Derma Roller for Receding Hairlines: Does It Really Work?

Medically reviewedby Dr. Ahmad Chaudhry M.B.B.S.
WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

Are you struggling with a receding hairline?

Discover how using a derma roller for receding hairlines can potentially rejuvenate your scalp and promote hair regrowth.

This article explores the effectiveness and techniques of derma rolling to help you regain confidence in your hair's appearance.

Can a derma roller help with a receding hairline?

Dermarolling can effectively regrow hair along the receding hairline and temples in cases of androgenic alopecia. By targeting the delicate frontal scalp, it activates the wound healing process in areas with weakened follicles and surface-level inflammation.

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How to use a derma roller for receding hairlines

Using a derma roller for a receding hairline can help stimulate hair growth, effectively promoting hair growth even in thinning hair. Here's how to properly use one:

  • Cleanse scalp: Start by thoroughly cleansing the scalp to ensure it's free from oils and dirt.
  • Choose the right needle size: Use a derma roller with needles ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 mm in length.
  • Rolling technique: Gently roll the derma roller across the affected area in vertical, diagonal, and horizontal directions.
  • Monitor for bleeding: Stop rolling once you notice pinpoint bleeding, which indicates you've stimulated the scalp sufficiently.
  • Post-treatment: If you're using minoxidil, apply it about 24 hours after derma rolling to enhance absorption and effectiveness.

What is a derma roller?

derma roller for hair

A derma roller is referred to as a device that is rolled onto the skin and forms micropores during the rolling process. Derma rollers have been widely used for their anti-aging effects as they stimulate collagen production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Derma rollers are also used for improved transdermal delivery of pharmacologic formulations.

Derma rollers utilize tiny needles based on the principle of micro-needling to encourage hair growth by rejuvenating scalp skin.

Skin punctures, also called micropores, stimulate the underlying skin cells to release growth factors and increase collagen production. The needles do not penetrate the dermis layer of the skin and, hence, do not elicit pain during the process.

Derma rollers are also used to eliminate acne scars and stretch marks. Similar rejuvenating effects are also seen in individuals with excessive hair loss. Derma rollers also increase the efficacy of pharmacologic formulations used to treat hair loss.

Is a derma roller effective for hair loss?

derma roller for receding hairlines

Yes, derma rolling is effective for hair loss. It improves hair count and density by stimulating blood flow and molecular pathways that enhance follicle function.

A study found that using a derma roller with minoxidil led to a significant increase in hair count, with an average gain of 91.4 hairs at 12 weeks compared to only 22.2 for those using minoxidil alone.

Another trial reported a mean increase of 12.52 hairs per square inch for the group using both microneedling and minoxidil, versus a rise of just 1.89 hairs per square inch in the minoxidil-only group.

Research by Gupta et al. in 2021 highlighted that microneedling alone significantly outperformed topical minoxidil by 5% in increasing total hair count.

Studies also show that microneedling induces localized inflammation and tissue injury, which helps revive dormant follicles, activate growth-related genes, and increase growth factor production. Thus, it reverses hair follicle miniaturization and promotes the growth of thicker, healthier hair.

How does a derma roller stimulate hair growth?

Derma rolling promotes hair growth by enhancing penetration of hair loss medications, stimulating the release of growth factors by hair follicle stem cells, and promoting neovascularization of hair follicles to provide sufficient oxygen and nutrients for rapidly proliferating hair follicle cells. 

Derma rollers have been employed as effective hair loss treatments for conditions like androgenetic alopecia, particularly when used alongside medications such as minoxidil.

Microneedling induces hair regrowth via activation of stem cells and release of epidermal and platelet-derived growth factors that promote wound regeneration.

This technique promotes the overexpression of genes crucial for stimulating hair growth, including Wnt10b, Wnt3a, and B catenin, contributing to hair growth results.

The efficacy of derma rollers in the treatment of hair loss can also be demonstrated by the fact that people who undergo minoxidil therapy with micro-needling tend to experience better treatment outcomes than those who undergo minoxidil monotherapy.

Similarly, combination therapy has been shown to boost hair regrowth more effectively than micro-needling alone.

How long does it take for a derma roller to work?

People who use derma rollers for hair loss treatment experience noticeable new hair growth about 6 weeks after initiation of the treatment. Rapid growth in hair already present on the scalp is observed only one week after using a derma roller. However, people who undergo minoxidil monotherapy tend to observe hair growth after 10 weeks of initiation of minoxidil treatment.

What are derma roller side effects?

balding guy using derma roller

Derma rollers are contraindicated in individuals who suffer from chronic skin diseases and immunosuppression. Frequent, yet mild complications of derma rolling include pain during derma rolling, erythema, mild edema, and irritation on the affected site of the scalp. These subside a few hours to days after the procedure.

Other less frequent adverse effects of derma rolling include hyperpigmentation and superficial infections of the skin, for instance, impetigo.

Moreover, susceptible individuals may also suffer from contact dermatitis and allergic granulomatous reactions.

Exposure to blood during derma rolling increases the risk of the spread of infections and transmissible diseases.

What derma roller should you use?

Not all derma roller are built the same. Some manufacturers might opt for less expensive materials and the needles might not be as good.

Furthermore, there are disposable derma rollers that are less durable and also less-environmentally friendly.

Here at Scandinavian Biolabs, our values are deeply rooted in ecological manufacturing and consumption. We wholeheartedly recommend a high quality, long-lasting derma roller that will not damage your skin.

What is a receding hairline?

woman receding hairline

Receding hairline or hair recession is characterized by the backward movement of the hairline across the scalp. Hairline recession may not occur solely and may be accompanied by concomitant thinning of hair. Receding hairline is a common manifestation of male and female pattern baldness.

Hair loss, including male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss, may involve the frontal and temporal areas of the scalp. In some cases, bitemporal hair loss exceeds frontal hair loss giving rise to a V-shaped hairline or widow's peak.

What are the common causes of hair loss?

Hair loss may occur due to a single etiological factor or interaction between multiple factors. Some of the common causes of hair loss are listed down below:


Genetic factors play a significant role in the onset of hair loss and hairline recession. The severity of hair loss depends greatly on the genetic susceptibility of hair loss in that individual. Androgenic alopecia is the most common cause of hair loss in men and women.

This is referred to as increased sensitivity of hair follicles to androgens resulting in excessive hair shedding.

While females suffer from diffuse thinning of hair, males tend to experience hairline recession and the appearance of bald spots on the scalp.


Age also plays a crucial role in the onset of hairline recession and hair loss in both men and women.

The rate of proliferation of hair follicles declines as the overall body metabolism reduces with increasing age.

Medical treatments

Hair loss is also a manifestation of therapeutic modalities. This includes chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer treatment that target rapidly proliferating cells in the body.

Henceforth, follicular cells are also affected. These may be destroyed owing to direct radiation exposure. Other medications may also contribute to thinning hair as part of their adverse effects.

Alopecia areata

Alopecia areata, a form of androgenetic alopecia, involves immune-mediated damage to hair follicles, leading to bald spots not only on the scalp but also on other body areas.

Telogen effluvium

Telogen effluvium indicates premature progression of hair follicles in the telogen or transitional phase of the hair growth cycle. This hair loss condition arises in the presence of stress on the body.

Different stress triggers include pregnancy, childbirth, surgery, and emotional disturbances.

Traction alopecia

Traction alopecia is referred to hair strands subjected to increased tension resulting in excessive hair loss. Pulling hair during styling causes traction alopecia.

Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can disrupt the hair growth cycle, leading to hair loss, especially in conditions like female pattern hair loss.

For example, consumption of oral contraceptives and endocrine disorders including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may lead to hair loss.

Similarly, thyroid hormone abnormalities also manifest as excessive hair loss.


Bacterial and fungal infections of the scalp also contribute significantly to hair loss.

Microbial infections lead to inflammatory and scarring alopecia characterized by the formation of stubs of hair in mild infections and conspicuous bald spots in severe cases. 

What is a normal hair growth cycle?

The typical hair growth cycle in humans consists of three distinct stages: anagen, telogen, and catagen, each critical for promoting healthy hair growth. Hair morphology and physiology vary among these three phases. A brief description of each phase of the hair growth cycle is given below.

Anagen Phase

    This is referred to as the growth phase of the hair growth cycle. During the anagen phase, hair follicular cells undergo active proliferation along with increased melanin synthesis by the melanocytes.

    During this phase, the extracellular matrix of the follicle also increases, and the dermal papilla of the follicles increases in thickness. 

    Catagen Phase 

      Catagen or the transitional phase of the hair growth cycle has a total duration of 2-3 weeks. During this phase, the hair follicle cells stop proliferating and the melanocytes also cease to produce melanin.

      The root bulb shrinks and forms a club-like structure as well as regresses towards the surface of the scalp. 

      Telogen Phase 

        The telogen or resting phase is the last stage of the hair growth cycle. The hair strands may remain attached to the hair follicles, however, no hair growth occurs. This phase may last for several months until hair is shed and the follicles re-enter the anagen phase.

        Approximately 10-15% of the total hair follicles are present in the telogen phase which may last for several months. 

        Activities that manipulate hair such as brushing and washing hair, may cause hair to shed during this phase. 


        Derma rollers stimulate the hair follicle stem cells to release growth factors and also promote the expression of genes responsible for hair growth.

        Derma rolling also induces wound healing and neovascularization that cumulatively improve hair growth.

        Derma rollers are also employed to enhance the efficacy of pharmacologic formulations for hair loss and yield better treatment outcomes.


        Can derma rolling promote beard growth as well as scalp hair growth?

        Yes, derma rolling can also promote beard growth by stimulating the facial hair follicles. The process increases blood flow and nutrient delivery, much like it does for the scalp, enhancing the overall density and health of the beard.

        How does derma rolling compare to other hair loss treatments for treating hair thinning?

        Derma rolling is highly effective in treating hair thinning due to its ability to activate natural healing processes in the scalp. It complements other hair loss treatments by facilitating deeper penetration of topical solutions and promoting a healthier scalp environment, which is essential for hair regrowth.

        What should be the ideal needle length for a derma rolling session on the scalp?

        The ideal needle length for a derma rolling session to treat scalp hair loss typically ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 mm. This range helps effectively stimulate the scalp without causing excessive discomfort or skin irritation.

        How often should I use a derma roller to see improvements in hair density and scalp health?

        For optimal results in improving hair density and scalp health, it's recommended to use a derma roller once every 1-2 weeks. This frequency allows the scalp sufficient time to heal and rejuvenate between sessions, minimizing the risk of skin irritation.

        Does derma rolling help remove dead skin cells from the scalp?

        Yes, derma rolling helps in exfoliating the scalp, removing dead skin cells, and promoting the regeneration of skin tissue. This not only improves scalp health but also enhances the efficacy of topical treatments by ensuring better absorption.

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        Luat Duong

        Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.