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

Microneedling has become a popular way to rejuvenate the skin, offering superior, long-lasting results with minimal discomfort and downtime. Today, there are different options in microneedling techniques, from the popular Dermapen to a relatively new method of microneedling, which adds radiofrequency energy. Here are a few basic facts about the two procedures to help you determine which one is the right choice for you.

Explaining Microneedling

Microneedling is a rejuvenation treatment that works by creating micro-injuries in the skin that trigger the body’s own healing response. Also known as collagen induction therapy, microneedling also stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to give skin a softer, more supple and youthful appearance. This procedure effectively reverses signs of aging and sun damage, while diminishing the appearance of visible imperfections like enlarged pores and shallow scarring.

Microneedling with the Dermapen

Traditional microneedling has been performed for many years, both by professionals and through DIY tools you can use at home. The procedure reached a new level with the introduction of the Dermapen, a small device that delivers a dozen small needles into the skin with minimal discomfort. The pen moves smoothly over the skin to cover an entire treatment area in a fraction of the time of other microneedling devices.

Topical serums can be applied to the skin prior to microneedling to further enhance the results of the procedure. Hyaluronic acid, peptides and other cosmeceuticals can penetrate more deeply into the dermal layers, where they can have a greater effect. Platelet rich plasma (PRP), a serum created from a patient own blood, is a concentrated formulation of blood platelets. Platelets are one of the bodies largest repositories of growth factors. Growth factors promote healing, stimulate cell turnover and assist in tissue repair. PRP has been used for years by oral surgeons to promote bone healing and by orthopedic surgeons to promote bone, joint and tendon healing. PRP has recently been shown to promote skin rejuvenation especially when injected into the deep layers of the skin and when delivered more superficially into the skin with microneedling.

Adding RF Energy to the Mix

Today, radiofrequency energy has further improved the results achieved through microneedling. Radiofrequency has been safely used for decades, both as a medical and a cosmetic treatment. When added to the microneedling procedure, RF energy can be delivered into the deep dermal layers, where the emitted heat can promote tissue tightening through its effects on collagen fibers producing an immediate firming effect on the skin’s surface. This tightening is likened to the effects of heat on the fibers in fabric when certain clothes are placed in a dryer. At the same time, the RF energy is effective in further promoting collagen and elastin production, an essential adjunct the collagen induction initiated by the microneedling itself. The RF energy enhances the results seen with Dermapen microneedling alone.

Dr. Andrews Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery is the first practice in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and Waterloo/Cedar Falls corridor to offer this innovative procedure. In addition, Dr. Andrews combines the RF microneedling treatment with PRP to produce even more dramatic skin enhancement. The PRP is added immediately following the microneedling procedure, when the skin is most ready to respond to the growth factors in the platelets. The combination of PRP and RF microneedling work synergistically to tone and firm the skin while improving fine lines and shallow scars.

RF microneedling is performed in our office using a topical anesthetic that is applied before the procedure. The treatment usually takes less than one hour to complete and patients are often able to return to regular activities as soon as the procedure is over. Skin may be slightly pink flushed in color when leaving, but make up can be applied as soon as 4 hours afterwards. Most of our patients see their best results with a series of three treatments, spaced about four weeks apart. Patients can expect to see their full results 4-6 weeks after their last treatment. Once desired results are achieved, they should last six months to one year before a touch-up treatment may be needed.

RF microneedling is bringing skin rejuvenation to the next level, offering outstanding results with minimal downtime. To learn more about this procedure, contact Dr. Andrews Plastic, Cosmetic & Reconstructive Surgery today at 855-338-0261.

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