Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) Vs. Fraxel Laser for Acne Scars?

Collagen Induction Therapy (CIT) and Fraxel Laser treatments seem to work in a similar manner: they create micro injuries to the skin to stimulate collagen production. Is this correct? It would seem CIT would be the preferred treatment because it does not destroy cells like the Fraxel treatment. I'm interested in knowing CIT effects on acne scars, which I assume are mostly localized collagen loss? Please comment on these assumptions.

Doctor Answers 3

Fraxel Repair is superior in acne scar treatment

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Hi Tired,

The CIT treatment is a roller with tiny sharp needles that put small holes into the patient’s skin. No skin is removed so there is not any immediate contraction of the skin. In many treatments, a solution with vitamins and other skin stimulants are then applied to the skin. The treatment is liked aerating a lawn, only more bloody.

Fraxel re:pair uses carbon dioxide laser. Wherever the laser column strikes the skin, the skin is immediately vaporized, and a micro-column of air is created for a millisecond until the surrounding "normal" skin collapses into the micro wound. Skin is removed and there is noticeable shrinkage of the skin immediately. Secondly, the surrounding skin that is not vaporized is heated. This heating causes new collagen formation for the next 4 to 6 months.

There is no technology currently available that is superior to Fraxel Re:pair for the treatment of acne scarring.

Be well, and get some rest.

Dr. P

Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Microneedling and Fraxel Repair

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CIT (Collagen Induction Therapy) or Microneedling and Fraxel Repair are procedures that aid in managing acne scars. Fraxel Repair utilizes a laser, the carbon dioxide kind. When this laser touches the skin, it vaporizes immediately. The skin is also removed in the process leaving a noticeably shrunk skin. The skin near the area where the laser passed becomes heated instead of being vaporized. This kind of heat will then stimulate the formation of new collagen in about 4 to 6 months.


Alternatively, microneedling does not remove skin to work. It only punctures the skin with a roller device that has many fine needles. The tiny punctures then start to stimulate self-healing thereby triggering collagen production. Microneedling is effective as well as it cheaper compared to other procedures. However, Fraxel may do a slightly better job compared to other acne scar treatment procedures. Still, it would be better to consult your board certified plastic surgeon to ensure that you are getting the best possible treatment for your case.

Robert W. Sheffield, MD
Santa Barbara Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Difference is controlled heating

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You are indeed correct, micro needling, derma pen, CIT using a roller, CO2 Fraxel, 1927 Fraxel , 1550 Fraxel , Pixel, Deka, Profractional all are forms of micro fractional devices. The absolute difference is that devices such as lasers, and now a days RF (radio frequency ) produce CONTROLLED heating- this creates HSP or heat shock protein - it is this point of difference that make some devices (not all) superior to CIT needling. 

Now, for acne scars, it not the device, but method of treatment that gives the best results. 


Dr Davin Lim
Brisbane, Australia. 

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.