10 Things That Happen to Your Skin After You Get Microneedling

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Microneedling is one of the most popular skin-rejuvenating treatments at the moment, and for good reason. Not only can it improve the look and feel of the skin, but it can also work wonders on reducing acne scars, lines and wrinkles. What you’ll experience at the doctor’s office is a more intense treatment than what you’ll get if you do it yourself at home with a dermal roller. But for as much praise as the treatment gets, there are a few things to take note of, especially when it comes to what you’ll experience once the treatment is complete.

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Your skin may feel tight and dry.

Chicago dermatologist Jordan C. Carqueville, MD says skin will likely feel dehydrated after the treatment and will require intense moisture in order to heal. “After the procedure, I recommend applying a hyaluronic acid serum or emollients, such as petrolatum or lanolin ointment for, two to three days. After a few days, it is OK to resume regular moisturizers as tolerated.”


You might notice some slight peeling.

New York dermatologist Sapna Palep, MD says skin can exfoliate for up to a week post-treatment, which may result in some very mild peeling. But don’t worry: “This is a good sign, because it’s shows cell turnover and new skin being generated,” she adds.


You might have an allergic reaction.

If you’re coupling in-office microneedling with radio frequency, New York dermatologist Rita Linkner, MD says she’s seen some instances of an allergic reaction. “This is likely due to the topical anesthetic that was used and then microneedled into the skin. Gridding, like a waffling of the skin, can persist for 36 hours, especially if you are someone who is very sensitive to trauma in the skin.” (If your skin blows up after a bug bite, you’re in this camp!)


Your skin will be sensitive to the sun.

Because the top layer of skin, or the stratum corneum, has been disrupted, Dr. Carqueville notes the skin will be sensitive to the sun. “I recommend avoiding direct sun exposure for a month, as the stratus corneum takes 28 days to replenish itself from the mechanical injury of microneedling.” If that’s not feasible, try to completely avoid the sun for the first few days of healing, “and after two or three days, it is OK to resume use of sunscreens.” However, she notes that hats and sunscreen should be used consistently for a month, “and going forward to protect your investment.”


Your skin may be swollen.

“The skin may be slightly swollen the next day due to the mechanical injury of microneedling,” says Dr. Carqueville. “Depending on how aggressive—or how deep—the treatment was, mild swelling for one to three days is normal,” says Dr. Palep, who adds that using a cold compress will help take down the inflammation.


Your skin will be red. 

It’s totally normal for your skin to appear red after you’ve had microneedling done, but the majority of the redness should subside within 24 hours. However, if a more aggressive treatment was done, the redness may linger for a bit longer. “I uses the Infini radio-frequency microneedling device in my office to treat acne scars, fine line and wrinkles around the eyes and to lift and firm the skin,” says Seattle dermatologist Jennifer Reichel, MD. “Directly after the treatment, the skin looks bright red from the heat with an almost sunburn-like feeling (but it’s not all that bad).” Keeping the skin hydrated can help take down the redness, too.


Your skin may feel rough to the touch.

Directly after a microneedling treatment (and even in the coming days post-procedure), your skin may feel a little different than normal and a bit rough when you touch it. There may be some swelling and bruising, too. Santa Monica, CA, dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, says that the swelling can range anywhere from being mild to more severe, although it is more frequently mild. “But it really depends on the type of microneedling done. Taking an antihistamine beforehand helps, too.”


There may be some minimally visible marks.

Because microneedling makes hundreds of tiny safe yet controlled microinjuries on the surface of the skin, it’s not uncommon to see some very small marks on the skin after the procedure has been performed. However, Dr. Palep says there’s no need to worry, whatever you see on your skin is short-lived at most. “These marks may be visible for a few days, but clear very quickly when done with PRP.”


You may break out.

If you’re prone to breaking out, you’ll definitely want to let your doctor know beforehand because micrnoneedling can cause breakouts. This is especially the case if there are active lesions on the surface—the treatment may make them worse. While it can work wonders at improving acne scars, microneedling can actually spread bacteria in the skin, making breakouts worse. 


Pinpoint bleeding isn’t uncommon.

According to Dr. Reichel, it’s normal for there to be some pinpoint bleeding on the skin from having the needles inserted into the skin. “Because some microneedling treatments are more invasive, like Infini, we use topical numbing, local anesthetic with mesoneedles, and oral or IV sedation,” says Dr. Reichel.