The short answer is yes you can wash your face after dermarolling, but please wait 6 hours to let your skin heal.  Washing immediately after the procedure will reduce the beneficial impact of dermarolling.
Read on to find out the best dermarolling aftercare strategy.
What is dermarolling?
If you’re looking for aftercare tips, you likely already know that Dermarolling has become internet famous in recent years. This may be in part to the fairly shocking after-photos that can be seen on social media, which leaves you temporarily with a face that looks like it is sprinkled with blood.
Although it can look severe, dermarolling (or microneedling) is actually one of the less invasive cosmetic procedures you can undergo. This and the fact that it seems to be effective in combating skin blemishes, acne scarring, and more has led to its rapid rise in popularity.
If you are getting confused when you hear about microneedling – don’t worry, they are exactly the same thing.
What’s the best dermarolling aftercare routine?
There are many hints and tips that your skincare clinic might give you after dermarolling/microneedling or other procedures.
While they vary slightly between dermatologists, the ideas remain the same:
Don’t disturb your new complexion by introducing anything irritating or potentially infective!
It can feel like the right thing to do if you have multiple spots of blood covering your face but any washing after dermarolling should definitely be delayed. There are actually a number of reasons for this.
1. Hold the water
As you know, dermarolling actually creates tiny cuts or holes in the skin. It is this very action which, promotes all the benefits that are seen with the procedure. But our skin is supposed to be a barrier – nothing is supposed to get through unless our body specifically allows it.
All these small holes heal quickly so infection tends to not be a problem. However, the water that we drink and wash our faces with is not sterilized because it usually doesn’t pose a risk to us. Drenching our porous skin with standard water greatly increases the risk that benign bacteria get trapped and multiply.
This could result in a pretty bad outbreak of spots and blemishes, increasing inflammation and giving you the opposite result you were aiming for!
2. Alternative hydration
After 30 minutes your body will have already begun clotting and drawing together the tiny punctures in your skin. As dermarolling can leave you feeling dry, now is the time to bring some of that all-important hydration back.
Stay away from cleansers for now and pick a light, not heavily fragranced moisturizer to apply to the skin. If it backs ingredients like hyaluronic acid to bind even more hydration then all the better.
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3. Nourish with serums
If you use antioxidant or antiaging serums in your routine (and you should) now is the time to apply them. The small holes in your skin’s natural barrier will allow these serums to penetrate more deeply and take action faster than usual.
4. Reapply SPF
Again you will want to pick a good SPF-containing product that isn’t going to clog your skin and pores. Remember that your skin has (albeit gently) undergone some precision damage and is now working to repair – starting off the cascade of benefits that come with dermarolling.
Going out into strong sunlight has the potential to irritate the skin and slow down the natural repair process. It’s best to simply avoid the sun for a few hours after dermarolling but if that’s not possible get some cover with a hat and make sure you’ve applied SPF at least 15 minutes before going outside.
5. Change your dermaroller
While a good dermaroller will be made of resistant metals the small size of 0.5 – 3mm means that over time and usage the needles will blunt and potentially go out of shape. While some discomfort is normal with dermarolling, a dermaroller that is showing signs of wear and tear is more likely to produce side effects.
These include increased discomfort, higher levels of infection, and more noticeable bruising after use. Crossing the line between fine perforations and more widespread trauma of the skin tissue will mean fewer benefits and irritated skin.
6. Keep it clean
Although you aren’t washing your face make sure not to unwittingly add any oil or grime to your skin. On average people touch their faces repeatedly throughout the day so you need to be careful not to do this without thinking.
The risk of course is that you introduce bacteria, oils, or grime from other parts of your skin or environment and could cause infection or blemishes just as if you washed with water.
7. Support the repair process
Dermarolling promotes collagen production so it makes sense to supplement this if you have the money. We lose our ability to make collagen and retain skin structure as we age so this is a good way of getting the most from dermarolling.
8. Don’t use distilled water
Distilled water is completely sterile and clean because it has been evaporated and then cooled back to the water, leaving behind any impurities but also any salts or other natural components to water.
This is very damaging to broken skin as it creates an imbalance between the ‘salty’ water within your skin and cells and the pure distilled water. This can cause skin cells to over absorb and overhydrate, damaging normal cell processes and potentially killing them. It’s better to wait 6 hours to wash with normal water.
Dermarolling may be a great skin care technique for a wide variety of people, whether you are looking to reduce the appearance of acne scarring or simply trying to stave off signs of aging.
By ensuring that you follow a proper dermarolling aftercare routine you give your skin the best possible chance to benefit from the procedure. Following general skin care advice simply isn’t enough in this case.
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- Juhasz, Margit L W, and Joel L Cohen. “Microneedling for the Treatment of Scars: An Update for Clinicians.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 13 997-1003. 22 Dec. 2020, doi:10.2147/CCID.S267192
- Alam, Murad et al. “Efficacy of a needling device for the treatment of acne scars: a randomized clinical trial.” JAMA dermatology vol. 150,8 (2014): 844-9. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.8687
- McCrudden, Maelíosa T C et al. “Microneedle applications in improving skin appearance.” Experimental dermatology vol. 24,8 (2015): 561-6. doi:10.1111/exd.12723
- Hong, Ji Yeon et al. “Prospective, preclinical comparison of the performance between radiofrequency microneedling and microneedling alone in reversing photoaged skin.” Journal of cosmetic dermatology vol. 19,5 (2020): 1105-1109. doi:10.1111/jocd.13116