Is Radiofrequency (RF) Microneedling the Secret to Tighter Skin? | Costs, Risks, and Benefits

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Most adults are able to safely get RF microneedling, regardless of skin tone or skin type. Dr. Smith says that those with mild to moderate skin tone and texture concerns (such as slight sagging or minor discoloration) that don’t need the power of deeper laser treatments (like Fraxel) are great candidates. RF microneedling is not going to address more significant skin laxity or serious sun damage.

RF Microneedling Has Many Names

There are a number of different RF microneedling devices out there, and the differences between them are in part just differences in their marketing budgets and ad campaigns. They all use the same core technology, but “they are slightly nuanced in how deeply the needles penetrate the skin,” says Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology of Physicians of Connecticut. She goes on to explain that deeper penetration can result in increased collagen production. These are some of the most popular brands:

Secret RF

Shereene Idriss, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, offers Secret RF in her office to patients with darker skin tones who are especially susceptible to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from the microneedling component of the treatment. Secret RF “has been shown in studies to have less risk of post-procedure hyperpigmentation when compared to other RF microneedling devices,” she says.


Idriss also offers Morpheus8 at her practice. Morpheus8 is an RF microneedling device that “can treat up to 8mm deep into the skin, while other RF microneedling devices typically can only treat up to 3mm deep which makes it ideal for melting fat,” says Dr. Idriss.


Genius. The device has 49 needles per tip, compared to 24 needles per tip on other devices. “The primary benefit of more needles is that the practitioner can treat a larger surface area with each pulse, thereby increasing the speed of treatment (particularly in larger areas) and decreasing the duration of each treatment session,” says Jina Kim, senior vice president of global marketing of Lutronic, the aesthetic device company behind Genius.

In Idriss’ opinion, having more needles on your applicator “isn’t always a good thing, due to over-delivery of energy which poses a risk of hyperpigmentation.” Kim explains that Genius’s technology ensures the delivery of a precise dosage of RF energy with each pulse, as it is measured and modulated in real-time with a proprietary monitoring feature. “The high-torque motor in the Genius handpiece ensures that each needle is consistently inserted to the proper depth, maximizing consistency and outstanding outcomes.”

Vivace and Vivace Ultra

Vivace and Vivace Ultra received US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance in October 2022. While there is no clinically significant difference between the radiofrequency heat used by Vivace and other RF devices, Dr. Idriss highlights how Vivace adds LED light therapy to the treatment. Its red LED light has anti-inflammatory properties and plumping and smoothing effects, while its blue LED light targets acne.

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