A Brief History of the Derma Roller

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A Brief History of the Derma Roller

The first recorded use of micro needling in the western world was in 1905 in Germany. Ernst Kromayer, a noted dermatologist, started experimenting with “various-sized dental burrs mounted on motor-driven flexible cord equipment”. He treated scars, birthmarks and hyperpigmentation.

During the 1950s, Kromayer’s work was rediscovered by Abner Kurtin, a New York dermatologist. He modified the technique and used stainless wire brushes instead of dental burrs. Experimentation was reignited by the pioneer work done on aging being conducted by Alexis Carrell, a French scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. Carrell immigrated to New York, which soon became a hub for dermatological pioneers.

By 1995, two of Carrell’s New York protégés described a new technique for the treatment of scars and wrinkles using a hypodermic needle. Not long after, a Canadian plastic surgeon and his associate discovered that scarring was reduced when he camouflaged tattoos on patients with skin-colored ink. After repetitive sessions on scars, André Camirand and Jocelyne Doucet found that it was not the pigment that caused the reduction in scar tissue, but the needles themselves. They noted that all of their patients consistently benefited from their treatments.

Around the same time, a South African plastic surgeon presented his first paper on skin needling of the upper lips to the ISAPS congress in Taipei. Dr. Des Fernandes had been experimenting too and had developed his own small needle stamp that he used in his surgical practice to induce collagen production. This was to develop into the modern derma roller.


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