Dr. Rosmy Barrios 22 Aug 2021

Did you know that most minimally invasive cosmetic treatments rely on your skin’s self-rejuvenating ability? They kick-start the process and help the skin unlock its full regenerative potential. But, in the end, it's your body that gets the job done. Some good examples of such aesthetic procedures are chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and dermal fillers.

The topic of this article is another cosmetic technique that works similarly – radiofrequency microneedling. This innovative procedure combines two state-of-the-art technologies to deliver a powerful regenerative boost to the skin. The results are highly satisfying, especially on darker skin.


Radiofrequency microneedling is a popular cosmetic treatment that addresses most signs of skin aging. It provokes and enhances your skin’s self-healing ability to improve or erase fine lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, acne scars, sun damage, and so on.

In this article, you'll find everything about RF microneedling. How does it work? What are the benefits and risks? How to find out if you are a good candidate for the procedure and more.

What is radiofrequency microneedling?

We've already mentioned that RF microneedling combines two different technologies to achieve a better aesthetic result. The two technologies being - microneedling and radiofrequency waves.

Microneedling is a standard, moderately effective, aesthetic treatment. It uses tiny needles to penetrate the skin causing micro traumas and provoking a healing response.

By adding radiofrequency energy to microneedling, we get to penetrate deeper into the skin without additional damage. The result is a surge in elastin and collagen production, with effects comparable to laser treatment.

The penetration depth of radiofrequency waves is adjustable. Therefore, it is possible to reach different skin layers and treat various issues, ranging from deeper scars and stretch marks to hyperpigmentation and fine lines. 

The high-intensity radiofrequency energy does not interfere with melanocytes. So, RF microneedling works equally well on all skin tones. The procedure also causes much less discomfort than laser, and the recovery time is shorter.

The cost of one session is not insignificant. In the US, it ranges from $1000 to $2000. However, like most aesthetic treatment fees, the price of RF microneedling changes with the place you live. Therefore, it can be significantly lower elsewhere in the world.

What are the benefits of RF microneedling?

RF microneedling tackles pretty much the same age-related skin issues like laser and chemical peels. However, it does so in a different way and often more effectively. Here are some of its benefits:

  • Improves fine lines and wrinkles
  • Shrinks enlarged pores
  • Reduces acne and surgical scars
  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Reduces hyperpigmentation

How does the treatment look?

RF microneedling requires some preparation and aftercare measures. Other than that, the procedure itself is simple, quick, safe, and painless.


Only a qualified treatment provider can tell you if RF microneedling is a quality option for you. So, discuss the expectations with your dermatologist or aesthetician.

Also, you'll want to share the medical history of your skin with them. That includes chronic skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, proneness to cold sores, and previous aesthetic procedures, including laser treatments, chemical peels, and dermal fillers.

Based on this information, your service provider will let you know what to expect from RF microneedling or if you are a candidate altogether.

The Procedure

Radiofrequency microneedling is not painful. Still, to prevent any potential discomfort, the treatment provider will use a topical anesthetic to numb your skin. These usually come in a cream form and take up to one hour to fully kick-in, after application.

Once the skin is numb, the procedure can begin. The RF microneedling machine has many tightly grouped teeny tiny needles. They penetrate deeper layers of the skin without causing significant damage to the top layer. Once in position, the microneedles emit radiofrequency energy. That stimulates the natural elastin and collagen production within the skin.

All of this together sparks off the therapeutic effect that ultimately leads to improvements of acne scars, pores, texture, complexion, and the overall appearance of your skin.

The entire procedure lasts between twenty to thirty minutes. Post-treatment, your skin can feel warm and show signs of mild to moderate inflammation, similar to a minor sunburn. That is perfectly normal. It usually takes around 24 hours for the inflammation to subside.


There is no downtime after RF microneedling. You can go back to work tomorrow but make sure to protect your skin with a powerful SPF of 50 to 80. Also, adjust your skincare routine for one week following the treatment. Keep it simple, using just a gentle cleanser, a skin-soothing cream, and the least possible amount of makeup.

Are there any side effects?

All skin treatments have some side effects. Radiofrequency microneedling is not an exception.

Some unwanted issues may present during the procedure. These include:

  • Redness
  • Bruising
  • Discoloration
  • Itching
  • Swelling, and
  • Pinpoint bleeding

Some of these are more common than others. However, they are all considered normal and do not pose a threat to the outcome.

Other side effects may appear after the procedure. These include short-lasting swelling and redness, but the formation of tiny crusts at microneedles injection sites is also possible.

If you notice these, don’t pick on them. Let the scabs fall off naturally to avoid infections and ensure the best aesthetic result.

Patients prone to developing cold sores are more likely to experience an outbreak after RF microneedling. Also, if you are using topical retinoids, discontinue the use at least three to four days before the procedure to avoid potential post-treatment flare-ups.

The Final Word

Radiofrequency does not stop or reverse the aging process. However, it can do plenty to erase its most obvious signs. It is a highly effective method for the removal of fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. The treatment helps your skin regenerate and unlocks the natural healing potential. For full effect, you may need to wait around six months. But after two to three sessions, you'll realize that RF microneedling is well worth the wait.

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About the Author:
Dr. Rosmy Barrios is an aesthetic medicine specialist with international work experience. She earned her physician diploma at the Universidad Del Norte’s School of Medicine in Barranquilla, Colombia, and her specialty at John F. Kennedy University in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Dr. Barrios is a member of Pan-American Aesthetic Medicine Association (PASAM) and the Union Internationale de Medecine Esthetique (UIME). She is an expert health writer with keen interests in aesthetic medicine, regenerative aesthetics, anti-aging, fitness, and nutrition. Currently, Dr. Barrios heads the Regenerative Aesthetics department at a renowned Internal Medicine clinic based in Belgrade, Serbia.


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