Traditional Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling: What’s the Difference?

Written by WD Staff, Skin Care Specialists on November 27, 2019 21 Comments

traditional microneedling vs rf microneedling

Microneedling has become an increasingly popular treatment. Professional microneedling (also known as Collagen Induction Therapy) is a minimally invasive skin rejuvenation treatment that can dramatically improve the skin with little pain and no downtime.

Now, an innovative treatment combines microneedling with the addition of radiofrequency (RF) energy. These new RF Microneedling devices are designed to dramatically enhance the benefits of traditional microneedling.

Here’s a comparison of traditional microneedling and RF microneedling:

Traditional Microneedling

In traditional microneedling, a specialized device is rolled over the skin to create controlled micro injuries in the form of tiny microscopic punctures along the skin. These minor skin injuries stimulate the skin’s natural healing process resulting in the production of skin firming proteins like elastin and collagen. Newly developed growth factors work to thicken the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, acne scarring, sun damage, and stretch marks. Punctures from microneedling can also act as channels for enhanced delivery of topical skin care treatments like hyaluronic acid.

RF Microneedling

RF microneedling adds radio frequency (RF) energy to the traditional microneedling technique in order to further stimulate the creation of growth factors. RF microneedling uses specialized “energized” needles to create micro-punctures along the skin and deliver radiofrequency energy through these punctures simultaneously. The addition of radiofrequency energy deep into the dermis amplifies the production of skin improving proteins and enzymes like collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid than traditional microneedling alone. Added RF energy also heats underlayers of the skin which further enhances skin tightening.

Bottom Line: Is RF Microneedling Really Superior?

Earlier this year Westlake Dermatology introduced RF microneedling using the Genius RF microneeding device to great reviews from our patients. The Genius RF device can be used to treat acne scarring, wrinkles, sun damage, irregular skin texture, stretch marks, and skin laxity in the neck.

RF Microneedling Smooths Wrinkles Better

Boosting collagen levels is always beneficial for reducing wrinkles. While traditional microneedling provides a boost, rf microneedling amplifies the process. Heat created by the added RF energy also works to constrict underlying skin layers, helping to further smooth out even the most severe lines and wrinkles.

RF Microneedling Addresses Deeper Skin Layers

Compared to regular microneedling, RF microneedling is able to address deeper layers of the skin without creating significant damage to the top layers of the skin. This is due to the RF energy being delivered past the tip of each needle to deep layers of the skin to stimulate collagen production and tighten the skin.

RF Microneedling is Better for Acne Scars

All scars, including acne scars, are tough patches of thick and damaged skin. RF Microneedling is more able than traditional microneedling in addressing scars as the added RF energy breaks up scar matter better than just needle punctures alone. Providers can also focus higher levels of RF energy on scarred skin to maximize results.

RF Microneedling is More Customizable

RF microneedling treatments using the Genius RF device are extremely customizable as both needle depth and RF energy intensity can be manipulated to meet the unique needs of each patient. RF microneedling can run from being a minor skin enhancing treatment to a dramatic (and deep) skin changing procedure.


WD Staff

A united group of skin care specialists from Westlake Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, Austin's leader in Dermatology and Plastic Surgery. Articles posted under WD staff are authored through combined contributions from our entire team, including Plastic Surgeons, Dermatologists, Aestheticians, Physician Assistants, Aesthetic Nurses, and Patient Coordinators.

21 Responses to “Traditional Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Avatar Leslie says:

    I’ve been in for regular microneedling and we did a topical with some type of growth factors after it. My skin felt and looked amazing. Can the same topical be applied to the skin after RF Microneedling?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Leslie,

      Great question! We can apply topical formulations after Genius RF treatments. The RF Microneedling provides the same benefit of making tiny punctures in the skin that act as channels for any topically applied product, helping with absorption and thus efficacy. We hope to see you back in the office for a Genius treatment!

      WD Staff

  2. Avatar Sylvia says:

    IS RF microneedling better for depressed scars from shingles?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Sylvia,

      Depending on location and severity RF microneedling can add an extra benefit. We’ve been getting great outcomes for patients using the Genius device!

      As always, we would encourage you to see a provider for an in-person consultation to make sure its the best treatment option for your specific needs though.

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question!

      WD Staff

  3. Avatar Teres says:

    Hi. Can Genius RF be performed under the eyes (over sagging infraorbital fat pads)?

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Teres,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question. It is possible to address the eye area (corners of eye and eyelids) with Genius RF. However, there are some cases where close proximity may favor more traditional microblading.

      As always, you want to see a skilled provider for an in-person assessment to make sure its a viable option.

      We hope that helps!

      WD Staff

  4. Avatar Keri M says:

    How much more expensive is the RF micro needling than traditional? I have your price list, but only traditional is on there. I had a consult for micro needling at RR, but this was not mentioned. I’d like to make the best decision possible before going ahead.

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Keri,

      Sorry for the confusion, RF Microneedling is listed as Genius RF on our price sheet. That is the specific device used for the treatment. The incorporation of the RF energy makes it a very different procedure than microneedling alone.

      It’s available at our Westlake and Far West locations in Austin.

      WD Staff

  5. Avatar Jasmine says:


    Is it possible to treat deep scars, like ice pick scars?
    Also, can the RF microneedling be used at the nose area?

    Tnx for the reply!

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Jasmine,

      Thanks for reading our post and submitting your great question! RF Microneedling can be a great form of treatment for deeper scarring like ice picks. Also depending on the specific device there may be attachments that allow RF microneedling of the nose (specifically the sides of the nose).

      As always, we recommend seeing an experienced and licensed provider for a consultation. It’s truly the only way to know which treatment is best for your unique needs.

      We hope that helps!

      –WD Staff

      • Avatar W.B. says:

        Hi! What is the current price difference or where can I find a price sheet for this month. I purchased traditional package but want to upgrade to the Genius. Thanks!

  6. Avatar Ariya MedSpa says:

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing. I can attest to the benefits of RF Mironeedling, we are getting great results for our patients 🙂

  7. Avatar Jackie says:

    When RF is done right before microneedling in a 2 step fashion… it as effective as when it is done at the same time?

  8. Avatar Dawn says:


    Can RF or traditional microneedling complement or speed up the tattoo removal process?

    Thank you.

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Dawn,

      Thanks for reading out post and submitting a great question. There are some resources out there that claim microneedling can assist lasers by creating channels in the skin, allowing laser energy to better penetrate. However, if your provider uses a good laser microneedling in any form is simply not necessary. A good laser like PiQo4, in the hands of a skilled provider, can achieve great results!

      We hope that helps,

      WD Staff

      • Avatar Marta says:


        Can you combain traditional microneedling with the RF microneedling? In the same treatment or with some period of time between?

        • WD Staff WD Staff says:

          Hi Marta,

          Thanks for this great question! While its possible to do both treatments, they should not be done at the same time. Instead, the treatment area should fully heal before any secondary treatment is performed. Not only is this essential to minimize unwanted side effects, it actually allows for the treatment to be more effective as it gives the skin the time it needs to maximize collagen and elastin production.

          This would also allow you to see which version of microneedling is best for your specific needs!

          We hope that helps,
          WD Staff

  9. Avatar Heena says:

    is RF microneedling effective for darker skin tone with acne scars and spots?
    if yes , then after how many sessions an average patient can see the results ?
    considering the darker skin , what would be best time of the year to get these treatment

    • WD Staff WD Staff says:

      Hi Heena,

      My apologies for the delay in getting back to you!

      Yes, RF microneedling can be used safely on all skin types. It does carry a risk of causing temporary post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, but there are things we can do to decrease that risk. As always, its best to go for an in-person consult to see if you are a good candidate.

      We recommend a series of three for everyone to see best results. Depending on your goals you may need to do more.

      The best time of year to treat melanin-rich skin is in the winter time when the ambient sun is less strong.

      I hope that helps! If you have any other questions or would like to setup a consultation please give us a call at (512) 328-3376.

      WD Staff

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