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Why RF Microneedling is Nothing Like the Dermapen Your Aesthetician Offers – and Why You Should NOT DIY Your Microneedling

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Microneedling, a procedure that creates micro-channels in the skin using very fine needles, is one of the fastest-growing cosmetic treatments available. Many clients easily confuse the different varieties of microneedling treatments, which include at-home dermal rollers and professional treatments using tools like the Dermapen. A more advanced option, called RF Microneedling, is gaining praise from cosmetic professionals as a more effective treatment for issues like acne scarring, skin remodeling, and skin tightening.

RF Microneedling combines the benefits of standard microneedling procedures with radiofrequency energy and a much deeper penetration depth availability, meaning that the treatment reaches deeper layers of the skin and treats more of the skin with each treatment. This makes it increasingly beneficial for deeper-rooted problems like scarring compared to DermaPen or SkinPen. DermaPen is typically performed by aestheticians or nurses, who are not certified to deliver the needles deep enough into the skin to affect the scar tissue. Doctors who provide DermaPen treatment are allowed to deliver the needles deeper into the skin, but it will take traditional microneedling many more treatments to achieve the same results RF Microneedling can, and often that means a more expensive treatment plan overall, and a longer timeline.

RF Microneedling works in much the same way as traditional microneedling, but with amplified effectiveness and results. During RF Microneedling treatment, the tiny needles are energized. The radiofrequency energy travels not just through the microchannels, but into the surrounding skin as well, remodeling a greater percentage of the skin during each treatment.

RF Microneedling essentially creates the results you would see from a laser resurfacing treatment, which used to be the gold standard in acne scar and skin resurfacing. However, because RF energy is color-blind, this treatment allows us to be just as aggressive on any skin tone, and that’s a big advancement!

One of the more concerning trends we see is patients taking microneedling treatments into their own hands with DIY at-home treatments. Nothing scares us more! First of all, needles pierce the protective layers of the skin and that opens you up for bad infections. We see a lot of people talking online about using non-sterile topical products, like serums, over these microchannels opened up by dermaroller or microneedling pens, and that is just asking for trouble.

But beyond that, even if you’re able to create a sterile technique and do this procedure perfectly, we have some concerns with the type of microneedling devices consumers can get ahold of. One being that derma-rollers insert, drag, and then exist the skin in an inverted triangle shape. All medical microneedling devices create a very precise up and down movement in the skin because creating that inverted triangle shape is very inflammatory and disruptive to the skin. We’ve seen many patients create scarring with that technique, and it’s really not something you want to risk. Now, we are seeing skinpen-style microneedling devices on Amazon and the like these days. Perhaps if you kept these very shallow in depth, akin to what an aesthetician is allowed, and you used a new tip each time and followed sterile technique, AND you had the countenance to perform it on yourself (it does hurt and many people find they really want a prescription numbing cream), perhaps you could achieve a safe and effective treatment. But we really think you’ll find the cost differential of DIY-ing it correctly isn’t that much of a savings, because the appropriate materials you’ll need are pretty expensive when you buy them one at a time and through middle-man salespeople on Amazon.

All that being said, microneedling can be a safe and very effective treatment, but just like how you wouldn’t try to laser your face at home, we think you’ll save yourself a lot of stress and potentially big problems by leaving microneedling to a trusted professional. Of course, if you’d like us to become your trusted professional, we are always happy to provide the guidance and trusted medical opinions you’ll need to make informed decisions about your cosmetic care. We warmly welcome you to our offices for a free in-person consultation with our physicians.

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