Microneedling treatment

The Dangers of Microneedling Before and After With Vitamin C

Vitamin C has no place being “needled” into living tissue.
It is far too an active ingredient
to use during maximum barrier disruption.

Vitamin C is widely celebrated as the holy grail of skincare ingredients, and its reputation is well-earned.

It brings a range of benefits to the table, making it a standout performer in the world of skincare.

However, like most things in life, there are exceptions.

One such exception is the risky combination of Vitamin C and Microneedling.

It’s a pairing that’s often recommended, but why?

After all, Vitamin C is an acid – not something typically associated with needles and skincare.

So stop and think before you eagerly apply Vitamin C to your skin whilst having microneedling.

You need to understand what happens to your skin during treatment.

Why is microneedling before and after treatment with vitamin C not a good combination?

So, without further ado, let’s uncover why this duo is a big no-no.

Microneedling and Your Skin

First, consider the cycle of events that occur during microneedling.

  1. To begin, thousands of tiny needles break down your protective barrier.
  2. Next, the delicate microflora that makes up your acid mantle is knocked off balance.
  3. This then knocks your pH off, which keeps your skin healthy.

So, as you can see, your skin is vulnerable to maximum barrier penetration.

Not to mention that this treatment creates chronic inflammation in your skin, which is behind premature ageing.

This also makes the prudence of deliberately creating a heightened state of inflammation a questionable practice.

A topic I discuss in greater depth in our free ebook and this article.

The client’s photo was taken after using a combination of vitamin C and Morpheus 8.

The Microneedling Paradox

Microneedling is often praised for its potential to rejuvenate the skin, primarily through improved active ingredient penetration.

However, a paradox must be understood – the longer the needles are used, the deeper the injury inflicted on the keratinocyte layers.

The fundamental theory behind microneedling is that creating cellular injury at a depth of 0.5mm or more triggers the release of platelet growth factors and endogenous cytokines.

These substances stimulate natural healing by promoting cellular proliferation and collagen production.

But here’s the catch – they also induce an inflammatory response, which, as previously discussed, isn’t desirable for your skin.

Additionally, vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid (as indicated by its inci name, “acid”) penetrates deeper layers of the skin.

This study (1) conclusively illustrates that microneedling inherently inflames the skin.

When you consider the channels created in your dermis, where nerve endings are located and the injuries sustained by the keratinocyte layers, it becomes evident why vitamin C, with its acid-derived nature and potential for irritation, should be avoided during maximum barrier disruption.

This is why we can’t stress enough how important it is to avoid using vitamin C and microneedling before and after treatment.

Other Skin Irritants

It’s important to understand that many skincare products contain various ingredients, some of which should never be introduced into living tissue during microneedling procedures.

These substances can provide a breeding ground for biofilms associated with antibiotic resistance and chronic infection, elevating the risk of allergies and contact dermatitis.

Microneedling amplifies the absorbed dosage of these ingredients, potentially magnifying side effects. Here are some potential culprits to be wary of:

Low-Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid (LMW-HA): Fragmented LMW-HA is now believed to trigger inflammation and scarring strongly.
Acidic-based products: Glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acids are used in chemical peels to remove dead keratinocyte cells. They can easily reach the dermis, posing a risk when your skin barrier is compromised.
Vaseline: Contains mineral oil, a foreign substance linked to foreign-body inclusion and cyst formation on newly microneedled skin.
Preservatives: While essential in skincare products, some preservatives can lead to issues during microneedling. Seek products with natural preservatives.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract: Associated with granulosum infections, possibly due to microbial load within the formula.
Snail growth factors: Some individuals have developed nodular granulomatous dermatitis from snail mucus, leading to disfiguring scar tissue formation.
Topical platelet-rich plasma (PRP): This is from bone marrow culture. It contains pro-inflammatory bio-signals, which can intensify the skin’s response.

Furthermore, estheticians and dermatologists must consider the seldom discussed risk of anaesthetic toxicity when performing this treatment.

Microneedling often involves multiple sessions, potentially increasing the risk of allergic reactions to the anaesthetic.

Allergic reactions can be severe, making it advisable to avoid topical anaesthetics and opt for alternatives like ice or cooling devices.

In addition, it is essential also to be cautious of ingredients known to cause allergies and irritation, including fragrances, alcohol, essential oils, methylparaben, propylparaben, mineral oil, sorbitan sesquioleate, titanium dioxide, and benzyl peroxide.

Alcohol-based toners and exfoliating products should also be avoided in the days immediately following your microneedling treatment.

Understanding the skin’s vulnerability during and after microneedling underscores the importance of carefully selecting products to avoid infection.

Potential side effects

As a licensed esthetician, I can attest to the seriousness of this matter.

We receive approximately five weekly emails from clients who have suffered severe skin damage due to microneedling, vitamin C, or other potentially irritating ingredients. The reported side effects and systemic illnesses are a cause of great concern.

Check out these 10 case studies to read some of the side effects clients have experienced.

  • Rashes
  • Rosacea
  • Orange peel-like texture
  • Persistent inflammation
  • Erythematous papules evolving into plaques
  • Erythema nodosum
  • Severe granulomatous infections

Sometimes, these clients have required intravenous antibiotics, steroids, or immunosuppressive drugs to facilitate skin healing.

This study (2) investigated three cases of granulomatous infections in women linked to applying vitamin C “during” and “immediately” after microneedling.

This highlights the importance of exercising caution and prioritising skin health when contemplating combining microneedling with active ingredients like vitamin C.

I delve deeper into this subject in my article, “Micro-Needling Beware.” If you’re still sceptical, read through the comments in that article to understand the concerns comprehensively.

The solution

We have developed products specifically formulated to enhance the healing process following micro-needling, just because of what we have seen in the skin, while simultaneously quenching associated inflammation.

The unique role of H20 and DNA skin shot in the physiology of wound healing makes them particularly well-suited for microneedling as they are both pro-healing and anti-inflammatory.

Follow the link to learn more.

To conclude. The naked truth

More and more people are referred to us with skin problems and systemic illnesses after applying vitamin C – including acute inflammation and granulomatous dermatoses – which can take years to clear.

This demonstrates that vitamin C and microneedling are not a good combination.

Many other products used during this treatment contain ingredients that house microbes and biofilms that are too active to use during maximum barrier disruption.

Platelets, for instance, are heavily loaded with pro-inflammatory bio-signals, exacerbating the normal inflammatory response.

As a result, some clients experience terrible side effects from microneedling, such as orange peel texture, rashes, inflammation, erythema nodosum, and granulomatous infections.

As the client, I recommend educating yourself before undertaking this treatment. Not all estheticians are trained well in this procedure, so we also see a high rise in problems due to cross-infection.

So, to some degree, I recommend you take this treatment into your own hands.

Ensure you book in with an experienced esthetician, who will perform a thorough consultation at least 4 to 6 weeks before the treatment so your skin can be prepped correctly.

During the treatment, ensure they understand the importance of what topicals to use on your skin. Don’t try to push the product onto you because less is best when your barrier is healing; you aim to allow your skin to heal with as little intervention as possible.

Microneedling before and after care is so important. Only use a gentle cleanser, moisturiser, and hyaluronic acid solution to support your skin.

Take good care of your skin. It’s the first thing people notice and the only one you’ll ever have. Your skin deserves your attention and care, not just today but also in the future.


  1. A case of a delayed granulomatous reaction on the face following microneedling: A case report
  2. Facial Allergic Granulomatous Reaction and Systemic Hypersensitivity Associated With Microneedle Therapy for Skin Rejuvenation

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