RF Microneedling - What Is It & What Are the Benefits?
RF microneedling is one of the most effective minimally invasive skincare treatments. It combines two very popular procedures and boosts their efficiency. Let’s see how it works.
Microneedling is one of the most effective methods of treating different skin conditions. It works great on its own, but skin experts recognized the benefits of combining this base procedure with various other methods.
One of the most successful such combinations is RF microneedling, AKA radiofrequency microneedling. Let’s find out what RF microneedling is, how it’s done, and what additional benefits radiofrequency brings into the mix.
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What Is RF Microneedling?
Radiofrequency microneedling is a skin treatment that combines the methods of microneedling and radio frequency to target particular skin conditions and improve the overall texture, integrity, and look of the skin.
Image source: Instagram @lemoninjectorrn
To explain how this fusion treatment works, we’ll explain each of the methods.
What Is Microneedling?
Microneedling is a form of collagen induction therapy done by puncturing the skin with super thin needles to create controlled trauma and trigger the natural recovery process.
The needles penetrate into the dermis layer of the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin – two key proteins that make up the web that gives the skin its structure. Boosted production of these 2 proteins tightens the skin and improves its state.
What Is RF?
The use of radiofrequency for skin improvement implies using energy waves to delegate heat into the dermis. The thermal energy creates controlled trauma and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
In the case of RF done without microneedling, the waves pass through the skin without opening it and essentially cause a burn. But when combined, the heat travels through the needles and is able to penetrate deeper into the skin.
How Are These 2 Methods Combined?
RF microneedling is done with a special device that enables the needles that penetrate the skin (microneedling) while simultaneously administering thermal energy (RF) directly into the dermis.
The treatment is done with a special machine that features a handpiece similar to the derma pen, but usually somewhat bulkier, that’s connected to a housing with an interface.
The treatment is adapted to the particular needs of your skin by adjusting the length of the needles according to skin thickness, as well as the level of heat administered.
Combining these two methods boosts efficiency while lowering the risks.
Image source: Instagram @studiobrunacampos
RF Microneedling Benefits
The benefits of rf microneedling are multifold – and permanent! Here are some of the most significant RF microneedling benefits:
- Boosts collagen production.
- Smooths texture.
- Balances skin tone.
- Improves skin elasticity and firmness.
- Tightens enlarged pores.
- Reduces visibility of scarring and stretch marks, and more.
Which Conditions Can RF Microneedling Treat?
Apart from targeting particular skin imperfections, the treatment improves the overall appearance of the skin. After RF microneedling, the skin will look healthier and have a special glow. Radiofrequency microneedling benefits all kinds of conditions:
Fine Lines and Wrinkles
RF microneedling helps fight wrinkles and fine lines by improving skin texture and by promoting collagen formation and remodeling.
Collagen is a protein that affects skin elasticity and firmness, so it plays a crucial role in keeping the skin tight and youthful. By boosting its production, RF needling helps keep the skin plump and smooth.
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Skin Texture and Tone
The micro-injuries created by the tiny needles during the treatment trigger the body’s healing response, leading to increased collagen production and improved skin texture.
This means it helps reduce the visibility of enlarged pores and makes the skin complexion look smoother and more youthful.
Additionally, it also helps tackle hyperpigmentation problems, removing dark spots, melasma, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from the skin’s surface.
Image source: Instagram @privemedaesthetics
RF Microneedling for Acne
Acne and acne scars are one of the most common skin issues treated with RFM.
There have been multiple trials that have proven MNRF treatment’s efficiency in not only treating active acne lesions but also preventing future breakouts by decreasing sebum production.
Microneedling on its own isn’t really suitable for treating active acne breakouts, as it can transfer the bacteria all over the face and make things worse.
Radiofrequency on its own causes too much damage to the skin, as it’s not targeting its heat on specific problematic spots. But combining the two provides targeted damage that helps diminish active acne lesions by over 75%!
RF Microneedling for Scars
Since microneedling and radiofrequency help stimulate collagen production, a combined MNRF skin treatment is very effective in treating scarring. It triggers collagen and elastin production, which help plump up the skin and even out its texture.
A study conducted in 2014 has proven the improvement in acne scars by 58% with the help of this procedure.
RF Microneedling for Jowls
Jowls are the area below the jawline and leading into the neck. The skin here is thinner and has less collagen, which makes it more prone to aging. Over time it loses elasticity and starts to sag, making the face look heavier and less defined.
This is what RF needling can help with. Radiofrequency helps lift and define this area – as well as melt the fat stored there! Deeper needle penetration with higher heat can help reduce the fat while tightening the skin at the same time.
RF Microneedling for Neck
Just like regular microneedling, MNRF skin treatment can be done on other body parts as well. The neck is something often overlooked when it comes to skincare, so it’s usually susceptible to wrinkles.
To help lessen their visibility and tighten loose skin, you can stimulate collagen production by using low temperature and shallow needle penetration, to help tighten the skin and improve texture.
Image source: Instagram @facelogic.murphy
RF Microneedling for Under Eye Bags
Radiofrequency microneedling can tighten the area around the eyes and minimize the appearance of fine lines, dark circles, and undereye bags.
RF microneedling also helps thicken the skin under the eyes and helps combat aging. Plus it lightens discoloration to eliminate under eye bags.
Just keep in mind that this area is particularly sensitive, so be prepared to experience swelling and redness following the radiofrequency treatment, although these side effects often go away within a few hours or days.
Image source: Instagram @pamchaneyaesthetics
RF Microneedling for Festoons
Festoons (swollen bags appearing under the eyes and on the cheeks) are believed to be caused by stretched ligaments or lymphatic imbalances – which radiofrequency can treat.
The heat improves blood and lymphatic circulation and applies constant pressure to the lymph nodes to expel excessive fluids.
So the severity of lower eyelid festoons can be lessened with combined radiofrequency and microneedling, but keep in mind that while you can make an improvement in festoons, you can’t eradicate them completely.
RF Microneedling for Nasolabial Folds
Nasolabial folds are referring to the creases in your skin extending from both sides of your nose to the corners of your mouth. The skin in this area tends to become more lax with age.
But with the help of radio frequency microneedling, it can be corrected. A study has found that just one treatment is enough to provide long-lasting, high-efficacy skin tightening.
RF Microneedling for Rosacea
Rosacea is a common chronic skin condition characterized by facial redness, flushing, visible blood vessels, and in some cases, acne-like bumps.
RF microneedling has shown modest but clinically significant improvements when it comes to managing rosacea symptoms since it targets the underlying causes of the condition.
The controlled delivery of radiofrequency energy helps to reduce inflammation, promote blood circulation, and minimize redness and flushing associated with rosacea.
RF Microneedling for Hair Loss
Microneedling is a popular treatment for stimulating hair growth (you can learn all about how it works here) – so will combining it with radiofrequency provide better results?
Well, a wound related to thermal injury can also trigger hair regeneration, so a study done in 2018 set out to test it.
They found that combined treatment of microneedling with radiofrequency and using topical treatment such as 5% minoxidil was proven to be a safe and effective hair loss treatment option.
RF Microneedling for Stretch Marks
Stretch marks appear when the skin is stretched out too thin, as a consequence of the disruption of the collagen and elastin web in the skin. RF microneedling is a great choice for this as it can help increase the production of these proteins and repair scar tissue.
The freshly produced proteins gradually recover the broken web, and as a result, the trenches of stretch marks are plumped up and eventually leveled out with the surrounding undamaged skin.
RF Microneedling for Cellulite
Radio frequency microneedling can help reduce the appearance of cellulite on the body by causing controlled damage to the skin and subcutaneous tissues.
This way, the heat from the radiofrequency helps eliminate fat and therefore cellulite from the area. However, fat tissue can easily rebuild itself, so the results aren’t permanent.
Still, skin laxity and depth of depressions are majorly improved, so the cellulite is less visible.
RF Microneedling for Hyperhidrosis
Sweat glands are in the deep dermis, but microneedling needles can reach them and transfer the energy into the deeper layers. This allows radiofrequency heat to affect them, reducing the number and size of sweat glands.
What Does an RF Microneedling Treatment Look Like?
RF needling consists of the following steps:
MNRF Treatment Consultation
Before undergoing the procedure, you will have an initial consultation with your treatment provider.
During this consultation, they’ll assess your skin and determine if you are a suitable candidate for radiofrequency microneedling. You’ll discuss your medical history, so they can prescribe you medication if needed.
For example, you may need to take antiviral medication if you have a history of cold sores. This is also the time to discuss any concerns you may have, as well as skincare goals.
The procedure will start with cleansing and the application of a topical numbing cream to ensure your comfort during the treatment. Once the numbing cream starts working the procedure begins.
The procedure is done with a handheld device, covered with tiny needles that are then stamped over the skin. Simultaneously, radiofrequency energy passes through the needles, delivering heat deep into the skin. This is what stimulates the tissue to create more collagen.
The technician will likely make multiple passes, stamping each area with the appropriate strength of radiofrequency and depth of the needle. These factors are adjustable to each client’s specific needs.
The duration of this treatment depends on the size of an area you’re looking to treat, but it usually ranges around 30-60 minutes.
During the treatment, you shouldn’t feel any major discomfort, especially since numbing cream was used. However, due to the use of radiofrequency, you might feel slight tingling or warmth.
RF Microneedling Aftercare Instructions
Once the procedure is finished, your technician will provide you with RF microneedling aftercare instructions.
Some RF microneedling recovery time is required so following their instructions will ensure you get the best possible results, minimize side effects and lower any risks associated with this treatment.
How Long Will It Take to See RF Microneedling Results?
Since it takes some time for collagen to develop, the results may not be immediate. It’ll take a few weeks to start seeing results – and they’ll really be visible around months post-procedure.
Most people need 3-6 sessions to see the best results.
How Long Do RF Needling Results Last?
Typically, the results can endure between six months and two years. But the longevity of RF microneedling results can differ based on several factors including individual skin type, the severity of the condition, and the number of treatments.
Is RF Microneedling Better Than Traditional Microneedling?
Many experts agree that, yes, RF microneedling is superior to doing microneedling on its own, since it uses 2 approaches to collagen induction.
The combination of creating microchannels and controlled burns makes collagen induction much more powerful than either of the methods can provide on their own.
Is RF Microneedling Safe?
Yes, as long as it’s done by a cosmetic dermatologist or a trained, certified, and licensed esthetician.
Still, you should be aware of RF microneedling risks – the biggest concern being the level of heat. The setting of the device used has to be adjusted to the needs of your skin, otherwise, if it’s too high, there can be permanent damage to the skin, such as burns or scarring.
The treatment has to be done following all health and safety protocols, so you should only get the treatment done by a reputable, experienced practitioner. Ideally, a cosmetic dermatologist.
Is There Any RF Microneedling Recovery Time?
Since this is a minimally invasive treatment, there isn’t any serious RF microneedling recovery required. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t any RF microneedling recovery at all.
Immediately after the treatment, you may experience some minor side effects like:
- Minor swelling.
- Mild tenderness.
- Potential skin peeling in the days after the treatment.
These can be relieved with a soothing balm. Cold compresses aren’t really recommended, as you want all the extra blood circulation you can get to maximize the results.
In the days after your RF microneedling appointment, you’ll have to pay some extra attention to the treated skin to allow it to recover from the treatments and prevent infection (the skin was broken in countless microchannels and each is a pathway for bacterial contamination).
The RF microneedling aftercare rules come down to:
- Touching the area as little as possible.
- Keeping it away from sunlight as much as possible and wearing SPF.
- Washing the skin according to a prescribed schedule with cold water and a gentle cleanser approved by your practitioner.
- Keep the skin hydrated with a gentle non-irritating moisturizer, approved by your technician.
- No makeup for at least 24 hours, but a bit longer is better.
- Avoiding sweating and swimming for 48-72 hours.
The microchannels usually close up within 24-48 hours, but the skin can remain sensitive longer.
These are the basic instructions, but to learn more about the RF microneedling aftercare routine, check out the Microneedling Aftercare Guide – all the same rules apply.
Limitations of RF Microneedling
You may not be a good candidate for this procedure if:
- You’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Have ongoing cancer therapy.
- You’re currently or have recently used Accutane.
- Are taking anticoagulants.
- Have an active cold sore breakout.
- Have a skin infection.
- Have a history of keloids, hypertrophic scarring, or poor wound healing.
- Are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
RF Microneedling Cost
RF microneedling cost can be anywhere between $400 and $1500 per session, depending on several factors. You can read more about that here.
But if you’re looking to treat a more severe condition, keep in mind that you’ll probably need multiple sessions to achieve desired results.
Is It Possible to Do RF Microneedling at Home?
No, unfortunately, you can’t recreate RF microneedling at home.
This treatment combines microneedling and radio frequency to maximize the results while minimizing the risks of both those treatments. It’s done with a special device that’s not available for at-home settings.
But you can do regular microneedling by yourself. The benefits are similar, only the results obviously aren’t as dramatic.
You can read all about how to do it properly in our DIY Microneedling Guide.
RF Microneedling – Main Takeaways
Radio frequency microneedling is a very effective form of collagen induction therapy that can help diminish a wide range of skin imperfections.
Be aware of the fact that, depending on the severity of the issue you want treated and the desired results, you may need more than 1 session of RF microneedling.
That said, since radiofrequency enhances the effects of the needle, you may get results faster than with traditional microneedling. In most cases, 3-4 sessions can give amazing results.
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