RF Microneedling: Your Hidden Skincare Secret
Our skin is our biggest organ, made up of the surface layer (epidermis), middle layer (dermis), and a deep hypodermis layer. Since your skin protects you from the rigors of the environment, you’re sure to encounter dirt, bacteria, and sun damage. Damage can also cause an uneven skin tone, fine lines, large pores, blemishes, and dull-looking skin. With RF Microneedling, you can reclaim the smooth, vibrant skin you had once upon a time.
What is microneedling?
Microneedling uses tiny needles to create minute punctures in the surface layer of the skin through rolling or pressing. The skin responds to these micro-aggressions, sending collagen and elastin to restore, tighten, and resurface the area. That’s why the procedure is also known as collagen induction therapy.
Popular handheld derma rollers (sold online or in beauty and drugstores) contain small, sterile needles to stimulate collagen production. Traditional microneedling also allows skincare products to penetrate the skin deeper, making them more useful.
Understanding the power of RF Microneedling
RF microneedling goes a step further, combining the power of microneedling and radiofrequency technology. The devices are usually a cluster of energized needles that can adjust to the dermatologist’s needs based on the depth of the tissue. Some tools have built-in technology that allows your doctor to monitor the frequency and depth of the needles. More importantly, it adds RF energy to the dermis to activate a more significant immune response. The result? Smaller pores, an even skin tone, fewer blemishes, and reduced signs of acne, faster than traditional microneedling.
That sounds painful…
The thought of tiny needles pricking the skin will make anyone wince. But the process won’t be as painful as you think. There are some parts of the face where you will feel the pricks, like on the forehead compared to the cheeks. The heat from the RF device may also cause some discomfort. But overall, you’ll feel little pain. The dermatologist usually applies a topical anesthetic before the procedure. It’s also FDA approved, meaning that the procedure has been vetted for safety and results on all skin types.
Does RF Microneedling Really Work?
RF Microneedling simply encourages the skin to do what it does best. The tiny cuts and heat energy ignite molecules called cytokines to create an immune response. Fresh collagen rushes to the area. As a result, you can achieve one of several benefits:
- Reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Help to clear up acne or other severe skin conditions.
- Reduce and even remove scarring caused by acne or stretch marks.
- Achieve a healthier skin tone and smoother complexion.
- Promote anti-aging effects by tightening the skin.
In a small study, 36 out of 37 RF microneedling patients were over the moon with their results, rating the procedure as excellent. There were also no significant side effects. Microneedling has been around for decades, with technology making it even more effective.
Let’s Break It Down
A session lasts about 1-2 hours if you include the time for the numbing cream to take effect. You may have had a prior consultation before the procedure. If not, your doctor will find out about your needs, previous medication, and any skin conditions that may affect the success of your procedure. A topical anesthetic is applied to the area, which can take up to 45 minutes to take effect. From there, the dermatologist uses the RF Microneedling machine to treat the affected area.
The treatment itself can take 30 minutes based on the surface area treated. Each patient is treated with a new disposable tip of different sizes based on the size of the area. After the procedure, your dermatologist will provide you with a list of do’s and don’ts to maximize the effectiveness of microneedling.
Before your Treatment
The skin is resilient, continually repairing itself even when we don’t know it. At the same time, there are occasions where the skin is especially vulnerable, and RF microneedling may not be best. We often recommend our patients take these precautions before treatment.
Six months before treatment: Wait 6 months after taking the acne medication isotretinoin before considering RF microneedling. Isotretinoin helps treat inflammation involved with acne. The inflammation needs to clear first before using any microneedling treatment, as this can cause unsightly scarring.
At the 2 week period: Are you about to go on a tropical vacation? Avoid long periods of sun exposure and tanning booths for at least 2 weeks. Extended exposure to UV rays can damage or weaken the skin. Adding a microneedling procedure while the skin is in recovery mode can cause more harm than good.
For at least 7 days: Avoid products that increase skin sensitivity (retinol, alpha hydroxy acids salicylic acid, exfoliants). That includes waxing or hair removal creams, which can irritate the skin.
At least 3 days before the procedure: Do not take pain killers, e.g., ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil. These NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can interfere with your skin’s healing response.
On The Day of Treatment
Here are some important instructions for the day of your treatment:
- Do not shave the area to be treated to avoid skin irritation.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
- Do not apply makeup or cosmetic products.
- Secure long hair away from the face.
- Drink 12 ounces of water to ensure that you are well hydrated.
- Eat a healthy meal before your appointment.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Radiofrequency Microneedling After Care
Any minor swelling or redness will subside within 8-12 hours. The skin may feel tight, dry, swollen, or sensitive, and may flake in a day or two. This is the desired result of increased turnover of skin cells. Allow the skin to flake off on its own. Do not pick, scratch, or scrub at the treated skin.
As microneedling serves to stimulate collagen and growth, the skin benefits from higher amounts of collagen than average to recover optimally. We recommend our Hyaluronic Acid Serum or Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar. It is important to apply every 3 hours for the first 24 hours after the RF microneedling procedure.
Other Important Tips:
- Do not exfoliate the treated area for a week.
- Avoid direct sunlight and tanning beds for 2 weeks.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen beginning 24 hours after the procedure.
- When you can’t avoid exposure to the sun, wear a hat.
- Do not go swimming for at least 24 hours post-treatment.
- No exercise that causes sweating, jacuzzi, sauna, or steam baths until the skin heals.
- Resume your usual makeup routine in 2-3 days. Mineral makeup is preferred.
How long does RF Microneedling Last?
After the first two days, you will notice some slight bleeding and bruising. Within a few days, your skin looks noticeably brighter and smoother. As the collagen does its job, you’ll begin to see your skin improve over the weeks, often in as little as one session. More severe cases require more than one microneedling session.
The results are long-lasting but can vary based on age, the degree of damage, or how your skin naturally responds to treatment. In the weeks after your first treatment, we can review your skin’s progress. Some patients may need treatments in 4-6 week intervals at first, which can then be spread out later on.
We have patients who see continued results months after treatment! However, RF Microneedling is not permanent. It’s recommended you visit your board-certified dermatologist for added sessions every 6 to 12 months. This figure may be longer or shorter based on your skincare regimen and the type of environment you are exposed to daily.
Are there any side effects?
Of the many surgical and non-surgical ways of treating the skin, RF microneedling has the least – if any – side effects. You may feel tingling, redness, and experience some swelling and drops of blood. The degree of these effects come down to the overall skin sensitivity. The process is so safe that dermatologists often use RF microneedling along with other skin treatments, to improve their overall effectiveness.
Why should you choose RF microneedling?
Microneedling, in itself, has been proven to be an effective treatment. RF Microneedling takes it to another level. Many of us struggle with acne, dull skin, wrinkles, and scarring. Despite the many topical solutions available, most don’t seem to give us the results we crave. The skin has its own restorative abilities. We just need a way to bring them out! With RF microneedling, you can avoid surgery or other treatments. It’s quick, minimally invasive, low risk, with no downtime. More importantly, it can transform your skin in a natural, healthy way.
Schedule an appointment for a consultation
For an expert consultation and a pleasant, safe microneedling experience, contact us or book an appointment online now. Our lead physician, Dr. Ife J. Rodney MD, FAAD, is a trusted medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatologist in Maryland. We are conveniently located in Fulton and serve Columbia MD, Clarksville, Ellicott City, Laurel, Bowie, Silver Spring, and surrounding areas in PG and Howard County, Maryland.