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

Written by Ramya Kollipara, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on November 27, 2019 2 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.


Ramya Kollipara, MD

Ramya Kollipara, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and fellowship-trained cosmetic dermatologic surgeon specializing in the practice of both cosmetic and medical dermatology. Dr. Kollipara completed a prestigious laser and cosmetic surgery fellowship program at Cosmetic Laser Dermatology in La Jolla, California. During her fellowship, she was involved in cutting-edge clinical research for novel cosmetic treatments involving fillers, neuromodulators and lasers.

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

  1. 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

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