The Use Of Retinol After Microneedling

Microneedling, a procedure known for enhancing skin rejuvenation, pairs exceptionally well with retinol, a form of vitamin A celebrated for boosting collagen production. As collagen is crucial for maintaining youthful, firm skin, integrating retinol into your post-microneedling care can significantly amplify the treatment’s benefits. However, experts recommend waiting 48-72 hours post-procedure before applying retinol-based products to avoid irritation and maximize healing. This article delves into the effective use of retinol after microneedling, highlighting its advantages, application guidelines, and the importance of selecting the right product for your skin type.

Can I Use Retinol After Microneedling?

Experts recommend reintroducing retinol-based products into your skincare routine 48-72 hours after a microneedling procedure. Using retinol creams or serums before this time may irritate your skin. Directly after microneedling, your skin will absorb ingredients up to 20 times as much as before the treatment, which can have damaging effects. Some users may need to wait a week or so before they introduce retinol back into their routine.

The use of retinol before the 48-hour mark can generally cause flaky skin, and an increased risk of sunburn, dryness, and severe irritation. It is always best to discuss this with your healthcare professional, who will base any advice on reintroducing ingredients such as retinol on your skin type.

Retinol is a valuable ingredient to include in your microneedling aftercare regime as it will encourage cell turnover, strengthen tissue growth, and prevent the further breakdown of collagen. Retinol is specifically powerful at fighting acne, and scarring, and helps with curing dark spots or uneven skin tone.

When Can I Use Retinol After Derma Rolling?

Derma rolling, often seen as a gentler alternative to traditional microneedling, involves using needles at a more superficial depth. This practice, particularly when it involves needling at a depth below 0.5mm, is typically oriented towards cosmetic enhancement rather than deeper skin treatments.

As a result, many users might consider applying retinol and similar serums immediately following their derma rolling session due to the perceived lower risk of skin irritation. However, it’s important to remember that derma rolling still creates tiny channels in the skin, which can increase the skin’s absorption rates for active ingredients like retinol.

Therefore, to minimize potential complications, it’s generally recommended to wait at least 48 hours after derma rolling before starting to use retinol-infused skincare products.

Science Behind Retinol

Retinol is a form of vitamin A, and it is used in skincare products because of its ability to boost collagen production. Collagen is an essential protein in the body’s tissue makeup, and it is usually the lack of this protein that results in aging or sagging skin. The increase in production ensures the skin heals and looks healthy, reducing wrinkles and damage.

Retinol does this by synthesizing collagenic fibers, increasing the number and activity of fibroblasts, the cellular material that supports and connects tissues. The result is firm skin with a smooth surface, a perfect ingredient to use after microneedling.

Benefits of Using Retinol After Microneedling

Using retinol after microneedling offers several benefits, enhancing the overall effectiveness and results of the skincare treatment. Here are the key advantages:

  1. Enhanced Collagen Production: Microneedling stimulates collagen production, a vital protein for skin elasticity and firmness. Retinol further boosts this process, leading to more significant improvements in skin texture and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
  2. Improved Skin Texture and Tone: Retinol is known for its ability to smooth skin texture and improve skin tone. When combined with the rejuvenating effects of microneedling, it can lead to a more even, radiant complexion.
  3. Accelerated Healing and Regeneration: Microneedling creates micro-injuries that stimulate the body’s natural healing processes. Retinol supports this healing by promoting cell turnover and regeneration, leading to quicker and more effective recovery of the skin.
  4. Increased Product Absorption: Microneedling increases the skin’s absorption capacity. When applied post-procedure, retinol and other beneficial ingredients can penetrate deeper into the skin, enhancing their effectiveness.
  5. Reduced Hyperpigmentation and Scarring: Retinol’s ability to accelerate cell turnover helps in reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and other skin imperfections.
  6. Improved Skin Hydration: Retinol can help improve the skin barrier function, which leads to better moisture retention. This is particularly beneficial after microneedling, as the skin can become dry or dehydrated post-procedure.
  7. Minimized Pore Size: Both microneedling and retinol are effective in reducing the appearance of enlarged pores, leading to a smoother, more refined skin texture.
  8. Reduction in Acne and Breakouts: Retinol has properties that help in controlling acne by preventing pore-clogging, which complements the effects of microneedling in managing acne-prone skin.

It’s important to note that while retinol offers these benefits, it should be used cautiously and introduced gradually into your skincare routine after microneedling, as the skin can be more sensitive post-procedure. Consulting with a skincare professional for personalized advice is always recommended.

How to Apply Retinol After Microneedling

After waiting for the recommended time following your treatment, begin with a product with a lower concentration of retinol than you usually use, as your skin will still be delicate. Use retinol once daily as you reintegrate it into your skincare routine.

Apply it with your hand, be gentle, and apply with upward strokes. After 7-10 days, you can use the ingredient twice daily, along with your skin products. If you experience any problems, such as soreness, red patches, or acne, stop applying the product and speak with a dermatologist for advice.

Potential Risks and Precautions

As with any skincare cream or ingredients, there are always potential risks, especially after microneedling. These include the following potential side effects:

  • Burning
  • Irritation
  • Redness
  • Flaky skin

When searching for the best retinol product, keep an eye on what other ingredients they feature to reduce healing time after microneedling. One of the best combos to look for in a skincare product is hyaluronic acid and retinol, which work in perfect harmony. Hyaluronic acid allows retinol to carry out important work while maintaining the skin’s moisture, ensuring well-hydrated skin and an increase in skin repair.

Look for retinol products such as serums or creams that contain a low concentration, around between 0.01% and 0.03%. Avoid products with glycolic acid or skincare combinations that include retinol with AHA/BHA’s, Vitamin C, and Benzoyl Peroxide.


The key takeaway here is that retinol is a beneficial ingredient that should be used to help your skin heal after microneedling. You must wait 48-72 hours after the procedure to reintroduce retinol to avoid any further damage to your sensitive skin. Always check the ingredients on any products before using, and speak to a professional if you have any doubts. If you are finding conflicting reports online or are simply unsure about what products to use after microneedling, speak with a dermatologist or doctor for advice. We all have different skin types, and what works for one may not work for another.


How Long Should You Be Off Retinol Before Microneedling?

You should stop using retinol at least one week before undergoing microneedling. This precaution minimizes the risk of increased skin sensitivity and irritation during the procedure

Why No Retinol Before Microneedling?

Retinol is avoided before microneedling because it can make the skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. By abstaining from retinol, the skin remains in a more resilient state, reducing potential complications during the microneedling process.