Microneedling treatment

How to Care for Your Skin After Micro Needling

Some ingredients introduce immunogenic particles during needling
that can cause hypersensitivity and irreversible damage

Micro-needling is a cosmetic procedure involving a fine needle device that creates micro-injuries in your skin.

These controlled injuries stimulate collagen production and promote skin rejuvenation.

However, the ingredients you use during and after the procedure can significantly impact the outcome.

Moreover, if not used carefully, these ingredients have the potential to cause hypersensitivity or irreversible damage.

Therefore, the “less is best” approach is crucial when considering skincare treatments like dermarolling or microneedling.

Your skin’s immune response becomes highly sensitive during barrier impairment.

Using the right ingredients is essential to avoid adverse outcomes.

To understand this, let’s delve into the physiology of the skin layers:

What Clients have to Say

We receive hundreds of emails about the side effects of poor facial needling treatments, a topic we discuss in greater detail in the article Microneedling beware, and in our free ebook.

Susan from Australia wrote: I had micro-needle and was given a topical Vitamin C product to use 24 hours after treatment. Initially, my skin looked calm, but after applying the Vitamin C product for three days, my skin developed a rash, five days in and my face started to swell and break out and became extremely painful; I was hospitalised and, after a biopsy, found that I had a granulomatous reaction. Three months later, the swelling has gone down, but the scarring has left me permanently disfigured.

Sarah from the USA wrote: I was given microneedling before and after 1 treatment only it was recommended I use products containg vitamin A. As soon as I  started using the product my skin had an inflammatory reaction. My dermatologist explained that because of this my skin had healed as fibrotic tissue, also known as “micro-scarring” instead of normal, nice basketweave collagen”. Its really devastating microneedling damaged my skin.

Michelle from New Zealand wrote: Initially, my treatment was ok, the worst part seems to be from the aftercare I was recommended by my aesthetician who suggested I use products containg Vitamin A and C and lactic acid after the treatment. As soon as I applied them my skin immediately began to flare up, but I was told to continue using the products as this was part of my healing treatment. My skin looked like it had been dragged through gravel; I lost all my confidence and beauty. I started to do some research aound can microneedling make skin worse when used with certain ingredients, and I came across the Naked Chemist, i reached out to them and it was explained to me that I was suffering from a histamine reaction. It has been a long road to get my skin under control, two years, infact! Quite why my aesthetician recommended applying these products with such active ingredients when my skin was impaired is beyond me; as all of this could have been avoided.

Taking the approach less is best

After reading these case studies and this one from a client, you can see the importance of using the right ingredients on your skin.

This will help to ensure a negative outcome because your skin’s immune response is highly sensitive during barrier impairment.

Your skin’s protective layer consists of multiple layers of keratinised cells, creating an impenetrable barrier that shields the deeper, living cells.

The outermost layer of the epidermis resembles a brick-and-mortar structure, with corneocytes as bricks and intercellular lipids as the mortar.

These lipid structures safeguard your skin against foreign substances and harmful agents while preventing water loss.

Invasive procedures like skin needling, laser treatments, or harsh peels disrupt the delicate microflora, which creates your skin’s acid mantle, compromising the protective barrier function and disturbing the pH balance.

Engaging in needling treatments without considering these vital physiological factors exposes your skin to potential risks.

In the skincare industry, there’s a belief that because the channels created by skin needling are open immediately after the procedure, active ingredients applied during and after treatment will penetrate deeper layers.

However, this approach has led to an increase in people experiencing skin problems and systemic illnesses.

Many recommended products contain overly active ingredients for use during maximum barrier disruption.

Consequently, some clients suffer from adverse side effects like an “orange peel” texture, rashes, inflammation, erythematous papules evolving into plaques, and conditions like erythema nodosum and granulomatous infections.

In severe cases, clients may require intravenous antibiotics, steroids, or immunosuppressive drugs to heal their skin.

Case studies, such as the one that looks at granulomatous facial reactions after microneedling, highlight the potential dangers of applying products “during” and “immediately” after treatment.

We discuss this in the article “micro needling beware,” and the comments on the page emphasise the real problem it poses.

Needling Mimics the Patch Test Procedure

Micro-needle treatment and the patch test procedure are similar in assessing skin sensitivity and substance reactions.

In the industry, the patch test involves applying a diluted drop of a substance on the skin and pricking it with a small needle.

After 15 minutes, any skin reaction, such as redness or raised areas, is observed to determine sensitivity. The larger the reaction, the greater the sensitivity.

Conversely, it involves repetitive micro-injury to the outer layer of skin, the epidermis (outer layer of skin).

This process opens channels in the skin, increasing the absorption of topical substances beyond its natural protective surface.

These channels remain open for extended periods to achieve the desired result.

Ingredients in topical products interact with the skin’s chemical composition, and if the skin doesn’t recognise a substance as its own, it can trigger an immune response.

Cytokines, signalling molecules, prompt the immune system to send cells to the injured site to repair the skin’s integrity.

This immune response can result in inflammation and, in some cases, lead to pathological responses like granulomas (scar tissue), allergic reactions, contact dermatitis, pain, and even functional impairments, including speech or visual distortions and breathing difficulties.

A simple example of this immune response is seen in allergies to substances like nuts or bee stings. A small amount of the allergen entering the body can trigger anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening reaction.

This is why you must avoid using vitamin C when you have microneedling, which we discuss in more detail here.

When Needling What Should I Use?

When caring for your skin before and after a microneedling or dermarolling procedure, it’s crucial to be gentle and cautious to promote healing and avoid potential complications.

Here’s a breakdown of what to use on your skin during and after the treatment:

During Treatment:

  • Saline or Pure High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid (HMW-HA): During the procedure, it’s recommended to use saline or pure HMW-HA to prevent friction and assist in the device’s gliding. This will also minimise irritation and discomfort.

After Treatment:

  • Cool-Off Period: After the procedure, allow your skin to rest and recover for several hours. Even with shallower cosmetic needles, your skin’s vulnerability period persists as long as the micro-perforations are open. It’s advisable to wait at least 24 hours before applying any products to see how your skin responds.
  • High Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid (HMW-HA): After the cool-off period, focus on “sealing” your skin to prevent trans-epidermal water loss and replenish moisture. HMW-HA is recommended because it aligns with your skin’s natural physiology. It is film-forming and safe, provided it does not contain active ingredients or microbes. HMW-HA doesn’t easily penetrate the skin but sits on the surface, binding to water to maintain hydration. It also forms a temporary barrier to protect your skin and help it to heal. This can be found in H20 skin shot and Quench gel.
  • Gentle Healing Products: Once your skin has had time to recover, use only very gentle healing products on your skin; use ones that mimic the physiology of your skin. Look for products containing skin-identical ingredients to support the healing process without causing further irritation.

You must be patient and cautious with your skincare routine after micro-needling to ensure your skin heals correctly and minimise any risk of adverse reactions.

Always follow the guidance of a skincare professional or dermatologist for personalised recommendations based on your specific needs and skin type.

To conclude. The naked truth

In this article, we have demonstrated the importance of understanding the potential risks of this treatment.

These invasive treatments can disrupt your skin’s protective barrier, opening channels for increased absorption of topical substances.

Repeatedly using harsh actives during treatment can trigger an immune response that can lead to long-term complications.

Contrary to the assumption that skincare companies only provide safe products specifically formulated for use with needling and other modalities.

It’s crucial to recognise the industry’s lack of regulation concerning product safety in combination with such treatments.

Micro-needling and similar treatments are not to be taken lightly; you need to understand the potential risks and the appropriate products to help you achieve the best results while minimising the chances of complications.

13 replies on “How to Care for Your Skin After Micro Needling”

I’ve had Microneedling twice and my skin looked great, but both times I’ve had what I can best describe as significant flu symptoms for the 24-30 hours or so after. Really bad headaches, feeling feverish (though never took my temp so possibly not an actual fever), body aches, fatigue–it feels like a significant immune response. I’ve been scouring the web and can’t find anyone else posting about this aside from having infection, but as I said, my skin doesn’t look infected. I don’t get that red from the procedure and feel comfortable being around people within hours of having it done, and definitely by the next day. Anyone have experience or insights into this?
I’ll add I had the two sessions done by two different places, two months apart. I bought a package of 3 from the second place though, so I have two more treatments to go, but I’m unsure if I need to prepare to be sick for that weekend or if that’s something I should be concerned about and stop treatment.

Hi Natalie. Just because you have had infection doesnt mean it shows as inflammtion. We would recommend getting a second opinion by a medical dermatologist. Repost this on our microneedling beware article as it has over 400 comments, you may get an answer there.

Hey Natalie, I went searching the internet because of a similar experience to what you’re talking about. I’ve had two microneedling sessions and both times I was extremely fatigued for up to 5 days. We’re talking extreme fatigue – like, hard to get anything done. I agree that it seems to be due to an immune response. I personally have similar reactions to eating things like gluten and dairy – despite not being allergic to them – my body has some sort of immune response that makes me extremely fatigued when I eat them. I feel like the same thing is going on here. And my best guess as to what’s going on here is some sort of autoimmune reaction that only occurs in some people but not most. Just here to say you’re not alone. I’m not sure if it’s something to worry about, but I’m personally not too worried about it – I think it’s just a sign of a sensitive immune system.

Hi I had a needling session 3 days ago and my skin is so sore. It’s my 3rd session and the reaction is way more extreme. The therapist said they used a stronger retinol, but should this have been used at all? From reading your article it would appear that this shouldn’t be used – could this be causing the irritation?

Hi, I had a PRF microneedling session and then a week later, caught covid and used hylauronic acid, vit c serum and cerave v cream, my face broke out in an allergy rash, angry, itchy blistery bumps at every needle point mark, it looks like waffling. Thankfully it is settling but I have another 2 appointments, should I have them? Was it likely Vit. C serum that caused problem or Covid fever?
Thanks, appreciate any advice.

Hi Claire

Please be careful what you use on your skin and don’t rely on your skin specialist especially when it comes to recommending the right topicals? Why would they recommend you use Vitamin C after treatment? We recommend only using hyaluronic acid pure hyaluronic and high molecular with no hidden nasties like aloe vera. Please read the 300 plus comments here before you decide whether or not to commit to more treatments. https://thenakedchemist.com/microneedling-beware-it-can-seriously-mess-with-your-skin/

Hello I wanted to do (for the second time) a microneedling session but came across your articles. I changed my mind!

I do have two questions. The first micorneedling sessions was four months ago. I have no idea what they’ve needled into my skin.
I’m a bit prone to anxiety… is it still possible to end up with an granuloma infection after four months?
And second, I do have sensitive and irritated skin (had it all my life, but it could be possible the microneedling damaged the barrier even more).
What ingrediënt/products I should use to heal my skin?

I had a microneedling session the day before yesterday. Wish I read this blog first.
Anyway, the practionor gave me a ‘calming cream’. I put it on my face four hours after the treatment.
I just read te label. Including dimethione, which I know are sillicones. Do you think the micro-perforations where closed enough? Today my skin looks normal and calm. Thankfully. I do worry about silicones underneath my skin. Is this something to worry about. What are your thoughts? Thank you, Samantha!

Hi Bo. Please just give your skin a break for at least 36 hours from anything unless you are using a high molecular hyaluronic acid, if there is no sign of inflammation sensitivity introduce slowly.

Is this from the microneedling you can do yourself or get in a beauticians. Can this happen after 1 session. Will your creams help repair the damage if there is any

Hi, Stacy both I am afraid to say, not everyone experiences adverse side effects, but as you can see many do. I advise reading through the comments and making your own decision as to whether you feel you require this treatment. Samantha

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