If you are a skincare enthusiast you have probably heard of radiofrequency (RF) microneedling. It’s likely if you have a good aesthetician in your back pocket, they have encouraged you to do this for a variety of reasons spanning from acne scars to skin laxity. Devices with names like Profound, Morpheus8, or Vivace have been on the market for years offering this service. But what, exactly, is it? And how does it differ from regular microneedling?

As the name would suggest, RF microneedling combines microneedling with heat to attack skin concerns both on the surface and far below. This treatment has been shown to alleviate the appearance of acne scars, fine lines, and uneven texture. But its piece de resistance is skin tightening. These devices (some better than others) can not only smooth the surface of your skin, but also work to develop collagen and elastin deep below the surface creating that lift that you might be looking for.

What is RF microneedling and what are its benefits?

Everything unavoidable in life (like getting older and sunshine) causes a breakdown of collagen and elastin in our skin. When this happens, our skin starts to texturize (think pores and fine lines). RF microneedling works to restore some of this lost collagen and thus the firmness and “snap” that our skin once had.

Regular microneedling causes micro-injuries in the skin to trigger a wound-healing response that promotes collagen production. RF microneedling takes this one step further by pushing radiofrequency energy into deeper layers of the dermis, which stimulates even more collagen production, elastin, and hyaluronic acid. By doing this, it smooths and tightens the treated areas creating a lifting effect.

This treatment is safe for almost every patient, regardless of skin type or tone, that may be experiencing skin laxity and texture concerns. This treatment will tighten and smooth the skin to provide long-lasting results. Often we see that patients in their early-mid thirties benefit greatly from these treatments as they start to see shifts in their fat pads and skin begins to sag.

RF microneedling will address many skin concerns, but it will not address significant skin laxity (that will need a facelift or necklift) or serious sun damage (HALO lasers are perfect there).

What RF microneedling options do I have?

Let’s breakdown the different devices that you may see so you can choose the best option for your needs.

  1. Morpheus8 – This device is the RF microneedling option at Capizzi MD, so we are a little biased. But we have tried the rest and this one comes out on top. Why? Because it doesn’t have any downtime. It does require 3 separate treatments spaced 4 weeks apart, to get to your final results but you are not required to stay out of the gym or work after your treatment. Most of our patients return to 100% of their routines within 24 hours with zero issues. Swelling? Little to none. Most patients wake up the next morning, put on their makeup, and go back about their life. It also boasts the BEST RF microneedling results.
  2. Profound – As a previous Profound provider we also love this one but it is more intense to experience. The radiofrequency is 4x more powerful than the Morpheus device, meaning you only need 1 treatment. However, that treatment is pretty intense for the patient and there is significant downtime that includes bruising and swelling afterwards. We have found that while arranging schedules for repeated treatments is annoying, the Morpheus produces better results by hitting the skin again and again at certain points in its cellular regeneration stage.
  3. Vivace – This option is newer on the market and uses ultrasound to see the depth of skin to be treated. The treatment times are quicker, but the needles only go 4mm deep (whereas Profound and Morpheus8 are 8mm). Vivace requires up to 4 treatments, spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Downtime is very minimal and most patients return to work the day after.
    1. So, how do choose the best option for you? The best thing to do would be to consult with a Licensed Medical Aesthetician to see what they recommend for your needs. If it’s up to us, the Morpheus8 is the best bang for your buck and will address all your needs well.

What can I expect at an RF microneedling appointment?

  1. The Prep: First, the skin is thoroughly cleansed and makeup removed. Then, a topical anesthetic is applied and left on the skin for about 45 minutes to completely numb the dermis. At Capizzi MD, we have a proprietary numbing solution that we have custom-made for our treatments. This lasts 4-6 hours, meaning that any swelling or discomfort is long gone before it wears off.
  2. The Procedure: Imagine a tiny device, about the size of a stamp, gently pressed against your skin. This little device has super-fine needles that create tiny openings in your skin, all while sending out radiofrequency waves for an extra boost to the surrounding area. It might sound surprising, but it doesn’t take long – around 30 minutes for your whole face!
  3. The Pain Factor: Yes, you are completely numb during the treatment, but even so there can be slight discomfort from the treatment. If you find that you need a little extra soothing, nitrous oxide (aka laughing gas), can be used during the treatment to help. Most of the Capizzi MD staff have had the Morpheus8 treatment and can attest that while it does feel slightly uncomfortable, once it is over there is zero lingering discomfort. Most equate the pain to a mild-moderate sunburn that only lasts about 30 minutes.

What is the recovery like for RF microneedling?

Recovery for RF microneedling can vary person-to-person but almost 100% of patients return to their work, workout routines, and other obligations within 24 hours. Most people experience mild warmth and soreness for the first evening and wake up feeling like they’ve had nothing done.

During the first week, it is very important to be extremely gentle with your skin as you do have tiny, microscopic wounds on the surface. So stay away from your typical retinols, exfoliating acids, and the like until you are cleared by your aesthetician. You will start to see your skin improve within just a few days, but it can take 2-3 weeks for full results with the Morpheus8 treatment.

How much does RF microneedling cost?

For a full treatment protocol (Vivace 4 treatments or Morpheus8 3 treatments), expect to pay $2,000-$4,000 depending on where you are located. Profound is also priced similarly. The price will also depend on the credentials and training of the professional giving you the treatment. Make sure that your healthcare provider is well-trained and certified in the device they are using. When it comes to your body and your cosmetic results, it’s safer to invest in someone with the highest level of experience and training.

How Do I Know If I Need RF Microneedling?

If you’re not sure which treatment/product is right for you, the best option will be to schedule a consultation with your desired provider. See if they offer a VISIA Skin Analysis as well, so that they can assist you in addressing deeper skin concerns and assess your skin structure at the same time. At Capizzi MD, all skincare consultations include a VISIA Skin Analysis and a customized treatment plan built around your goals and your budget. If you have questions about what we offer, pricing, or anything else in particular, just give our office in Charlotte, North Carolina a call to speak with one of our team members.