Should You Use Neosporin After Microneedling? Myths and Facts About Microneedling Aftercare

Microneedling has become a fan-favorite treatment for a variety of skin concerns. By creating tiny punctures in the skin, it stimulates collagen and elastin production, leading to improved skin texture, reduced fine lines and minimized acne scars. But achieving the best results goes beyond just the microneedling treatment itself. Proper aftercare is crucial for optimal healing and minimizing side effects. This guide will walk you through all the recommended aftercare steps and address a common question: is Neosporin safe to use after microneedling?

How Microneedling Works

Also known as collagen induction therapy, this procedure works by creating controlled micro-punctures in the skin using a specialized microneedling device. These tiny needles penetrate the top layer of skin, triggering the body’s natural wound healing response. This process involves increased production of collagen and elastin, the building blocks of youthful skin. Collagen provides structure and firmness, while elastin maintains elasticity and prevents sagging. 

This internal response translates to numerous benefits, including:

  • Reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Minimizing acne scars and stretch marks
  • Improving skin texture and tone
  • Addressing hyperpigmentation
  • Promoting overall skin rejuvenation

Potential Concerns, Side Effects and How to Address Them

Microneedling is a safe procedure, but some temporary side effects are common. These typically subside within a few days and can be minimized with proper aftercare. You may experience:

  • Redness (erythema): This is the most common side effect, resembling a mild sunburn, and usually disappears within 1–3 days.
  • Swelling: Mild swelling around the treated area is common and should subside within 24-48 hours.
  • Tightness: Your skin may feel tight or dry, especially after cleansing. Apply moisturizer regularly to alleviate this feeling.
  • Flaking: Dry, flaky skin may appear as the treatment area heals. Avoid picking and let the flakes fall off naturally.
  • Mild pinpoint bleeding: This is normal during the procedure and should stop shortly after.

Microneedling can occasionally trigger breakouts, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Discuss preventative measures with your dermatologist and use non-comedogenic skin care products. If redness (erythema) persists beyond a few days, consult your dermatologist. They can recommend soothing treatments or advise modifying your aftercare routine.

Microneedling Aftercare Do’s and Don’ts

Follow our recommended aftercare steps to help your skin recover quickly with minimal side effects:

Do:

  • Cleanse Gently: Within the first 24 hours post-treatment, cleanse your face with a gentle, fragrance-free cleanser. Avoid harsh scrubs or exfoliating products that can irritate the treated area. Opt for a lukewarm water temperature and pat your face dry with a clean, soft towel instead of rubbing.
  • Moisturize Regularly: After cleansing, apply a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer throughout the day. Look for products containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides to promote hydration. Hyaluronic acid attracts and retains moisture in the skin, keeping it plump and hydrated during the healing process. Ceramides are essential lipids that help strengthen the skin’s barrier function, preventing water loss and protecting the skin from external irritants. Apply moisturizer generously, but avoid overdoing it as clogged pores can lead to breakouts.
  • Sunscreen is a Must: Sun exposure is detrimental to healing skin and can worsen hyperpigmentation. Wear a product with SPF 30 or higher that offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, even on cloudy days. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and can damage collagen and elastin, negating the benefits of your treatment. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially if sweating or spending extended time outdoors.
  • Embrace Hydrating Serums: Gentle hydrating serums with ingredients like vitamin C can further support the healing process. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin from free radical damage and promotes collagen production. However, it’s important to note that vitamin C can be irritating to freshly microneedled skin. Discuss options with your dermatologist and start with a low concentration serum applied a few days after the initial redness has subsided.

Don’t:

  • Pick or Touch the Treated Area: Resist the urge to pick at any scabs or flaking skin. Picking can lead to scarring and infection. The treated area is particularly vulnerable during the healing process, and disrupting the scabs can disrupt the healing process and increase the risk of scarring. Let the scabs fall off naturally and avoid touching your face unnecessarily.
  • Use Harsh Skin Care Products: Avoid products containing retinol, glycolic acid or other harsh ingredients that can irritate your sensitive skin. Retinol and glycolic acid are powerful exfoliants that can be too harsh for microneedled skin. These ingredients can cause redness, dryness and irritation. Wait at least a week or two before reintroducing these products to your routine, and start with a lower concentration to allow your skin to adjust.
  • Sweat Excessively: Strenuous exercise or activities that cause excessive sweating should be avoided for at least 48 hours post-treatment. Sweat can clog pores and increase the risk of infection. Aim for light exercise or activities that don’t cause you to break a sweat during the initial healing phase.
  • Apply Makeup (Within 24 hours): Makeup application can trap bacteria in the micro injuries. Wait at least 24 hours before applying makeup. This allows the tiny punctures to close and minimizes the risk of infection. If you absolutely need to wear makeup, opt for mineral makeup that is less likely to clog pores.

Should You Use Neosporin After Microneedling?

The short answer is no. Neosporin and other topical antibiotic ointments like Bacitracin and Polysporin are commonly used for minor cuts and scrapes. However, they are not suitable for microneedling aftercare. Microneedling creates controlled micro-injuries, not open wounds. Applying Neosporin can clog pores and potentially lead to breakouts. Additionally, overuse of antibiotics can contribute to antibiotic resistance. We also don’t recommend hydrocortisone creams, as they’re associated with excess hair growth (hirsutism).

Instead of Neosporin, opt for gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers or ointments like Aquaphor to keep the treated area hydrated and protected. If you experience any concerns or prolonged redness, consult your provider for further guidance.

Long-Term Aftercare Tips

Caring for your skin extends far beyond initial days after a microneedling procedure–it’s a life-long journey! Here are our tips for prolonging your results and enjoying smoother, firmer skin:

1. Maintain a Gentle Skin Care Routine

Even after the initial healing phase, continue using a gentle cleanser and moisturizer suitable for your skin type. Avoid harsh scrubbing or stripping products that can disrupt the delicate healing process.

2. Incorporate Anti-Aging Products Gradually

After a week or two, you can slowly reintroduce anti-aging products like retinol or vitamin C serums. Start with a low concentration and patch test on a small area of your face before applying it to the entire treated area.

3. Wait to Get Chemical Peels and Fillers

Discuss with your dermatologist if chemical peels or injectable fillers like Botox are suitable additions to your skin care routine to further enhance your results.

4. Sun Protection is Forever 

Sun exposure can damage your skin and negate the benefits of microneedling. Make sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher a permanent part of your daily skin care routine.

Potential Concerns, Side Effects and How to Address Them

Microneedling is a safe procedure, but some temporary side effects are common. These typically subside within a few days and can be minimized with proper aftercare. You may experience:

  • Redness (erythema): This is the most common side effect and usually disappears within 1-3 days.
  • Swelling: Mild swelling around the treated area is common and should subside within 24-48 hours.
  • Tightness: Your skin may feel tight or dry, especially after cleansing. Apply moisturizer regularly to alleviate this feeling.
  • Flaking: Dry, flaky skin may appear as the treated area heals. Avoid picking and let the flakes fall off naturally.
  • Mild pinpoint bleeding: This is normal during the procedure and should stop shortly after.

This procedure can occasionally trigger breakouts, especially if you have acne-prone skin. Discuss preventative measures with your dermatologist and use non-comedogenic skin care products. If redness (erythema) persists beyond a few days, consult your dermatologist. They can recommend soothing treatments or advise modifying your aftercare routine. Remember, following the recommended aftercare steps significantly reduces your risk of experiencing these side effects for an extended period.

Takeway 

Your microneedling journey doesn’t end when you leave the spa! A dedicated aftercare routine is a key part of optimizing healing and maximizing the results of your treatment. By avoiding pore-clogging products like Neosporin and adhering to these aftercare tips, you’ll promote a smooth recovery and achieve beautiful, rejuvenated skin. In Asheville, North Carolina and curious to try microneedling, Botox or other cosmetic treatments? Schedule a consultation at SkinOvation Advanced Aesthetics–Buncombe County’s top destination for top-tier medical spa services.

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