If you are considering having Fractional Radiofrequency Microneedling, we recommend that you read the following information. This will help you to be fully prepared, know what questions to ask and what you should expect from your practitioner or therapist. Prior to treatment, you should have a face-to-face consultation with your treating practitioner or therapist and be offered a cooling off period before returning for treatment. This will allow you time to consider your decision carefully based on the information you have been provided with.
Fractional radiofrequency microneedling is an advanced method of skin rejuvenation that encourages collagen production. It stimulates the body’s natural healing process within the dermis, resulting in tighter and more rejuvenated skin.
What is 3D Dermaforce?
Fractional radiofrequency microneedling is an advanced method of skin rejuvenation that encourages collagen production. It stimulates the body’s natural healing process within the dermis, resulting in tighter and more rejuvenated skin. It is the latest innovation that combines micro-needling and radiofrequency technologies, both of which are already well-established as standalone treatments for skin rejuvenation and tightening due to their effects on fibroblasts within the skin. Fibroblasts are responsible for the production and maintenance of the extracellular matrix, the structural and biochemical support for the skin. They produce the structural and adhesive proteins of the skin as well as the space-filling ground substance, ensuring the skin is well nourished, intact, and healthy. Fractional radiofrequency microneedling can be used on multiple sites of the face and body.
What areas can be treated?
Fractional radiofrequency microneedling is most often performed on the face, but it can be used almost anywhere. Some of the most popular treatment areas include:
Neck and décolleté
Jowls and jawline
Fractional radiofrequency microneedling is particularly popular for the following indications:
Lines and wrinkles
Loose and crêpe skin
Uneven skin texture
Loss of skin laxity
How does the treatment work?
Radiofrequency energy is delivered to the target area via tiny needles within the applicator handpiece. Some devices apply a vacuum to the skin to ensure better contact and a more precise depth of penetration. The energy intensity and depth can be varied according to the treatment indication and often more than one pass over the skin is performed so that different depths of the epidermis and dermis can be targeted for maximum results. Most devices can target depths between 0.5mm and 4mm, which can treat from the epidermis down to the deep dermis, depending on the area of the face and body.
The radiofrequency energy is deployed through coated or insulated needles to ensure that the heat remains at the correct tissue plane for increased accuracy and safety. Collagen fibres within the skin are heated to 55 – 65 degrees Celsius, stimulating the body’s natural healing processes and the creation of new collagen and elastin fibres and increasing skin cell turnover.
Worn out and damaged collagen is replaced with new collagen, leading to a tightening effect, and the activation of fibroblasts produces other skin proteins and hyaluronic acid, creating a smoother appearance. Due to the action of fractional radiofrequency microneedling in the breakdown of disorganised collagen fibres in scars and stretch marks, these can be improved with treatment, as well as fine lines, wrinkles, loose crêpe skin and overall skin tone. Depending on the skin concern, several treatments may be required, and this should be discussed with your practitioner or therapist beforehand. However, results can vary depending on skin type, age, sex, skin health, area treated and appearance prior to treatment.
Is it painful?
Most people only experience minimal discomfort during a fractional radiofrequency microneedling treatment. The needles that are inserted into the skin are very thin and penetrate very quickly, creating only a very mild sting. Some areas of the face and body can be more sensitive, and the settings of the device can be adjusted to allow for this. When the radiofrequency energy is delivered, this can cause a slight warmth to the skin, but it should not feel hot since the heat is generated beneath the surface of the skin and for only an instant. For those with sensitive skin, or find the treatment unpleasant, the settings can be adjusted to make it more tolerable by reducing the depth of injection and the amount of energy applied.
After treatment, the skin may feel warm and appear pink, like the sensation experienced following sun exposure and this generally settles over a few hours.
Different devices do vary slightly on the amount of discomfort experienced during the procedure, depending on the handpiece needles and energy application and some practitioners may recommend the use of a topical or local anaesthetic pre-treatment.
Is it safe?
The procedure is minimally invasive and considered safe, with few associated risks, providing a thorough medical history has been taken and considered prior to treatment commencing. The handpieces are single-use and provided in sealed, sterile packets to prevent cross-contamination and infection. Your practitioner or therapist should open the applicator head in front of you and dispose of it in a sharps bin after your treatment.
The skin should be cleaned and disinfected prior to treatment and fractional radiofrequency microneedling should not be used in any area where the skin is infected or inflamed or if cold sores are present as this may lead to a worsening effect or the spread of an infection. It is also safe in darker skin types as the technology does not use light or laser modalities and the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is very low.
The treatment creates very small micro-channels in the skin, leaving most of the skin barrier intact and healing is usually quick and without complication.
Side-effects may be more likely due to the following factors:
Patient factors: Skin condition, lifestyle factors, diet, age, certain medical conditions/medications.
Practitioner factors: Training, years of experience, number of procedures performed.
Premises factors: Suitability of the environment with appropriate infection control.
Fractional radiofrequency microneedling has few complications, however no treatment is without risk, and these should be discussed during your consultation.
Are there any side-effects?
Pain/Tenderness: You may experience some minor tenderness, discomfort, aching or stinging during and after the procedure. If you do have more pain than expected or advised, it is important to contact your treating practitioner or therapist.
Redness: Following treatment, it is normal for the skin to appear quite red. This normally settles within a couple of hours but can occasionally persist for longer, particularly with sensitive skin and when treatment settings are high.
Swelling: Any treatment which causes controlled trauma to the skin or tissues can lead to swelling. Following fractional radiofrequency microneedling, this is rare and if it does occur, it is usually minor and generally settles within a few days.
Bruising: Due to the suction applied, this can rarely lead to bruising of the skin. Devices with a vacuum applicator usually have a setting to reduce the suction and reduce this risk.
Herpetic outbreak: In people susceptible to cold sores, microneedling around the mouth area can precipitate an outbreak of cold sores. It is important that this is discussed during the consultation as people who have regular attacks may benefit from medication pre-treatment to prevent this.
Blood spots/scabbing: Treatment in people with thin skin or those taking medication or over the counter remedies that thin the blood can develop some small red spots where the needles have penetrated the skin which can last for a few days and may develop into some flaking and scabbing.
If you develop any unexpected side-effects after treatment, it is important to contact your practitioner or therapist for a review as soon as possible, as they may be able to offer some corrective treatment. Although your practitioner or therapist may initially contact you by telephone or video call or recommend that you provide photographs, this is not a suitable substitute for a face-to-face review to provide an accurate diagnosis.
What does the treatment involve?
Prior to your treatment you should have a consultation with your practitioner or therapist to explain the procedure, advise on expected results, address your expectations, and discuss alternative treatment options. You should also complete a medical history form and be allowed a cooling off period to enable you to make an informed decision with full disclosure of the possible risks and side effects specific to you. You should also be informed of the cost of the treatment. Before your procedure, you will be required to sign a consent form, this may be on paper or electronic, and be given the opportunity to ask any further questions. Photographs should be taken and kept as part of your medical record and to assess response to treatment. They should not be used for any other purpose without your explicit permission.
Before your fractional radiofrequency microneedling treatment, the area will be cleansed and disinfected. If you are having a topical local anaesthetic, this may then be applied and left on the skin for a suitable amount of time. The device settings are adjusted to the appropriate levels for the treatment area and the handpiece is applied to the skin. The practitioner or therapist will usually do a single shot first to check for comfort and skin reaction. If these are acceptable, the area will then be systematically treated by applying multiple shots next to each other to cover the whole area. Several settings may be varied, including depth, radiofrequency energy, vacuum, and speed. The practitioner or therapist may make adjustments when treating more delicate areas, such as the under-eye skin. It is normal to do more than one pass over the entire area to target superficial and deeper layers of the skin for optimum results and the treatment time is usually about 30 minutes or more.
Following the procedure, your practitioner or therapist may apply a moisturiser, serum, or cooling mask as well as a sun protectant as the skin’s natural barrier has been compromised. It is important to continue to use skin care and sun protection as instructed in your aftercare advice.
Often, a small lifting effect is noticed immediately after treatment, but it does take at least 6 weeks to see the result. A course of 1 – 3 sessions, dependent on severity of skin concern, may be required for best results. Treatments are often conducted every 4 weeks, with a maintenance treatment every 6 – 12 months.
Am I suitable for treatment?
It is important to be honest about your medical history, previous aesthetic procedures, skin care products used, and any medication taken so that you can have a safe and effective treatment. As fractional radiofrequency microneedling is only minimally invasive, most people are suitable for this treatment, particularly those who do not want or are precluded from a surgical procedure. However, you may not be suitable if any of the following applies:
If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, actively trying to conceive, or undergoing IVF.
If you have eczema, dermatitis, sunburn, or previous radiation therapy in the treatment area.
If you have certain medical conditions, such as liver or kidney problems, poorly controlled diabetes, blood clotting disorders, cancer (undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy), diseases affecting the lymphatic system, poorly controlled epilepsy, or immunosuppression (either medical or drug-related).
If you are suffering from any skin infection or inflammation in the treatment area.
If you have ever developed hypertrophic or keloid scars.
If you are taking Roaccutane or oral steroids or using topical steroids in the treatment area.
If you are unwell, including coughs and colds, on the day of treatment.
If you have a pacemaker or metal implant near the site where you are having treatment.
Body dysmorphia or certain mental illnesses.
If you are under the age of 18 years.
Prior to treatment, use a high factor SPF50 sunscreen for 4 weeks to help improve your results and reduce the risk of possible side-effects. Similarly, avoid tanning beds and tanning lotions for the same period. Do not use any exfoliating products (such as creams containing glycolic or salicylic acid), products containing Vitamin A (Retinol), exfoliative treatments or peels for 7 days prior to treatment. Avoid applying perfumes or aftershaves to the area on the day of treatment. Excessive facial hair and beards should be clean shaven if treating in this area,
During your consultation, please advise the practitioner of your normal skin care regime and recent or planned treatments, so we can ensure these are compatible with your treatment. Do not plan treatment within 2 weeks of an important social event or holiday in case you develop side-effects or need to be reviewed.
You will be asked about your medical history, so any precluding medical conditions or medications can be identified. You may not be suitable for treatment if any of the following apply:
If you are pregnant, breast feeding, actively trying to conceive, undergoing IVF.
If you have eczema, dermatitis, inflammation, infection, sunburn or radiation damage in the treatment area.
If you have certain medical conditions (such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes, blood clotting disorders, cancer or undergoing cancer treatment or a disease affecting the immune system).
If you have a history of hypertrophic or keloid scarring.
If you are taking Roaccutane, oral or topical steroids or medication affecting the immune system.
If you are unwell on the day of treatment.
If you have a pacemaker or metal implant in the treatment area
If you have Body Dysmorphia or mental illness
If you are under 18 years of age.
If in doubt, please discuss with your treating practitioner.
If you have previously suffered from cold sores, it is recommended to take medication to prevent an outbreak following treatment if you are having the procedure performed on the lower face. This is ideally started 2 days before treatment or immediately after the procedure at the latest. Aciclovir 400mg twice a day for 5 days is the recommended drug to prevent an outbreak occurring. These may be provided to you by your practitioner.
If you are unwell on the day of treatment, please contact the clinic to rearrange your appointment.
If you have any specific questions, ask the practitioner prior to treatment.
Following 3D Dermaforce the skin may feel warm and tight and there may be some redness.
Swelling after treatment is usually minimal or not present at all but can develop the next day and can take up to a week to resolve and sometimes longer. In a few cases and particularly when treating around the eyes, swelling can be quite dramatic, giving the eyes a puffy appearance. Full face treatment similarly can result in an abnormal, more rounded appearance for a few days.
Cold compresses may be applied immediately after treatment and in the subsequent days if warmth, redness or swelling is of concern. Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, or anti-histamines may help the initial skin reaction to settle quicker.
Tiny red dots may be visible on the skin and some flaking may occur over the following days. Do not pick or scratch at the skin as this may result in an infection or scarring. Do not use topical exfoliants or exfoliative treatments for 2 weeks post procedure.
Occasionally the treated area may become a little weepy, this is part of the normal healing process and will improve with time. However, if it starts to become hot or red or if there is any pus present, then please contact the clinic for advice as this may suggest an infection has developed. Do not apply a plaster or an occlusive dressing.
After treatment, a balm or hydrating cream may be applied to aid the healing process. You should avoid applying makeup and touching the skin as much as possible for 24 hours.
A high factor SPF50 sunscreen is required to use on all treated areas for 6 weeks and it is advised to avoid sun exposure, sun beds and hot, humid conditions as much as possible. Similarly, avoid saunas and swimming pools until the initial redness and swelling has resolved.
The treated area should be gently washed with tepid water and mild soap and then a simple moisturiser applied to the skin. Avoid hot water until healing is complete.
Most people will notice some results after one treatment but often a course is required.
“I have had 3 of these treatments now and am extremely happy not only with the lifting effect but also how good my skin quality feels! All my friends are jealous and are booking in themselves.” Lisa J, Four Oaks.
Full face treatment and jawline
Full face treatment, jawline and neck
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