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Collagen Induction Therapy - Dermapen3™

Written by Dr Jill Tomlinson on .

Our Dermapen3™ provides natural skin rejuvenation with minimal downtime.  

How does Collagen Induction Therapy work?

Collagen induction is achieved through skin needling, which produces thousands of very minor (almost microscopic) punctures in the skin. Each puncture triggers the body's repair response within the skin, producing natural chemical signals in the dermis as it as it breaks some of the tiny blood vessels directly below the surface of the skin. As the blood clots it releases natural growth factors and creates the correct environment for collagen and elastin formation, which help to rejuvenate the skin. 

We have chosen to use the Dermapen3™ as it offers unparalleled collagen induction by harnessing the body's innate ability to re-grow and repair the skin as a response to micro-damage. The small, hand-held device delivers up to 1,300 micro punctures each second into the skin, thus stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.

Dermapen3™’s controlled precision promotes the three phases of Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) mechanics, thus allowing for new collagen growth to occur.

The first phase begins with the release of the body’s own growth factors, followed by a cascade of new epidermal growth, fibroblast chemotaxis, fibroblast proliferation and matrix production.

This proliferation of the body's tissue continues to release growth factors from fibroblasts, keratinocytes and monocytes, culminating in the second phase of CIT mechanics, where production of collagen I, III, and IV, elastin, proteoglycans and glycosoaminoglycans, and the process of angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth) occur.

The third phase of CIT and the desired result of a Dermapen™ Treatment is the tissue remodeling process, where the skin’s matrix matures, causing skin to tighten. The treatment harnesses the body's natural ability to heal itself by generating new healthy skin cells to replace aged or damaged ones, creating fantastic results.

Moreover, because the process never involves heat or thermal energy, does not use harsh chemicals or cause unnecessary trauma, the skin heals quickly, requiring virtually no downtime. The device has ben used to treat visible signs of aging, such as skin atrophy and wrinkles, as well as various types of scarring, stretch marks, several types of pigmentation disorders, sun damaged skin, hair loss, and much, much more.

In addition, the Dermapen3™ is a fantastic cosmeceutical delivery device. Any serum or product applied to the skin immediately after a Dermapen3™ Treatment is very easily absorbed into the skin, rendering it much more effective than with a traditional topical application.


What conditions can the Dermapen3TM treat?  

Clinical treatment indications include:

  • Skin rejuvenation
  • Ageing / wrinkles
  • UV damage
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Hypopigmentation
  • Vitiligo
  • Rosacea
  • Telangiectasia
  • Sebhorrhoea
  • Problematic skin / break outs / acne
  • Enlarged / dilated pores
  • Milia
  • Keratsosis Pilaris
  • Scarring
  • Striae (stretch marks)
  • Alopecia

For each condition a patient treatment program is designed and tailored. The program will vary depending on the condition being treated, the location of the condition, how long the condition has been active and what combination therapies (if any) are recommended. Recommended programs vary in treatment intervals, the needle depths to be used and the number of treatments.

How does skin needling compare to other clinical treatments?

  • Skin needling can be performed on all skin types including Asian and darker skin tones with minimal risk of hyperpigmentation
  • There is significantly reduced downtime compared to IPL/ Laser/ Fractional Laser/ Dermabrasion/ Chemical Peels
  • The overall cost is significantly reduced compared to fractional laser treatments
  • Skin needling can be performed in the clinic or at home

What are the risks?

As the process happens on a microscopic level, the outward appearance of any trauma is negligible and skin redness is reduced within hours. Only a tiny fraction of the epidermis is disturbed, with most of the activity in the deeper skin layer. Hence the skin does not risk damage, colour loss or hyperpigmentation. 

What results and benefits can be expected?

Visible skin improvement can continue for up to twelve months following a treatment series. Skin will appear firmer, more refined, smoother and more rejuvenated. The complexion becomes more luminous. 

The tiny punctures can also be used to enhance the delivery and absorption of cosmeceutical skin care products. Your skin clinician can provide you with individualised advice regarding the best products for your skin type. 

How many treatments are needed?

Skin needling treatments are best performed in a series. We recommend four to six sessions, spaced up to six weeks apart - but the choice on the number of treatments is entirely yours. 

What are the contraindications to Dermapen3TM treatment?

If you have a significant skin infection in the proposed area of treatment we will be unable to perform your treatment until the infection clears. The contraindications to treatment also include:

  • papulopustular rosacea
  • severe acne
  • herpes simplex (cold sores)
  • warts
  • scleroderma
  • bacterial infections
  • fungal infections
  • skin ulceration
  • skin cancers or areas suspicious for skin cancer
  • bleeding disorders such as haemophilia or anticoagulant medications such as warfarin or Xarelto
  • any skin condition for which you are taking isotretinoin
  • use of injectables (botulinum toxin or dermal fillers) in the treatment region in the 14 days prior to treatment
  • use of IPL, radiofrequency ablation, Photo Dynamic Therapy, dermabrasion, deep peels and microdermabrasion in the treatment region in the weeks leading up to treatment
  • spray tanning or superficial peels in the treatment region in the week prior

Local anaesthetic cream is routinely applied prior to Dermapen3TM treatment. If you have any of the following conditions we do not recommend the use of local anaesthetic cream in your treatment:

  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • significant liver disease
  • allergies to local anaesthetic cream
  • allergies to sulphurs
  • heart arrhythmias being treated with medications

What are the pre-treatment recommendations?

Individuals who are prone to herpes semplex (cold sores) are advised to take prophylaxis (anti-viral tablets) to prevent a possible outbreak. 

Individuals who have Fitzpatrick type IV, V and VI skin (darker skin types) are recommended to use Brite LiteTM for two weeks prior to Dermapen3 TMtreatment to minimise the likelihood of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

What are the immediate results?

Immediately after the treatment your skin will be reddened and swollen in appearance. This may be likened to severe sunburn. Unlike with severe sunburn, however, the redness begins to subside after a few hours. Most individuals can return to work the following day. We suggest scheduling your needling appointments in the afternoon or early evening. You should not plan to engage in vigorous exercise in the hours following your treatment, or to apply makeup. The typical recovery timeline is:

Time Indication
      Within 24 hours       Redness, mild swelling, petechiae (tiny red spots)
1-2 days      Mild redness, petechiae (tiny red spots), reduced swelling, minor itching, dry/tight sensation     
2-3 days Reduced redness, fading of petechiae, swelling gone, reduced itching, minor skin flaking
3-4 days Potentially slight dryness (hence the need to moisturise!)
4-5 days Full recovery

Are there any limitations after treatment?

For at least two days after a Dermapen3 treatment you must 

  • avoid direct sun exposure
  • avoid vigorous exercise
  • avoid other skin treatments including microdermabrasion, laser, IPL, chemical peels and injectables
  • avoid tattooing
  • avoid high doses of topical skin treatments including retinoids, alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), hydroquinone, beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), benzoyl peroxide, alcohol and chemical based sunscreens
  • avoid heated activities such as extremely hot showers, spas or saunas
  • avoid spray tanning
  • avoid ocean swimming and swimming in chlorinated pools

What are the home treatment options?

rejuvadermrollerHome treatment skin needling is performed with a needle that has a lower penetration than is performed in a clinical treatment. The roller penetrates 0.25mm into the outer skin layer to facilitate the passage of cosmeceutical ingredients, booksting their absorption by up to 40 times and enhancing the results. 

The home rolling treatments are painless, producing only a slight 'prickling' sensation. 

Home rolling is recommended to be performed twice weekly in the evenings. Gently roll for 1-2 minutes over four skin sections - cheeks and around the eye area, forehead, chin and lip area. Roll back and forth four times horizontally, vertically and diagonally in each area. 

Your home roller should be replaced every 6 months and should not be shared. 

To schedule an appointment for skin needling with the Dermapen 3™ at our practice please call (03) 9427 9596 during business hours, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Website Disclaimer

This website is authored by Dr Jillian Tomlinson, a fully qualified plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon who practices in Melbourne, Australia. This website aims to inform patients and health professionals about hand surgery, illness prevention and the practice philosophy of Dr Jill Tomlinson. This website's content is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own doctor. The information is not intended to replace the advice of a health professional. This website does not host or receive funding from advertising or from the display of commercial content.