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RF Microneedling vs. Microneedling: The Key Differences That Will Take Your Practice to the Next Level

Microneedling has become one of the most sought-after aesthetics treatments for those wishing to improve the appearance of acne, wrinkles, fine lines, and more—with less downtime and side effects than traditional methods. 

As the industry has evolved, so too have techniques to improve overall effectiveness, patient experiences, and results.

RF microneedling incorporates radiofrequency (RF) energy into traditional microneedling, for more tailored treatments, greater efficiencies, and longer-lasting outcomes.

This useful explainer explores both treatments, outlines key differences, and breaks down their unique benefits to help elevate your practice and patient care to the next level.

What Is Microneedling? 

Microneedling involves making small, precise punctures to the surface of skin with tiny needles to stimulate the natural wound-healing process and increase collagen and elastin production.

Replacing old, damaged tissue with new cells addresses acne, stretch marks, loose skin, and other conditions at their source—improving tone and texture and producing tighter, brighter skin.

Its origins date back hundreds of years to traditional Chinese medicine, but microneedling as we know it today began in 1995, when dermatologists David and Norman Orentreich began exploring dermal needling for scar treatment. 

German inventor Tilo Liebl built off of Orentreich’s discovery and designed the first drum-shaped instrument with needle protrusions, which plastic surgeon Desmond Fernandes later used to simulate new collagen production—or “neocollagenesis”—in 2006.

Around that same time, practitioners began incorporating a new element into microneedling that would enable wider treatment variety, minimize downtime even further, and enhance results: radiofrequency (RF) technology.

What Is RF Microneedling?  

RF microneedling directs radiofrequency (RF) energy through micro-needle points in a fractional pattern. 

This triggers even more collagen and elastin production, for faster and more dramatic results, without damaging the outer skin layer.

The amount of RF energy can be adjusted for more tailored treatments and to treat a wider range of skin conditions, types, and pigments. 

RF microneedling is considered a “Skinclusive” option—able to treat all skin tones while providing more dramatic, enduring, minimally invasive results than conventional microneedling.

Differences Between Microneedling & RF Microneedling

RF microneedling utilizes radiofrequency energy, while traditional methods do not. 

This key difference creates numerous other distinctions between the two aesthetics procedures. The following chart examines these in more detail.



RF Microneedling

Utilizes RF Energy 




Treatments take 25 to 30 minutes, with recovery anywhere between one and three days.

Treatments last 25 to 30 minutes. Recovery usually takes one day.

Side Effects

Some superficial trauma, short-term swelling, redness, flaking, and rough skin texture 

Redness and swelling

Patient Experience

More comfortable than conventional aesthetics procedures such as dermabrasion, but more abrasive to the outer skin layer. Patients tend to experience more discomfort than RF treatments. 

Less abrasive to the outer skin layer, yielding a generally more comfortable, less invasive experience than conventional microneedling.

Treatment Options

Reduces appearance of acne, wrinkles, scarring, and other conditions.

Produces faster, more dramatic results to improve appearance of acne, wrinkles, scarring, and other conditions. Offers more tailored treatments to treat a wider variety of skin types, tones, and textures.


Evident after a few treatments, and last about three to five months.

Often evident after first treatment. Last anywhere between 12 to 18 months, and continue improving even six months after treatment


Who Can RF Microneedling Benefit?

With more tailored, dramatic treatment results than traditional microneedling, RF microneedling helps improve the appearance of a wider variety of skin conditions, including:

  • Acne Scarring
  • Fine Lines & Wrinkles 
  • Stretch Marks 
  • Loose Skin
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Enlarged Pores
  • Eye Bags & Festoons
  • Cellulite
  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Jowls
  • Rosacea 

Benefits of RF Microneedling

Wider Treatment Variety

By delivering RF energy at various intensities and skin depths, RF microneedling is a more effective treatment option for a more diverse spectrum of skin colors, types, tones, textures, and conditions.  

This enables you to offer more tailored options and thus, treat a wider variety of patients. 

More Effective

Its minimally invasive design delivers RF energy in a fractional pattern—minimizing damage and abrasion to the surface of the skin, while producing more effective results.

Its ability to penetrate deep into the skin without creating superficial trauma further enhances neocollagenesis and elastin production.

Minimal Downtime

Being less invasive, RF microneedling requires less recovery downtime. 

Treatments only last between 25 and 30 minutes, and for optimal results should be repeated three to five times and spaced four to six weeks apart.

Longer-Lasting Results

Compared to traditional microneedling’s results, which last around three to five months, RF microneedling results continue to improve even after six months as collagenesis occurs.

This is largely due to RF energy’s ability to penetrate deeper into the dermis and revitalize old, damaged tissue with new cells. 

Take Your Practice to the Next Level With VirtueRF

Incorporating RF energy into traditional microneedling is revolutionizing the aesthetics industry, with stunning, dramatic results and minimal downtime and side effects.

You can truly take your practice to the next level with RF microneedling by selecting the perfect device to maximize its benefits for patients.

VirtueRF is the world’s first RF microneedling platform, featuring three detachable handpieces for an even more customizable, comfortable patient experience, and results that last

While SmartRF and DeepRF 36-needle handpieces specialize in face, hands, and decolleté and tightening, smoothing, and advanced body treatments, respectively, Exact RF’s single-needle handpiece enables precision targeting around the mouth, eyes, and jawline.

With an ergonomic arm to distribute weight evenly and two auto-modes to cut treatment times by 30%, VirtueRF prioritizes patient comfort in every sense—while delivering unmatched mobility and patient outcomes.

As the aesthetics industry continues evolving, leveraging the latest technologies helps you to continue providing the very best treatments for patients. 

With VirtueRF, that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Cartessa Aesthetics is a trusted provider of end-to-end aesthetics device fulfillment for stunning, safe results that last. To learn more about how VirtueRF can help you take your practice to the next level, contact us today.

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