Microneedling requires a top-notch aftercare regime. Here’s how to optimize your results.

Ah, microneedling. A cosmetic professional performs the not-so-invasive procedure using a tool filled with tiny needles.

It *sort of* resembles a tattoo gun, but instead of giving you fresh ink, it creates micro-injuries for a major glow-up (think brightening skin, softening fine lines, and fading acne marks).

It’s super important to pamper your newly wounded skin post-needle-sesh for proper healing.

We chatted with a couple of board-certified derms for the best tips on keeping your skin happy as it heals.

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Photography by Anna Efetova/Getty Images

San Diego-based board-certified dermatologist Melanie Palm says your skin will probably be red and irritated after microneedling. Avoiding the sun for two weeks, she says, is your biggest task as your skin heals. The risk if you don’t? “extensive UV damage,” Palm says.

We know you will be tempted to cleanse your face, but Palm explains that the tiny channels created by microneedling can allow bacteria to infect the skin.

“Put nothing on your skin for the first 24 hours,” says Stephanie Saxton-Daniels, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Dallas, TX. “Some ingredients can cause reactions or infections in the treated area, so it’s better to avoid [them] altogether unless specified by your doctor.”

She recommends water only if you have to use something in the first 24 hours. She also suggests using distilled water and not tap water, which she explains can contain bacteria and other contaminants.

OK, you’ve waited 24 hours, and now it’s time to wash your face with a cleanser. Gentleness is the name of the game. Saxton-Daniels and Palm agree that using a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser is essential — one without any actives or exfoliants. Use a gentle hand while cleansing, too; no scrubbing.

If you *must* apply something from here, Palm says a 100% hyaluronic acid serum product without any other ingredients is safe.

“Anything else could be possibly irritating to the skin, or even worse, can cause severe granulomatous dermatitis (inflammation),” Palm says.

You’re not just hangin’ in the shade as you heal; you’re also actively protecting yourself from the sun via broad-spectrum SPF of 30 or higher.

So after the first 24 hours, if you have to go outdoors, Saxton-Daniels says to apply a fragrance-free mineral sunscreen (not a chemical sunscreen).

If you need to touch your face post-treatment, ensure your hands are squeaky clean to keep infection possibilities low. Wash them before cleansing your face the next day and before applying all that SPF in the following weeks, too!

Some of our favorite skin care products include ingredients that are way too extreme for a newly microneedled face. Palm recommends taking a 3-4 day break from skincare products with irritating active ingredients like:

We love a food glam moment, but your face needs some breathing room. More specifically, it needs to avoid infection.

Palm tells her patients to avoid wearing makeup for 48 hours post-treatment to keep their skin as clean and bacteria-free as possible.

Because of bacteria and sweat, you should avoid swimming pools and saunas for at least three days after a microneedling treatment.

Fitness babes will hate this one the most. Sweat and newly exposed skin don’t go together, so you’ll have to factor in a few rest days. The weight room will be there when you return. This rule also goes for at-home workouts. Give it all a few days.

If your esthetician or dermatologist gives you specific instructions not listed here, be sure to follow them closely. They may prescribe certain topicals or give you extra advice based on your lifestyle to help you avoid infection and help you maximize your results.

What is the best thing to do after microneedling?

Staying out of the sun is hands-down the most essential thing you can do for your microneedled face. It sounds extreme, but you should avoid the sun for at least two weeks, slathering on a broad-spectrum SPF 30 daily.

What should I put on my face after microneedling?

For the first 24, avoid using anything but water on your face. After a few days, Palm says ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, peptides, and even growth factors are safe and helpful.

How soon after microneedling can I wash my face?

As Palm explains, it’s best to wait close to 24 hours before washing the skin — or at least overnight.

What should we not do after needling?

You shouldn’t go into that sun for a couple of weeks. Avoid makeup for a few days, and don’t use exfoliants, hydroxy acids, vitamin C products, and fragrances. Stay out of the gym, pools, or saunas, too, please.

Getting microneedled can leave you feeling anxious to reveal your new glow — but your skin needs time to heal before it can get glowin’.

Though it’s easier said than done, stay out of the sun for a couple of weeks, avoid washing your face for at least one day, and when you do reach for a cleanser or other ingredients, be sure they’re gentle and free from exfoliants, fragrances, hydroxy acids, and vitamin C.