Microneedling Aftercare

Micro-needling is a minimally invasive cosmetic procedure that stimulates your blood circulation. It’s typically done to improve the appearance of scars and increase collagen production. Micro-needling is a clinical environment takes several hours to prepare for and undergo.

Something that isn’t often discussed is the aftercare necessary after the procedure. Microneedling actually punctures your skin, so you need to take steps to protect your skin barrier as it heals. Even if you’re micro-needling at home, you’ll still need to take extra care of your skin in the days after performing the treatment.

Keep reading to learn more about what to expect after micro-needling and how to take care of your skin afterward.

What to expect

After you have a micro-needling procedure, some side effects are to be expected. When you leave your appointment, your skin may be flushed or bright red, as if you have spent the entire day out in the sun and have a mild to moderate sunburn.

The redness and swelling will most likely persist for 24 hours or slightly longer. Even with careful aftercare, there isn’t much you can do to get rid of the redness immediately after micro-needling.

Covering up the redness with makeup is one of the worst things you can do, as the makeup will block the pores on your newly exposed skin and might even cause breakouts. You’ll need to have some patience as the redness subsides, but in the meantime, you can apply gentle, unscented products with natural ingredients to get some relief.

Swelling and some skin peeling are all considered to be within the realm of normal up to 48 hours after the procedure. Other side effects, like bumps, breakouts, and dry skin, are also within the scope of what you may experience after micro-needling, but not everyone will experience them.

Taking care of your skin with moisturizer and gentle cleansers can make your side effects as minimal as possible.

Aftercare tips

Your doctor should provide detailed instructions on what to do after micro-needling. The instructions may be based specifically on your medical history or skin type, so make sure to follow them carefully.

  • As a general rule, you should reach for sunscreen constantly for the first 2 weeks after micro-needling. Make sure to apply sunscreen anytime you go outside in the days following your treatment.
  • Don’t spend prolonged time out in the sun for the first week after your micro-needling procedure, as you’ll be more prone to sun damage than usual.
  • Use any topical antibiotic cream that your doctor prescribes to avoid infection.
  • Wash your hands before you touch your face.
  • Don’t put on makeup, especially with a makeup brush that has been used before, in the 24 hours following micro-needling.
  • You’ll also need to avoid swimming pools, saunas, and situations where you might sweat heavily, including intense workouts at the gym, to protect your newly treated skin. After 72 hours have passed, you may be able to resume these activities.

What to use and avoid

For the first few days after your micro-needling procedure, you’ll need to avoid any skincare product that contains harsh chemicals meant to exfoliate. Avoid anything that’s scented, and don’t use glycolic acid or alpha hydroxy acids.

Retinol A and vitamin C serum should be avoided for the first 48 hours, minimum, after micro-needling. Once 2 full days have passed, you might want to gradually add products back into your daily beauty routine instead of doing your usual regimen, especially if you use products that have strong anti-ageing formulas.

Be sure to run any cleansers, toners, or scrubs that you plan to apply in the 2 to 3 days after micro-needling by your provider to make sure the ingredients won’t worsen side effects.

Hyaluronic acid can be used following micro-needling, and it’s even recommended in some cases to help stimulate collagen production after your procedure.

If your skin is feeling dry, it’s generally safe to apply coconut oil as an emollient to lock in moisture and hydrate your face after micro-needling. Diluted, alcohol-free witch hazel may also be used to cleanse dry skin. Stick to using gentle, natural ingredients that you’re familiar with.


The redness that you experience from micro-needling will mostly fade within 48 hours. Other symptoms, such as peeling and breakouts, might take slightly longer to resolve.

Most of the visible recovery from micro-needling happens in the first day or two after treatment, but healing will still be happening under the surface of your skin for up to 2 months afterward.

When to see a doctor

Microneedling is generally considered to be a very low-risk procedure. Occasionally, side effects can escalate and require medical attention. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • fever over 100.4°F (38°C)
  • nausea
  • hives
  • yellow or green discharge
  • bleeding
  • headache

Infections caused by micro-needling do happen, often when instruments that aren’t properly sterilized are used on your skin. Allergic reactions to the needles used for micro-needling are also possible.

The bottom line

Taking care of your skin after micro-needling can make a huge difference in the outcome of your treatment. Not only will proper aftercare soothe your symptoms, but you’ll also be protecting your skin from damage as it heals.

Follow any instructions from your provider as closely as you can, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions before or after your appointment.

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