Hair loss in men may be common, but that doesn’t make it any easier to live with. Whether your hairline is starting to thin or you have the beginnings of a bald patch, even the slightest hint that baldness is coming can easily send many men into a panic.
A quick Google search reveals all sorts of options for reducing and reversing thinning hair, from over-the-counter treatments like topical minoxidil to surgical procedures such as hair transplant surgery.
There are also lots of treatments that appear to be either all or partly hype, from lotions, serums and hair care products to vitamins and laser devices.
One option gaining plenty of attention is hair loss microneedling — a process that involves making small punctures in your scalp to stimulate your hair follicles and promote increased hair regrowth.
If you’ve ever read about dermarollers and microneedling devices for hair loss, you might be quick to lump them into the many other questionable treatment products and fads. However, there’s actually a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that they could aid in hair growth.
Below, we’ve explained why and how hair loss happens, as well as how microneedling works as a hair loss treatment option.
Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure that involves using a dermaroller — a small rolling device with fine microneedles on its surface — to produce small punctures in your scalp or other areas of your skin.
A typical dermaroller used in the microneedling process contains about 200 tiny needles around 1.5mm long. These needles penetrate into your skin, but only to the outer layers of your scalp.
It’s thought that the mild physical trauma from having a needle penetrate into your skin leads to a cascade of wound healing effects. This increases collagen production and can result in improvements in your skin health and, potentially, hair growth.
Experts also think microneedling hair may stimulate and reactivate hair follicles for new hair growth.
In addition to microneedling for hair loss, this type of treatment is also used for a diverse range of other conditions and skin issues like acne, scarring, wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Microneedling with a dermaroller involves rolling the tool across certain areas of your skin while maintaining firm, consistent pressure.
For treating hair loss, this means using the dermaroller on areas with a visible reduction in hair count, such as a receding hairline or bald spots.
The purpose of microneedling in the case of hair loss is to stimulate growth factors in dermal papilla, or the stem cells in your hair follicles, to encourage them to activate and start to grow more hair.
Like we mentioned, the main idea behind this is that by producing tiny wounds, your body’s natural defenses may step in to encourage the healing process. For hair loss, the hope is that the healing process will ultimately activate dormant hair follicles, resulting in a thicker head of hair.
Why we don’t know exactly how hair microneedling works, this most likely method comes from knowledge about how hair loss in men works.
A large variety of issues can cause or contribute to hair loss. In men, the most common form of hair loss is male pattern baldness, or androgenetic alopecia, which is caused by a mix of genetic factors and the effects of the hormone dihydrotestosterone, or DHT. This type of hair loss can also happen to women — in these cases it’s called female pattern hair loss.
Currently, the most effective hair loss treatments work by either preventing your body from creating DHT or stimulating hair growth at the scalp level, usually with topical treatments.
Meanwhile, topical minoxidil is believed to work by moving your hair follicles into a state of active, ongoing growth (as part of the hair growth cycle), although its exact mechanism of action is still unknown.
“I tried several different options before but Hims combined approach of all four methods by far created the best results.”
“Hims has been the greatest confidence boost, no more bald jokes! I look and feel so much younger!”
“When I show my barber my progress, he is always in disbelief. I have to recommend Hims to any guy who’s experiencing thinning.”
“Cost effective and affordable. My hair keeps growing thicker, fuller, and at a fast rate.”
“I noticed a huge change in the overall health and fullness of my hairline.”
“Now after 5 months I’m able to style waves first time in 10 years!”
“I decided to jump right in and I'm so glad I did. I definitely feel ten years younger!”
“In just as little over two and half months, I can really see the difference in thickness and in color.”
“4-months strong and my confidence boosted back up to 100% using Hims, future me really does thank me.”
“I’m a 34-year-old father of two and have been using Hims for over a year now. My hair is back to what it was in my mid-twenties.”
While microneedling isn’t a completely new technology, its use for treating hair loss is fairly recent. But is microneedling for hair growth real?
As we mentioned above, scalp microneedling for hair growth is thought to be effective for male pattern baldness and alopecia areata, a type of hair loss caused by the immune system attacking your hair follicles.
A 12-week 2013 randomized study of 100 men in Mumbai was the first to examine the hair growth results of microneedling in humans.
Half of the participants were given topical minoxidil and the other half underwent microneedling procedures once per week, in addition to twice-daily treatment with minoxidil.
According to the researchers, participants who used a dermaroller with minoxidil grew thicker hair and reported higher overall patient satisfaction. Eight months after the study, the participants still showed positive results.
Another smaller study looked at four men who had been using finasteride and minoxidil for two to five years with no new hair growth.
The men started microneedling scalp treatments in addition to their finasteride and minoxidil treatments and showed accelerated results over six months.
However, there’s little research on microneedling as a monotherapy (single treatment) for hair loss, since most studies combined it with other therapies such as topical minoxidil or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.
It’s also possible that microneedling may help for some hair loss disorders, but not for all causes of hair loss in men.
In other words, the usual disclaimers for early-stage hair loss treatments definitely apply when it comes to microneedling — namely, that we need more high-quality information before we’re able to authoritatively state that it’s an effective treatment for hair loss.
Generic for Rogaine®, this FDA-approved over-the-counter version of topical minoxidil is used for regrowth on the crown of the head.
This is the FDA-approved dynamic duo. When used together, men saw better results in clinical trials compared to using either alone.
If you’re looking for something effective but don’t want too many steps in your routine, this once-a-day pill could be right for you.
Clinically proven to regrow hair in 3-6 months, no pills required.
Can microneedling your scalp really be the silver bullet when it comes to growing back a full head of hair, or is this treatment too good to be true? The jury is still out, but here’s what we know:
Scalp microneedling is widely known as a skincare treatment with real benefits for acne scarring and sun damage, and it’s also thought to encourage hair regrowth in those with male pattern baldness.
By creating tiny wounds, researchers think microneedling speeds up the healing process and stimulates hair follicles, allowing hair to grow.
While studies on microneedling for hair loss are promising, most use microneedling in conjunction with minoxidil or finasteride, two hair loss treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
But if you’re starting to develop a receding hairline, a bald patch around your crown or other common signs of hair loss, you have plenty of treatment options.
Hairline restoration surgery, which involves moving hair follicles from another part of your body to your head, is one option for those with a receding hairline. Or you can opt for a natural looking hair tattoo to help bolster the appearance of your hair.
While those treatments are effective, you’ll most likely go for the science-backed treatments of minoxidil and finasteride. You can apply minoxidil either as a minoxidil foam or a liquid minoxidil solution, and while finasteride is often taken as an oral medication, there’s also a combination topical finasteride & minoxidil spray for a two-in-one treatment.
We offer both of these medications as part of our range of hair loss treatments, with finasteride available following a consultation with a healthcare provider.
Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!
Dr. Knox Beasley is a board certified dermatologist specializing in hair loss. He completed his undergraduate studies at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and subsequently attended medical school at Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, LA.
Dr. Beasley first began doing telemedicine during his dermatology residency in 2013 with the military, helping to diagnose dermatologic conditions in soldiers all over the world.
Originally from Nashville, TN, Dr. Beasley currently lives in North Carolina and enjoys spending time outdoors (with sunscreen of course) with his wife and two children in his spare time.
Bachelor of Science, Life Sciences. United States Military Academy.
Doctor of Medicine. Tulane University School of Medicine
Dermatology Residency. San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium
Board Certified. American Board of Dermatology
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