Updated August 2023.
Microneedling is an extremely beneficial treatment, but causing hundreds of micro-wounds on purpose means you need to provide your skin with some additional care.
Microneedling and serums help amplify each other’s effects. The treatment increases serum absorption, while serums provide substances that speed up skin rejuvenation or other desired effects.
But what products should you be using and when? Here’s a quick explanation of what to put on skin after microneedling.
What to Put on Skin After Microneedling Day by Day
After microneedling, go for ingredients that promote skin regeneration and healing, encourage collagen and elastin production and keep the skin hydrated.
Here’s what you should use at each stage post-microneedling.
Quick disclaimer – if you’ve consulted a dermatologist beforehand or are getting a professional treatment, use whatever they prescribe.
Immediately After Microneedling
Just 1 product should be applied right afterwards. Don’t do anything else to your skin for the rest of the day (unless your tech tells you).
Before you leave the salon, your tech will apply everything your skin needs. You should only wash your face gently and without a cleanser after a few hours.
If you’re DIY-ing it, be careful with what you’re using right after microneedling. Not all serums are suitable for broken skin.
The following ingredients are fine to put on skin after microneedling immediately (just make sure the rest of the product formula is also suitable for this use):
When it comes to what to put on skin after microneedling immediately, hyaluronic acid is the best choice.
It’s universally beneficial for all skin types. It’s a component of the connective tissue in your body, and since our body produces it, it’s unlikely this ingredient will cause any reaction.
HA is used in so many products because of its hydrating properties. There are many serums out there that work great for microneedling aftercare (just double-check if it’s okay for use on broken skin).
Here’s a couple of our picks:
In general, if you’re already using a peptides serum, you can use it immediately after microneedling.
If you’re not, postpone use for a few days.
Peptides, or polypeptides, are amino acids that make up collagen. Collagen is too big to be absorbed through the skin, but peptides are sink deep, stimulating the cells to produce more collagen and elastin.
Adding peptides into your skincare routine can help improve the skin barrier, reduce wrinkles and make your skin more elastic.
Something you definitely need to put on skin after microneedling is SPF. You should wear it daily. Consult your dermatologist or cosmetician for product recommendations.
Days 1-7 After Microneedling
From the day after microneedling, you can keep using the serums mentioned above, or switch to a different ingredient.
The microchannels will have closed up, but the skin is still sensitive and prone to irritation, so stick to something gentle and high-quality.
Epidermal Growth Factors (EGF)
EGF is a protein in our skin that is involved in the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. It’s in charge of maintaining the skin healthy, dense, and youthful.
EGF was developed to speed up wound recovery which is why it’s referred to as a healing agent. It stimulates skin growth at the cellular level. And although wrinkles aren’t exactly injuries, because of this property, EGF is often used as an anti-aging ingredient.
If you are looking to incorporate it into your skincare routine or just use it after microneedling sessions, the Icelandic brand BIOEFFECT has one of the best EGF serums.
Their trademark formula comes in several variations, including the hyper-concentrated Power Serum.
Ceramides are lipids that make up about half of your skin’s uppermost layer. They help replenish and repair the skin barrier when it’s healing. In other words, ceramides help to seal in moisture and protect the skin from harmful elements.
Products with this ingredient are a great choice to aid in skin recovery.
Niacinamide is a soothing ingredient. It keeps moisture locked in and thus aids the skin’s natural cell turnover process. It also balances oil production and makes your pores look smaller.
It’s a great ingredient overall, but it shouldn’t be used sooner than about 72 hours after microneedling so it wouldn’t disturb the skin’s natural inflammatory process.
Here’s a couple of high-quality niacinamide serums:
Days 7-14 After Microneedling
Your skin is now ready to handle more ingredients. You can reintroduce the following to your skincare routine:
Vitamin C is a great skincare ingredient, especially because it can accelerate the healing process. However, you need to wait a while to start using it after microneedling.
Even if your technician applied it after the procedure, that doesn’t mean you can apply it on your own without checking with them first.
The concentration of vitamin C and other ingredients might differ and you can’t know how your skin will react to a different serum.
Vitamins work great when paired together. One of the best combinations is vitamin E and C. Vitamin E scavenges free radicals, while vitamin C helps regenerate vitamin C molecules.
Pure, concentrated vitamins are more often found in oils, while serums are frequently a well-formulated blend of more than one vitamin.
Most vitamin C serums contain vitamin E, too, so you get the benefits of both.
Day 14 and Onwards
You can now introduce retinol (back) into your routine.
Retinol is a form of vitamin A and it’s an exfoliating ingredient.
Vitamin A is naturally found in your body. By amplifying the body’s healing process, it can really help with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – something that can occur after microneedling.
But you need to let your body finish natural healing first before you start using retinol again. Wait for about 2 weeks, and then you can start off with something effective, yet gentle.
Why Use a Serum After Microneedling?
By now you probably know that a serum isn’t just a fancy word for a face cream. It’s a lighter and much more impactful product.
Serums contain a higher concentration of powerful ingredients that penetrate the skin deeper than thicker creams would be able to do.
Image source: Freepik
What Ingredients to Avoid After Microneedling?
Not using ingredients that can harm your skin is just as important as using the beneficial ones, even more so. Microneedling increases absorption, which means that it increases side effects too, not just efficiency.
Here are some ingredients that could potentially cause a problem. We recommend staying away from them at least until 2 weeks have passed since you’ve gotten microneedling done.
- Exfoliators like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids.
- High concentrations of Vitamin A and vitamin C, especially if your skin is very sensitive.
- Vaseline. If you’re a fan of slugging we’ve got bad news for you. Vaseline shouldn’t be applied to recently microneedled skin because it contains mineral oil which can cause foreign-body inclusion cysts to form.
- Products that contain silicones and parabens and other reactive ingredients.
Final Advice on Taking Care of Your Skin Post-Microneedling
To sum everything up, deciding what to put on skin after microneedling is pretty much gonna make or break your results. Assess what the skin needs and choose your skincare accordingly.
If you’re in doubt about what to put on skin after microneedling, going with hyaluronic acid is the safest bet.
However, don’t disregard your technician’s advice. If they provide you with specific instructions and products, follow their guidelines. If you’re doing your microneedling at home, it’s still best to consult a dermatologist and have them prescribe a routine.
Cover image source: Freepik