Best Serums to Use For At-Home Micro-Needling [Before & After]

LAdy using serum before microneedling

Are you looking to amp up your skin care process by pairing it with the best serum for micro-needling?

Well, well. You’re at the right place then! 

After years of inducing micro-injuries and sealing them with serums, I now know what serum to use with the derma roller.

And I’m not selfish, so of course, I am sharing it all with you.

This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Should I Use a Serum With a Derma Roller?

What is an Anti-aging Face Serum - INS3100

A big resounding YES! If you’re using a micro-needling tool religiously, it means you’re looking to promote the growth of healthy cells and skin rejuvenation. 

Pairing the micro-needling session with serums has done wonders for my dry skin: keeping the appearance of wrinkles at bay and giving me an overall healthy look.  

I love using my at-home derma roller and it has changed my skin texture for the better. I love it so much I could marry my derma roller! 

Do you want to amp up your skin treatments with the use of serums? That’s exactly what a serum does for you while paired with your derma roller. 

Dr. Joshua Zeichner of Zeichner Dermatology says, “Pair gentle but appropriate topical products with the micro-needling procedure to address your skin needs properly.”  (1) 

Whether you’re looking to fight uneven skin tone or dull skin, there are a plethora of facial serums that pair well with at-home micro-needling. 

Read on as I tell you what serum to use with the derma roller. 

Best Type Of Serums To Use With At-Home Microneedling

There are several serums to use with micro-needling at home. The best serum for micro-needling for you depends on the skin type, and skin concern. 

Dr. Abigail Waldman, instructor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, says “Serums are a really good way to get extra anti-aging effects, more than your typical moisturizer and sunscreen.” (2)

However, not all serums are created equally and you have to be extra careful while applying products with higher dosages of active ingredients. Especially, if these have powerful ingredients. 

Dr. Maryam M. Asgari, associate professor in the department of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, says: “Powerful ingredients can irritate sensitive skin. Always test a small area before you apply a skin serum widely.” (2)

So, what serum should I use after micro-needling? Okay, okay. I’m getting to that. Here are some of the best serums that you can include in your skincare routine along with your roller. 

1. Hyaluronic acid

Daily external injury, in addition to the normal process of aging, causes loss of moisture in the skin. The key molecule involved in skin moisture is hyaluronic acid (HA) (3) which has a unique capacity to retain water.

Application of hyaluronic acid means you are effectively adding back some moisture to the skin, keeping it looking plump and fresh. 

Even without the use of a roller, HA has been known to help diminish the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging. 

When you puncture your skin with your roller, it means the product is going to go that much deeper and do more for your face. No wonder, many dermatologists prefer hyaluronic acid serums during micro-needlings. 

I love the Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% which is incredibly affordable at only $8 and packs quite a punch. 

If you’re in the market for something a bit more luxurious, the Glow Recipe Plum Plump Hyaluronic Serum combines HA with three antioxidant-rich plums for some added antioxidant benefits. 

Check out this video tutorial.

2. Niacinamide

Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B3. There are several benefits of introducing niacinamide to the skin such as minimized pore appearance and redness. 

It also effectively helps build keratin in your skin that keeps it looking healthy and firm while helping retain moisture. This gentle ingredient can be used both morning and night for incredible results. 

So why wouldn’t you add this to your micro-needling session? Duh! Not only will it help clear hyperpigmentation but also even out your skin tone. 

Okay, okay! I am a big fan of niacinamide and I can’t hide my love from the world anymore. Just please include a niacinamide serum, okay? That’s it. 

The INKEY LIST Niacinamide is one of the best serums to try on a budget. It packs 10% Niacinamide and even 1% Hyaluronic acid to keep the skin looking good. 

I recently discovered Dr. Dennis Gross and its super awesome products and totally fell in love with the Skincare Stress Rescue Super Serum with Niacinamide which combines my favorite ingredient with ashwagandha. Yes, it’s expensive but the price is justified. Believe me! 

Watch this video to learn more.

3. Peptides

Peptides are molecules made of short chains of amino acids. They are the building blocks of proteins. 

Dr. Susan Massick, a board-certified dermatologist at the Ohio State University, says, “Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, so peptides are a generic term for small chains of these amino acids.” (4)

It does sound quite complicated, doesn’t it?  Let’s just say: that it helps your skin build collagen. 

Collagen breaks down in the skin as we get older. And then all your skin troubles start piling up: wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and whatnot! 

Step in: peptides. Products with peptides are not cheap but the benefits you reap are worth all your hard-earned money. Copper peptides, in particular, have been loved for their ability to aid in wound healing. 

Since your roller creates micro-injuries in your face, you can aid the healing process and the building of new collagen, with a good peptide serum. 

Even The Ordinary, which generally supplies skincare products at an affordable price, charges higher for the ‘Buffet’, a multi-technology peptide serum. This much-loved serum is popular for its ability to help in collagen production. 

The Ordinary Buffet 30ml
  • Peptide serum.
  • Target multiple signs of ageing at once.
  • Buffet.
  • The Ordinary.
  • This products have NO safety seal.

But, if you’ve got some extra cash lying around (and isn’t that the dream?), I suggest you get the Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum which is the absolute bomb.

Sale
Drunk Elephant Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum. Strengthen and Resurface Face Serum with 10% Lactic Acid and 11 Signal Peptides (1 Ounce/30 Milliliters)
  • Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum: Drunk Elephant’s mega-strength a.m./p.m. serum combines strong levels of skin-fortifying signal peptides, plant-derived growth factors, and supportive amino acids with exfoliating lactic acid for a dramatic improvement in the appearance of skin’s texture, tone, radiance, and bounce.
  • What It Is Formulated To Do: This formula contains an ultra-concentrated blend of 11 peptides that deliver plump, bouncy skin while targeting a dull, uneven complexion. Protini Powerpeptide Resurf Serum targets multiple signs of damage while strengthening skin and bringing it back to its healthiest state.
  • Skin Smoothie: Think of Drunk Elephant products like ingredients you mix in your smoothie...it’s nutrition for your skin. Silicone-free, bio-available formulas are highly absorbable and mixable to create a customized regimen based on your skin’s needs.
  • The Drunk Elephant Difference: Drunk Elephant avoids the “Suspicious 6” (Essential Oils, Drying Alcohols, Silicones, Chemical Screens, Fragrance/Dyes and SLS) that they suspect disrupt skin health and are the root of almost every skin issue they see.

Check out this video from Dr. Dray.

4. Ceramides

Do you suffer from dry skin that feels tight and uncomfortable? Then, you probably need ceramides in your skincare routine. 

Shereene Idriss, a board-certified dermatologist, says, “Ceramides are fatty acids in the skin that help to maintain the skin barrier and retain moisture and hydration.” (5)

Ceramides help in hydration boosting by holding the skin cells together on the skin’s upper layer. This helps keep the skin looking plump and moisturized. 

They also help the skin from external factors such as pollution and weather. If your skin feels overly tight during the cold season or after a hot shower, products with ceramides can help. 

CeraVe, a popular and affordable brand, makes a hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum that is enriched with 3 essential ceramides. It works great on all skin types and gives you a radiant glow. 

Sale
Cerave Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face with Vitamin B5 and Ceramides | Hydrating Face Serum for Dry Skin | Fragrance Free | 1 Ounce
  • [ HYALURONIC ACID SERUM ] CeraVe Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid Serum for Face is formulated with our highest concentration of hyaluronic acid, an ingredient that helps retain skin’s natural moisture. Helps skin appear more hydrated and smoother.
  • [ SMOOTH TEXTURE ] Lightweight, hydrating serum with a smooth, gel texture. If layering with an eye cream or facial moisturizer, apply HA Serum in a thin layer to slightly damp skin and allow to fully absorb into skin before applying additional products.
  • [ ALL DAY HYDRATION ] With Vitamin B5 to help soothe skin. Features CeraVe's patented MVE ingredient-delivery technology to continually release moisturizing ingredients and provide 24-hour lasting hydration.
  • [ 3 ESSENTIAL CERAMIDES ] Ceramides are found naturally in the skin and make up 50% of the lipids in the skin barrier. All CeraVe products are formulated with three essential ceramides (1, 3, 6-II) to help restore and maintain the skin’s natural barrier
  • [ DERMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED BRAND ] Noncomedogenic, paraben free, and fragrance free. CeraVe Skincare is developed with dermatologists and has products suitable for dry skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, acne-prone, and more

Personally, I’ve been using the Elizabeth Arden Advanced Ceramide Capsules, which come in capsules, meaning I can travel with them as well. It is a bit greasy but my dry skin laps it up. 

Elizabeth Arden Anti-Aging Ceramide Capsules Serum, Advanced Daily Youth Restoring Serum, 90 Count
  • Nourishes and firms skin, Strengthens protective barrier and restores the youthful look of skin
  • 95% saw firmer skin in two weeks* *Based on a US clinical test of 44 women
  • Infused with Ceramides and Tsubaki oil to help prevent moisture loss and improve elasticity
  • Biodegradable, single-dose capsules using 100% vegetable and mineral-based materials
  • How to use: After cleansing skin, apply to face, neck and décolleté as part of your daily skincare routine, in the morning or at night

5. Epidermal Growth Factors

Epidermal Growth Factor (rhEGF) is a promising skin antiaging agent that successfully promotes skin wound repair, and it has been investigated in the past decade for these purposes. (6)

EGF has been known to support the regeneration of skin wounds through intradermal and topical application. Most clinical trials have also proven effective inversion of skin aging with EGF. 

Dr. Hadley King, a dermatologist, says, “EGF are signaling proteins that bind to receptors on cell surfaces, sending instructions to repair, replicate and rejuvenate.” 

Basically, EGF stimulates skin growth from the cellular level itself, helping in the production of collagen and aiding as a healing ingredient. 

EGF is quite new in the skincare scene and there aren’t too many skin care products that deliver this polypeptide to the general public, save a few. 

BIOEFFECT makes an EGF serum which is quite expensive to be blunt about it but is worth every penny. I had the chance to try it out myself and I absolutely loved how my skin felt after applying it. 

Sale
BIOEFFECT EGF Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Barley Growth Factor, Best-Selling Rejuvenating Facial Treatment Fights Wrinkles, Hydrating, Firming, Anti-Aging Skincare for Face & Neck, Oil-Free
  • BEST-SELLING ANTI-AGING SERUM: The award-winning facial serum that has taken the beauty industry by storm because it delivers visible results. Experience the power of EGF to restore and repair, lifting and plumping, leaving skin with a youthful, healthy radiance.
  • ULTRA HYDRATING: Thanks to Barley EGF, Glycerin & Hyaluronic Acid (in which one gram can hold up to 6 liters of water) this face serum supports skin health and increasing hydration by up to 132%, and boosting skin thickness by 60% and its density by 30%.
  • WRINKLE FIGHTING, COLLAGEN BOOSTING: In just 90 days, reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 63% and improve skin elasticity by up to 68% for smoother skin & unparalleled skin-firming and tightening.
  • REJUVENATE WITH BARLEY EGF: Plant-based EGF was invented by BIOEFFECT scientists to combat the loss of EGF proteins found in our skin naturally at birth, EGF keeps skin young and healthy but disappears from our skin as we age.
  • NATURAL, CLEAN & GREEN BEAUTY: Only 7 pure ingredients grown in our geothermal Icelandic greenhouse. Oil-free, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, paraben-free and gluten-free. Ideal for men or women with sensitive skin. Use day or night, 2x per day for best results.

Paired with my derma roller, I could see instant results and my wrinkles looked way less prominent than they used to be. 

Serums To Use With A derma roller: Other Considerations!

Let’s take a look at some other important considerations you need to know about using a serum with your derma roller.

Do You Put a Serum On Before Micro-needling? 

Some people use a serum on their face and neck or other targeted body parts BEFORE micro-needling pens and that is absolutely fine. 

If your skin is used to the pain caused by a microneedle and you don’t need a numbing cream before you go in with your roller, then you can substitute the cream for a serum.

Your face may not require a numbing cream if you’re using a needle length below 0.3mm. However, if you’re using any higher, you may need a numbing cream.

Using a serum before the process may also help the needle glide better onto the skin. Whichever method you choose, before or after, your skin will reap the benefits of using a serum along with the micro-needling device. 

lady using a derma roller on her face

Can I Use Vitamin C Serum After Micro-needling? 

Most dermatologists will recommend that you wait at least 48 hours after a micro-needling session to reintroduce Vitamin C serum to your skincare routine. 

The active ingredients in vitamin C serum are potent and go past the deeper layers of your skin. This means the micro-tears will take longer to heal. It might also cause irritation. 

But there is an exception to this rule if you’re using a serum with mild vitamin C levels. C serum containing Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a milder form of the C serum which isn’t as harsh on the skin. 

What Else Should You Avoid?  

Before starting this combination, take note of what else you should avoid.

1. Makeup

You may experience redness with using a microneedle and be tempted to cover it up with makeup. But, it may not be a good idea to do so. 

woman showing How To Apply Makeup After Micro-Needling

Here’s an entire article on how many days after micro-needling can you wear makeup. Basically, you don’t want to overload your already damaged skin with makeup. Let it heal for a good 2-3 days, if possible, to help with the speedy healing. 

2. Retinols

Retinols are the real skin MVPs but when applied post-micro-needling, it may spell disaster with a capital D. 

Retinols are harsh, to say the least. The harsh ingredients effectively remove the uppermost layers of your skin and boost your collagen production. But so does micro-needling. 

Meaning, that you don’t need double the effect right away. Let your skin heal for at least 4 days before you reintroduce such reactive ingredients. 

3. AHAs and BHAs

You don’t want to include any exfoliating skincare products after your rolling session. This means no glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, or even toners with alcohol on them. 

AHAs and BHAs help resurface the skin by exfoliating the top layers which can be quite harsh, especially if you’ve just undergone the derma rolling process. 

Rule of thumb? Wait 48 hours before doing what you usually do to your skin. 

Here are some more do’s and don’ts of micro-needling aftercare.

FAQs

Can You Use Niacinamide And Hyaluronic Acid Together?

Yes. You can layer hyaluronic acid and niacinamide together in your skin care. Start with hyaluronic acid, wait a few minutes, and then apply niacinamide. 

What Is Best To Apply After Derma Rolling? 

blonde woman putting a moisturizer

You can jumpstart your natural healing process by applying virgin coconut oil to moisturize and hydrate your face. Witch hazel is also a good product to use after the derma roller. 

Can I Use Rosehip Oil After Dermarolling? 

You can use rosehip oil but there are better alternatives available. Some users report clogging after using rosehip oil which may induce acne and blocked pores. 

Do Derma Rollers Actually Work? 

blonde girl using a derma roller on her face but how often to use derma roller?

Yes. Derma rollers have been known to be extremely effective against skin concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. 

Conclusion

Now you’re all caught up with the best serum for micro-needling and are ready to reap the benefits of combining this process with serum ingredients. 

The goal is always to promote healthy cells and keep the skin firm and elastic. Isn’t this why we go through all the trauma of inducing deliberate skin injuries? 

Using a derma roller can be quite painful, especially if you have an incredibly low pain threshold as I do. But I suck it up and do it anyway! Because I know the skin texture that awaits me when I’m done. 

Pain is good! No pain, no gain, fellas. See you in the next article.  

LADY USING SERUM BEFORE A DERMA ROLLER

Resources

  • 1. Nast C. How to Use a Derma Roller — The Right Way [Internet]. Teen Vogue. 2020 [cited 2022 Jun 22]. Available from: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-use-a-derma-roller
  • 2. Bilodeau K. Skin serum: What it can and can’t do [Internet]. Harvard Health. 2018. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/skin-serum-what-it-can-and-cant-do-2018061214029
  • 3. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M, Karakiulakis G. Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging. Dermato-Endocrinology [Internet]. 2012;4:253–8. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
  • 4. What exactly are peptides? A dermatologist explains the common skin care ingredient [Internet]. TODAY.com. [cited 2022 Jun 22]. Available from: https://www.today.com/shop/peptides-cream-serums-t241538
  • 5. Nast C. 15 Best Ceramide Skin-Care Products to Repair Dry Skin [Internet]. Allure. 2018 [cited 2022 Jun 22]. Available from: https://www.allure.com/gallery/best-ceramide-skin-care-products
  • 6. Miller-Kobisher B, Suárez-Vega DV, Velazco de Maldonado GJ. Epidermal Growth Factor in Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine: Systematic Review. Journal of cutaneous and aesthetic surgery [Internet]. Wolters Kluwer – Medknow; 2021 [cited 2022 Jun 22];14:137–46. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8423211/

Last update on 2022-08-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API