The History of the Derma Roller

It’s no secret that we’re passionate about derma rollers and their benefits. But where did it all start? The practise of using derma rollers, sometimes referred to as micro-needling, is relatively recent in the world of beauty.

It has taken over a hundred years and research from across the globe to transform derma rollers into the tools we use today. Here’s a brief history of the derma roller.

The first derma roller was made by a German dermatologist

The first recorded example in the Western world comes from Ernst Kromayer (opens in new window). Kromayer was a German dermatologist. In 1905 he created a device made of rotating dental burrs attached to a dental drill – which doesn’t exactly sound like something we’d want using on our faces. Kromayer used this device to remove scars, birthmarks and hyperpigmentation.

No matter how dangerous it sounds, this was, in effect, the very first derma roller in history. Luckily for us, derma rollers have come a long way since then!

Dermatologists in New York modify Kromayer's early derma roller

We have New York dermatologist Abner Kurtin to thank for that. Kromayer’s early work went largely unacknowledged until Kurtin re-discovered it in the 1950s. He modified Kromayer’s prototype and used stainless wire brushes instead of burrs. Thanks to Kurtin and other dermatologists of the time, such as Alexis Carrel (opens in new window), New York become the epicentre of pioneering dermatology experimentation. By the mid-1990s, dermatologists working under Alexis Carrell had transformed derma rollers and were using them to treat scars and wrinkles.

Developments in Canada and South Africa

At the same time, similar breakthroughs were being discovered in Canada and South Africa. A Canadian plastic surgeon, Andre Camirand, and his associate, Jocelyne Doucet, had devised a practise where skin coloured tattoos were inked onto patient’s skin.

It was thought that these tattoos reduced the appearance of scarring. But, after a number of sessions, the dermatologists realised it wasn’t the tattoos at all but the needles that were doing the work.

The first derma stamp

Over in South Africa, Dr Des Fernandes had been experimenting with different tools, creating a small needle stamp. He was using the stamp in his practise after he realised it’s benefits for the production of collagen.

Dr Fernandes’ online profile (opens in new window) states, ‘I have pioneered skin needling techniques which have eventually become internationally recognised as the safest, most effective way of treating lax skin, wrinkles, scars and stretch marks despite the resistance of my colleagues’.

It’s thanks to the work of all these dermatologists that derma rollers have evolved into the tools we know and love today!

If you’re interested in getting your own derma roller, you can browse our range of products here.

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