The microneedling process doesn’t stop when you walk out of the door of one of our Skin Pharm clinics.
Knowing the appropriate aftercare tips can help you make the absolute most out of your treatment.
You’ll be able to experience the best results possible while also minimizing potential side effects.
Why do you need microneedling aftercare?
Microneedling involves using tiny needles to make shallow, invisible controlled wounds on the surface of the skin. When performed by a professional, like the advanced practice providers at Skin Pharm, those needles can penetrate the skin at a depth anywhere from 0.1 to 2.5mm.
For reference, 1mm is the size of the width of wire used in a standard paperclip.
Anything that involves puncturing the skin comes with risks. Often, those risks involve infection, which is why you should never attempt microneedling at home with an over-the-counter device.
In addition, because your skin has multiple open wounds, you can’t just return to your previous skin care routine right away.
Doing that can lengthen the amount of time you have to deal with the side effects of microneedling treatment and potentially irritate your skin even more.
That’s why microneedling aftercare is so necessary. It’s the only way to protect your skin as it heals, allowing all of the benefits of treatment to shine through without delaying the healing process.
What are the potential side effects of microneedling?
So, what side effects are possible after having microneedling? What is microneedling aftercare aimed at preventing?
Think about the last time you got scratched, no matter what size it was or how it happened. What did it look like? How did it heal?
Microneedling can produce many of the same side effects. However, in the vast majority of cases, these side effects are mild in nature and temporary.
During your treatment and immediately afterward, your skin may bleed a little. You’re more likely to experience bleeding if you treat deeper wrinkles or scars, as a longer needle is needed to see results.
Longer needles can reach through the epidermis (the top layer of the skin) and penetrate the dermis (the middle layer). The dermis is where the skin’s blood vessels are.
Of all of the potential side effects associated with microneedling, most people experience redness. That redness is known medically as transient erythema and is one of the acknowledged adverse events.
The skin will be at its most red in hours immediately following treatment. After that, it should start to resolve on its own as long as you use appropriate microneedling aftercare techniques.
You may also experience some swelling and tenderness, especially if you have more sensitive or reactive skin. It doesn’t happen to everyone, though, and generally only lasts for a few hours.
Tylenol may help if needed, but always check with your doctor first to verify it is safe for you to use.
Microneedling aftercare: your go-to skin care routine
After your microneedling procedure is over, you will be sent home with a specialized skin care routine. The purpose of an altered routine, which you should follow for at least a few days afterward, is to give your skin exactly what it needs to heal quickly.
The first part of that routine involves using a gentle cleanser. Our Foaming Cleanser (which is part of our Jetsetter Kit) is lightweight and velvety. It foams up to give your skin a sudsy, deep clean without being too harsh or abrasive.
All you need is a small amount of cleanser, which you’ll work into a foam in the palm of your hand before massaging it onto your damp skin morning and evening. Use lukewarm water only, as anything warmer can be extra damaging to your vulnerable skin.
You’ll follow that up with our Recovery Lotion. This lotion helps soothe and heal the skin and is specially formulated to promote oxygen delivery to your skin cells.
Barrier lipids, alongside hyaluronic acid, help support and repair the moisture barrier — the very top layer of the epidermis (the stratum corneum). This vital layer of skin is composed of ceramides, a type of lipid molecule.
Replenishing those lipids helps build it back up stronger, so it can maintain your skin’s hydration level. You can use the lotion as much as needed throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated.
As supportive as this skin care routine is, you won’t want to use it for a prolonged amount of time. It is made specifically to help people with dry, sensitive skin heal and is too much for a standard routine. That fact is especially true if you already have oily or acne-prone skin.
Once your skin no longer feels tight or dry and has visibly healed, you can re-introduce your routine.
Microneedling aftercare: what not to do
In addition to altering your skin care routine to take care of your healing skin, there are a few things that you should avoid in the days following your microneedling treatment.
The first “not to do” is anything that makes you sweat. That includes exercising, hot tubs, saunas or being outside in hotter weather. The reason behind this is that sweating involves having your pores open up more, which can lead to an increase in both irritation and infection.
Another “not to do” is using retinol as well as hydroxy acids (salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc.) until your skin has healed. As wonderful as those ingredients can be, they are also too strong for vulnerable, sensitive skin. You will also want to avoid skin care products with alcohol, as they will likely sting and burn. Simplicity is key.
As for behavior, you must do everything you can to avoid touching your face as much as possible. You risk introducing bacteria to your skin, where the open wounds make it much more feasible for you to develop an infection.
While this may be hard for people prone to picking at their skin, it’s not worth the risk. Similarly, hold off on using makeup on your face for at least 24 hours after treatment.
Sunscreen is essential!
We’re all aware of the importance of protecting the skin from the potential damage that UV radiation can do. A large chunk of the signs of premature aging is linked to the sun and, in particular, UVA radiation.
As part of your microneedling aftercare, you’ll want to pay even closer attention to wearing sunscreen. Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight (this includes tanning outside and tanning beds). If you have to be out in the sun, make sure to wear a broad-spectrum 30+ SPF and be vigilant about reapplying it every two hours.
What should I do about peeling?
Part of the skin’s normal healing process after a microneedling treatment often includes peeling. If you’re going to have peeling, it usually occurs three to five days after treatment, as the dead skin cells on the top layer of the skin slough off. Avoid doing anything about it other than using the recommended gentle skin care routine until your skin is healed (which should take about a week).
After that, if you’re still noticing flaky or peeling, you can use a mild exfoliant to help gently remove the dead skin cells. Follow it up with a gentle moisturizer.
How soon can I have another treatment?
Once your skin is starting to heal and you’re noticing that telltale glow, you’ll probably start to wonder when you can do it all again. Microneedling can be addictive because the results really can be unique. But doing it too often can be a disadvantage, as it doesn’t give your skin long enough to heal between treatments.
As a general rule of thumb, primarily if you target particular concerns, you should go at least four weeks between microneedling treatments. It takes your skin a month to completely turn over your skin cells, so you’ll need every one of those days to see how your skin reacts.
We recommend returning to the clinic for age management-related microneedling treatments every 12 weeks. Expect four to six treatments for optimal results.
If you address melasma (patchy brown skin discoloration) or scarring, treatment should happen every 4-6 weeks. Opting for four to six treatments is also recommended so that you can see your best results.
To wrap things up...
The first few days after a microneedling treatment are the most important. After being wounded in a controlled fashion, your skin is at its most vulnerable and needs special care to help it heal.
If you follow our microneedling aftercare tips, you’ll be able to take care of your skin so that you can experience the best results possible. Microneedling is more involved than a simple skin care routine, but it is absolutely worth all of that specialized attention.