When Can I Exfoliate After Microneedling? Microneedling Aftercare Explained

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Cosmetic needling with a dermaroller or other microneedling device is a great way to rejuvenate your skin and make it look plumper, tighter, and younger. Although the process has been used by dermatologists for years, new techniques have made microneedling an extremely popular at-home acne buster, anti-aging rock star, and scar-healing champion. 

The whole process of home microneedling is new, and many people wonder about aftercare issues. For example, When can I exfoliate after microneedling?

You can exfoliate when your skin is no longer red from the microneedling, and it appears to have healed. Because there are so many different variables with microneedling, it’s hard to give an exact time.

There’s no specific time to wait, you need to listen to your skin.

In this article, we’ll look carefully at the relationship between microneedling and exfoliation, and explain the steps to take to get the most out of your dermaroller.


Derma Roller Derby

Derma Roller

As you roll the tiny hypodermic needles across the surface of your skin, the microneedles create hundreds of microscopic injuries to the surface of your skin. In response, your body rushes nutrient-rich blood to the area to help it heal as quickly as possible. 

This nutrient-rich blood is full of a protein compound called collagen. Collagen helps restore your skin to its original form that’s coded in your DNA, removing scars, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, and other unwanted blemishes! 

The collagen can help treat acne scars, and will often successfully lessen stretch marks.

When Can I Exfoliate After Microneedling?

Derma Roller

A lot of people mistakenly assume that they can just go about their normal skincare routine immediately after microneedling. However, this is not the case.

In fact, if you exfoliate before your skin has had a chance to heal, then you can cause a bunch of new problems that will require even more work to fix. 

Exfoliation can work wonders, and is a part of many people’s skincare routines. But it can be pretty harsh (particularly with longer needles), and you want to be gentle with your skin after you’ve just poked it with thousands of tiny holes.

In short, you want to wait to exfoliate until your skin has healed and is no longer red. This amount of time will vary depending on the type of roller you’re using.

That said, exfoliation does have its place and, when timed correctly, should be performed after microneedling. 

How Long Does It Take For My Face To Heal After Dermarolling?

Depending on how long the needles on your dermaroller or dermastamp are, your skin could take a day to several days to recover. 

Within a few minutes of finishing your dermarolling session, you’ll notice that your face is sensitive to the touch, red, and may even feel a little bit numb as if you had been hit in the face with a snowball. 

This is because dermarolling damages your skin

Until your skin is no longer sensitive to the touch, you’ll want to avoid using chemical agents, makeup, and exfoliating rubs on your face. These can not only hurt but make the healing process take longer. 

The best way to tell that your face is ready to go back to its normal skincare routine, including exfoliation is that it will no longer be sensitive, red, or swollen.

For those of you using a short .25-millimeter dermaroller, this will likely be within 24 to 48 hours. On the other hand, if you’re using a 1.0-millimeter or larger dermaroller, then you may have to wait 3 or 4 days before your skin is ready. 

Everybody’s skin heals at a different rate, so you shouldn’t just take our advice. Once your skin feels like it’s back to normal, then you’re ready to exfoliate. 

Everybody’s skin heals at a different rate, so you shouldn’t just take our advice. Once your skin feels like it’s back to normal, then you’re ready to exfoliate. 

Why Exfoliating After Microneedling Is Important

Cautionary notes aside, exfoliation is an excellent treatment to perform on your face once it heals!

One of the most common side effects of dermarolling is dry, dead skin popping up around all the areas that you dermarolled days prior. As your body is actively healing all of the micro-holes in your skin, it’s also replacing them.

As the skin and tissue cells are replaced, the old dead skin accumulates on the surface, giving your skin a cracked, ashy appearance. 

As you might assume, exfoliation is the best way to get rid of this. Not only is it the best way to remove all of the old skin, but it will also enable your skin to absorb all of the healing oils and moisturizers that you apply later. 

Don’t Forget To Exfoliate Before Microneedling As Well

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While we’re on the topic of exfoliation, it’s worth mentioning that you should exfoliate before you microneedle your face. This is especially true if it’s been a few days (or weeks) since the last time you exfoliated. 

Remember, your skin is constantly replacing itself, regardless of whether or not you’re using a microneedling device. Most people may not know it, but your skin completely sheds itself once a month!

Ever notice how some mornings you wake up and your skin has that faded look to it? That’s usually because the excess buildup of old skin cells is changing the way that light reflects off of your face. When these skin cells are removed, the light will bounce off of your live skin cells producing that glow that we all want. 

By exfoliating your face before you use a dermaroller, you’ll be able to remove this layer of dead particles and allow the needles to penetrate deeper into your skin. 

In addition to this, you also won’t have to worry about all of these old cells being pushed deeper into your pores by the needles. As you can imagine, this could be problematic and cause an acne outbreak. 

What Helps Skin After Microneedling?

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After microneedling your skin, it will likely feel sensitive to the touch. Many people report an annoying stinging sensation that lasts for a day or two after your session. Typically, the larger the needle that you use, the longer the pain will last and the more severe it will be. 

In order to help abate the pain, rub an ice cube over the treatment area when you’re finished. This will numb the surface of the skin a bit, reduce the swelling, and help to tighten your pores back up!

After the ice cube, apply a good Vitamin C Serum with Hyaluronic Acid, such as the TruSkin Naturals serum shown above. Hyaluronic Acid works very well when combined with microneedling to restore and rejuvenate the skin after derma rolling treatments.

How Often Should I Exfoliate My Face During Microneedling Treatment?

Depending on what you’re trying to achieve and how large the needles you’re using on your face are, you could find yourself microneedling twice a week, once a week, bi-weekly, or once monthly. 

Most experts only recommend exfoliating once or twice a week, as doing it any more can damage your skin, cause it to overproduce oil, and even cause acne breakouts. 

That said, you should try to schedule your exfoliation treatments around your microneedling sessions. Try to exfoliate a day or two before you dermaroll your face so that it’s already prepared for the needling. 

If you exfoliate 2 or 3 days after dermarolling, then that should give you a nice 4 or 5-day break between exfoliation treatments so you don’t damage your face. 

How To Exfoliate Your Face Perfectly

Although you may already have a good exfoliation routine, it never hurts to review the basics one more time. You’d be surprised just how many people don’t follow the right procedure and aren’t exfoliating their face anywhere near as well as they should be. 

Step 1: Wash Your Face

The goal of exfoliating is to remove dead skin cells, not clean dirt and debris off your face. Always use your normal face wash to get your skin as clean as possible before exfoliating, so you don’t rub a bunch of dirt back into your pores. 

Step 2: Apply Exfoliating Solution

Put your exfoliating scrub, solution, etc. on your face. Cover as much as you can so nothing is missed!

Step 3: Gently Scrub

Using a clean washcloth, facial cleansing brush, or a silicone finger brush, gently scrub your face using circular motions with your hand. 

Make Sure You Get Everything! 

Make sure you get everywhere! A lot of people just focus on their foreheads and checks, completely missing their temples, nose, eyebrows, jawline, chin, and other important spots where dead skin builds up. 

Step 4: Dab Your Face Dry

Once you’ve washed all of the exfoliating solution away, dab your face dry with a clean towel. 

Step 5: Moisturize Your Face

Once your face is completely dry, apply your favorite moisturizer to it! Exfoliation can take a lot out of your face, removing many natural oils that keep your skin hydrated. If you want to avoid having oily skin the next day, moisturize immediately after exfoliating! 

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).