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If your beard isn’t coming in as thick and full as you would like, you may be looking for ways to enhance beard growth.

In recent years, many men have turned to derma rollers, devices that have been used to help treat acne scars, large pores, and wrinkles for many years. This process is known as microneedling.

Microneedling uses rollers covered in tiny titanium or stainless steel needles to pierce the outer layer of skin to induce the production of collagen in the skin.

Collagen is an amino acid that hair follicle cells use to produce keratin protein that promotes hair growth and strength.

Derma rollers — also known as “beard rollers” — may help improve hair growth in other ways, too. Especially when used with other products. Read on to learn more about derma rollers and some strategies for using them.

The effectiveness of microneedling to improve skin health is well established.

There has been some research noting microneedling’s success at promoting scalp hair growth, but there is little scientific study into how much derma rollers can help beard growth.

A 2016 study, however, did suggest that minoxidil (Rogaine) may help beard growth slightly. A 2017 study also found microneedling had promise in the treatment of hair loss, especially when paired with other treatments like minoxidil and topical steroids.

In addition to activating collagen and keratin production, microneedling may help improve beard hair growth by boosting nutrient-rich blood flow to the area.

Healthy circulation is necessary for healthy hair growth and healthy skin. A derma roller may also activate stem-cell growth factors.

Risks

Because derma rollers actually pierce the skin, there are some risks associated with them. Initially, you may notice some skin irritation — redness and inflammation — but these side effects should disappear after a few days.

You may also have minor bleeding. If the bleeding is excessive, you may be pressing the roller too firmly against your skin.

The size of the needles on derma rollers varies. Larger needles (0.5 mm) should only be used once or twice a week. Smaller, 0.25 mm needles can be used more often. You will want to give your skin a chance to repair itself between treatments.

Other tips for derma rolling include:

  • When starting out, look for a derma roller with fewer, rather than more, needles on its surface. More needles on the roller mean a greater chance of pulling the skin.
  • Wash your skin and beard before microneedling.
  • Apply only as much pressure as you need to keep the needles on the surface of your skin. When microneedling your cheeks, it may help to fill each cheek with air, as you might do when shaving, to give the roller a firmer surface.
  • Roll the derma roller back and forth in horizontal and vertical lines, as well as diagonal lines in both directions for a consistent pattern throughout your beard.
  • Avoid microneedling if you have acne, as this may further harm your skin and spread bacteria from blemishes to other parts of your face.
  • Clean your derma roller after each use by dipping it in alcohol or spraying it with a sanitizing solution.
  • Expect to replace your derma roller every few months.

You may need to try it yourself to see how much a derma roller can fill in some of those patchy areas of your beard.

Keep in mind, however, that your genetic makeup and other factors beyond your control determine to a great extent the type of beard you can grow.

To give your derma roller the best chance at success, consider using minoxidil on your beard once or twice a week, on days when you don’t use the derma roller. There hasn’t been considerable research in this area.

If you’re looking for other ways to speed up beard growth, consider some of these lifestyle adjustments:

Derma rollers have been shown to effectively promote hair growth on the scalp. Because there hasn’t been much clinical research into microneedling for beard growth, be wary when trying this treatment and have realistic expectations.

If you do decide to use a derma roller for your beard, there are strategies you can try to maximize your growing potential. Microneedling may show positive results in your beard within a few weeks.