Retinol after Microneedling – Everything You Need To Know

Retinol after Microneedling – Everything You Need To Know
Retinol after Microneedling – Everything You Need To Know

Retinol has quickly become a must-have in our skin care routines – especially for those of us who are gracefully aging past 25. 

However, retinol is not a magic ingredient. 

Like all products, there are times when it may not be suitable for your skin. Or, in some cases, you may have to deviate from either the way that you use it, or the strength of it. 

And one of these times is after microneedling. 

But don’t you worry. We are here to talk about what retinol does and whether we can use it after microneedling. 

What is Retinol

Retinol is a form of retinoid, which is a class of vitamin A-derived medications. Both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription retinoid medications are classified as retinoids. 

However, most OTC retinoid products contain doses up to 2%. You would need a prescription for a retinoid product of a stronger concentration. 

Can you use Retinol after Microneedling

Retinol and retinoid products (including Retin A) should not be used immediately after microneedling. 

It is best to wait at least 72 hours or up to 1-2 weeks after your microneedling procedure to give the skin time to heal before applying retinol. 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Retinol After Microneedling

After Microneedling your skin will be:

  • Very sensitive,
  • Extra Dry,
  • Excessively vulnerable to sunlight (photosensitive)
  • And even inflamed. 

And Retinol is an active ingredient that is a little abrasive and will further increase these side effects. This will irritate your skin, cause you to sunburn too easily, and may even damage your skin. 

And because of this retinol should be avoided both before and after microneedling.

How Does Retinol Affect the Skin

Retinol penetrates the layer of the skin all the way down to the dermis (middle layer). 

When it is present in the layer of the skin, retinol promotes cell turnover and prevents the breakdown of collagen, a protein that promotes skin elasticity

Should you Stop using Retinol before Microneedling

Yes. You should avoid using retinol and any other products that make your skin more sensitive before microneedling. 

Ideally, it would be best to stop using retinol 5-7 days before microneedling.

However, if you are unable to do this, then you should avoid it for at least 48 hours before the procedure. 

How Can You Start Using Retinol after Microneedling

You should gradually introduce retinol and retinoid products (including Retin A) into your skin care routine at least 72 hours after microneedling.

As always, I recommend that you consult your dermatologist before reintroducing retinol into your skincare routine. When you have been cleared, it is best to gradually start using retinol.

You may use it in a lower concentration and slowly build your way back up to your regular strength over a few days.

Or, you may use it on alternating days until you transition into using it daily. 

Side effects of using Retinol after Microneedling

Microneedling develops microchannels, allowing topical treatments to absorb 5-20 times more. This might have both positive and negative implications.

If you apply skincare products that irritate or are designed to exfoliate skin, like retinol, it may do more harm than good to your skin.

Some side effects from using retinol just after microneedling may include:

  • Irritation
  • Redness and Inflammation
  • Excessive dryness and flaking
  • Longer healing time
  • Easily sunburned skin

Safer Alternatives to Retinol after Microneedling

The safest thing to do immediately after microneedling is to stick to a simple skincare routine until your skin heals. 

This means to avoid all retinol products and anything else that will have similar effects on the skin. 

Most skincare professionals suggest that you stick to the bare minimum for at least the first week after microneedling. 

The bare minimum being:

  • Cleanser
  • Moisturizer
  • Sunscreen

When your skin has healed, you can gradually and safely reintroduce retinol or any other similar alternatives to your skin care regimen. 

Great Cleansers to use after Microneedling

The cleanser that you use after microneedling should be effective yet not too harsh. You do not want to disrupt the healing process of your skin.

Below are a few great cleansers that I found and can recommend (all available on Amazon):

ZO Skin Health Gentle Cleanser

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Hydrating Gel Facial Cleanser

THAYERS Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Facial Toner with Aloe Vera Formula

Great Sunscreens to use after Microneedling

Sunscreens, especially the ones being used after microneedling, need to have great SPF and need to be suitable for sensitive skin.

The two below that I recommend are both SPF 50, making them very effective. They are also gentle enough that they would not interfere with the skins healing process.

Skinceutical Fusion Sunscreen.

Aveeno Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

Great Moisturizers to use after Microneedling

Because your skin is so sensitive after microneedling, it would be best to avoid moisturizers that are scented, or have irritating ingredients.

Here are a few products that are great moisturizers for your skin after microneedling (all available on Amazon):

CETAPHIL Daily Hydrating Lotion, With Hyaluronic Acid.

SheaMoisture Overnight Face Oil with Virgin Coconut Oil

Asterwood Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face


What is retinol and how can a person use it? 

8 Things You Should Expect Before & After Micro-Needling

Micro-Needling Pre + Post Care Instructions – Egrari Plastic Surgery & Non-Invasive Center Blog

#1 Guide – What to put on your skin after microneedling? – White Lotus

Here’s What Skincare To Use After Microneedling | Banish

11 Microneedling Mistakes That Slow (Or Worsen) Your Results 

How to Take Care of Your Skin After Microneedling

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