Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT), also known as medical skin needling or micro-needling, is a minimally-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment designed to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as scars on the face and body. The treatment uses tiny needles or micro-needles on a medical-grade roller that is moved over the skin to create tiny, evenly-spaced puncture wounds on the skin. This process stimulates the body’s natural collagen production by generating a wound healing response. The roller used is much like a fine tattooing needle, so should cause minimal trauma when creating the microscopic punctures in the skin. However, topical local anaesthetic can be used to minimise discomfort. By damaging the skin, you encourage the body to produce new collagen and elastin, which helps it thicken and ‘plump up’. The procedure can be performed on the face and body.
There are no major contraindications for Collagen Induction Therapy. As with all cosmetic treatments, the ideal candidate should have realistic expectations and be in generally good health. The treatment is suitable for all skin types, unlike some laser or chemical peels procedures. If you have any of the following concerns, you may be a suitable candidate for Collagen Induction Therapy:
- Premature ageing
- Skin Laxity
- Lines and wrinkles
- Scarring from acne, chicken pox, injuries or surgery
Risks and complications associated with this treatment are minimal but can include:
- Scab formation
- Flaking or dryness of the skin
- The appearance of white spots, known as milia
- The appearance of dark patches on the skin, known as hyperpigmentation
- An outbreak of cold sores in previous suffers
Any complications with this treatment are rare and can be easily resolved in most cases.
There are a number of different methods of performing Collagen Induction Therapy so how your treatment is performed will depend on what method is being used.
Before you undergo any cosmetic treatment, it is important to have a consultation with a qualified practitioner to ensure you are suitable for treatment. This will be your opportunity to ask any questions you have about the procedure and for the practitioner to explain the pros and cons. A medical history will usually be taken and you will be asked to sign a consent form to make sure you fully understand what the procedure involves and any associated risks and complications. Once your practitioner has decided you are a suitable candidate, your treatment can go ahead.
The length of the needles used on a medical grade roller device for Collagen Induction Therapy will vary. The longer the needle, the deeper into the skin it will penetrate, and the more dramatic results you will see. A topical anaesthetic is usually applied before treatment to minimise any pain and discomfort. Your treatment can take anywhere between 10 minutes and an hour, depending on the area you are having treated.
As we have said, how your treatment is performed will depend on the type of device being used. With a roller device the needles will be rolled over your skin to create evenly spaced puncture wounds. With a micropigmentation device a single needle, encased within a hand-piece (much like those used by tattoo artists) is used to puncture the skin.
After Collagen Induction Therapy Treatment, your skin will be a bit red or pink. You may also get some bleeding and bruising, however this should be minimal and will depend on the length of the needle used during your treatment. The downtime with this treatment is very quick and you should have recovered between 24-72 hours.
Because the results of this treatment rely on kick-starting your body’s own collagen production, it can take between four to eight weeks before you start to fully see the benefits. A series of between two and five treatments is usually recommended to achieve maximum results.
Your practitioner may also ask you to use a home-use roller and cosmeceutical grade skincare to enhance your treatment results. These home-use devices have much shorter needles than those used in clinics for treatments and are designed to help your skin absorb the active ingredients in any skincare products you are using. Beware of buying these types of products on the internet as you should not be using any medical grade device on your own at home. The best way to ensure you are using the right device is to have a consultation with a specialist practitioner who can advise you on the right homecare kit to use and how it can complement any treatments.