There’s a solid reason why microneedling has become so popular in the skincare industry. The procedure involves rolling a wand or pen equipped with mini-needles to create tiny wounds. However, keeping up with technological developments is not always easy. When considering your treatment choices, you should know the differences between Radiofrequency (RF) microneedling and traditional microneedling.

Many people aren’t sure what the difference is and which treatment is better for them. In this blog post, we will compare RF microneedling and microneedling in detail.

How Does Microneedling work?

Microneedling is a minimally invasive skin rejuvenation treatment that involves using fine needles to create tiny punctures in the skin. It triggers the body’s natural healing response, which results in the production of new collagen and elastin. The new collagen and elastin help to improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and scars. [1]

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling for Acne Scars

Microneedling is a safe and effective treatment for minimizing the appearance of acne scars and roughness on the skin. Its effectiveness remains the same regardless of the patient’s acne history. After a week or so after the procedure, the top layer of dry skin peels off. New collagen is generated within 10-14 days to cover the wounds, and there are no scars or discoloration on this fresh skin layer.

RF microneedling is often said to be more effective than traditional microneedling for acne scars, as the radiofrequency energy reaches deeper layers of the skin.

Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling Cost

The cost of RF microneedling and microneedling can vary depending on the clinic you visit and the number of sessions you require. Sessions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour, with the longer ones costing more. Since the benefits of RF microneedling are better than conventional microneedling, the procedure may be more expensive.

It would take at least four sessions to see significant improvement. Then, the total number of sessions needed will change based on your age and your skin’s current health. When you consistently have treatments, your skin improves in health, firmness, and tolerance. This implies you can get better outcomes in less time.

What is the Difference Between Microneedling and RF Microneedling?

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling: Procedure

Both treatments are suitable for all skin types and tones. RF microneedling is a type of microneedling that incorporates radiofrequency radiation to enhance the procedure’s already impressive therapeutic and rejuvenating effects. Tiny needles carry energy to the skin, where they can further improve tightness, scar reduction, and wrinkle smoothing.

When applied to the skin, radiofrequency radiation transforms into heat energy. Its strength and depth of penetration may be modified to accommodate a wide range of skin disorders and conditions and to reach different layers of the dermis.

Some medical professionals recommend using heat because it encourages even more collagen formation, which is essential for maintaining the benefits. Additionally, RF microneedling produces faster and more noticeable results than microneedling and can be used to treat a wider range of skin concerns.

On the other hand, microneedling uses small, sterilized needles to puncture the skin. A different name for this treatment is collagen induction therapy. The body’s response to the tiny wounds is to produce more collagen and elastin, which repair the skin and improves tightness, making you look younger. 

While some prefer to do microneedling at home, it’s always best to have the procedure done by a licensed professional. This is because they have the experience and knowledge to ensure that the needles are properly sterilized and that the right depth is used for your skin type.

The treatment normally takes 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of the area. On average, it takes between four and six sessions for patients to notice a change.

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling: Downtime

As microneedling might cause more superficial skin damage, post-treatment care must be more thorough. Since RF microneedling uses radiofrequency radiation rather than mechanical ones, it is far less invasive and has almost no recovery time.

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling: Results

RF microneedling yields superior outcomes as it uses radiofrequency energy. It is more effective than other methods at stimulating the formation of collagen as well as contracting existing collagen, which results in improved skin tightness and a decrease in several skin issues.

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling Benefits 

Here are some of the benefits of RF microneedling and microneedling.

1. Wrinkles and Stretch Marks

Microneedling is a treatment for wrinkles and fine lines that uses controlled skin damage to stimulate the body’s natural collagen and elastin synthesis.

The compounds collagen and elastin in your skin give it firmness and elasticity, giving it a more youthful appearance. By encouraging the growth of new skin cells, the body’s natural wound-healing systems also help diminish the appearance of fine lines, crow’s feet, and forehead wrinkles.

2. Improved Product Penetration

Applying topical products that improve skin health and look, such as anti-aging treatments and moisturizers, are highly recommended after a microneedling session. This is because the micro-holes absorb moisturizers, serums, and gels better than usual and transport them deeper into the skin.

3. Shrinks Pores

Microneedling does not result in a rise in the size of your pores, even though it involves making holes in your skin with very fine needles. Instead, it makes your pores look less visible. Since collagen production lessens wrinkles and shrinks pores, it gives the skin a more youthful look. Adding anti-aging vitamin C serum and tretinoin to the process helps boost the results. [2]

4. Reduces Rosacea

There is limited information about the efficacy of microneedling in treating rosacea presently. However, preliminary research suggests it may be helpful for alleviating rosacea-related symptoms such as facial redness, skin thickness, and flushing by lowering inflammatory response and increasing blood flow. Fractional RF microneedling may help treat rosacea. However, additional study is required to confirm this. [3]

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling Side Effects

Both procedures have side effects like redness, swelling, itchiness, discomfort, dryness, and skin flaking. These are common and will go away with time. However, microneedling can be more uncomfortable than RF microneedling, as it is a more invasive procedure. [4]

If the redness on the skin doesn’t go away after 24 hours and the skin is swelling for almost a week, it is best to see a doctor as these could be signs of an infection. Other side effects like scars, changes in skin color, and burns are rare but can happen. These usually go away on their own, but it is best to see a doctor if they don’t.

Bottomline: RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling

Although both treatments are effective, RF microneedling is preferred because it is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time. It delivers heat to the deeper layers of the skin, which results in collagen remodeling and tighter skin, leading to better results.

If you are considering a microneedling treatment, ask your doctor about using RF energy for the best possible outcome.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking 

  • Iriarte C, Awosika O, Rengifo-Pardo M, Ehrlich A. Review of applications of microneedling in dermatology. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2017 Aug 8;10:289-298. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S142450. PMID: 28848356; PMCID: PMC5556180.
  • Singh A, Yadav S. Microneedling: Advances and widening horizons. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016 Jul-Aug;7(4):244-54. doi: 10.4103/2229-5178.185468. PMID: 27559496; PMCID: PMC4976400.
  • Park SY, Kwon HH, Yoon JY, Min S, Suh DH. Clinical and Histologic Effects of Fractional Microneedling Radiofrequency Treatment on Rosacea. Dermatol Surg. 2016 Dec;42(12):1362-1369. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000888. PMID: 27608206.
  • Gowda A, Healey B, Ezaldein H, Merati M. A Systematic Review Examining the Potential Adverse Effects of Microneedling. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2021 Jan;14(1):45-54. Epub 2021 Jan 1. PMID: 33584968; PMCID: PMC7869810.

Shaira is a licensed pharmacist (Bachelor of Pharmacy) and an experienced content writer. She enjoys inspiring and informing her readers through research-backed, comprehensive health content. Shaira draws from her personal experience working with real-life patients in a hospital setting and is currently pursuing her passion in writing.