Minoxidil is one of the most effective topical treatments for hair loss. And it is one of the few medications that the FDA approves for use for hair loss. On the other hand, derma rolling is also a well-respected procedure for stimulating hair growth. You will often hear that putting the two together isn’t advisable.
If you put on minoxidil right after derma rolling, it will enhance the absorption of minoxidil. Since topical minoxidil is not meant to go into your bloodstream, this could increase side effects. With longer needle depths, i.e., 1 mm, you want to give the skin time to heal (48 hrs) after applying minoxidil.
Hair loss is a major problem for more people who have reached middle age. Some younger people in their 20s experience it as well. It makes sense to want a quick solution to the hair loss problem. As such, some people convince themselves to do all they can to help with hair loss. This urgency includes anything from trying out the most potent products to trying out the best procedures. Here comes the use of minoxidil and derma rolling. Some people will tell you that the absorption of minoxidil is what you should aim for. And if you are thinking in layman’s terms, then yes, it makes sense to want a topical hair product to penetrate your skin more.
However, minoxidil should not serve that purpose. Minoxidil already penetrates the skin very well without dermarolling. People get systemic side effects from minoxidil without derma rolling all the time. Again, minoxidil does not need assistance to penetrate the skin. It can do so easily.
When you apply minoxidil after dermarolling, you’re letting too much minoxidil that wouldn’t normally get absorbed into your system too quickly. Certain risks come up when the body absorbs minoxidil in excessive amounts. One of the main benefits of minoxidil is that it’s limited to the area of application. Its effects largely focus on the application area and nothing more. This is ideal because you would not normally want substances messing with your body.
What Is Minoxidil?
Let’s talk a little more about what minoxidil is and what it does before going into a more in-depth discussion about minoxidil and derma rolling.
First off, minoxidil was originally a medication for hypertension. Its emergence as a medication for hair loss was quite an amazing coincidence. While researchers were conducting trial runs for the medication, they found out that minox affected hair growth. From then on, the medication has gone through a steady rise to become one of the most used hair loss medications. Minoxidil being a medication for hypertension is important since, with topical use, we don’t want it going into your system.
Many people prefer to use it because it is just a topical treatment and will not systemically affect the body’s other processes. Even though minoxidil’s been around for decades, there’s still some mystery about how the treatment works. Thus, it can be risky to ingest it, knowing that it already has reported side effects. Here are a couple of well-known side-effects of minoxidil.
- Itching and burning sensations at the application site of the medication. (this is a topical side-effect)
- Rashes due to application (if this happens, consult your medical professional immediately for treatment)
The following side effects usually come up from the absorption of minoxidil into the body:
- Chest pain
- Vision impairment
- Numbness of the hands
From the extensive list above, it is clear that though minoxidil is an over-the-counter drug, you should still use it with caution.
What Is Derma Rolling?
Derma rolling has numerous applications outside of hair loss treatment. Derma rollers also make the skin smoother and encourage skin elasticity. They can even allegedly improve skin pigmentation and smoothen out the skin’s overall look (Singh et al., 2016).
Derma rolling involves the use of a tool that has small needle-like structures that can penetrate the skin. Essentially, derma rolling is just a form of microneedling. It is relatively safe and has achieved plenty of positive results in the last decade or so that it’s been around. However, results may vary depending on how well the procedure went.
The idea behind derma rolling is that it punctures the skin in a minor way. The mild trauma inflicted by the microneedles will encourage collagen development and cell reproduction. For the skin, that’s a great thing. And for the hair, collagen is an active contributor to hair growth. Thus, derma rolling will help with stimulating hair growth.
Another use of the derma roller is that it helps with the absorption of topical skin products. Since you will be puncturing the skin, the pores will be more open to substances. And in many cases, especially for skincare products, this can be a good thing. But in terms of minoxidil use, it is a big no-no.
Why You Can’t Use Minoxidil After Derma Rolling
The above description of minoxidil detailed quite the list of side effects, and many of those side-effects happen because the body absorbed the medication. Putting on minoxidil after derma rolling will worsen these side effects.
Let’s say that you have been successfully using minoxidil for a significant amount of time without any negative side effects. So now you want to improve your results try to increase the dosage your body receives. You aren’t bothered by the fact that derma rolling will worsen the side-effects because you never had any in the first place.
First off, the side effects listed above will rarely happen if you do not absorb minoxidil. Meaning, the side effects from a topical application are completely different from what would happen if you happen to take the medication into your body by accident. You have some leeway here, though; your body can tolerate some minoxidil being absorbed, which is even why some people take minoxidil pills instead of going the topical route.
But there is a reason why there are only small percentages in variants of minoxidil (2% or 5%). It is not something that you can ingest safely, and even 10 or 12% concentrations of minoxidil are not that much better.
With minoxidil, less is more. If topical 5% minoxidil does not work for you, then higher concentrations will not either. Absorbing more of the drug into your system by dermarolling beforehand won’t accomplish anything but speed up how fast you get side effects.
The reason minoxidil takes a long time is because of the hair growth cycle.
For new hairs to sprout, it simply takes months. Minoxidil merely creates ideal conditions for hair follicles to grow. It doesn’t speed up hair growth.
You also can’t use minoxidil after derma rolling because it will negate derma rolling’s effects. The internet is at a bit of an odds about this one. Some people say that minoxidil does not inhibit collagen, but some say it does on certain levels.
However, some studies provide more insight into this topic. This research paper by Parish et al. (1995) concludes that minoxidil does affect collagen. The effect is specifically on collagen contraction. Take the study’s information with a grain of salt since there are probably updates to the information in the research and the methods used.
A more recent study on how minoxidil prevents collagen production (Shao et al., 2018). However, the application of the study was not on hair loss but pulmonary illnesses.
Still, we can conclude that there is sufficient evidence that proves that minoxidil inhibits collagen production in one way or another. Many people report rashes and having worse skin in the area of application for minoxidil. Still, the effects may be negligible and will vary from person to person. Many people report that they do not feel the effects of collagen inhibition with minoxidil use. It is up to you where to stand on the issue. While there are many anecdotal pieces of evidence, there are also conclusive research findings on the topic. Just keep in mind the human variation factor. It could very well be that you get bad side effects or none at all.
When Is It Safe to Use Minoxidil After Derma Rolling?
It’s safe to use minoxidil after dermarolling with a needle length less than 1.0 mm. at around 24 hours. For needle lengths longer than 1.0 mm, you should wait 48 hours for the needle channels to heal.
Will you be fine if you apply minoxidil sooner? Yeah, it most likely won’t kill you. But keep in mind that it won’t speed up your gains. Maximal absorption should not be the goal. Consistency of use is more important. Focus on applying it twice a day consistently instead.