Various forms of microneedling have been used in cosmetic rejuvenation for over 100 years. Plastic surgeons and other skin specialists utilize these skin-puncturing devices to create a controlled injury to the skin. The micro-injuries stimulate a healing response so healthy new skin can replace damaged, aging skin. Throughout the years, many practices have transitioned from manual dermal rolling to microneedling pens for better precision with the technique. More recently, an upgrade to electronic microneedling devices allows for the delivery of radiofrequency (RF) energy during the microneedling procedure, producing even better results. Dr. Rubinstein’s practice Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC in Hudson Valley, NY is now offering Secret RF to patients seeking aesthetic correction and skin rejuvenation.
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Traditional Microneedling Procedures
Some practices still offer the original form of the treatment, dermarolling, though most professionals prefer the more advanced methods of microneedling, performed with an electronic handheld device. Microneedling devices puncture skin with an arrangement of needles at the device’s tip. Sometimes called microchanneling, these perforations cause a small injury tunnel that reaches the dermis, or deepest layer of skin. These injuries prompt the skin’s natural healing response, and the tissues gradually form new structures, replacing the old, damaged parts of the skin.
The needle lengths on microneedling devices can be adjusted, and during the in-office procedure, the skin specialist can add on different treatments for the best results. Sometimes, microneedling is combined with platelet-rich plasma injections (PRP). PRP is extracted from the patient’s own blood and contains healing properties like nutrients and growth factors that can access the skin’s various layers through the puncture sites. Dermaplaning, where the upper layers of skin are safely removed with a blade, is also sometimes combined with microneedling, which rejuvenates the dermis and removes imperfections of the epidermis for more immediate benefit. Certain low-level acid chemical peels, like the application of glycolic acid, as well as prescription-grade skin care can also be applied to the skin after the procedure so the essential ingredients penetrate at a deeper level. Secret RF, however, combines microneedling with the power of radiofrequency energy.
Radiofrequency Energy Remodeling – The Secret RF Difference
Some patients are familiar with other radiofrequency treatments like Thermage and Exilis, which use devices that deliver radiofrequency energy through the skin to the dermis to encourage collagen production. While the concept is similar, Secret RF heat delivery is controlled through 25 arranged needles that puncture the skin with precision, providing targeted heat output that does not overlap. There is a larger body hand piece with 64 needles allowing for fast and efficient body treatments. Additionally, the heat is not applied horizontally over the entire skin’s surface, but rather distributed vertically through a fractionated method to create thermal zones. The collagen in the skin is stimulated after the RF heat reaches a certain temperature and, and it shrinks as a result, causing new production of collagen and elastin.
Because only a fraction of the skin is treated with heat, patients are more comfortable during and after treatment, and recovery time is decreased. While other RF treatments focus on heat energy alone, Secret RF is unique in that it combines a physical method of transmission combined with the output of the energy. By adding RF energy to a microneedling treatment, patients’ results will be more dramatic and become obvious in less time than microneedling alone.
Benefits of Secret RF
There are a number of skin concerns that Secret RF can address. The procedure is safe for treating scars, wrinkles, and visible skin imperfections like hyperpigmentation on both the face and body. Often used on fine lines and wrinkles of the forehead and around the eyes to diminish crow’s feet, Secret RF works to visibly restore smoother skin to the upper face. The device can also treat the forehead, nose, and cheeks where large pore size may be the most obvious, and will reduce their size. When Secret RF is performed on the contours of the cheeks, patients will notice a lifting and contouring effect. Moving down the face to the mouth and lower face, fine lines and wrinkles around the lips, nasolabial folds, and marionette lines can be significantly improved. Deeper creases of the skin will also be improved, but may require secondary nonsurgical treatments, like Juvederm or other facial filler injections for the best results. Neck treatments are commonly performed alongside facial treatments for a more uniform rejuvenation.
Secret RF is also effective on and approved for scarring, including acne scarring and stretch marks. In addition, keratosis pilaris, the condition that causes small bumps on the face and body (cheeks, upper arms, thighs, buttocks), can also be controlled through RF treatments. Other areas of the body that may display aging like the chest or décolleté, the hands, and the knees can also be improved through Secret RF. Patients will notice that the treated skin brightens over time, and irregular tone and texture are greatly improved and sometimes eliminated altogether.
Overall, Secret RF provides skin-tightening and rejuvenation of the face and body. Dr. Rubinstein opted to feature this version of RF microneedling because of its diversity in essentially treating any area of skin. This amped-up version of the procedure is also less painful to undergo and has more versatility as it contains both coated and uncoated RF needles to prevent unintended damage to the skin, offering better control of the results.
Secret RF Procedure
First, the patient’s face will be thoroughly cleansed to provide a clean surface for the needle penetrations. Next, a topical numbing cream is applied to the face so patients feel very little during treatment. After that, the practitioner can adjust the depth of the needles from 0.5mm to 3.5mm depending on the area of skin treated. In thicker facial or body skin, different puncture depth settings may be utilized to ensure the radiofrequency heat energy reaches both deeper and more superficial layers of tissue.
Secret RF is completed as an in-office treatment that generally requires about 40 to 60 minutes for the numbing cream to take action on the face, and between 10-30 minutes for treatment of the face. In cases where areas of the body are also treated, procedure times will vary. Patients are cleared to drive themselves home following a Secret RF session.
Secret RF Recovery
Radiofrequency-enhanced microneedling is performed at Dr. Rubinstein’s office under topical anesthesia, so patients can return home after treatment and return to their lives immediately. They are not prohibited from driving or other regular activities. Because the procedure does not require oral or intravenous medications and is minimally invasive, the majority of patients qualify to undergo Secret RF.
Ideal Patients for the Treatment
Secret RF is a great way to address signs of aging, skin damage, and to improve the skin’s health in patients who are healthy, have good healing abilities, and are realistic about the potential results of the treatment. In older laser technology, those with darker skin tones were unable to benefit from treatment due to the way the light targeted pigment. In radiofrequency heat, this is not an issue.
On a case-by-case basis, patients with immune deficiencies, blood clotting disorders, or those taking a high dosage of blood thinners will be assessed. Those with irregularities in the skin of their face or body should attend a consultation with Dr. Rubinstein or a member of his medial team to learn how Secret RF can improve their appearance.
FAQs About Secret RF
Immediately following the treatment, patients will notice their face feels warm to the touch and appears slightly inflamed – red in color and slightly swollen. Redness can remain for 24-36 hours after a Secret RF session. Cosmetics can be safely applied 24 hours post-procedure if patients must return to work the next day. After about 4 days, the microneedling marks will no longer be visible, and some initial improvements may be noted. Patients may be asked to care for their skin with special cleansers or ointments, and will be asked to refrain from sun exposure, submerging the face in water, and other activities that could affect their results or healing process.
Though most patients will notice improvement following a single session about one month out, younger patients can undergo a single treatment a year for preventative measures, while those with more extensive skin issues, such as deep, pitted scarring or more extensive wrinkling may require three or more Secret RF treatments. During the initial consultation, treatments can be discussed. Patients can also add-on other procedures to their care for optimal results. Repeat treatments can be completed 4 to 6 weeks apart.
In addition to rejuvenating scarred, wrinkled, and discolored skin and other skin irregularities, Secret RF treatments also improve thinning skin. Over time, facial skin can thin and cause underlying fat and other tissues or structures to be more visible. The treatment will help restore a normal thickness to the skin to better camouflage these issues. Thicker skin may also be more resistant to further skin damage.
How does Secret RF differ from other devices?
Secret RF is performed using fractional heating of the skin tissues rather than bulk heating. Through various control settings, needles penetrate the skin. In addition to microneedling, the device also emits radiofrequency energy through the needles to heat the dermis and stimulate the growth of the skin’s building blocks: collagen and elastin. Other radiofrequency devices used in cosmetic medicine deliver the heat through the top layers of skin in an attempt to reach the dermis, and the skin must be cooled during the process to ensure the epidermis is left intact. Secret RF delivers this technology through thousands of precisely-formed channels in the skin.
There are other fractionated RF devices on the market. Dr. Rubinstein selected Secret RF because treatments are more comfortable, and having the versatility of both insulated and non-insulated tips makes it extremely versatile for all skin types. Also unique to Secret RF is having two tip sizes, a smaller 25 needle tip for the face and neck and a larger 64 needle tip for the body treatments.
Is Secret RF more effective for acne scars than laser skin resurfacing treatments?
Secret RF is safer for patients with darker skin if the laser targets pigment, as some do. While laser energy can damage the eyes and special protection is work during treatments, radiofrequency energy does pose this risk. There is less downtime with this advanced microneedling technique, and it more widely available to patients with various skin issues. Generally, laser penetration is less than 2mm in depth while the needles can penetrate the skin to the depth of 3.5mm. For these reasons, Secret RF may be the superior treatment for certain types of acne scars.
Ran Rubinstein, MD – Hudson Valley, NY
Dr. Ran Y. Rubinstein is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon and has extensive knowledge in facial anatomy. He is actively involved in physician education both at the university level, as an assistant clinical professor at New York Presbyterian as well as teaching established cosmetic physicians on the latest minimally invasive procedures. For close to 20 years, Dr. Rubinstein has been in practice in Hudson Valley, NY to provide both surgical and nonsurgical solutions to his patient base.
The doctor has been utilizing laser and nonsurgical technology as a staple of his practice since he began Laser & Cosmetic Surgery Specialists, PC. He attends ongoing seminars to remain current in the field of technology, and is dedicated to learning about new treatments available for his patients. He is excited to now offer Secret RF, which he feels is the most superior fractionated RF microneedling technology available today.
Prospective patients can begin the treatment process by completing the Patient Contact Form, or by calling the office at 845-863-1772.