Introduction

Living in a society that is increasingly more aware of the skin treatments available to consumers, I am sure you’ve come across terms such as skin needling, micro-needling, collagen induction therapy, radio-frequency (RF) or RF microneedling. Now, even with all the information available on the internet along with social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, there is still so much confusion when it comes to the difference between microneedling and radio-frequency microneedling for consumers.

This blog serves to outline the differences between traditional microneedling methods like SkinPen, comparatively to radio-frequency microneedling or RFM methods such as Morpheus8 Body.

The sections immediately beneath discuss traditional microneedling and its results in isolation, then separately I will describe radio-frequency microneeding (RFM) with a look at its results.

To help you digest the information contained in this blog, I have wrapped up with a short conclusion to guide you on the working out which is suitable for you.

About

Traditional Microneedling (such as SkinPen)

Skin needling or collagen induction therapy (CIT) often refers to the method that stimulates collagen production using a pen-like device with a disposable cartridge, which can carry anywhere from 1 to 42 needles.

Traditionally, micro-needling rollers were used instead of pens, however, these are not commonly found any longer. At many clinics offering this treatment modality, typically you may find needle cartridges using 12-24 needles. These needles will penetrate into the skin at customisable depths that range from 0.25mm to 2.5mm.

Microneedling is a straightforward, minimally-invasive and relatively safe treatment when in the hands of a suitably trained and experienced practitioner.

The microneedling treatment does not involve any heat or energy, thereby making it a safe procedure all skin types and ethnicities. So, what happens during the microneedling procedure?

The device uses a sterile, disposable, 14-pin needle cartridge that goes in and out of the skin at an extremely fast rate, with approximately 1600 micro channels per second.

When the needles penetrate the skin, they create a micro injury that subsequently stimulates the wound healing phase. The wound healing phase involves the initial trauma followed by inflammation, proliferation and remodelling of the skin cells.

The downtime is very minimal and quite well-tolerated by most patients.

Although quite mild, the inflammation and erythema (redness), typically lasts about 12-48 hours post treatment.

Lighter skin types or those who are more prone to redness and sunburns generally experience more redness compared to darker or more olive skin types.

Skin flaking and mild peeling is commonly experienced at day 3 post treatment, which commonly resolves between days 5 to 7.

RESULTS

What outcomes can I expect with traditional skin microneedling?

  • Reduced appearance of indented atrophic acne scarring
  • Overall improved skin health
  • Reduced appearance of enlarged pores
  • Brighter, more even skin tone
  • Reduction of post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
  • Smoother skin texture
About

RadioFrequency Microneedling or RFM (such as Morpheus8)

Radio-Frequency (RF) Micro-needling or RF Micro-needling (RFM), is a relatively new treatment compared to traditional micro-needling technology.

RFM has certainly gained popularity within the Australian market in the past few years.

RFM involves a similar mechanism of action to traditional micro-needling, however, the needles do not go in and out as quickly – but instead – uses more of a ‘stamping method’ rather than oscillation of the needles.

The other key difference is that RF microneedling involves the administering of radio-frequency energy into specific depths of the skin.

Our RF micro-needling device of choice at Pavilion Cosmetic Medicine, is InMode’s Morpheus8, which utilises a unique tip with ultra fine gold coated insulated needles.

The tip of the needle that reaches the deepest point of the skin is uncoated, thus allowing the radio-frequency energy to be emitted at customised target depths.

With Morpheus8, there are four available tips with different needle configurations; 12-PIN Prime tip, 24-PIN resurfacing tip, 24-PIN Morpheus8 tip and a 40-PIN body tip. The Morpheus8 tips deliver clinically proven RF energy that is customisable to multiple treatment depths in the skin (0.5-7mm).

Similarly to SkinPen Microneedling, Morpheus8 RFM still initiates the same wound healing process with the proliferation and remodelling of the skin, however, as a differentiating factor; Morpheus8 serves to address a larger variety of skin concerns at a more intense level compared to the SkinPen device.

While operating at a deeper depth with stronger settings, Morpheus8 RFM is still considered to be a minimally invasive treatment option.

Although Morpheus8 is more intense when compared to SkinPen when it comes to the indications that it can treat, the downtime is not significantly different between the two treatment types.

Patients undergoing Morpheus8 treatment typically experience mild redness that settles generally within 12-24 hours, as well as a rough ‘sandpaper-like’ skin texture for 5 to 7 days.

When looking up close at the skin 1-2 days after Morpheus8 treatment, one can see that the sandpaper-like texture has been caused by very small scabs that are formed from the needle’s trauma to the skin.

These scabs are known as ‘MENDS’ – which is an acronym for Microscopic Epidermal Necrotic Debris.

After a few days, these MENDS slough off the skin, and are replaced with fresh new tissue underneath.

RF energy serves to tighten the skin through thermal heating of the dermis, which triggers the body’s healing phase that leads to collagen formation.

Unlike lasers, RF is ‘colour-blind’ – meaning it is not necessarily attracted to any pigmentation or colour within the skin, thereby making it safe for all skin types. However, practitioner caution is still required when treating darker skin types due to the heat levels being produced.

The unique components of the Morpheus8 device allow for the RF energy to deeply penetrate into the skin and the fibro-septal network (FSN) skin-fat matrix, thereby providing a triple action of sub-necrotic bulk heating, as well as coagulation of fat, connective tissue and ablation. This process also targets and strengthens the fibro-septal network (FSN).

RESULTS

What outcomes can I expect with radiofrequency microneedling (RFM)?

  • Reduced appearance of indented atrophic acne scarring
  • Overall improved skin health
  • Reduced appearance of enlarged pores
  • Brighter, more even skin tone
  • Reduction of post-inflammatory erythema (PIE) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH)
  • Smoother skin texture
  • Reduction of cellulite and stretchmarks
  • Remodel and reduce fat tissue

Conclusion

Whether you choose traditional microneedling or radio-frequency microneedling, you should be able to identify a visible improvement in your skin quality after two or more treatments. Depending on the severity of your skin concerns, your budget, downtime flexibility and other lifestyle factors, you may benefit from one treatment type over the other.

Traditional microneedling or SkinPen is better suited to those who are younger and only just starting out with their age-management and skin journey. As traditional microneedling is less invasive and involves slightly less downtime than Morpheus8 RF microneedling, we find that many of our patients typically start with SkinPen microneedling before commencing Morpheus8 (to ease themselves into the world of aesthetic skin treatments).

If your main concerns are primarily focused on enlarged pores, very mild wrinkles, post-inflammatory marks and overall unevenness of the skin; our team at PCM would typically recommend SkinPen microneedling. In most common circumstances, three [3] to six [6] sessions are required to achieve optimal results, with each session spaced 4 weeks apart.

If lower face skin laxity and skin tightening are your main concerns, and you are not at the stage where surgical intervention is not yet advised, then Morpheus8 RF micro-needling would be the more suitable option. Our Morpheus8 patients see optimal results with two [2] to three [3] sessions, with each treatment session spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart.

Ultimately, choosing a aesthetic practitioner or cosmetic clinic that offers both options (if not other modalities), will ensure you receive comprehensive information about the treatment options, which you understand, in order to make an informed decision that is best for you and your concerns.

To understand what options would best suit you and your concerns – and to have a treatment plan tailored to your skin type and your goals – we recommend considering the following options as a starting point.

at a glance

A snapshot of our service offerings at PCM

Get in Touch

Interested in Microneedling at Pavilion Cosmetic Medicine?

We welcome you to Pavilion Cosmetic Medicine Sydney for a consultation with our cosmetic practitioners, who'll tailor a treatment plan specific to your concerns and desires.

Got questions?

We're here to help

Not ready to book? Still have questions? Leave us a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.