Microneedling is a minimally invasive dermatological procedure in which fine needles are rolled over the skin to puncture the stratum corneum. This therapy is used to induce collagen formation, neovascularization and growth factor production of treated areas. It has been used in a wide range of dermatologic conditions, including androgenetic alopecia (AGA) and alopecia areata, among others. While there are a limited number of studies examining this therapy in the use of hair loss, microneedling has been successfully paired with other hair growth promoting therapies, such as minoxidil, platelet-rich plasma and topical steroids, and shown to stimulate hair follicle growth. It is thought that microneedling facilitates penetration of such first-line medications, and this is one mechanism by which it promotes hair growth. To date, the area most studied and with the most success has been microneedling treatment of AGA. While the current evidence does not allow one to conclude superiority of microneedling over existing standard therapies for hair loss, microneedling shows some promise in improving hair growth, especially in combination with existing techniques. This review summarizes the current literature regarding microneedling in the treatment of alopecia and calls for further studies to define a standard treatment protocol.
© 2017 European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.