Microneedling – a skin rejuvenation technique which can be deployed to treat facial pigmentation, wrinkles, and acne scars – could be used to treat pattern hair loss and early-stage alopecia areata. That’s the claim being made by Dr Fanny J. Berg, a Delaware-based practitioner who specialises in dermatology.
As a skincare treatment, microneedling does exactly what it says on the tin. A cluster of tiny needles are deployed to create small punctures in the top layer of the skin, in order to encourage the body to create the extra collagen and elastin that can smooth out the complexion and create a more youthful look.
The interesting side-effect is that it also creates an increase of vascularity, which not only treats ageing skin but can also be used to stimulate hair growth in alopecia sufferers.
How does Microneedling work?
The treatment procedure is relatively harmless: a topical anaesthetic is applied to the area in question half an hour beforehand.
This is followed by a twenty-minute session where a roller device covered in thousands of tiny microneedles is pressed and moved across the treatment area. After each pass, a thin solution of protein-rich plasma (or hyaluronic acid) is applied.
Does it hurt?
Subjects have reported that the treatment feels like the skin is being rubbed gently with sandpaper – not the most pleasant experience on the face, to be sure, but less painful on certain parts of the scalp.
A hydrating gel is recommended to minimise any discomfort after the treatment, which usually involves three monthly sessions – followed by occasional maintenance treatments down the line.
Post-treatment symptoms include skin redness which fades after a couple of days at most, but studies conclude that skin improvements have developed up until six months afterwards.
For more information on how Microneedling works, this review contains a wealth of detail.