Ask the Medical Cosmetic Expert – Dr. Burger
CIT (Collagen Induction Therapy)TM aka Medical Needling
Dr. Des Fernandes, one of the world’s leaders in Skin Health and the founder of the Environ skincare product line, is seen as the pioneer for this technique that he first developed in the early 1990s. The name might sound technical, but is very elegant and self-explanatory once a person understands the process and concept behind it.
Dr. Fernandes noticed that when the skin is repeatedly punctured with micro needles, it produced dramatic amounts of collagen. This is a very effective regeneration technique indicated for the repair of damage to the skin’s structure (wrinkling, laxity, scarring, stretch marks etc). The skin is in essence plumped up by its own collagen fibers.
Our skin cannot grow collagen from the topical application of “collagen” in a bottle or from the application of a lotion or serum to the skin. Collagen fibers are live fibers that grow in response to an injury to the skin. An injury can be as severe as a laceration from a knife (then it grows wound collagen – unwanted cosmetically) or the injury can be as mild as a needle prick (grows embryonic or soft baby collagen – we want this). Collagen fibers can only be grown by platelets (when platelets are pushed into a wound eg a cut) or when fibroblasts are stimulated eg by a needle prick or a laser beam.
A good analogy for CITtm is that it’s similar to aerating a lawn: the micro needles penetrate the full thickness of the skin (like an aerator penetrates a lawn), similar to new grass growing into the openings, our skin will grow new collagen into the puncture sites.
When CITtm or Medical Needling is performed in a Medical spa, it has the responsibilities of a clean surgical procedure. This means each client has their own, individual labelled, roller head that is sterilized at Operating Room standards between treatments. The skin is sterilized, then numbed with a topical agent – the procedure has very little, if any, discomfort. Immediately after the micro punctures are made, medical grade vitamins from Environ (contains no perfumes or preservatives) are infused into the skin with Galvanic Iontophoresis (very mild current) as part of the procedure. This is absolutely painless and is essential to the procedure. In this way we deliver high doses of active vitamins into the deep layers of the skin (where the fibroblasts were just needled/stimulated) allowing maximal collagen growth.
Since multiple punctures were just made into the skin, it is very important that sterile technique be maintained for the safety of the client. No products should be infused into the skin or applied immediately after, that will harm the skin. In our spa Facial CITtm or Needling is only performed by our Physician to ensure sterile technique and the proper treatment of each area of the face is followed. After the infusion the client’s skin is slightly pink and the next day a very light pink, no pain relief or cover-up etc is needed after the vitamin infusion is complete.
As a warning: It is important to remember that intact skin is our bodies’ first line of defense against a world full of bacteria and viruses. When we purposely break the skin and inactivate that defense mechanism, it is essential that the person working on you is fully aware of the possible negative consequences and trained in the proper ways to keep you safe. For this medical procedure, it is in the best interest of the client to do their homework first about sterility, procedure, products and experience, when choosing where to get Medical Needling (or Collagen Induction Therapy as Dr. Fernandes named it) done.