In just the past couple of decades, several new non-surgical therapies for hair loss have made their way to the mainstream. These include low-level laser treatments, platelet-rich plasma injections, and a range of treatments classed as collagen induction therapies.
Among the many forms of collagen induction therapy, two most popular and effective methods are microchanneling and microneedling.
While the mechanisms of these two techniques may differ, their goals are similar: restore healthy skin and promote natural hair growth on the scalp.
Now, hair loss clients face a fork in the road. Which procedure is better to kick-start the process of hair restoration, microchanneling or microneedling? Other factors like cost, commitment, and comfort also come into play, so let’s answer this question from every angle, starting now.
To understand the nuances of microchanneling and microneedling, we first need to get a grasp on collagen induction therapy and how it works.
Here are the facts you should know about CIT and how this impacts the various treatments you’ll see offered by clinics, salons, and cosmetic professionals.
CIT has not been around long, making its first appearance in the mid-1990s.
Microneedling, the original form of CIT, originated as an offshoot of acupuncture, which has roots in ancient eastern medicine.
The concept is simple – short, thin needles are used to make microscopic punctures in the skin, which stimulates the production of powerful proteins and enzymes released naturally by the body in response.
Collagen, a key protein for healthy skin, is amplified significantly, resulting in greater elasticity, firmness, and overall youthful appearance where applied.
To achieve these results, it seems counterintuitive to create tiny punctures in the skin, but CIT actually uses the body’s own healing and preservation mechanisms to its advantage.
Just look at how our bodies respond to stimuli like strength training or cardiovascular exercise. We test the limits of our physiology, which then reacts with improved performance, muscle gain, or increased endurance as a result.
Think of collagen induction therapy as an exercise for your skin – you’re making the skin stronger, healthier, and more resilient with each session.
That’s why so many people are interested in CIT to reduce fine lines and wrinkles on the face and neck, treat loose skin in other areas of the body, minimize scarring, and even reverse the trend of hair loss or thinning on the scalp.
While CIT has been studied more extensively for its anti-aging abilities, there is solid evidence to suggest that methods like microneedling and microchanneling have positive results for strengthening – even regrowing – hair on the scalp in both men and women.
Theories of collagen induction seem to apply to hair treatments as many of the same proteins, enzymes, and growth factors are stimulated in the scalp via tiny needle punctures.
CIT treatments have shown particular promise in coordination with products like Minoxidil (a vasodilator better known as Rogaine), topical steroids, and platelet-rich plasma.
Some research even shows that CIT treatments induce the activity of stem cells in the scalp, an area of study that many hair restoration scientists are eager to explore for specialized therapies.
These findings show that CIT can be extremely versatile in administering medications, testing new forms of therapy, and leading the way to new discoveries in the field of hair restoration.
At present, more CIT practitioners are expanding their services to include hair rejuvenation, in addition to their usual treatments for the face, neck, and decolletage.
Like any scientific area of interest, CIT has evolved in many ways since microneedling was first administered for scar reduction in the 90s.
Researchers have found that needles of varying lengths (typically under 1mm) and diameters yield different results for the production of growth factors and accomplishing specific goals.
The concentration of needle “clusters” also appears to have an impact on the success rate of certain treatments, whether applied to the scalp, the face, the neckline, or other areas of the body like the stomach or legs.
Finally, frequency of treatment plays a role in the overall effectiveness of CIT in the long term, minimizing issues such as scarring and optimizing the stimulation of collagen and serum absorption.
Microchanneling is an advanced form of microneedling designed for greater accuracy, effectiveness, and the minimization of side effects.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of each treatment type and help you decide which might be best for your hair restoration needs.
The original microneedling treatments from decades ago were administered via roller pen, also known as a derma-roller.
These devices are still used across the world today, offering an effective form of collagen induction therapy that requires little training or experience.
There are several advantages to this standard type of microneedling, as well as some downsides that clients must consider, especially when compared with microchanneling.
Simplicity and convenience are a big part of the appeal for microneedling, since these treatments are widely available for reasonable prices.
In most cases, clients don’t need to schedule appointments for microneedling sessions, and the entire treatment lasts less than an hour.
The availability and ease of these treatments make the benefits of CIT widely accessible, and in the hands of the right practitioner, outstanding results can be achieved.
At-home microneedling has gained popularity in recent years, allowing people to experience the benefits of CIT with the one-time purchase of a derma-roller.
Since microneedling is considered mostly safe, these treatments can be self-administered, just like a DIY haircut or facial.
Of course, this approach has limitations, including the potential to cause harm or negate the positive effects of the treatment.
In terms of side effects, microneedling can lead to forms of skin damage like scarring, bruising, and even infection.
These side effects can be avoided by closely following instructions and taking the proper downtime to heal from the micro-punctures of the derma roller.
To ensure protection against side effects, at-home microneedling kits should be avoided in favor of reputable clinics and practitioners with experience and expertise.
We mentioned that micro channeling is a step up from microneedling in terms of results and fewer side effects, but what are the real differences that set it apart? Here are the details.
The key advancement in microchanneling is in the device’s design, which uses a repetitive “stamp” mechanism to create punctures rather than the continuous “roll-on” action of the derma-roller instrument used in microneedling that scrape the skin and cause scarring.
The CIT process of microchanneling is more direct, accurate, and effective than derma-rolling as a result. Microchannel technology creates more consistent, downward punctures rather than risking angled holes from a roller.
Practitioners also have far more control over the pressure and direction of the microchanneling devices instead of being limited by the linear motion of the microneedle roller.
Lastly, serums and medications can be administered more evenly across the skin’s surface area or scalp with microchanneling, making it ideal for clinical hair restoration treatments.
Since the standards and certifications for microchanneling are higher than derma-rolling or microneedling, clients grant themselves an extra degree of assurance and confidence when opting for this advanced treatment.
Hair restoration, in particular, is a technical field demanding precision and expert input, which can’t always be said about the average microneedling salon or its employees.
Suppose you’re searching for the best version of CIT administered by experienced professionals. In that case, microchanneling ensures you are in good hands, with the latest technology and the overarching strategy you need to maximize your results long term.
Since microchanneling uses high-grade technology and is only practiced by experienced technicians, patients can expect to pay more for the treatment compared to microneedling.
On average, a full-scalp hair rejuvenation treatment with microchanneling will be between $400 and $600, while some clinics will offer discounts for multiple sessions and long-term plans.
The cost of microchanneling will also depend on the reputation and experience level of the technician, state-of-the-art technology, and the region or city where the clinic is located.
While microneedling may be a sufficient treatment for affordable skincare, you don’t want to take any unwanted risks when it comes to the health and preservation of your hair.
Microchanneling is a safer and more effective way of attaining collagen induction therapy in the scalp, administering topical medication and serums, and moving your hair restoration results in the right direction.
Set up your microchanneling consultation today – and work with a specialist to create a comprehensive hair growth strategy that goes beyond a single treatment.
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