Radio-Frequency (RF) Microneedling is a skin treatment growing in popularity for two main reasons: because it’s noninvasive and because of its impressive results. The procedure harnesses radio-frequency energy that is distributed using a microneedling device. The dermis of the skin becomes stimulated from the microneedling to produce new elastin, collagen, and hyaluronic acid for firmer, healthier, younger-looking skin.
“The RF microneedling energy prompts the body’s natural healing properties to produce collagen and elastin, which tightens and firms the skin,” explains Palm Beach Gardens, FL facial plastic surgeon Jaimie DeRosa, MD. The results will usually appear two to six months after treatment, as the RF microneedling energy prompts the body’s natural healing properties to make the skin tighter and healthier.
Since most types of microneedling cause physical trauma to the skin, it’s important to take care of your skin properly after receiving the treatment. We spoke with a few dermatologists to create a post-RF microneedling guide to help you get through the healing process seamlessly.
What does microneedling aftercare look like?
Dr. DeRosa says that typical aftercare involves protecting the treated areas using an ointment and keeping the treated area free of dirt or sweat. “The treated areas may show signs of bruising and swelling, and may be red too,” she shares. Some people may notice that the treated area is numb for a bit and/or tight due to the swelling.
You should ensure you’re using a gentle face cleanser when you’re washing your face for several days. You’ll want to avoid anything harsh or acidic, avoid sun exposure, and always wear sunscreen.
A gentle barrier cream to maintain hydration is incredibly important in your aftercare ritual. “Your doctor might provide brightening skin care or growth factors to be used as post-care depending on your needs,” says New York dermatologist Julie Russak, MD.
Dr. Russak suggests avoiding exercise for 48-72 hours, and to completely avoid red wine and blood thinners. Furthermore, you should avoid saunas or hot tubs, pool immersion, retinols and exfoliants until 5-7 days later when skin is healed.
What to avoid
“My recommendation is to avoid anything right after treatment that can introduce infection into the treated areas,” Dr. DeRosa explains. This means not sweating or applying any makeup over the treated areas for at least 48 hours or according to your doctor’s instructions. Since that treated skin is in a healing phase and may be more prone to sunburn or sun damage, you should also avoid direct sun exposure and apply a physical mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreen. “I’d also avoid any additional skin treatments until healed,” says Dr. DeRosa.
What to expect
With any procedure, it’s important to keep an eye out for negative side effects that could occur. For RF microneedling, possible side effects are uneven/prolonged redness, swelling, and bruising. Luckily, these are usually temporary. But, if they persist for over a week and don’t seem to be getting better, it’s a good idea to call your doctor for a follow-up appointment to address your concerns.
What products should I use post-procedure?
After you receive RF microneedling, you want to make sure you’re using a gentle cleanser and epidermal repair cream immediately after to maintain a healthy barrier. Dr. DeRosa’s favorite post-RF Microneedling products are Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar and Soothe + Protect Recovery Balm. “We recommend to our patients to apply the Nectar directly on the treated skin, followed by the Soothe and Protect Recovery Balm at least twice a day for two weeks after treatment,” she explains.