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Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

Microneedling punctures your skin and undermines the protective barrier,
causing sudden changes in the structure of your skin that it then has to repair.

Lately, it seems that everyone is turning to microneedling, and who can blame them?

Just look online, and it is apparently the answer to all of your skin-related woes – and the hottest trend in beauty right now.

Scare-mongering is not what this article is about – nor my philosophy, but as with all things in life, there are risks associated with this treatment.

I have been inundated with emails from readers which you can read below, and many clients have been referred to me, who have been both physically and psychologically scarred as a result of this treatment, so I really wanted to address this treatment.

For those who are considering or have recently undergone needling treatment, the article derma rolling ingredients into your skin, discusses what you should be using on your skin pre, during, and post-treatment.

The misconceptions

They Say: Microneedling is a collagen-stimulating treatment that uses needles to injure the skin; this stimulates collagen and elastin production, resulting in improved skin texture, pores, fine lines, and more.

Naked Chemist Truth: Microneedling tears through the epidermis – the top layer of the skin – creating tiny puncture marks which play havoc with your skin’s natural defence mechanisms, which have to work hard to repair these tiny micro-tears through collagen induction. This causes a whole host of skin conditions.
It does not tighten your skin; it swells your skin: You must understand the concept, ‘needling promotes skin collagen’. Because you’re temporarily injuring your skin, the tightening effect is plump, swollen skin.
It does not create a glowing complexion: That ‘lit-from-within’ glow is a result of the inflammation it triggers, and as I believe inflammation is at the source of premature ageing, it is a big no-no in my book.

This is a serious procedure.

At any depth, even a 0.2mm puncture can cause inflammatory responses that lead to problems. Not only that, but you are effectively injecting active serums at a depth where serums are not meant to go! Not everyone should needle, as you can cause irreparable harm.

Bottom line: If your skin is impaired, it requires a super-healthy skin response, and if your skin is stressed at all, you are almost certainly at risk of damage.


Clemmy from London wrote: “The microneedling felt like it shredded my skin beneath the surface, my once perfect skin is ruined and I feel like I could cry, it has lost all firmness and support. I know it has been structurally damaged. I’ve had such a bad reaction it flared up. It was awful. I looked grazed all over I didn’t want to leave the house for ages after 6 months it is only just recovering.”

Nancy from Australia wrote: “The next photo is the day of the microneedling, you can see my face is very swollen and I have scratch-like marks on my face, I was shaking during the procedure, I should have known something was wrong then. I was told to do a course of peels to get rid of the lines and this sent my skin into inflammation mode. Today my skin has tiny holes and lines in it. With your help, it has been slowly repairing, but it has been a long road.”

Quick side notes: For this reason, I recommend avoiding peels, lasers, or active topicals to try to reverse the damage done. Instead, work to rebuild the barrier and balance the delicate micro-flora with skin-identical ingredients that are missing, bringing the pH of your skin back into balance holistically, which equates to healthy skin.

Angela, a client, experienced the following: “I am 43 and had one session of microneedling. My face became inflamed and I have been battling severe facial burning ever since. My previously smooth skin is scarred all over with lines, huge pores, and a strange texture. I have been to a few dermatologists who have no idea what to do, it severely damaged my lipid barrier. Your advice and skincare are helping to rebuild my barrier I can’t thank you enough.”

Marian from the USA wrote: “Micro rolling seriously destroyed my skin. It left bumps and holes and requires total resurfacing, which I am scared to have. It has dried out my skin and given me lines I did not previously have, on top of the bumps and holes. In short, skin needling is UNSAFE.”

Jen from Australia wrote: “After having numerous tests (had to go back to the hospital a second time because they didn’t take enough blood the first time) the blood test results were normal so no autoimmune disorders which are good. I have had 25 pages of blood test results as my dermatologist was very thorough and he has figured out what the needling has done to my skin. He believes I have solid facial edema, very rare. I’m now on roaccutane & may need to be on it for 1-2 years, although my skin is responding this will be a very long battle to get rid of this. I’m completely shattered. I would NEVER recommend micro needling to anyone, in fact, I warn all my friends about it so they never suffer the way I am suffering. Your Bio lipid has been a lifesaver I refer to it as liquid gold.”

For those of you who commented, thank you for sharing, and I really hope together we can rebuild the health of your skin through a well-thought-out skincare and supplementation regime. Hopefully, this article will also help others who are contemplating this procedure.

If you are unfortunate enough to have suffered a serious reaction, let’s take a look at the problems that can go wrong and why. That way, you will be able to connect the dots about what you can do to repair your skin.

Do not treat your skin with microneedling if you have the following, ever

  • sunburn
  • diabetes
  • keloid scarring
  • cigarette smoker
  • prior Roaccutane user
  • signs of active infection
  • sensitive or impaired skin
  • eczema or dermatitis sufferers
  • very dark or unstable skin type
  • 1, 2, or 3 on the Fitzpatrick scale
  • autoimmune problems of the skin, such as Lupus
  • if you have had a topical treatment (such as peels or laser) in the last 12 weeks

In a nutshell, anything that will affect your skin’s natural healing ability.

You should absolutely not undergo this treatment on skin that has active inflamed acne, rosacea, or eczema, for further reading around this subject, the article skin needling, looks at the genuine side effects of causing trauma and wounds to your skin.

Microneedling disrupts the protective barrier and increases the penetration of active ingredients into your skin. I appreciate this may sound counter-intuitive because needling is all about better product penetration, but when active ingredients go deeper into the skin, the risk of irritation goes up.

Side effects, contraindications, and complications

Whilst there are many general side effects of derma rolling – including bleeding, slight bruising, redness, dryness, and skin flakiness – some may experience more severe side effects such as permanent scarring, indentations in the skin, or hyper and hypo-pigmentary changes in the skin. Quite, why some people have adverse reactions and others don’t, is still unknown.

Infection: It doesn’t always look the way you think, such as with swelling, pus, and redness. Some infections can appear a lot more subtle, where the skin stays irritated and doesn’t heal. What is happening here is that your body’s immune system is holding the offending bacteria, fungus, or virus in partial check, but isn’t strong enough to eliminate it – so inflammation bubbles away under the surface.
Allergic or irritant reactions: These can range from barely visible to extreme ongoing pain and itching. This is not normal; pain associated with this treatment should be temporary and last no longer than a day.
Redness and texture changes: These changes are common, as treatment plumps the skin, increasing blood flow and collagen, but should reduce in a few days.

Treatment for impaired skin

A big question I’m often asked is, will my skin ever return to normal?

You can heal your skin once it has been damaged by facial needling, but how long it takes depends on the amount of damage done. From experience in my own clinic, some people may heal in between 6 to 12 weeks in line with cellular turnover. Sadly, for others, it can take a couple of years – but with the correct treatment protocol and effective ingredients, it is achievable.

You require a three-pronged, holistic approach.
Employ a consistent skincare regime with gentle topicals that are barrier repairing – nothing too active, as that will inflame the skin further.

Use a high molecular weight hyaluronic acid such as H2O Hydrating Complex, to keep your skin’s tissues hydrated. As discussed above, this treatment protocol you can find in the article – derma rolling ingredients into your skin.

DNA contains copper peptides that help to rebuild fragile skin. Bio-lipid and Fortify are all specifically designed to rebuild the barrier function and replenish skin-identical ingredients that are missing as a result of harsh treatments.

Treatment for complications after microneedling

  • keep copies of records and take before and after photos
  • where the risk of infection may be present, ask for bacterial culture or swab to be done on your skin
  • a small biopsy can be carried out for “tissue culture” to look for deeper or unusual bacteria or other organisms
  • if there is any question of skin allergy, especially if a lot of chemicals were micro needled into your skin, an allergist may be able to help
  • if you’re concerned about infectious disease, or difficult or unusual infections in your skin, consult a doctor
  • if you have any hormonal or other issues affecting your healing, an endocrinologist may be able to help you


The bottom line. Be careful with how you treat your skin; you have a responsibility to take care of your primary organ that protects you every second of your life.

If all of this does sound alarming, but you still want to treat your skin with microneedling, below is my checklist on things you should consider before undergoing the treatment:

  • know your skin type and where on the Fitzgerald scale it fits into
  • do your research, and ensure your practitioner has many years of experience and understands micro-needling treatment at a technical level
  • do consider the type of machine used – to date we see fewer complaints from those who have been treated with a derma pen
  • do listen to your skin! We are all metabolically different. If you feel your skin is compromised, don’t embark on any invasive treatment, not just facial needling
  • ensure you get a thorough consultation, and that your practitioner discusses the post-treatment protocol with you
  • do make sure you take close-up photos of your skin beforehand; if the practitioner involved decides to try and deny responsibility, you will have proof
  • do be consistent with treatments and use quality products, to repair and protect your skin – remember less is best
  • don’t use a combination of treatments coupled with an energy-based device, as there is also the risk of burns to consider
  • your practitioner must be really well trained on their device, we have seen clients over the years who’ve sustained iatrogenic injuries, which have resulted in scarring after devices have been dragged across the skin


333 thoughts on “Microneedling: Beware, It Can Seriously Mess With Your Skin

  1. Deborah Zatz says:

    Oral lysine and MSM twice a day.
    Organic evening primrose oil (keep it in the fridge) for face mixed with fragrance free face lotion.
    If your skin can take it, put the primrose oil right on face without mixing and apply face lotion after it soaks in.

  2. Anita says:

    Unknowingly, I did one BB glow treatment six days ago.

    I read Dr. Lance article about titanium oxide staying underneath the skin.
    When (if ever) can I use a moisturizer with copper in it (again)?
    It’s very hard to find information about this.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Anita says:

      Thank you!
      I meant the interaction between titanium oxide and copper (which he said could cause copper toxicity). Since he said titanium dioxide doesn’t leave the skin, my question would be, is it EVER safe? Or is it more likely he meant using a moisturizer with copper RIGHT after a BB glow?
      Curious if you know anything about this..

  3. Ann says:

    Also, my practionor used aloe vera for aftercare, after about 10 minutes after the treatment. I used it again a couple hours later.
    What is your opinion about aloe vera.
    I checked the ingrediënt. Ik addition to some other ingrediënt I saw dimethicone. Is this safe to apply after 10 minutes?
    Gosh, it’s sure hard when you can not fully trust the practionor.

  4. Ann says:

    What is your opinion about the Physiolabs BB Glow (NOT the foundations) meso serums. My practionor used this during microneedling. I wanna know if it is safe before I continue. I’m nervous to do this again if it is not safe.

  5. lynn says:

    I did gentle micro needling at home and it completely damaged my right cheek. I have had 11 laser treatments to try to heal it but it has been bruised and has pigment damage from just one light rolling of the micro needle device on my cheek. My chin and forehead were fine but not my cheek. I used the .25 which is the smallest needle size. I am disfigured. I had beautiful skin before. I would not recommend this for use on cheeks.

  6. Amy Ewen says:

    I had micro needling done and my pores look larger plus I have developed sensitivity in a few areas. The worst in in the center of my brows . I now have these deep lines that often feel like they are burning . I also frequently get a pimple there.
    Never had this issue before .
    Iv tried using ha but this seems to make my skin worse . Help

  7. Karen B. says:

    The key to micro needling, like any other medical treatment, is of course being an informed consumer. So many of us just say “yes” to whatever is recommended without any information, trusting that the person recommending/performing the service is knowledgeable, skilled and ethical. I suspect that most people who have gotten poor results were the victims of practitioners who either exceeded the scope of their knowledge/skill or were too aggressive in their approach – or, worst of all, both. There’s a big difference between cosmetic needling and medical needling, each involving its own protocol and timing, and you MUST know enough to make sure your practitioner is proceeding correctly. Personally, when I became interested in the subject, I took a class for aestheticians on the subject, even though I’m just a consumer. (After all, we are talking about our faces!) What I learned was enlightening, and it helped me to realize that a LOT of practitioners have no idea what they are doing and I wouldn’t let any of them within 10 feet of my face. With respect to medical needling, the correct practitioner with the correct tools is absolutely key. It seems counter-intuitive, but the answer to so many who have been damage by poor practice may actually be to try needling again but done correctly, conservatively, and over time. Anyone who would like to educate themselves can start nowhere better than by reading Dr. Lance Setterfield’s book, Dermal Needling, which can be purchased on Amazon. I am not affiliated with Dr. Setterfield, nor do I receive any compensation from him in any way.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi karen

      I appreciate you writing this. I get at least three emails a day from desperate readers who have chronic folliculitis or underlying infections that need serious helps. So much is at play when undergoing a treatment it is hard to know what caused the poor results for many. From needle depth to poor sterilisation, to medications the client is on, or aftercare that is too harsh for a compromised skin. I know of Dr Setterfield and his work sadly he is one of few practitioners who you can really trust in the industry I just don’t think enough take this as a serious treatment. So thank you for sharing this with my readers.Samantha

  8. Geoffrey Browne says:

    This article has some good factual information in it. If you’re using a device with surgical-grade needles, tearing the skin won’t happen however if you’re using a fraudulently manufactured device., which is like 90% of them on the market, then yes this could occur, and you could tear or perforate your skin. That’s just an example. When it gets down to it, unless you have an excellent working knowledge of and understanding of your skin, and you understand how to perform procedures on yourself, AND have a good bit of experience doing it, you should not be microneedling at home. You should only seek out a qualified, highly experienced therapist. There’s a lot of nuances in this particular procedure that you can’t just read in a pamphlet. If you’re someone who’s done a lot of different peels on yourself, for instance, or other treatments, have some experience using actives on your skin, etc., – If you fall under this category, it’s likely that that you can understand the procedure and who is administering the treatment. Still, again I would not perform this at home. But def do your research. As stated above and as Samantha has said in this article, this is a SURGICAL procedure, and you came come out with permanent damage if you jumped in too quickly without doing your due diligence.

  9. Kylie says:

    I had micro needling done a year ago. The night of I had slight inflammation but it settled within the week. I did notice puckering or a pulling of the skin under my eye the same evening and assumed it was temporary. It has not disappeared. These vertical wrinkles are under my inner eye and we’re not present before. Under my eyes were not the focus of the session. I went for lower face. I used the recommended after care products. I also had laser as that was suppose to compliment the procedure.
    The clinic I went to think my reaction is unusual and age related but before and after photos say other wise. I have since used a vitamin serum and infrequently used retinol cream. The wrinkles haven’t change in appearance- perhaps worsened.
    Do you have any advice?

  10. Richie says:

    I was going to get microneedling but after reading your article, thankfully I am not. Is there anything you recommend for large poles and orange looking like forehead?

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Richie

      If you received the level of emails about micro-needling gone wrong, and what we see first hand, you certainly would not want to be undergoing this treatment, so good decision. I would try our skin shots H20, B+ niacinamide and A+ and equilibrium moisturiser to slow the flow of sebaceous secretions and improve texture; we can also customise formulas for you, so it contains a high percentage of urea which is great for texture. Samantha

  11. John R says:

    I’m sorry to hear all the bad experiences but I just had my third session of micro-needling. This time we looked at the photos from my first session-before and after-and my skin has gotten so much better. The texture, the pores, the old acne and shaving cuts from shaving are now fading. I’m very happy that I did it but if I had read your article before I did my first session I would not have done it. So, I hope your readers know that not everyone has bad experiences. I think most are experiences are good. Sure, some people have bad experiences but not everyone. It saved me for sure. I feel more confident in my appearance. Huge difference, before and after for me. I would tell everyone to do their own research. Also, read reviews about the place where they might have this done. Make sure the people doing it are pros. And most importantly, DON’T LOOK FOR A BUDGET PLACE! It’s your face they will be working on. Spend the money on a good place. You get what you lay for.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      John thank you for your message what we are finding is that some peoples skin is just more susceptible to damage than others, quite why we don’t know but happy to hear that you had a good result.

      • Janet says:

        Interesting to read, and I’m sorry you had this bad experience. I worry when I see people buying derma rollers and doing this to themselves.

        My own experience is not too bad. I had three derma pen (not roller) treatments in a clinic and whilst I do have sensitive skin and initially, there was some redness but it did subside thankfully.

  12. Bonnie ray says:

    Admіring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailеd the information you present. It’s good tߋ come acrosѕ a blog every once in a while that іsdon’t tһe same out of date rehashed material. Wⲟnderful read!

  13. Sarah says:

    Hello! I am so glad I found this page! I got microneedling done the first round was awesome! I thought I saw great results! But after I got the second round I started started getting horrible horrible cystic acne, pain, redness. Any products I put on my face just burned and left my face red almost all day. I went back to where I got it done and they said I was using too many products. I cut back followed there regimen for 3 weeks and nothing. Help! Please can I get some advice I am desperate

  14. Elizabeth says:

    Can you recommend some healing products I can get over in the states? I have what appears to be permanent dreadful icepick‐type scarring 5 weeks out from a Fractora procedure. The surgeon is baffled, never seen a reaction like it. 3 prior home microneedling sessions were great, so not really sure what to think! But certainly sad to trade acne-prone skin for badly scarred skin.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Elizabeth most of our online customers are from the states. I am so sorry to hear about your skin, please email us directly Bio lipid, ceramide and fortify will be wonderful to help replenish missing ingredients and repair and we also have a customised anti scar formula we can supply you with. however, we do want to warn you that scars need to be treated quickly before they atrophy.

  15. Jennifer Holland says:

    Dear Naked Chemist, I wish I had seen your article before I got my microneedling done. I got my procedure done about 3 years ago. The experience you described is exactly what I went through. Anyway it rack my skin. I now have enlarged pores on my cheeks. The pores did however closed up around the top right part of my nose but they remained open on both cheeks. Is there anything that I can do to help repair the cells.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Jeniffer. I have sent you an email, but I want to be completely transparent here you can not shrink pores, but yes this can be in some people a side effect of microneedling, why we are not sure maybe its due to the skin purging or damage to the collagen and elastin proteins. What will help is the ingredients Vitamin A and Vitamin B and peptides to restructure and redensify your skin. Samantha

  16. Jennifer says:

    Hello. I had a micro needling treatment done in February 2021. About 3 weeks later my face would burn and itch and now has scarred looking skin, larger pores, dark spots and redness. I absolutely regret having it done. A dermatologist said I may have rosacea but I’ve never had any issues until this procedure. Is it possible it is from the micro needling and not rosacea? Is there any products that could help this? I’m currently on Azaleic acid so could that be combined with something? Thank you

    • Ann says:

      What is your opinion about the Physiolabs BB Glow (NOT the foundations) meso serums. My practionor used this during microneedling. I wanna know if it is safe before I continue. I’m nervous to do this again if it is not safe.

  17. Tamara says:

    I am 43, I do not have wrinkles but I am losing volume and wake up with bags under my eyes that diminish after an hour. I also noticed my neck skin starting to sag slightly and when I try and talk to my dermatologist and several other dermatologists and I am being pushed towards micro needling. I do get cold sores and have flare ups of dermatitis. I am very hesitant in doing this, call it intuition but my mind is yelling NO. I also sat with the technician that was not able to answer my questions directly which does not give me a lot of confidence. I am really hitting a wall because no one will recommend anything else I can do or use other than harsh peels and micro needling. Any thoughts you can share with me

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Tamara

      Why resort to microneedling? Instead use good skincare with actives that will not only rebuild your skin but also prevent premature ageing. Look for ingredients like vitamin A, C and B3 and peptides – our A+, C+ and B+ complex is excellent along with Betox and DNA and Immortelle. And stay out of the sun! Good luck. Samantha

  18. Vidhi says:

    I have had 1 session of microneedling. My skin looks fine however there bumps on my skin I have acne prone skin. I also feel my skin which is oily is at the same dry and not soft at all. Its my day 7. But i dont see a glow or much of a difference in my skin. I have large pores, saggy skin and acne scars and marks. My skin is sensitive. Do you suggest to take more microneedling treatments? If not then what treatment can I undergo for reducing pores and scars?

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi, Vidhi; no, absolutely; I do not recommend more treatments; not everyone has a poor outcome with microneedling, but those that do, struggle; please check out my most recent article on 10 reasons why not to have microneedling. Samantha

    • Dani says:

      It often takes around 4-6 treatments to really see results. Just make sure you have a qualified aesthetician working with you and be patient with your skin. Time is your friend with the healing process of micro needling. Keep learning more about the procedure and others so you can find what works for you. Get different opinions from qualified practitioners too before you decide on one.

      It also helps to find a top rated spa and have them sign you up for a custom facial so you can have them look at your skin and give their recommendations on a treatment plan. There’s many more treatments available other than micro needling, but finding a good aesthetician to help you is key. It can take a few tries but you’ll know when you find a good one when your skin lets you know and when they are able to educate you on what’s available.

  19. Laura says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this information! I did several sessions of microneedling that only caused worsening of my fine lines. I am a Fitzpatrick 2 and wish I had known better. I am 33 and feel my fine lines are advanced for my age. What do you think about LED red light therapy? I have been using the Lightstim device every day for 2 months because it sounded gentle and effective, but have seen no improvement yet, maybe even slight worsening. Do you think it’s possible for some people to just be resistant to collagen induction therapy of all kinds, and all we’re doing is damaging the cells but our body is never repairing or replacing them for some reason?

    Thanks for your time!

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Laura
      If there is one ingredient that I really like then it has to be LED red light therapy, it’s non-invasive and will help to heal your skin. please just use a salon size not hand held. Good luck

  20. Stacey says:

    When repairing skin barrier damage from microneedling do you recommend not using Tretinoin? I’ve been using it a while and don’t have irritation from it

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Stacey as a rule of thumb many clients skin is to compromised to use an active such as vitamin A straight away. But once the barrier and skin has strengthened then yes, it can help.

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