for up to a week after treatment. These include things like:
These are all normal, but contact your provider if you're noticing anything out of the ordinary. If you do experience them, most of these side effects usually last between three to five days. However, people with bleeding disorders, diabetes or certain medications should let their medical provider know before treatment and may experience more intense or more prolonged issues afterward.
Be careful under the sun
Although sun safety is important regardless of your age or situation, after having a microneedling for hair loss treatment, it’s essential to be safe.
Your scalp’s sun sensitivity is likely to be much higher than normal, so try to wear a hat or cover your head when you’re in direct sunlight until the area has fully healed. Always make sure to wear sunscreen when you leave the house.
But can’t I do this at home with a dermaroller?
There are many popular products that are marketed for people who want to try their own microneedling at home. This can sound tempting, especially for people who are looking to save money.
However, there are far more risks than advantages to using these tools at home. Here are just a few of the reasons why we think it’s well worth the money to have an advanced practice provider perform your microneedling:
You won’t know the right size needle to use to get results, as most products are marketed as one-size-fits-all.
You can’t see the back of your own scalp well enough to ensure even coverage.
It’s difficult to really see and target the most affected areas on your own.
You won’t know the correct pressure to use or when to stop to avoid injury.
There is a higher risk of infection, as you can’t properly sterilize these products at home.
Ultimately, the money you may save also comes with a major decrease in effectiveness. Trust us, it’s worth it to leave it to the pros.
To sum it all up...
While the idea of needles may be intimidating, microneedling for hair loss is anything but. Not only will you not see the needles (which are very small, hence the “micro”), you will also not feel much discomfort during the process. The finished results, especially if you have thinning hair, are well worth going out of your comfort zone a bit and trying something new.
When you’re ready to schedule, give Skin Pharm a call! We’re here for you and would love to help you achieve the results you’ve been looking for.