Micro-Needling has been gaining prominence in fashion circles for some time now. Before dismissing it as another buzzword, it is pertinent to mention that this technique was first used in the 1950s and has now just begun to be realized as an alternative treatment for healing hair loss and skin issues.
This article will present the benefits and some demerits of this technique based on a scientific study. Moreover, some guidelines about performing the treatment in the home will also be enlisted.
What is Micro-Needling?
Micro-needling is a misnomer for Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), also called medical skin needling. It is a skin-rejuvenation technique that uses a minimally-invasive medical grade roller, commonly termed as a dermaroller, which has microneedles, hence the name of the treatment, on the surface. When this roller is applied to a surface with an appropriate pressure, uniformly-spaced and tiny puncture holes are created on the skin surface. This mimics the creation of a wound and triggers body’s natural collagen production in an attempt to heal the punctured skin. Moreover, this also releases new skin cells which prevent any scaring and simultaneously gives a healthier look. If the treatment is done under experienced supervision, there is no blood loss and minimum pain. However, a local anesthetic is sometimes applied on the surface prior to this treatment to prevent any uncomfortable sensations.
Research on Micro-Needling
In 2013, a landmark study was conducted where 100 men who had Androgenetic Alopecia (AGA), a common hair loss in men and women, volunteered to take part in a study which aimed to test the effects of micro-needling on hair growth. Study participants had varying intensity of AGA and were recruited such that there was an even mix. The participants were randomly split into two groups and one group was treated with Minoxidil (5%) solution while the other group was treated with both micro-needling and Minoxidil (5%) solution. In order to ensure scientific fairness in the study, all participants’ heads were shaved at the beginning of the study. The research was carried out for 12 weeks and results were gauged on a 7-point scale that was devised by the researchers.
During the study, both groups would apply Minoxidil (5%) daily but one group also received a weekly micro-needling treatment under medical care. Participants did not apply the Minoxidil (5%) during the day of treatment but would resume the practice after 24 hours.
Hair growth assessment was based on the following criteria
Variation in hair counts at the end of 12 weeks as compared to start of the study.
Self-assessment by the volunteer about hair growth at the end of 12 weeks
Assessment by the researchers about hair growth at the end of 12 weeks. A photographic proof was captured of the scalp to gauge the growth.
Results at the end of the study showed that in addition to the Minoxidil (5%), micro-needling was effective as a hair growth treatment in most volunteers. Group treated with micro-needle had an average of additional 91 hairs per cm2! Moreover, 82% of the volunteers assessed their growth positively. Moreover, the researchers calculated that 80% of the participants showed 2 or 3-point improvement of their 7-point scale.
The landmark study concluded that micro-needling was a safe and a promising study for hair stimulation.
Promising treatment for those suffering from hair loss
Can be applied to any area of skin for hair growth
Can be performed in minimum sessions
No use of any chemical or hormonal products
Very budget friendly as compared to other treatments such as laser treatment
In addition to getting a healthier skin and hair growth, micro-needling also reduces pore size so future hair loss is minimized as well.
Can be performed at the comfort of home provided certain conditions met.
Hair loss is also dependent upon factors such as heredity, diet, physical or mental health and environmental conditions. A person not medically fits may not experience the full benefits of this treatment.
Results are not immediate as collagen needs time to develop and react. As indicated by the study, results may take weeks to appear.
Redness of skin for few days
Dryness of skin is possible
The appearance of milia is possible.
Micro-Needling at Home
Following are the guidelines for applying this treatment in the home
It is advisable that head is thoroughly cleaned prior to applying the roller using a chemical-free shampoo.
Application of a dermaroller
The tool should be medical grade and sterilized prior to application. After scalp cleaning, the dermaroller should be applied 2 or 3 times in horizontal, vertical and diagonal direction. Pressure should be enough to not cause any blood loss.
Application of natural hair boosters (optional)-use after 24 hours after the procedure to avoid irritation on scalp.
After the application of the roller, oils ( rosemary oil, blend of castor oil with organ oil, etc.) can be used to enhance hair growth
Wash with cold water
It is quite simple to apply this technique at home.
It is advisable that a medical checkup is done by GP/Doctor to assess if this treatment is harmless for the person.
Dermaroller should be of highest quality and sanitized.
It is advisable that this treatment is first learned from an experienced practitioner.
Do not apply any solution on scalp the first 24 hours after micro needling.