A step above facials and a few below a strong laser, microneedling has become a skin care must in recent years. With the addition of radio-frequency and platelet-rich plasma (PRP), this glow-booster helps people of all ages achieve an effective result with little downtime.
The key to achieving optimal skin quality through microneedling with radio frequency lies in the frequency of the treatments. While a single session can deliver improvement, a series is often recommended for dramatic results. Typically, three to four sessions spaced four to six weeks apart is suggested. However, the exact frequency may vary depending on individual skin concerns and goals.
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Before you embark on your first collagen-inducting microneedling session there are a few things you should know. The treatment creates microscopic wounds to generate new collagen for smoother, firmer, more toned skin. Follow this guide of expert tips for the best microneedling before and after instructions.
Before Microneedling: Avoid Harsh Skin-Care Actives
“At least one week before a microneedling treatment, avoid anything active on your skin,” advises Las Vegas plastic surgeon Mary C. Herte, MD. “Specifically retinol, Retin A and alphayhydroxy and betahydroxy acids.”
“The skin should be calm and exfoliated, but not peeling prior to the treatment for the best outcome,” adds Scottsdale, AZ facial plastic surgeon Kelly V. Bomer, MD. “Avoid microneedling on inflamed acne, as it can potentially lead to a skin infection known as cellulitis. It is okay to do most skin care up to the day of the treatment without stopping as long as the remains calm, not sunburned and not peeling before the treatment.”
Skin irritation or damage from harsh actives before microneedling can increase the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH involves the development of dark spots or patches on the skin which can be concerning for darker skin tones. It’s essential to minimize factors that can contribute to PIH to achieve more even and desirable results.
Microneedling Before and After: Pause Anti-Inflammatory Meds
This tip is useful for the week before and the week following your microneedling treatment session. “Two weeks prior, we tell patients to stop using NSAIDs to decrease the chance of bruising,” adds Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon David Lieberman, MD. Inflammation is an important part of the skin-healing process and NSAIDs like Ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil can slow the rate at which your skin heals.
When taken before or after microneedling, they can dampen the intended inflammatory reaction. As a result, it may diminish the effectiveness of microneedling and hinder the desired collagen and elastin production.
Microneedling Before and After: No Sun or Tanning for Best Results
It’s a no-brainer, but to protect your investment, steer clear of tanning and sun exposure at all cost. “It is critical that patients avoid prolonged sun exposure or use of tanning beds for at least two weeks after the treatment,” stresses Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon Sachin Parikh, MD.
Dr. Bomer agrees and says this might be the most important tip of all: “The skin must fully heal after the treatment before the skin is exposed directly to the sun,” she advises. “The time for healing varies significantly depending on the depth of the treatment and the skin’s condition prior to the treatment.”
Sun exposure and tanning increase the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color. When the skin is healing from microneedling, it’s more prone to irregular melanin production. This can result in hyperpigmentation, where dark spots or patches develop on the treated area. To prevent these pigmentary changes, it’s crucial to shield your skin from UV radiation.
After Microneedling: Skip Hot Baths
You should skip hot baths after microneedling because hot water can dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the skin’s surface. This can potentially exacerbate redness and inflammation caused by the microneedling treatment, leading to discomfort and prolonged recovery time. “During the first 48-hours after treatment, we tell our patients to avoid hot baths,” says Dr. Parikh. “To prevent contamination and infection, maintain skin cleanliness and moisture, but remember to use lukewarm water when showering to avoid skin irritation.”
Sticking to lukewarm or cool water when washing your face or bathing helps soothe the skin, reduces the risk of adverse reactions, and supports the healing process. Always follow your dermatologist or skincare professional’s post-treatment instructions for the best results and to ensure your skin heals properly.
After Microneedling: Nix the Exfoliators
The biggest tip we got for after the treatment is to let your skin heal itself and avoid causing additional irritation. Microneedling temporarily makes the skin more sensitive, and adding exfoliators can disrupt the delicate balance of the healing process. “It’s best to be gentle with the skin,” adds Dr. Herte. “Use only a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. Treat your skin as if it has a sunburn and absolutely refrain from any type of exfoliators and scrubs.”
Before using any new exfoliating products after microneedling, perform a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure it doesn’t cause irritation or adverse reactions. Remember that microneedling results are best achieved with patience and proper post-care. Rushing into exfoliation can disrupt the healing process and potentially lead to adverse effects. Always prioritize your skin’s health and follow professional recommendations for the safest and most effective skincare routine after microneedling.