What to Expect After Microneedling
Microneedling is a convenient, simple treatment that can support aging skin by stimulating collagen production. Studies have shown that collagen and elastin, the two proteins that support the skin, decline significantly after age 30. The production of these proteins can be sustained with periodic treatments that wake up dormant fibroblast cells. Microneedling is an excellent way to do so. Treatment involves the creation of micro-channels in the upper layers of the skin. A microneedling device passes over the skin, making vertical insertions as it moves. Channels span about 2 mm deep, close enough to the dermis to stimulate cellular activity and yet small enough to seal right away.
Understandably, the idea of pressing tiny needles into the skin can sound intimidating. This must, one, be painful and, two, cause a lot of side effects. Neither is true. First, microneedling may be performed after a numbing cream has been applied to desensitize the skin. Second, side effects are mild and temporary. Here’s what patients can expect after a microneedling treatment.
- This is the most common side effect of microneedling. Redness occurs due to the inflammatory response in the deeper layers of the skin. How much redness occurs may depend on a person’s skin tone and general sensitivity. To soothe the skin, hydrate it by drinking plenty of water and applying a nourishing serum or cream. Within 24 hours, most of the redness that occurs should be gone.
- Bruising and swelling. These are less common side effects that may also occur in some patients. It is usually limited to the eye area, which is more sensitive due to the thin skin here. Like redness, swelling and bruising may resolve within 24 to 48 hours. It is generally subtle enough to hide beneath makeup, if it does occur.
- Microneedling can stimulate cellular renewal in which old, damaged cells slough off and new cells emerge. As this happens, the skin may become slightly rough. Some patients notice slight marks on the skin. In 3 to 5 days, the skin may become mildly flaky as cells fall away from the epidermis.
What to Do After Microneedling
While the skin is regenerating after microneedling, patients may want to use a cleanser made for sensitive skin. All abrasive and harsh chemical exfoliants should be avoided for a few days to prevent unnecessary irritation. The body engages in an inflammatory response after microneedling. This is good as it stimulates collagen production. Patients should not take ibuprofen products during the week or so after microneedling, as this will decrease that response and limit the infusion of collagen treatment is designed to achieve.