Can You Use Glycolic Acid After Microneedling?

can you use glycolic acid after microneedling?

Wondering if you can use glycolic acid after microneedling? The quick answer is no—not right away. Using glycolic acid too soon after microneedling can cause serious irritation and discomfort. But don’t worry, here we’ll explain everything you need to know.

In this article, we’ll discuss when it’s safe to use glycolic acid after microneedling, what the experts say, and how combining these treatments can be beneficial when done correctly. Keep reading to learn the best practices and ensure your skin stays healthy and glowing.

When Can I Use Glycolic Acid After Microneedling?

After microneedling, your skin is very sensitive and needs time to recover. Typically, the skin is red and might be a bit swollen for the first day or two. Over the next few days, the redness fades, but the skin can still feel dry and sensitive. Full recovery usually takes about five days.

Experts generally recommend waiting between 2-5 days before applying topical glycolic acid products. However, the advice varies depending on whether microneedling is done at home or in a clinic.

If you are doing microneedling at home, which is milder than professional treatments, you don’t have to wait as long before applying glycolic acid. Dr. Alpana Mohta, a dermatologist, recommends waiting 24-48 hours.

On the other hand, after a professional microneedling treatment, Esso Skin Clinic advises waiting at least five days before using topical glycolic acid. Aesthetics Julie Edwards recommends avoiding glycolic acid and other AHAs for three days after the treatment.

If you want to do a glycolic acid peel afterward, it’s best to wait at least two weeks to avoid any potential irritation and ensure your skin has properly healed.

Dermapen also suggests spacing glycolic acid treatments 1-2 weeks apart to ensure your skin has enough time to recover fully.

This careful timing helps prevent irritation and maximizes the benefits of both treatments.

Why Should You Avoid Using Glycolic Acid After Microneedling?

Using glycolic acid immediately after microneedling is not recommended, and here’s why. Microneedling creates tiny punctures in the skin, making it more sensitive and vulnerable. Applying glycolic acid, a powerful exfoliant, too soon can lead to several unpleasant reactions.

Immediate Reactions:

  • Burning Sensation: Normally, glycolic acid might cause a slight tingling on the skin, but post-microneedling, it can result in a painful burning sensation.
  • Irritation and Redness: The already sensitive skin can become highly irritated, leading to increased redness and discomfort.
  • Roughness: Instead of smooth, glowing skin, you might experience rough, uneven texture.

Long-term Effects:

  • Extended Healing Time: The irritation and damage caused by applying glycolic acid too soon can prolong the healing process.
  • Potential for Scarring: Severe irritation can sometimes lead to scarring, especially if the skin is not given enough time to heal properly.

It’s important to let your skin recover after microneedling before introducing glycolic acid. Following the recommended waiting periods ensures that you get the most benefit from both treatments without the risk of adverse reactions.

Combining Microneedling and Glycolic Acid Peels

When done correctly, combining microneedling and glycolic acid peels can give your skin amazing results. Microneedling helps boost collagen and renew skin, while glycolic acid peels exfoliate and brighten. Together, they can enhance each other’s effects, leading to smoother, clearer skin.

Combination Treatment for Acne Scars

Studies show that combining these treatments can be especially effective for treating acne scars. For example, a study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery found that using microneedling with 35% glycolic acid peels significantly improved acne scars and skin texture.

In this study, patients received microneedling and glycolic acid peels in the same session every six weeks. The group that received both treatments saw better results compared to those who only had microneedling.

Sequential Treatment for Better Results

Another study highlighted that combining 70% glycolic acid peels with microneedling offered better scar improvement than microneedling alone. Patients in this study had microneedling sessions at weeks 0, 6, and 12, and glycolic acid peels at weeks 3, 9, and 15. The combination not only reduced scars but also improved skin texture significantly.

Zonun’s Regime

A pilot study explored a combined treatment called Zonun’s Regime, which included 35% glycolic acid peels, microneedling, and follow-up treatments with tretinoin and salicylic acid.

This approach showed excellent results in treating acne scars, with all patients reporting significant improvement. The treatments were spaced out to ensure skin had enough time to heal and benefit from each step.

These studies highlight that when microneedling and glycolic acid peels are used together, they can be very effective, especially for acne scars. Timing is key, and professional guidance ensures you get the best results without irritating your skin.


In conclusion, while using glycolic acid immediately after microneedling is not recommended due to the risk of irritation and discomfort, combining these treatments can be highly effective when done correctly. The key is timing and professional guidance. Studies have shown that combining microneedling and glycolic acid peels can significantly improve acne scars and skin texture, but these treatments were tailored to specific skin concerns.

Always consult with a dermatologist to get personalized advice for your skin type and concerns. They can help you determine the best timing and approach for using glycolic acid after microneedling to ensure you achieve the best results safely. By following expert recommendations and allowing your skin the necessary recovery time, you can enjoy the benefits of both treatments while keeping your skin healthy and glowing.

If you found this article helpful, share it with others who might be considering microneedling and glycolic acid treatments. And remember, the best skincare routine is one that is well-informed and suited to your unique skin needs.

More Recovery Tips After Microneedling

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