Can I Use Retinol to Fade Microblading?

By Katarina V.| Last updated on November 10, 2021
Can I Use Retinol to Fade Microblading?
⏱️ 4 min read

So, you’re interested in microblading and you heard that retinol can fade it. That is why your microblading artist told you not to use it before or after the treatment. But you still may be baffled by how retinol affects microblading. Will you need to change your skincare routine to avoid premature microblading fading?

And what if you want to lighten your microblading? Will retinol work? Can you use retinol to fade microblading?

Keep reading to get all these questions answered and find out why retinol and microblading are not very good friends.

If You Don’t Want Your Microblading to Fade Prematurely…

Microblading is a brow tattoo. It is done with pigments placed into the upper dermis, just below the basal membrane between the epidermis and dermis. 

The cell turnover will contribute to the pigment fading after a certain time – around 2 years.

So, what’s retinol got to do with it?

Retinol is systemic, which means that it travels. It penetrates into the layer of the skin where PMU pigments are placed. Retinol increases skin cell turnover, which speeds up the production of new cells, and thus, the fading of the pigment.

Therefore, if you are preparing for a microblading treatment, you should refrain from using retinol for 2 weeks before the treatment. After getting your eyebrows microbladed, don’t use retinol for 4 weeks. From then on, you’re not forbidden from using it, but it can speed up fading.

After getting your eyebrows microbladed, don’t use retinol for 4 weeks.Image source: Pexels

But What If I Apply Retinol Only on the Forehead?

You may wonder if it’s okay to put retinol only on the forehead, or some other part of the face, but not directly on the brows. Well, as said above, retinol is systemic and it will migrate. So, you need to be very careful.

It’s understandable that you don’t want to give up your skincare routine, especially if you find retinol very beneficial for your skin (some people have it prescribed by a dermatologist), but you also don’t want your eyebrows to fade prematurely. So, the best option is to protect the brow area. You can place surgical tape above them to prevent the retinol from migrating. Some also advise applying a thin layer of vaseline to protect the brows.

Permanent makeup is here to make your life easier, not complicate it, so it’s okay to apply retinol on the other parts of the face – just stay away from the brows.

The best option is to protect the brow area when you use retinol.Image source: Pexels

Will Retinol Fade Microblading Once It’s Healed?

After the healing period is over, after 6-8 weeks, you can use retinol. But make sure to avoid the brow area. Your brows will not fade too fast, but they will fade sooner than they would if you didn’t use retinol.

It’s not such a big deal – you just need to book a touch up sooner. Getting a color refreshment a couple of months sooner is a solution – you will still have great brows and you will be able to keep using your favorite retinol products.

Now, Can I Use Retinol to Fade Microblading?

Here’s the opposite situation – you actually want your microblading to fade faster. Maybe it is completely botched, and you want it redone, but it needs to be faded enough first. Or the shape is okay, but they are too dark, and you just want to lighten them.

So yes, you can use retinol to fade microblading.

As explained above, retinol will increase cell turnover and build collagen, thus affecting the pigmented cells. They are shedded more quickly. So if you want to lighten your microblading, simply apply a layer of retinol cream on your eyebrows before bed. Continue doing so until you achieve satisfying results.

Will It Always Be Effective to Use Retinol to Fade Microblading?

It should, but it depends on the microblading artist’s technique. If the artist didn’t find the right depth where microblading pigments should be placed and went too deep, it will be harder to lighten the microblading.

If they were properly done, meaning the depth was right, retinol will be very effective at fading the tattoo. However, don’t expect the results overnight. It takes some time, patience, and persistence to see the results.

Will It Always Be Effective to Use Retinol to Fade Microblading?Image source: Pexels

What Should I Do if Retinol Doesn’t Work?

If you used retinol to fade microblading and it didn’t really work, then you need to check out other fading and removal options. When it comes to fading your microblading at home, it can be done, but it also depends on how saturated the pigment is.

Learn more about that in this article: How to Remove Microblading Eyebrows at Home.

If the damage is too expensive, and you are deeply unsatisfied with your microblading, check out our Microblading Removal guide and see your options.


Retinol can be very effective in fading microblading, as well as other forms of brow tattoo, such as powder brows, ombre brows, nano brows etc. If you want your microbladed brows to appear lighter, apply retinol creams onto the area for some time. Many people get great results, and hopefully, you will too.

Cover image source: Pexels



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