Dermarolling is a treatment that has been around for centuries at this point. From the ancient Chinese to the modern soccer mom, the practice has survived through the ages. It wasn’t until recently however that dermarollers were discovered by the hair loss community as a treatment to not only maintain but in many cases even regrow hair. Dermarolling for hair loss seems to have exploded in popularity these past 3-4 years, so we thought it would be useful to put together a guide on using a dermarolling to stop hair loss.
As a guy that went bald at 20 and spent months of my life searching for a solution, I can empathize with you in the struggle for finding reliable and complete information regarding anything related to hair loss. That is the reason this site exists – to answer the questions I would’ve liked answered when I was going through it.
Note: This article was updated in March 2019. When this was initially written, dermarolling as a treatment for hairloss was an idea still in its infancy. Today, the verdict is as clear as day – dermarolling for hairloss is absolutely effective. When you add other treatments into the mix, like a minoxidil dermaroller routine, the results are astonishing.
In this guide, we’re going to cover a lot. Feel free to skip around, but as always – I recommend you just read everything in sequence and get a fully holistic understanding of using a dermaroller for hair loss.
Dermarolling for Hair Loss
The Mega Guide
What is dermarolling?
Dermarolling, in its simplest form, is a manual needle treatment that causes microscopic tears to the outer layers of the skin. As a response, the body works to regrow and repair the damaged area.
In relation to dermarolling for hairloss specifically, the concept is the same. A dermaroller is used damage the thinning areas of the scalp, and the body works to repair those areas to 100%
You can read more on the general science of derma rolling here.
Does dermarolling for hair loss actually work?
When this guide was initially written, the verdict still wasn’t out. It was very much an experimental, fringe treatment for hair loss specifically. As of now, in March of 2019, the verdict is clear:
Dermarolling for hair loss is an absolute necessity to any hairloss treatment routine. It is incredibly simple and incredibly effective.
Here are the two most commonly referenced studies when discussing microneedling as a treatment for hairloss:
Study 1 – A Randomized Evaluator Blinded Study of Effect of Microneedling in Androgenetic Alopecia (i)
This study compared men who used a dermaroller with minoxidil against men that used minoxidil alone. The results showed that the men using the dermaroller and minoxidil combination had significantly more growth than the men that only used minoxidil. This was their conclusion:
Dermaroller along with Minoxidil treated group was statistically superior to Minoxidil treated group in promoting hair growth in men with AGA for all 3 primary efficacy measures of hair growth. Microneedling is a safe and a promising tool in hair stimulation and also is useful to treat hair loss refractory to Minoxidil therapy
Study 2 – Response to Microneedling Treatment in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia Who Failed to Respond to Conventional Therapy (ii)
This study sought to see if microneedling would work for men who hadn’t achieved any results with the conventional treatment, finasteride and minoxidil. You guessed it – dermarolling for hair loss worked. This was their conclusion:
Treatment with microneedling showed an accelerated response with addition of microneedling procedure leading to significant scalp density. This is the first case series to report the boosting effect of microneedling with respect to new hair follicle stimulation in patients with androgenetic alopecia who were poor responders to conventional therapy.
Beyond those two studies, there are literally thousands of reports online from people that tried derma rolling for themselves and are happy with the results. We’ll share a few of those below.
How to Use a Dermaroller to Regrow Hair
For something so effective in treating hair loss, dermarolling is actually a pretty simple process. Here’s what you need to do –
First, Buy the Needling Device
Don’t just go and buy any dermaroller. For hair loss, a specific length and thread count is needed to get results.
You need either a dermapen or a 192 thread 1-1.5mm dermaroller.
Option A – Dermapen (better)
- Safer (more sanitary)
- Less painful
- More precise needling, smaller wounds
If you choose a dermapen, the Dr. Pen Ultima A6 Professional comes highly recommended.
Option B – Standard 192 1.5mm Dermaroller
These are the types of devices used in all of the studies on dermarolling for hair loss.
- Need to be replaced often
- More painful
- Larger wounds
If you choose to use a standard dermaroller for hair loss, a Standard 192 1.5mm Device will work just fine.
Now, keep in mind – you are literally using needles to create hundreds of micro wounds on your scalp. Every single one of those wounds is a potential infection, so you need to be very careful in how you care for your head and the device you are using.
Before you wound your scalp, make sure your head is clean. Some people use an iodine rinse, others use isopropyl alcohol. Either of those can be purchased at a local drugstore or on amazon for cheap. Whatever you choose – make sure it is topically safe.
In addition, make sure your needles are clean. To do that, fill a small cup with a solution of isopropyl alcohol. Rinse the needles in the solution, and wait for them to dry.
Third, Needle Your Scalp
Now, the fun part. If you are using a roller, you will want to firmly roll over the thinning areas of your head 2 to 5 times. In the studies linked above, the subjects were directed to use the needles enough to cause the skin to turn red but not enough to bleed.
With safety in mind, we recommend you follow that protocol.
If you are using a stamp, you just need to slowly stamp around the head until every affected area has been needled. You don’t really need to do this more than twice in any given session with a derma stamp.
Congrats, you made it through a dermarolling session! Now pat yourself on the back for being able to withstand such pain.
The first thing you’ll want to do is sanitize the needles. If you are using a pen, you can just throw away the cartridge. If you’re using a dermaroller, you should really only use it once for sanitary concerns. If this is not feasible for you, keep the needles clean by rinsing them with isopropyl alcohol before and after use. Never re-use the needle more than 3-5x. If you see any signs of rust you should have replaced the roller a long time ago.
Next, rinse your head off. Many people do it right before their daily shower, so the rinsing part is easy.
At this point, your head is clean but still red. You’re done. Go relax and let your head heal.
If you are a user of topicals, make sure to read the frequently asked questions regarding topicals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do derma rollers hurt?
Yes. Dermarolling definitely hurts. Keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be done often and when it is done, it should only take around 2 minutes. In addition to that, a Dermapen will be significantly less painful than a standard 192 1.5mm hair loss micro needler.
How often should dermarolling be done for hair loss?
In all of the studies, the subjects dermarolled once a week. If you’re using a roller, that’s probably a good schedule to stick to.
A lot of people that use the Dermapen and not a traditional roller only use it once or twice a month and still see results.
Don’t overdo it thinking you’ll see results faster; You’ll just give yourself fibrosis. Your scalp needs time to heal.
Can I apply minoxidil after dermarolling?
You can do whatever you want. BUT – you shouldn’t.
After a dermarolling session, there are hundreds of micro wounds across your scalp. This will make it very easy for any topicals to absorb into the skin and go systemic. We’ve already discussed the potential side effects of systemic minoxidil, and it’s not pretty.
If you use minoxidil, the consensus seems to be to wait at least a day.
Is the minoxidil dermaroller duo better than either alone?
Yep – in one of the studies above, the test minoxidil dermarolling group significantly outperformed the minoxidil only group.
If you can deal with minoxidil, you’ll have really good results with a dermaroller.
How long until I see results from dermarolling?
YMMV. Some people see results in 2 months, and others take up to 2 years. The general consensus is to try for at least a year.
Dermarolling for Hairloss Results / Success Stories
There are literally THOUSANDS of results from using a dermaroller for hairloss online. Especially in conjunction with minoxidil, the dermaroller minoxidil routine seems to yield unbelieveable results.
- This guy couldn’t take finasteride so he followed a minoxidil dermarolling routine. Within 2 months he had a full head of hair again.
- In 3 months, this guy went from basically bald back to a normal head of hair using minoxidil and a dermaroller.
- This guy had pretty ridiculous results after microneedling for 12 months. (The page is in greek, if you’re on chrome you can easily translate the page into english though)
- This woman had such good success with dermarolling for hair loss that she even complained that it became difficult to keep the routine up because her thick hair was in the way of the dermaroller.
- This guy clearly has new hairs and all he was using was a derma roller. If the link is broken, just google “PrettyFly83”
Dermarolling for Hair Loss: A Definite Winner
If you aren’t already, we hope you’ll give dermarolling a shot. A lot of men and women have obviously had tremendous success in doing so, and as long as you’re mindful in keeping the process sanitary there isn’t much downside to trying.
If you can use minoxidil in conjunction with a dermarolling routine, it seems like regrowth is essentially guaranteed.
Drive on, champions!
Other things on the site you might like:
- Is scalp micropigmentation worth it?
- Finasteride alternatives that actually work
- Dating as a bald guy
(i) – Dhurat R, Sukesh M, Avhad G, Dandale A, Pal A, Pund P. A Randomized Evaluator Blinded Study of Effect of Microneedling in Androgenetic Alopecia: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Trichology. 2013;5(1):6-11. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.114700.
(ii) – Dhurat, R., & Mathapati, S. (2015). Response to Microneedling Treatment in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia Who Failed to Respond to Conventional Therapy. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 60(3), 260–263. http://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5154.156361