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Do Derma Rollers Really Work for Beard Growth?

Do Derma Rollers Really Work for Beard Growth?

Whether you subscribe to 1,000 skincare and beard care YouTube channels or you just started using a moisturizer two weeks ago, your goal is probably the same—keeping your skin and beard as healthy as possible. 

If you’ve come across derma rolling technology during your research binges, you may be skeptical—does a beard roller really do anything? Do derma rollers actually work?

In short—yes. Derma rolling can improve the overall health of your skin and stimulate hair growth. In this guide, we’ll break down the theoretical science behind derma rolling and explore its practical effectiveness in the real world. 

It’s time to get up and get growing—the derma roller could be the exact tool your beard care arsenal is missing. 

The Science Behind the Roll

How do derma rollers work for hair growth? 

Hold onto your beards—we’re about to go full Bill Nye. Let’s put on our dermatology caps and explore just how derma rolling improves skin health and hair growth. 

Know Your Layers

Before we dive headlong into rolling, let’s review the two layers of skin at play in the derma rolling process:2

  • The epidermis – The outermost layer of your skin acts as a protective barrier for the layers beneath it, producing new skin cells and discarding old ones to maintain a strong shield around your body. The epidermis also contains melanin, the chemical that—in abundance—darkens your skin tone.

  • The dermis – The layer immediately underneath the epidermis—representing about 90% of your skin’s thickness—contains collagen and elastin (proteins that keep your skin cells durable and elastic), supplies blood to the epidermis, grows hair via follicles, and produces sweat. 

  • While the epidermis protects you, the dermis provides its upstairs neighbor with everything it needs to do its job. 

    When the epidermis sustains damage from injuries, infections, or irritations, the dermis supplies the damaged area with fresh collagen, elastin, and blood to stimulate fresh cell growth and healing. 

    What Happens When You Roll?

    Home skincare gurus and dermatologists alike stimulate skin rejuvenation and hair growth using a derma roller. A derma roller is a small tool affixed with a cylindrical tube that rolls over the skin—the tube is covered in small needles that create pinprick holes in the epidermis.3

    If you’ve never heard of the practice before, derma rolling—also called micro-needling—might sound a bit barbaric. Spoiler alert: it’s not. Either way, let’s get some misconceptions out of the way:

    • Derma rollers do not puncture the dermis—they only create small, superficial wounds in the top layer of the skin. Thus, derma rolling should not cause bleeding (if rolling makes you bleed, you might be pressing too hard).
    • Derma rolling shouldn’t hurt. Micro-needlers should apply very light pressure to the roller as they move across their skin in small sections.
    • Derma rollers aren’t an acne treatment. In fact, using derma rollers on open wounds (like shaving cuts) or zits can cause an infection or irritation. 

    When the derma roller creates a superficial wound in the epidermis, the dermis is tricked into thinking the epidermis is in danger. So, to “heal” the micro-needling wounds, the dermis dispatches blood, collagen, and elastin to the scene to speed up healing and fresh cell production. This not only stimulates beard growth, but the collagen production also leads to plumper skin, while battling fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and even stretch marks.4 

    Thus, micro-needlers can harness the dermis’s healing power at any time—not just when the skin is healing from damage. 

    How Does Rolling Help Your Hair Grow?

    Micro-needling can stimulate the dermis to improve collagen and elastin production, blood flow, and cell regeneration. But, how do derma rollers work for beard growth?

    Micro-needling impacts hair growth in two major ways:5

  • It builds a strong epidermal foundation – By bolstering the strength, elasticity, and health of the epidermis and increasing activity in the dermis, derma rolling builds a strong foundation for hair follicles and hairs to grow. Increased blood flow and improved epidermal protection provide the perfect environment for hair follicle function.

  • It stimulates dormant or damaged hair follicles – It may be hard to imagine your skin as a constantly-moving organ, but cells are always in motion throughout all three layers of skin. When the dermis receives word that the epidermis is in danger, it increases movement to provide quick healing and cell production to the damaged area. This movement can awaken dormant skin cells, providing them with the extra collagen, elastin, and blood they need to produce strong hairs. 

  • If your beard grows slowly, or if patches of your facial hair don’t grow at all, consider implementing derma rolling into your skin routine. You could be suffering from dormant or sluggish hair follicles, but you can potentially stimulate them with the power of the dermis healing cascade. 

    Putting Theory Into Practice

    Now that we’ve explored the scientific theory behind the micro-needling craze, let’s answer this guide’s crucial question—do derma rollers work for beards and hair growth in practice?

    Various studies have explored the effectiveness of derma rolling for treating a variety of skin issues, including hair loss.

    Derma Rolling in Dermatology

    Derma rolling originated in the dermatology field in the late 1990s when dermatologists tested the treatment for improved scar healing.5

    One of the reasons micro-needling has become so popular with dermatologists—and at-home skin care fans—is because it improves the absorption of topical medications and skin care products. 

    While dermatologists recommend applying medicated products beneath the rest of your skincare products, applying them immediately after derma rolling could further improve their efficacy—products come into contact with an increased surface area, increasing the probability of absorption into the skin. 

    Derma Rolling in At-Home Skincare

    Multiple studies have shown how effective at-home derma rolling can be for hair growth. 

    One study of alopecia patients evaluated the impact of derma rolling for patients using Minoxidil, determining that the micro-needling group noticed both:6

    1. Rapid growth of existing hairs within one week 
    2. Significant new hair growth within six weeks

    Overall, derma rolling patients showed higher hair counts than their non-rolling counterparts, suggesting that micro-needling can, in fact, stimulate hair growth.1 

    Man pressing a derma roller on his beard

    Should You Roll?

    Derma rolling makes theoretical sense and works in real-world hair growth applications. But are you a good candidate for micro-needling?

    The following characteristics might make derma rolling more difficult for you:

    • Persistent, widespread facial acne
    • Chronic dry skin
    • Easily-irritated or sensitive skin

    Essentially, if you have an ongoing skin condition that’s not related to hair growth, you should probably consider more sensitive skin care methods. While derma rolling doesn’t permanently damage skin, even superficial wounds can lead to increased irritation for sensitive beard-wearers.

    On the flip side, if you meet any of the following criteria, you’re likely an excellent candidate for the micro-needling lifestyle:

    • You’re already using beard products – If you’re already using beard products, you’re probably used to maintaining a regular self-care schedule. Consistency is key if you want positive results from derma rolling.
    • You have a patchy beard – If you have ever wondered, “Why is my beard patchy and what can I do about it?”, derma rolling your problem areas could increase follicle activity and make your beard more uniform.
    • You’re new to the beard – If you’re trying to grow a beard for the first time—or you’re growing one back after a reset—micro-needling in your beard area can make your beard hairs grow in more quickly, helping you get over the awkward grow-in phase.

    If you’re ready to take the plunge, don’t forget aftercare—use a high-quality beard growth vitamin spray to improve your chances for increased growth. 

    Grow baby grow. Shop Now!

    What to Look for in a Derma Roller

    Choosing a high-quality derma roller (and taking good care of it) is as essential as a good micro-needling technique. You should look for a derma roller that’s durable, easy to clean, and made from high-quality materials.

    Some signs of excellent construction include:

    • Sleek design, which can prevent germ buildup in nooks and crannies
    • Needles coated in titanium or surgical steel for durability and hygiene
    • Inclusion of a case or cover, which will protect the roller while it’s not in use

    Pick a roller that can stand up to repeated use and frequent cleaning. To prevent infections and injuries, we recommend cleaning your derma roller both before and after use for optimal results. When it comes to learning how to clean a derma roller, remember to reach for a proper derma roller spray that will protect both your skin and the tool itself before and after use.

    While high-quality needle and roller materials are a must, remember that even the sharpest tools go dull after a while. For best results and optimal penetration power, we recommend changing your derma roller head once per month—so be sure to choose a product that has an interchangeable head. 

    Potential Derma Rolling Side Effects

    Like any other skincare treatment, derma rolling could produce side effects. Watch out for the following on your micro-needling journey:

  • Skin irritation – Mild skin irritation is normal—you are poking tiny needles into your skin, after all. But, if the irritation doesn’t clear up within a few days, your skin may simply be too sensitive for micro-needling.

  • Ingrown hairs – Ingrown hair occurs when a hair grows backwards into the skin instead of outward and away from the body.7 Since derma rolling stimulates hair growth, you could experience an ingrown hair—if you do, avoid the area with a roller until it heals, and try only rolling in the same direction as your hair growth.

  • Bleeding and infections – Bleeding and infections for micro-needlers aren’t common, but they can happen. During the beginning stage of learning how to use a derma roller, you can prevent bleeding by applying less pressure to the roller. Plus, you’ll reduce your likelihood of getting an infection by cleaning yourself and your roller before application. 

  • The Beard Club: Taking Your Beard Growth to the Next Level

    If you’re trying to increase your beard growth or tackle patches, derma rolling might just be the missing puzzle piece in your beard care routine

    The Beard Club is a crew of bearded bros just like you—we’re fine-tuning our beard care for optimal growth, health, and appearance, and our line of beard care products can help you unearth your best beard.

    Turn to The Beard Club for men’s grooming tools, moisturizing products, growth treatments, and all things beards.


    Sources: 

    1. National Library of Medicine. Review of Applications of Microneedling in Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5556180/ 
    2. Cleveland Clinic. Skin. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10978-skin 
    3. Teen Vogue. How to Use a Derma Roller, According to a Dermatologist. https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-use-a-derma-roller 
    4. Save Face. Dermarolling: Before and After Photos (Medical/Micro Needling). https://www.saveface.co.uk/dermarolling-before-and-after-photos/ 
    5. National Library of Medicine. Microneedling: Advances and Widening Horizons. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4976400/ 
    6. National Library of Medicine. A Randomized Evaluator Blinded Study of Effect of Microneedling in Androgenetic Alopecia: A Pilot Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746236/ 
    7. National Library of Medicine. Ingrowing Hair. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4902536/