Recently, a reader emailed me the following:
What are the best products to use during Dermapen treatments to help break up scars and get the most out of treatments?
First, for those who aren’t familiar, Dermapen is a form of microneedling treatment. Microneedling works by creating micro-channels in the skin which act as pathways to help increase absorption rates of serums and active ingredients. For example, this 2011 pilot study shows that combination therapy with skin needling and topical de-pigmenting serum is more effective than topical de-pigmenting serum alone in improving melasma (hyperpigmentation).
However, unlike forms of microneedling done at home (such as dermarollers), the Dermapen is significantly more invasive. Typically dermarollers have needles of 0.25 mm or less, whereas Dermapen treatments are normally 0.5 to 1.0 mm — about 2-4 times as long — when used on the face, neck, and décolleté.
For the first 24 hours after treatment, I would avoid using any skincare or cosmetic products. Your skin is healing, and the very act of healing is creating enough collagen stimulation and irritation without exacerbating further inflammation with active skincare treatments.
When your skin feels up to it, use a serum with collagen-stimulating peptides and antioxidants.
When using a Dermapen, you want to use collagen-stimulating peptides to help your skin recover. According to the Dermapen website, “As microneedling serves to stimulate the production of collagen, the skin needs higher amounts of collagen than normal to recover optimally. Collagen Stimulating Peptides assist in that process, further aiding in the stimulation of collagen production.”
You also want to use antioxidants. According to the Dermapen website, “Antioxidant serums have properties that assist in healing the skin. Serums assist in soothing the skin and further reduce irritation.”
I recommend the FutureDerm Customizable Night Serum with:
- 8% argireline, a peptide
- 3% Matrixyl, a peptide
- 2% arbutin, a skin-brightening plant extract
- 4% niacinamide, vitamin B3, a skin-brightening and wrinkle-fighting compound
- 2% green tea, an antioxidant
- 1% kojic acid, a skin-brightening extract
- 0% hydroquinone
- 0% retinol
- 0% lactic acid
I do not recommend using AHAs like lactic acid or glycolic acid, nor do I recommend using agents like retinol for at least 2-3 weeks after a Dermapen treatment (Dermapen). As such, I recommend using a serum with the ingredients above, or simply ordering the FutureDerm Customizable Night Serum with those ingredients. When your skin feels ready for skincare (and at least 24 hours have passed since the treatment), this is probably your best bet in terms of easily finding peptides and antioxidants, without strong AHAs or retinoids.
Hope this helps!
All the best,