Home Skincare Can I Wash My Face After Microneedling?

Can I Wash My Face After Microneedling?

by Gabbi

Microneedling used to be reserved for people who could afford a trip to the spa or an esthetician’s office, but these days there are products that allow you to microneedle your own skin in the safety of your home.

And what a blessing that is! Microneedling is one of those beauty procedures that actually work to improve your skin, although it sounds a little painful.

Microneedling involves poking your skin with a bunch of tiny sanitary needles, creating “micro-injuries” that prompt your skin to naturally heal. This natural healing results in a completely renewed complexion.

People swear by microneedling because it reduces the appearance of acne scars, stretch marks, fine lines, and discoloration. It can brighten your face and make it look younger after just one session.

But as you can imagine, poking your face with a bunch of little needles to create literal wounds can be painful. You can expect your face to go through some swelling and inflammation, and you’ll want to follow a gentle protocol for a few days to allow your face to heal properly.

Many people who are new to microneedling wonder what they can and cannot do after the procedure. Today we’re going to address one of the most common questions that you’re probably asking yourself:

Can I wash my face after microneedling? The answer is yes, but you have to be careful and follow a gentle routine. You may not be able to use your regular products in the few days following your procedure. 

In this post, we will go over all the things you should know about washing your face after microneedling to ensure that you do it safely and get the best results.

Washing Your Face After Microneedling

When you get microneedling, your face may become a little red and swollen. Some parts of your skin might even bleed a little.

You’ll probably be tempted to wash your face to relieve some of the swelling and clean off some of the blood or plasma that develops on your skin.

But it’s not a good idea to wash your face right away. You should give your skin at least 3-4 hours before you wash it. 

During this 3-4 hour window, your skin is the most sensitive. It’s going through some crucial healing steps that should not be interrupted.

Washing your face during this time might lead to more irritation, especially if you rub it or get some soap into your wounds. It’s best to let it heal naturally and wait it out. 

For pain and swelling, take a little bit of pain medicine that you can get over the counter. If you’re worried about the way your skin looks right now – take the day off and stay home! After a few hours, the swelling will go down a bit and you’ll be able to wash your face once it’s safe to do so.

Use Lukewarm Water After Microneedling

Once the 3-4 hour window is over, you can wash your face. But you should still be very gentle with your skin at this point. 

Don’t use water that is too cold or too hot. It might be tempting to use cold water to get rid of the irritation on your face, but any shock to your skin isn’t going to be well tolerated right now.

The same goes for hot water – your skin is already dealing with a lot of heat and inflammation, so adding hot water to the mix will only make it worse.

Instead, use lukewarm water and gently splash it on your face. Try not to rub your skin and definitely don’t use any scrubbing devices or a face cloth. 

These things can cause further irritation and pain, and in some cases, can even lead to an infection if your skin gets too damaged.

Remember that your skin is healing from a bunch of micro-injuries right now, so you have to treat it with utmost care.

What Face Washes Can You Use After Microneedling?

If you can avoid using a cleanser this early in the healing process, that would be best. The first 24 hours after you’ve microneedled your face are when your skin is the most sensitive.

Using a face wash or a cleanser can further irritate your skin. However, if you feel like you really need something stronger than plain water, you can opt for a gentle cleanser, like this one from Cerave

Avoid foaming cleansers, as those contain a lot of sulfates which can be damaging to your sensitive skin right now. You should also avoid acne face wash and exfoliating face wash for the first 48 hours after your microneedling procedure.

Acne washes typically contain salicylic acid, which increases your skin’s turnover rate. Normally, that’s a good thing, but when your skin is injured, it’s already working at maximum capacity to produce fresh skin cells – you don’t want to push it over the limit.

Exfoliating face washes remove the top layer of your skin, either physically or chemically, and this can lead to more irritation, especially when your skin is healing from microneedling.

Long story short, you’ll want to use a very gentle cleanser for the first 48 hours after microneedling that won’t further irritate or damage the delicate layer of your skin.

When Can You Resume Your Regular Skincare Routine After Microneedling?

After the 48 hours have passed, your skin will likely feel normal. The swelling will go down, your skin won’t look red or puffy anymore, and it probably won’t feel as sensitive as it did.

This is a good sign that you can begin to resume your regular skincare routine. However, you should use the 48-hour rule as more of a guide than a rule. Everyone’s skin is different and heals at a different rate.

Your priority is to allow your skin to heal fully before you resume your usual skincare products. This means if your skin is still feeling a little sensitive, you might want to hold off for another day.

As you return to your regular routine, be mindful of what products you are using. Some products have a tendency to irritate sensitive skin, so you might want to hold off on them for a few extra days, just to be safe.

Below are some of the beauty product ingredients you might want to be mindful of:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Beta hydroxy acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Alpha hydroxy acid
  • Retinol and its derivatives
  • Fragrances
  • Sulfates

Most people can begin incorporating these products back into their routine after waiting 48 hours, but some people might need to wait a few days longer.

Try to see how your skin feels and gauge based on that. When it comes to washing your face, you’ll probably be able to use your regular face wash 48 hours after you microneedle your face.

Just continue to be gentle and don’t rub or scrub your skin too hard until you’re certain that it has fully healed.

What To Do About Dry Skin After Microneedling?

Dry and flaking skin is a normal part of the healing process after microneedling. After 2-4 days post-procedure, your old skin will begin to flake off, revealing fresh new baby skin underneath.

Don’t freak out when this happens – it’s normal. This is your skin cells regenerating and shedding the old skin cells. However, it can be frustrating to walk around with dry flaky patches on your face. So, what can you do about it?

As long as your skin is no longer sensitive or irritated, you can begin to use gentle exfoliation to get rid of the flaky skin. The best way to exfoliate the dead skin after microneedling is by using physical exfoliants – such as a soft silicone brush or a salt scrub. 

Gently rub them over your skin while washing your face in the morning, and make sure to follow up with a rich moisturizer. By day 5, all your dry skin should be gone and your skin will have a brighter and smoother complexion.

Final Thoughts

Let’s summarize the most important things you need to remember after microneedling:

  • Don’t wash your face or put anything on it for 3-4 hours after the procedure
  • After that, you can begin to gently wash your face as needed
  • Use lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser for the first 48 hours
  • Avoid any other skincare products for 48 hours
  • Slowly begin reintroducing regular products after the 48-hour window
  • Treat any dry skin with a gentle physical exfoliator and a rich moisturizer

If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to create the best healing environment for your skin after microneedling, allowing it to regenerate new skin without too much pain, irritation, or infection.

If anything happens and your skin seems infected, or if it remains swollen and painful for longer than 48 hours, you might want to check with a doctor to make sure there is nothing serious going on.

For most people, microneedling is a safe and worthwhile process that gives them gorgeous skin for months to come.

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