If you’ve just purchased a home microneedling device such as a dermaroller, dermastamp, or an electric needling device, then you probably have some questions regarding what you should and shouldn’t do after poking your face with a bunch of tiny needles.
When it comes to aftercare, one of the first questions people ask is, “Can I wash my face after microneedling?”
The answer is yes, you can wash your face after microneedling once it’s no longer sensitive to touch. That could be as little as 8 hours, or as much as 24 hours. So it’s a good idea to thoroughly cleanse your skin before your session!
In this article, we’ll look at what to expect after microneedling, how to care for your face after a microneedling procedure, what you should avoid after microneedling, and how soon you can resume your normal skincare routine.
Microneedling and Dermarolling
First tested in 1901, dermarolling and other microneedling devices have been around for quite some time. Until recently, they were mainly found in high-end spas and cosmetic centers focusing on anti-aging treatments. However, thanks to the introduction of smaller, safer home devices, they’ve made their way to the mainstream public.
The process is simple and involves a small handheld device that rolls or stamps hypodermic needles into the surface of your skin, increasing blood circulation. Rolling these tiny needles over your skin produces “micro-injuries” that stimulate collagen and elastin, encouraging your face to use its own built-in healing mechanism.
The idea is that by intentionally causing minor injuries to the skin, you trigger the body’s own rejuvenation and repair mechanisms that restore your skin.
What To Expect After Microneedling
If you’re starting with a short 0.2 to 0.5-millimeter microneedling regimen, then you may not feel much pain. The needles won’t penetrate deep enough to hit the nerves, and you’ll feel at most a minor pricking.
Pain and Irritation
However, in the hours after microneedling your face, you’ll almost certainly feel a bit of stinging. It’s completely normal, so don’t be surprised. After all, you are putting hundreds of tiny holes in your face!
If you want to avert this, you can apply a topical numbing agent to your face before microneedling.
Within about 10 minutes of rolling your dermaroller across your face, you’ll probably notice that your skin will turn bright red as if you just got slapped!
Again, this is normal.
After your body recognizes the injury, it increases collagen-rich blood flow to your face to initiate the healing process. No need for supplements and weight gain!
As more blood flows into your face, you may realize that your face is looking a little larger or puffier than usual. It’s not an allergic reaction or anything, so don’t be afraid. Your face is just swelling to the expanded blood vessels and extra fluid.
The puffiness should go down within about 5 hours. Avoid touching your face too much during this time.
For 24 to 48 hours after your microneedling session, you may feel that the surface of your skin is irritated and sensitive to the touch, even if the redness and puffiness have receded. During this period, you should be as gentle with your skin as possible.
Within 2 to 5 days after microneedling, your dead and dry skin will start to appear. After your skin is finished replacing all of the old skin cells with fresh ones, it will begin to shed the old ones, causing your skin’s surface layer to look dry and cracked.
This is to be expected and can be exfoliated away as long as your skin is no longer sensitive to the touch. See our article on dead skin after microneedling for more information.
Can I Wash My Face After Microneedling?
Once your skin is no longer sensitive to the touch, you should be fine to go ahead and wash your face again with a gentle cleanser. Use lukewarm water and don’t rub too intensely!
As we mentioned above, your skin will likely be red, a bit swollen, and sensitive to the touch when you’re finished microneedling. It will usually remain this way for several hours until your skin has sufficiently healed.
During this brief window of sensitivity, you should avoid washing your face. The active ingredients in your cleansers can cause even more stinging and inflammation since they’ll be absorbed directly into the pores. Additionally, scrubbing your face with a cloth or brush will only serve to cause you more pain.
Instead, we recommend washing your face before you start microneedling.
The best reason to wash your face prior to dermarolling is that it will remove all the dirt and bacteria from your face.
The last thing you want when poking holes in your face is to push bacteria into your pores. This could cause acne and topical infection.
Can You Wear Makeup After Microneedling?
No, you should not put on any makeup after microneedling treatments. Your pores will be damaged, and need some time to heal after being jabbed with hundreds of tiny needles. You run the risk of introducing bacteria to your skin, and causing significant breakouts due to the status of your pores after a microneedling session.
What about Sun Exposure After Microneedling?
Your skin is raw and damaged after a microneedling session, and you don’t want to go pushing it further by hitting the beach for a tan.
However, you also may not want to put on a ton of SPF since, as we mentioned, your pores can easily get clogged by the sunscreen.
Your best bet is to simply stay out of the sun as best you can. Cover up, wear a hat, and sit in the shade.
Let your skin heal before you get a lot of sun exposure.
What Should I NOT Do Immediately After Microneedling?
Aside from washing your face immediately after microneedling, let’s take a look at a few other things that you should avoid in order to protect your face and get the most benefit out of your microneedling routine.
Due to the rough, abrasive nature of exfoliation, you’ll want to avoid it for a couple of days following your microneedling session. It’s important to give your skin time to heal.
During this process, your skin will begin to fill in the scars and repair your skin. If you jump straight into exfoliation, you could hinder this process or worse- damage your skin.
However, a few days after microneedling, you’ll likely notice some dry skin start to pop out. By then, your skin will no longer be sensitive, so it’s a great time to break out the exfoliator.
Many of the popular anti-aging creams, etc. on the market can be harsh on your skin. As we mentioned, it’s important to avoid applying anything that contains chemical agents to your skin when it’s still raw and sensitive from dermarolling.
Give yourself at least 24 before resuming your regular beauty product regimen.
And wait a little while before jumping into your next microneedling treatment. It can take many treatments to get rid of acne scars.
Of all the things to avoid immediately after microneedling, makeup is the most important! Whenever possible, you want to ensure that makeup does not end up in your pores. Normally, this is what a good makeup primer is for.
However, after you microneedle your face, all of your pores will be wide-open. Even with a good primer, you could stand to clog up your pores and give yourself a bad acne breakout or even cysts.
Avoid sweaty exercise for the first day after your microneedling treatment. While a great workout can rejuvenate your body, you should wait a bit to let your skin heal before sweating a whole lot.
Now that we’ve gone over some of the things that you should avoid after microneedling let’s take a look at some of the things that you should apply to your face during the first few days to help along the post-treatment recovery process.
If you have a high-quality moisturizer on-hand, apply it immediately after dermarolling. This will help to reduce the inflammation. And since your pores are open, it will allow the moisturizer to seep deep inside and fully hydrate your skin.
HA is the one and only beauty product you should apply to your face after microneedling. This product is a popular anti-aging agent that dramatically increases how fast your skin cells regenerate and can work hand-in-hand with the dermarolling process to ensure that your skin heals even faster!
And many combine their HA with a Vitamin C Serum to really crank things up. Just remember to avoid anything with retinol for a bit.
The L’Oreal Skincare Revitalift Derm Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum is an excellent choice.
As we mentioned above, you want to wait for at least 24 hours after microneedling to exfoliate your face. However, exfoliation is the best way to remove any dry and dead skin that may appear.