So, you decided to help correct different signs of skin damage with microneedling — congratulations! Maybe you liked the effects of at-home dermarolling and wanted to try the professional version, or perhaps your doctor recommended microneedling as a solution for getting rid of acne scars. Either way, this treatment (also known as collagen induction therapy) is a popular choice with anyone looking to help improve the look of their skin.
During a microneedling appointment, your specialist will use a device that features ultrafine needles to cause controlled injuries to the skin, triggering your body’s healing response to produce collagen in that area, resulting in firmer, smoother, more even-looking skin. The needles come in varying lengths, with the longest needles injuring the skin at deeper levels to help repair skin damage from the inside out.
This is all fantastic news, but if you’ve just gotten microneedling, there’s a chance you may be concerned about the current appearance of your skin. It’s all normal for skin to look red or inflamed, possibly even scratched or bloody, and possibly feel rough and tender to the touch. These side effects of microneedling will go away eventually. However, there are some microneedling aftercare tips that are worth following. Not only can they help put your mind at ease, they can help enhance the results of your microneedling treatment! Keep reading to discover the most common questions about microneedling aftercare — and their answers.
HOW LONG WILL MY FACE STAY RED AFTER MICRONEEDLING?
How long your face stays red after microneedling will vary based on a few factors, including your complexion, how sensitive your skin is, and how deeply the microneedling needles penetrate your skin. You may also notice that certain areas of your face are redder and more sensitive than others. This is all normal. You can expect your face to stay red for at least 24 hours and possibly up to three days. This is why a lot of skin experts recommend booking microneedling treatments ahead of time off, like on a Friday afternoon before a weekend.
If the redness is extremely bothersome, ask your microneedling practitioner if it’s OK to use a cool compress. To do this, simply run cool water over a clean washcloth, wring it out, and gently rest it on the skin. If you get the all-clear from your provider, you could also try using an ice pack wrapped in a dry towel.
To help your face get through this period of post-microneedling redness faster, ask your specialist which activities you should avoid. At the top of the list for most is sun exposure — you don’t need to inflict more damage on already damaged skin. This is especially true because most providers won’t want you to apply sunscreen for the first 24 hours after microneedling, as it could clog your pores. Instead, avoid the sun at all costs, and consider wearing an oversized sun hat to and from your microneedling to help protect your skin. After those first 24 hours, you should absolutely slather on the sunscreen for at least two weeks after your microneedling session to help protect your new skin.
Other activities that your practitioner may tell you to avoid are intense workouts (including hot yoga or anything cardio-heavy), sitting in saunas or steam rooms, and exposure to extreme heat. So, if you live in a desert climate and have just gotten microneedling, consider staying inside for a few days to help your skin cool off. For the most part, you can resume these activities after two or three days of recovery, but if you’ve gotten particularly deep microneedling treatments to help correct significant scarring or wrinkling, you should ask your provider for an aftercare timeline.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR YOUR SKIN TO HEAL AFTER MICRONEEDLING?
Similarly to your facial redness, it may take several days for your skin to heal after microneedling. If your skin is particularly sensitive, it could take a week for your skin to heal after microneedling. However, it’s important to note that this healing is superficial — only the surface-level injuries produced by your microneedling will have healed in this window of time.
Under the surface, your skin is hard at work producing collagen and elastin to help strengthen, firm, and smooth the look of your complexion. It may take several months for these processes to take place and for your skin to heal after microneedling. That’s a good thing! Just like your muscles continue to work and burn calories well after your spin class, your skin is working to heal even when you’re not thinking about it.
WHEN CAN I WASH MY FACE AFTER MICRONEEDLING?
This should go without saying, but your skin is extremely sensitive after microneedling. That means it’s not the time to use cleansers with potent active ingredients, as they could significantly irritate the skin. That means you’ll need to keep products formulated with retinol and retinoids, vitamin C, hydroquinone, benzoyl peroxide, and other similarly potent ingredients on the back burner for now. Furthermore, products with exfoliating ingredients — whether that’s a physical scrub with sugar, salt, or walnut shells or a chemical peel-effect cleanser — should be avoided at all costs. In case you need a refresher, those ingredients are alpha-, beta-, and poly-hydroxy acids like lactic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and gluconolactone.
If you’re a major skincare aficionado, it may be frustrating to not use your favorite products. But remember, someone has just intentionally injured your face to trigger healing with microneedling. Don’t injure it any further, or you risk going too far! After a week or two — depending on your recovery, sensitivity, and provider’s guidelines — you should be able to return to your typical skincare routine.
SHOULD I MOISTURIZE AFTER MICRONEEDLING?
Damaged skin — including skin after microneedling — is often dry skin. To help moisturize your skin after microneedling, many recommend drinking a lot of water. Drinking water will help replenish your body’s moisture levels, which will help promote the health of your skin’s moisture barrier.
If you want to moisturize after microneedling, it is essential to ask your microneedling practitioner first if it’s okay, as they might have a special protocol that they want you to follow post-procedure. After all, your skin will be red, bloody, and raw afterwards, and you want to make sure you deliver the best ingredients possible to your skin at this vulnerable time.
At his practice, our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Suzman tells his microneedling patients to apply our RescueMD DNA Repair Complex. He believes the RescueMD DNA Repair Complex is the best serum to apply after microneedling. “Having an anti-inflammatory base with antioxidants and lipids really tamps down on inflammation and decreases redness,” he explains. Specifically, sunflower seed and rosehip seed oils and extracts of black currant seed and rosemary leaf work to nourish skin while fighting against free radicals.
The ingredient that makes RescueMD DNA Repair Complex stand out from other microneedling aftercare serums is lapachol, a potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and antibacterial compound derived from pau d’arco, a tree found deep within the Amazon. This patented ingredient is only available in RescueMD products, and helps powerfully support your skin’s natural DNA processes for stronger-, healthier-looking skin. “Our patented DNA repair technology has been proven to improve the appearance of your skin after damage,” adds Dr. Suzman.
HOW SOON CAN I WEAR MAKEUP AFTER MICRONEEDLING?
Microneedling creates myriad tiny puncture wounds in the skin — wounds that could easily get congested with makeup. In order to protect your investment in microneedling, avoid putting on makeup for as long as possible. Many providers recommend waiting at least three days to wear makeup after microneedling. Remember, you want to give your skin the best possible chance to heal and recover after the controlled injury of collagen induction therapy. Keeping the skin clean and nourished is the best course of action post-microneedling to amplify the results of your treatment.