How to Take Care of Your Skin After Microneedling

Microneedling device on a woman's forehead.
  • Microneedling is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly creating a series of tiny punctures on the skin’s surface

  • This procedure helps to remove dead skin cells and address imperfections like acne scars, aging, and dark spots.

  • Although microneedling is generally a low-risk procedure, it’s important to take proper care of your skin after your treatment to achieve the best possible results.

  • After microneedling, it’s generally advised to refrain from touching your face, opt for gentle cleansers, apply ultra-hydrating moisturizers, and avoid sun exposure.

On the journey to clear and youthful-looking skin, many procedures and products can help revive your complexion.

A popular method for addressing a number of skin concerns is a non-invasive treatment called microneedling.

This procedure helps treat common issues like acne scars and wrinkles while brightening the skin and keeping it healthy.

However, microneedling typically only shows visible results if you care for your skin after microneedling. This means understanding how to do that is essential.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how microneedling works and the steps you can take to ensure healthy and glowing skin after treatment.

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling — also known as collagen induction therapy — is a cosmetic procedure that involves using a specialized device to make tiny, controlled punctures on the skin’s surface.

The procedure should be performed by a trained professional and can take up to 30 minutes to complete.

The micro-injuries stimulate collagen production and the skin’s natural wound-healing response. This can help to treat a number of skin concerns, like acne or hyperpigmentation.

What are the benefits of microneedling?

Microneedling primarily helps to improve uneven skin texture by stimulating collagen production.

Collagen is a protein that is the primary building block of your skin, muscles, connective tissue, and bones.

When it comes to skincare, collagen may prevent fine lines and wrinkles, giving you a more youthful-looking appearance.

The tiny injuries created on the skin during treatment also trigger your skin’s natural healing process.

This firms up your skin while improving the speed at which it recovers from damage. By promoting collagen production and triggering dermatological healing, microneedling can:

  • Reduce common signs of aging

  • Improve the appearance of acne scars

  • Reduce ultraviolet (UV) damage, such as hyperpigmentation and age spots

  • Brighten skin

  • Minimize the appearance of pores

Microneedling typically has a shorter recovery time than similar cosmetic procedures. Most people only experience minor redness and swelling immediately after the procedure and can resume their day-to-day activities within 24 to 48 hours.

Other cosmetic treatments — like laser resurfacing or chemical peels — may have side effects that last for a couple of weeks and can impact your daily routine.

Key Point: How Can I Prepare for Microneedling Treatment?

Your dermatologist may provide you with specific steps to take before your microneedling treatment. Generally, guidelines may include:

  • Avoiding sun exposure for up to one month before treatment
  • Avoiding using products containing retinoids and glycolic acid one week prior to treatment
  • Notifying your doctor if you’re prone to developing keloid scars or cold sores
  • Avoiding wearing makeup or moisturizer on the day of your treatment
  • Notifying your doctor if you have any metal or skin allergies
  • Inform your doctor if you’ve been on isotretinoin (Accutane) in the past six months

Caring for Your Skin After Treatment

Your doctor will provide you with instructions on how to take care of your skin during the first few weeks after treatment.

It’s important to follow these guidelines to achieve the best results and avoid any potential complications.

Immediate aftercare

After the procedure, it’s normal for your skin to feel dry and tight. You may even experience a mild burning sensation because of the micro-injuries created during treatment.

Be sure to avoid touching your face or applying any harsh skincare products the first few hours post-treatment. This helps reduce irritation and prevent infection.

Dermatologists also recommend using a gentle cleanser for up to two months to allow your skin to recover.

Key Point: Can You Wear Makeup After Microneedling?

It’s generally advisable to avoid makeup for the first 24 to 48 hours after a microneedling procedure.

Your skin may be more sensitive during this time, and applying makeup to the treated area could increase irritation and your risk of infection.

Allowing your skin to breathe and heal without makeup may also improve your results.

After the initial healing period, you can gradually start to reintroduce makeup, but be sure to use clean brushes and, if possible, opt for products that are suitable for sensitive or healing skin.

Manage redness and swelling

Many people experience some redness and swelling after treatment. This is the body’s natural response to the micro-injuries created during the procedure.

To reduce these side effects, your doctor may recommend the following strategies:

  • Use a cold compress for short intervals

  • Apply soothing products like hyaluronic acid serum or aloe vera

  • Elevate your head slightly while sleeping

  • Avoid skincare products containing fragrances or harsh ingredients like alcohol

It’s important to remember that redness and swelling are temporary side effects that typically resolve within a day or two. Be patient and allow your skin to heal naturally to ensure a smooth recovery.

Stay hydrated

Hydrating your skin is a fundamental part of post-microneedling care.

Proper hydration is essential for the healing process and supports the natural function of the skin barrier — the outer layer of your skin that keeps dirt, bacteria, and other pollutants from entering pores and causing infections.

It’s important to maintain this barrier to keep your skin protected by using moisturizing skincare products and drinking enough water.

Look for products that contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides. These products are often formulated for sensitive skin and will be great options for a healing complexion.

Use sun protection

After microneedling, newly exposed skin may become more vulnerable to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Protecting treated areas from direct sunlight is essential to ensure a successful recovery.

Excessive sun exposure immediately after microneedling can delay healing and cause adverse reactions like hyperpigmentation due to moderate sunburn.

This is because microneedling compromises the outer layer of the skin, making it more sensitive to external elements while it heals. To keep your skin protected from sun damage:

  • Choose a broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher

  • Opt for mineral-based sunscreens that may be gentler on the skin

  • Apply sunscreen generously

  • Seek shade where possible and avoid being in the sun during peak hours

  • Wear protective clothing like hats and sunglasses when you’re outside

What Should You Do During the Healing Phase?

Expect skin peeling and flaking

Skin peeling and flaking are common after microneedling. The procedure stimulates the skin’s healing system, which involves shedding and replacing old or damaged cells.

This renewal process can lead to peeling and flaking as old skin cells are shed, revealing a brighter complexion underneath.

You’ll usually experience this side effect when your skin starts to heal — typically within the first week after microneedling.

Avoid making the peeling worse by adopting gentler skincare practices, such as patting rather than wiping your face dry after cleansing and applying a soothing moisturizer.

Incorporate products that promote healing

In the weeks following your microneedling treatment, it’s important to use products that support healing and rejuvenation.

Some skincare products can accelerate the recovery process and enhance the effects of microneedling. These formulations include:

  • Hyaluronic acid

  • Low-dose vitamin A products like retinol

  • Peptides

You can also consider using oral supplements that may benefit your skin and promote healing, such as:

  • Omega-3

  • Zinc

  • Vitamin C

  • Glucosamine

Before taking any of these supplements, it’s recommended that you consult a medical professional to help you determine whether these products are the right fit for you.

Create a maintenance and follow-up routine

Although microneedling offers many immediate benefits, it’s recommended to have three to four sessions for optimal and long-lasting results.

Schedule regular follow-up appointments with your dermatologist to:

  • Assess your progress: These appointments allow your skincare provider to monitor your progress and the outcomes of your treatment. They can evaluate the changes in your skin and adjust your usual skincare routine accordingly.

  • Optimize your treatment plan: Follow-up sessions may involve additional microneedling sessions or other complementary procedures. These can optimize and maintain the results achieved after your initial treatment.

  • Customize your skincare routine: There is no one-size-fits-all skincare regime. Your skincare provider can tailor your routine based on your changing needs, ensuring that you continue to see improvements.

  • Monitor your skin’s health: Regular check-ins will allow your dermatologist to keep an eye on your skin's condition, promptly address any concerns or issues, and help you maintain a consistent, radiant complexion.

Woman wearing a towel on her head applying moisturizer to her face and looking into the mirror.

How to Recognize Complications after Microneedling

Although microneedling is generally considered a low-risk procedure, some adverse reactions can occur. These may require medical attention, so it’s important to know what to look out for.

The following symptoms can indicate complications or an infection:

  • A fever over 100.4°F

  • Nausea

  • Hives

  • A green or yellow discharge from treated areas

  • Bleeding on the skin

  • Headaches

It’s important to speak to your doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms after microneedling. They can recommend treatment options and preventative measures that can help reduce the severity of these reactions.

Where Can You Learn More About Microneedling Aftercare?

If you’re concerned about microneedling or how it may impact your skin, LifeMD is here to help.

A team of licensed medical professionals can assist you with information and provide guidance on microneedling to keep your complexion healthy — all from the comfort of your home.

Make an appointment with LifeMD today to learn more about microneedling and your journey to clear skin.

LifeMD makes it easy to stay on top of your health because talking to a doctor, filling your prescriptions, getting your labs done—and more—are all easy and cost-effective. Come discover a healthcare solution built around you and your life.

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This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional or call a doctor in the case of a medical emergency.

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