Skin needling, also called microneedling therapy, collagen induction therapy (CIT), and percutaneous collagen induction (PCI), is a minimally invasive skin-rejuvenation procedure that involves the use of a device that contains fine needles. The needles are used to puncture the skin to create a controlled skin injury. Each puncture creates a channel that triggers the body to fill these microscopic wounds by producing new collagen and elastin. Through the process of neovascularization and neocollagenesis, there is improvement in skin texture and firmness, as well as reduction in scars, pore size, and stretch marks.
Among the earliest proponents was Michael Pistor, the French doctor who is credited with having developed mesotherapy in 1952. In the 1990s, Montreal plastic surgeon Andre Camirand, MD, experimented with using tattoo guns without ink to treat postsurgical scars. South African plastic surgeon Des Fernandes, MD, founder of the Environ™ skin care range, introduced skin needling using a roller for treating vertical perioral wrinkles at the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) congress in Taipei in 1996.
PCI has proved to be a simple and fast method for safely treating wrinkles and scars. Because the epidermis remains intact, the procedure can be repeated safely and is also suited to regions where laser treatments and deep peels are not typically performed. PCI therapy is now becoming widely used as a treatment for photoaged skin to improve the skin’s appearance and quality, and to improve or even prevent scarring.
Microneedling can be performed in an office setting. It is cost-effective, and can be done on areas of skin that may not be suitable for peeling or laser resurfacing, such as around the eyes and mouth, hands, and chest. The procedure is well tolerated by patients with minimal downtime, and can be easily personalized by going deeper on some areas where skin damage requires a more aggressive approach.