In Part One of this series, I discussed the science behind collagen-induction therapy (CIT). I know you’re eager to get to the results part, and we’ll get there (just remember, it does work!) but first, should you try this at home?
Like I previously mentioned, there are loads of people on YouTube telling you that you can try this at home. I’m sure you’ve also seen countless ads for this procedure offered through aestheticians and/or cosmetic surgeons. There are clear advantages to having the procedure done professionally, not least of which is that it’s done professionally. With better equipment, better medication and the ability to be quite a bit more aggressive than can reasonably be done at home, one can expect better results with less pain and fewer risks of complications. Of course, there is a downside to having this done profe$$ionally. While prices vary tremendously depending upon what the local market will bear, average costs seem to be in the range of $250 per session, with recommendations typically in the range of three-ish sessions.
In my mind, there is no question: if you can afford it, leave it to the pros. The End.
Wait…you’re still reading. That means that you don’t plan to leave it to the pros. OK, fine. Let’s get into the dirty details. The most important thing for you to know is that every single video you’ve watched on YouTube is fundamentally flawed. To be fair, I haven’t watched every single video so I can’t say that with 100% certainty, but I’ve watched a lot of them and I’m pretty confident in standing by that statement. Here’s what you really need to know.
I have purchased two different devices, a hand-held roller and an electric device that plugs in and basically stamps the needles into your face. Both were purchased from Amazon. The electric device is so painful it is not something I’m willing to do at home, and that was starting with the thinnest needles and the smallest quantity of needles. I can’t even imagine trying to do my whole face with this. For real. I’m not even going to give you the link for it because I don’t think this is a reasonable route for home use.
When it comes to hand-held rollers, there are so many choices it can be mind-numbing (too bad it won’t numb your face! Ha!). Some rollers are designed to be used several times a week and have needle lengths of about 0.2-0.3 millimeters. This is not deep enough to induce collagen production, however, they are largely painless and may help your skin treatment products absorb more completely.
If your goal is to induce collagen production and treat deeper flaws, I would recommend a hand-held roller with 0.5mm – 1.5 mm needles. I wanted one that was quite thin because I only wanted to purchase one roller, and I really wanted to try and banish that snarky little smirk line between my upper lip and nose. No such luck – that particular part of my body gets way too much exercise. If your goal is to treat stretch marks on your body, you may wish to go a bit longer but just remember – the longer the needle, the more discomfort you will have.
I opted for a 1.5 mm roller to start. In retrospect, I probably should have started smaller and worked my way up a bit. Now that I am comfortable with, and sold on, CIT I plan to purchase several more rollers. I would like one with much smaller needles to use several times a week solely to help serums absorb. I would also like a wider roller to make the job go a bit quicker. It’s a bit of trial and error and you will need to decide what your goals are and select a roller based on those goals. Please make sure to consider what metal the needles are made from – particularly if you have a sensitivity to metals. I would recommend titanium.
Almost all of the videos discuss “sterilizing” the equipment before use. In my real life, which isn’t at all Fabulush, I’m a surgical RN. I started my nursing career in operating rooms and never looked back. You cannot adequately “sterilize” equipment at home and cannot perform a sterile procedure at home. I’ll be honest, there is a chance that my nursey ego is getting in the way here and that I’m nitpicking on terminology. There is an equal chance that I really want you to understand the difference between sterile and clean so that you can perform this procedure as safely as possible. Option 2 makes me sound like a very compassionate person so I’m going that direction. Please join me!
To safely perform this procedure, clean is probably adequate. There are some things you need to consider so that you can avoid unnecessary risk and work as safely as possible. Infections suck, and I’m pretty sure that we can all agree that infections covering your entire face suck a lot more.
- Acne is full of bacteria. Do not attempt this procedure with active breakouts. Even rolling over one zit can spread bacteria all over your face.
- Soaking the device in alcohol will probably take care of most of the harmful stuff that might be hanging out on it. Please soak the device head completely in alcohol and leave it there for 5 or so minutes before and after using it.
- Make sure your face and hands are clean before starting. I typically place the roller head in a small cup and pour in enough alcohol to cover the roller. Then, I wash my face thoroughly. I often use a topical anesthestic at this point. When I’m ready to begin, I wash my hands with an antibacterial soap and swipe an alcohol swab over my entire face. I don’t remove the roller from the alcohol until I’m ready to start. I keep the cup of alcohol and soak the roller again while I apply my serums after I’m done before putting it away in it’s case.
Pain & Suffering
It’s really not as bad as I’m leading you to believe. I just want you to be prepared. Everyone has a different tolerance for discomfort and I’m sure some people would find it not at all painful. For me, it’s a stinging, hot sensation that I find pretty unpleasant but it certainly hasn’t stopped me – and it won’t.
I have used topical Lidocaine 5% each time I’ve rolled my face, but I don’t find it to be terribly effective. That is the strongest lidocaine you can buy over-the-counter and it’s probably not enough to treat a mosquito bite. But I can’t bring myself to ask a doctor for a stronger Lidocaine cream to use because of my own vanity. That’s the truth.
Here’s the important part and the only take-away you really need. There is such a thing as Lidocaine toxicity and there are documented deaths from topical usage in otherwise healthy individuals. Lidocaine toxicity is related to many factors, none of which I’m qualified to discuss in generalizations and certainly not for your specific situation. It is critically important that you discuss the use of Lidocaine with your physician. He or she will be able to assess your personal risk and be able to discuss things like strength and how much body area you can safely cover with a given strength. I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but please do not listen to those that tell you can slather it all over your face and wrap areas with plastic wrap to make it more effective. I saw this recommendation on multiple sites while doing my own research, and those recommendations are wrong, irresponsible and potentially very dangerous.
I hate to wrap this up on a negative note, but I’ve got to wrap it up tonight. The next installment will include the fun stuff – rolling technique, post-rolling treatments and before-during-after photos.
Thanks for reading! Please be sure to let me know if you have any other questions for the next installment.