Do you believe in the existence of a cosmetic procedure that can guarantee anybody youth forever?
Currently, the derma cosmetic and aesthetic world is inundated with a wide variety of cosmetic procedures aimed at removing skin imperfections and at curing skin aging. These include cryolipolysis (a procedure which makes use of cold temperatures to reduce fat deposits in various parts of the body) and dermabrasion (an extreme form of physical exfoliation which makes use of a rapidly rotating device to remove the outer layer of the skin, and thus makes the skin smoother.) Another cosmetic procedure that has resurged in popularity is RFMN or Fractional Radiofrequency Microneedling. This is an approach to improve collagen production in our skin: But is it truly effective? Let us find out.
Microneedling is an aesthetic procedure that has been around for almost 30 years. First used in 1995 by Dr. Desmond Fernandes in Philadelphia, wrinkles and scars were minimized using hypodermic needles (1,2). The problem with this method was that bleeding caused severe unacceptable bruising, which sometimes resulted in hard nodules. To combat this, a special tool was designed with needles ranging between 1 and 3 mm (about 0.12 in) by Fernandes to achieve percutaneous collagen induction (2). This is the small needle stamp which has replaced the use of hypodermic needles. Taking advantage of the body’s natural healing process, tiny pinpricks are created in the skin using the needle stamp. This forces the body to heal the wounds by undertaking neocollagenesis and neoelastinogenesis, thus leading to new skin growth with a thicker dermis. Fractional Radio-frequency micro-needling (RFMN) takes on all the principles of micro-needling and adds the benefits of radio frequency heat energy (3). RFMN devices work by creating radiofrequency thermal zones without epidermal injury. After the damage to the reticular dermis, neoelastinogenesis, and neocollagenesis results in dermal thickening (4). In simpler terms, thermal energy is delivered deep into the dermis of the skin while bypassing the epidermis. The delivery of such heat to the dermis causes a “thermal injury.” This stimulates the skin to produce collagen and elastin to heal the artificially created injury, resulting in tighter and younger-looking skin. RFMN is a beneficial, painless procedure that reduces the effects of aging. In addition, it can be used to heal scarred skin left over from severe bouts of acne, and hyperpigmentation and to reduce the appearance of cellulite in certain parts of the body.
The advantages offered by RFMN are shorter recovery time after the treatment as compared to traditional micro-needling, dermabrasion, derma-planing (a procedure in which a razor is used to shave the uppermost layer of skin, thus helping in removal of dead skin cells, hair, etc.) and so on. A topical numbing cream is applied before the procedure to prevent the sensation of any pain or discomfort thus making RFMN a painless and completely safe procedure. Another positive is that one does not need to turn to drastic measures like plastic surgery to obtain a “facelift.” Also, there are visible changes seen in shorter periods of time. RFMN is a procedure compatible with all skin types and is generally low-risk. People may of course face redness and discomfort immediately after the procedure, but it will pass rapidly. Overall, RFMN is a beneficial and incredibly useful aesthetic procedure.
So, while calling RFMN a miracle cure may be taking it too far, it is a very innovative and painless way to gain “younger” looking skin in a shorter amount of time.
Combating photoaging with percutaneous collagen induction. Desmond Fernandes and Massimo Signorini, Clin Dermatol. 2008,26,192-9. Doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2007.09.006. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0738081X07001903?via%3Dihub
Microneedling with Radio Frequency (RF) https://villagedermatology.net/microneedling-with-radio-frequency/
Evaluation of Microneedling Fractional Radiofrequency Device for Treatment of Acne Scars. Byalekere Shivanna Chandrashekar, Rashmi Sriram, Rajdeep Mysore, Sapnashree Bhaskar, and Abhishek Shetty Doi: 10.4103/0974-2077.138328 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4134659/
Figure (1) - https://www.freepik.com/searchformat=search&page=2&query=microneedling