RF Microneedling vs Microneedling: Understanding Differences & Results

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Published on Jun 28, 2024 By: WIFH Staff

RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling: Are They the Same Thing?

Whether you’re looking for an anti-aging preventative procedure or a treatment to smooth uneven skin texture, microneedling is one the best ways to treat the skin’s surface and stimulate collagen production.

There are two main types of microneedling: RF microneedling and traditional microneedling. These procedures improve overall skin texture, shrinking pores and smoothing wrinkles. But RF (radiofrequency) microneedling takes these amazing results one step further, making it a great treatment for someone already seeing signs of collagen loss and aging skin.

In this guide, we’ll explain the differences between traditional microneedling and RF microneedling treatments, including aftercare, results, and cost.

What is Microneedling?

Microneedling is collagen induction therapy, which is a minimally invasive procedure that uses fine needles to stamp the skin, creating tiny micro-channels, triggering the skin’s wound healing response. As a result, the body generates new collagen and skin fibers.

At WIFH, we use the SkinPen device for our microneedling treatments.

What is RF Microneedling?

RF microneedling also uses needles to create micro-channels in the skin, but once under the skin Radio Frequency energy is delivered. The pulses of energy cause a thermal injury in the skin. The heat delivered stimulates and remodels collagen. This treatment is perfect for aging skin, sun damage/age spots, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles and even stretch marks. It’s truly a regenerative treatment.

Not all RF microneedling devices are the same. The main differences are the needles. There are two types of needle tips used with RF microneedling: insulated and non-insulated. As the name would suggest insulated needles are insulated allowing the heat to only be emitted at the tip, which delivers the energy to the lower layers of the skin. Non-insulated needles allow the energy to be delivered to upper and lower layers of the skin. It is believed that non-insulated needles deliver a more thorough treatment, resulting in better results. Our medical team at WIFH use non-insulated RF microneedling needles to deliver an effective treatment that is well tolerated by patients.

At WIFH, we use the PiXel8-RF device for RF microneedling treatments.

Microneedling Aftercare Guide
Microneedling Aftercare Guide
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Microneedling vs RF Microneedling: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Microneedling RF Microneedling
What is it? Collagen induction therapy — a minimally invasive procedure that uses fine needles to stamp the skin, creating tiny micro-channels, triggering the skin’s wound healing response Collagen induction therapy — a minimally invasive procedure that uses fine needles to stamp the skin, creating tiny micro-channels, and deliver pulses of Radio Frequency energy to stimulate and remodel collagen through thermal injury
Treatment length About an hour About an hour
What skin concerns does it treat? Uneven texture, large pores, superficial acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles Fine lines, sagging, superficial acne scars, uneven tone, uneven texture, uneven pigment, large pores
Who is the procedure best for? Patients looking to get ahead of the signs of aging Patients already experiencing sings of aging (wrinkles, loss of elasticity, fine lines)
What areas of the body can it treat? Face, neck, chest, hands, arms, legs, stomach, other areas of the body prone to skin laxity issues Face, neck, chest, hands, arms, legs, stomach, other areas of the body prone to skin laxity issues

Differences Between RF Microneedling and Microneedling Explained

RF microneedling and microneedling treatments are exceptional procedures for stimulating and maintaining collagen for smooth, glowing skin. These procedures treat skin on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, legs, stomach, and other areas of the body can see skin laxity issues over time.

While they are similar procedures, here are the three main differences between RF microneedling and microneedling:

1. RF microneedling creates thermal injuries; microneedling does not.

Both of these treatments use a device with a cluster of thin needles to create micro-channels in the skin. In addition to these tiny punctures, RF microneedling delivers radiofrequency energy into the skin creating an additional thermal injury.

2. Microneedling is an anti-aging preventative procedure. In contrast, RF microneedling can help treat signs of aging.

Traditional microneedling and RF microneedling will improve overall skin texture and help the body generate new collagen. However, RF microneedling also helps lift and tighten the skin, delivering a more robust result.

Microneedling is better for someone trying to get ahead of the signs of aging, while RF microneedling is great for patients already seeing these signs (wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and fine lines).

3. RF microneedling is more painful than traditional microneedling treatments.

With normal microneedling, most patients report very little to no pain or discomfort. However, RF microneedling treatments can be described as somewhat uncomfortable but there are many ways to increase your comfort level during treatment. Most patients describe it as a warm, prickly sensation.

RF microneedling providers, such as WIFH, take extra precautions and steps to help make patients more comfortable during either treatment. All patients will be topically numbed an hour before treatment. ProNox can also be used during treatment for added comfort.

Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling Treatment Length

Microneedling and RF microneedling treatments last about the same amount of time. Prepping the skin takes longer than the treatments themselves. At WIFH, our experienced medical team uses a topical cream to numb the patient’s skin 45 minutes to an hour before treatment to help prevent discomfort.

The microneedling treatment takes about an hour; treatment length varies depending on the area treated.

Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling Aftercare

Aftercare steps are the same for microneedling and RF microneedling treatments. Here are the steps we recommend for patients at WIFH:

  1. Wash your face a few hours after treatment, and apply the products provided in your WIFH post-procedure skin care kit. Only use these skin care products for the next 3 days to promote healing.
  2. Wash your face again before bed and apply skincare kit products.
  3. Continue to keep your skin clean and well-moisturized.
  4. Avoid acids, retinols, tretinoin, exfoliating products, and sun exposure for the next week.
  5. Don’t work out or wear makeup for the next 24 hours.

Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling Results

Microneedling is ideal for someone who wants to stimulate and maintain collagen, prevent signs of aging, and improve overall skin texture. With traditional SkinPen microneedling, patients can expect to see improvements in:

  • Uneven texture
  • Large pores
  • Superficial acne scars
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

We recommend RF microneedling for patients who want to rejuvenate the skin, target early signs of aging, and lift and plump their skin. After an RF microneedling treatment, most patients see significant improvements in:

  • Fine lines and sagging
  • Superficial acne scars
  • Tone and texture
  • Pigment
  • Large pores

The results of microneedling and RF microneedling treatments are cumulative. Each session builds upon the previous session, so patients need to schedule a session every 4 to 6 weeks. For the best results, most patients will need a series of 3 to 4 sessions.

At WIFH, our microneedling packages include 4 sessions. After your initial 4 treatments, we recommend 2 to 4 sessions a year to help maintain results and prevent signs of aging.

Microneedling Aftercare Guide
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Microneedling vs. RF Microneedling Costs

RF microneedling costs more than traditional microneedling treatments. RF microneedling is a more powerful treatment than traditional microneedling results because it helps treat existing signs of aging.

We recommend combining microneedling and RF microneedling treatments with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to speed up the post-treatment healing process. It’s made from a patient’s blood and is rubbed on the treated area after microneedling. Studies show[95] that PRP speeds up natural wound healing, which helps reduce the time a patient sees redness and downtime after treatment. If a patient chooses to add PRP to their treatment, the cost of microneedling and RF microneedling sessions will increase.

Compare the costs for microneedling and RF microneedling treatments at WIFH below:

TreatmentMicroneedlingRF MicroneedlingJuly Special
4-Pack (face and neck)$1,500$2,900$1,200 | $2,600
4-Pack (face and neck) with PRP Add-On$2,800$4,200$2,500 | $3,900

Schedule a Microneedling Consultation in Atlanta With WIFH

If you’d like to learn whether microneedling or RF microneedling treatments are best for your skin care concerns, contact our team at WIFH today! Our professional team has decades of combined experience providing microneedling and RF microneedling treatments.

We will help you set up a complimentary consultation to learn more about both treatments, answer questions, and make treatment recommendations based on your skin goals.

Sarah Richardson, LME

Sarah Richardson is WIFH’s Lead Medical Aesthetician and manages the skincare side of our practice. She is also an Assistant Cosmetic Laser Practitioner licensed by the Georgia Medical Composite Board. With over 16 years of skin care experience, Sarah specializes in creating customized treatment plans to address our patients’ individualized needs. Through a combination of clinical facials and aesthetic procedures, as well as scientifically effective skin care products, Sarah helps patients achieve a healthy, radiant, and glowing complexion. She is truly passionate about what she does and loves to educate others who are looking to improve their skin’s health.