Background: Microneedling is a relatively novel therapeutic modality introduced in the 1990s where small, fine needles are used to create micro punctures in the skin. It is a minimally invasive procedure used for various dermatological conditions, including androgenetic alopecia (AGA).
Objective and methods: We comprehensively summarize the literature regarding microneedling in dermatology. We performed linear multivariable regressions to synthesize evidence from the clinical trials that investigated the efficacy of microneedling for AGA. Studies eligible for quantitative analyses were assessed for evidence quality.
Results: The exact mechanism of microneedling action is yet to be determined, with theories that include the wound-healing cascade. Microneedling monotherapy significantly increased total hair count more than topical minoxidil 5% (β = 12.29; p < 0.001). The combination treatment of microneedling with topical 5% minoxidil increased total hair count significantly compared to monotherapy with microneedling (β = 7.63, p < 0.05). Increasing the overall treatment duration of microneedling and reducing the frequency of microneedling sessions may positively influence an increase in total hair count.
Conclusion: There are limited studies that investigate microneedling as a monotherapy for hair loss since majority of the trials combine it with other therapies such as topical minoxidil or platelet-rich plasma. While preliminary results look promising, further investigation of microneedling as a monotherapy in larger, randomized controlled trials will help determine its safety and efficacy, and place in treating AGA.
Keywords: acne; androgenetic alopecia; hair loss; male pattern baldness; microneedling.
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