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Harsh products could aggravate the skin, so milder is the key. "In addition to having a cleansed and toned face, you should also avoid using retinol at least 48 hours prior and avoid direct sun exposure for about three days prior and three days following," notes Josie Holmes, esthetician at SKINNEY Medspa. "I would also advise against using any aggressive acids within the week of the procedure." You should arrive to your appointment with clean, dry skin (if not, the technician will wash your face so it's clean before the procedure). Next, you'll likely be slathered in numbing cream, so the pain won't be quite so intense.

After letting the numbing cream seep into my skin for a half-hour, having a bunch of needles continuously puncture my skin was honestly an easy process. So to definitively answer that, it doesn't hurt, but it doesn't feel good. In terms of pain, I experienced a tolerable treatment that lasted all of 20 minutes. To be real, it felt like five minutes, and by the end of it, I was fine. My forehead, hairline, and jawline areas were more sensitive than other areas. I barely felt the tool when it passed over my cheeks, which Shah surprisingly confirmed was the deepest level of depth. After the micro-needling, the procedure was followed up with a soothing serum and hydrating face mask that honestly felt like heaven.

Ironically, even after the numbing cream wore off a couple of hours later, it didn't feel like I had just been poked hundreds of times. Contrary to how scary this sounds, I experienced no pain whatsoever. "The great thing about this treatment is there's really no significant downtime," says Shah. "Afterward, there's a little bit of redness and might be some areas of pinpoint bleeding, but really, it's a no-downtime kind of treatment, so most people leave here a little bit red. A couple of hours later, you're pretty much back to normal, and the next day, you can resume your normal skincare and normal activities." Side Effects. Immediately after my face mask, I snapped this selfie. As you can see, my cheeks and the top of my forehead were slightly red. This is a normal side effect of the minimal bleeding that happens during the treatment. I was shook because the only time I experience redness is after a crazy workout. The treatment is essentially wounding your skin so it can feel new again, so this is the result of that. Another disclaimer to note: I have extremely sensitive skin, so this may not happen to you. To combat this, I slathered on Cortizone Anti-Itch Cream ($6) in the morning and before I went to bed. I also noticed tiny imprint marks (on my forehead especially) from the needles. By day four, my itchiness has almost completely gone away. The tiny post-procedural marks also faded more and more each day. These are a normal side effect and should clear up in a few days. Real talk, this lit-from-within glow is probably my favorite benefit from the procedure thus far. This was the morning after micro-needling, and I was so impressed by the radiance of my skin. That cheekbone glow is not from highlighter, people. I also was surprised by how soft my skin felt and how the size of my pores shrank significantly. I load up on hydrating oils every morning because of my inherently dry skin, and I'm addicted to how soft it leaves my skin feeling. But I literally woke up with cushion-like skin without all of the extra work. I decided to go makeup-free until my skin completely healed. Studies show that your topical products will feel deeply penetrating after micro-needling. I've been loving this hydrating moisturizer this month. But this week, after my treatment, it's literally felt so incredibly soothing on my skin—to the point that I look forward to cleansing my skin and applying this the second I walk into my apartment at the end of the day.

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