Microneedling Aftercare - All You Need to Know
After microneedling, your skin is open in tiny perforations. Here are microneedling aftercare tips to make sure the treatment goes right.
Microneedling is quite non-invasive and doesn’t entail any downtime, although your skin will need some time to recover. It’s a quick treatment you can get done professionally, or even at home.
It’s been proven to improve a number of skin conditions and imperfections, but it takes time and repetition to work. So, you’ll be getting a series of microneedling sessions, and you’ll need to take some special care of your skin after each one.
Here’s a guide through microneedling aftercare – it’s short and simple, but you have to stick to the routine for maximum results and proper healing.
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Why Is Microneedling Aftercare Necessary?
During a microneedling treatment, a microneedling tool – either a dermapen or a dermaroller – makes tiny perforations on the skin which leave microchannels, openings which allow products to penetrate the skin deeper, but have another benefit.
The skin will start a recovery process to close up the microchannels, and the new skin cells that are produced will be healthy and damage-free, resulting in a gradually better structure and appearance of the skin.
However, the microchannels aren’t closed up immediately. Depending on the length of the needles and subsequent penetration depth, it will take more or less time for them to close up and for the skin to recover.
As they are closing up, you need to keep up with microneedling aftercare routine to prevent a) contamination of the skin and b) disruption of the processes which will lead to skin improvement.
If you want to find out more about how microneedling works, head over to this guide.
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So What Are Microneedling After Care Instruction?
Here’s a list of microneedling aftercare tips, along with explanations of why each point is important. These apply to any area that’s treated, including the scalp or the body.
The general guidelines apply to both professional and at-home microneedling, but we should note that the skin will heal faster and the chance of side effects is much lower for DIY dermarolling since the needles are shorter, so dermapen aftercare will usually last longer.
- For the rest of the day after your microneedling session, avoid touching your face. Your skin is open and if it comes in contact with any unsterile surface, dirt and bacteria can get into the microchannels and cause an infection. Sleep on a fresh, clean pillowcase.
- A few hours after the treatment, you can wash your skin with cool to cold water and a cleanser your technician has prescribed or even provided – no product unapproved should be applied to so recently broken skin.
- For the rest of the day, keep the treated area away from sunlight, and keep this up for 2 weeks. If it’s not possible to cover the treated area with clothes, wear SPF 30+ as instructed by your microneedling tech. A hat is also a good idea. Your skin’s defensive barrier is damaged and sunlight will affect it more than it usually does.
- No makeup of any kind for at least 24 hours, ideally 48. It can cause irritation and infection, especially if the applicators you use aren’t completely clean. It can also clog pores and microchannels, which can lead to breakouts. After that, try to stick to gentler formulas for some time.
- Avoid sweating for 48 hours. This means no strenuous exercise, no saunas, steam baths or jacuzzis. Sweat contains components that can irritate the broken skin.
- Don’t apply any ice or a different cold compress to the area. Applying coldness will shrink the blood vessels in the area and disrupt the inflammatory response, which is crucial to skin rejuvenation. You actually want your skin to look flushed – this means the blood flow into the area has been increased.
- If possible, sleep on your back for 2-3 days. This will minimize the swelling.
- Don’t swim either in a pool or the ocean for at least 3 days. Pool water contains harsh chemicals which can irritate the skin, while saltwater contains – salt – and is thus quite drying.
- For 1 week after the procedure, don’t take any anti-inflammatory medications (unless it’s necessary for handling some other medical issue). You actually want your skin to go through he inflammatory process to achieve the effects and meds will disrupt it.
- You cannot go straight back to your usual skincare. For several days after the microneedling session, you shouldn’t use products with retinol, vitamin C, or any similar exfoliating and brightening ingredients (AHAs, BHAs, etc.). These will trigger exfoliation on skin that’s already exfoliating itself, which is not something you want. You should also avoid anything that contains fragrance – this usually implies alcohol which is very drying.
- Your technician will prescribe a moisturization routine you will have to follow. After microneedling, your skin will feel tight and dry. There can be some peeling, too. All these are normal, but your skin needs to be supplemented with sufficient moisture. Start applying the prescribed moisturizer around day 2 or 3 according to construction.
- No mechanical exfoliation for about 2 weeks. The accelerated skin cell turnover can lead to the skin exfoliating itself, and it needs to finish this cycle naturally, without any disruptions.
- Avoid arnica until your skin heals completely. This ingredient can interfere with the natural recovery process.
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Which Ingredients Are Good for Skin Needling Aftercare?
If you’re getting microneedling to target a specific skin condition, your technician will prescribe products that will not only contribute to proper and comfortable healing, but also further maximize the effects of the treatment. In the case of microneedling for hair loss, for example, the tech will prescribe a product that stimulates hair growth.
So if you’re getting a professional service, you don’t have to worry about this. But if you’re DIY-ing it, here’s a couple of guidelines.
Generally, the best ingredient for microneedling aftercare is hyaluronic acid. It will supply enough moisture to hydrate the skin throughout the recovery process and ensure great new skin grows out.
But the thing with hyaluronic acid is that it can evaporate right out unless you lock it in with an emollient ingredient. Coconut oil is a great option since it also has anti-inflammatory benefits, just make sure you’re not allergic to it
It’s also a good idea to provide some peptides which will support collagen production.
Topical moisturization is great, but nothing beats hydration from within. So as part of your microneedling aftercare, you should increase your water intake. If you can get to 8 glasses a day, great! But more than that would be even better.
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How Long Do I Have to Practice the Microneedling Aftercare Routine?
If you had a professional treatment, let’s say you should follow the microneedling aftercare routine for about 2 weeks. If you’re doing it yourself, a few days should be fine.
The exception is wearing SPF, which you should do for as long as possible. SPF is generally beneficial, as it prevents sunlight damage and you should include it in your normal routine if you haven’t already. Just find a non-clogging formula.
Many people experience skin peeling in the days after a microneedling session. It’s important to let the skin exfoliate itself naturally, so you should never try to rip off the flakes. Let them go away on their own.
What Happens If I Don’t Follow Microneedling Aftercare Instruction?
The need for micro needling after care stems mostly from the fact that the skin is broken and thus susceptible to irritation and infection until it’s closed up the microchannels.
So, if you don’t follow dermaroller or dermapen aftercare, you risk getting your skin contaminated and developing an infection. You also risk getting the microchannels clogged and inflamed, which can result in a breakout.
The micro injuries are created with the idea to trigger the skin’s natural processes of regeneration and increased production of collagen and elastin. Using products which aren’t approved can disrupt these processes and limit the success of the treatment.
So, if you fail to stick to microneedling after care instructions, you risk endangering your health and minimizing the success of the treatment.
Image source: Freepik
How Do I Recognize If Something’s Going Wrong?
Generally, you should contact your microneedling tech or a dermatologist if you notice:
- Persistent redness or swelling past day 4 or longer
- Pain more severe than mild tenderness past day 2
- Extreme itching or burning
- Any type of rash.
These are not the only signs of something going wrong. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your technician.
Microneedling Aftercare – Main Takeaways
After a microneedling treatment, it’s important you pay some special attention to your skin to prevent infection or irritation, and to allow the skin’s natural processes to roll out the way they should. The microneedling aftercare is nothing complicated and it will require minimal changes to your lifestyle and skincare routine. Make sure to follow the instructions as closely as possible after each microneedling session.