In my June 2021 blog on microneedling at OA Facial Plastics (OAFP), I introduced microneedling with platelet rich plasma for skin rejuvenation. This month on the blog, I am going to provide an in depth look at the Profound® Radiofrequency Microneedling procedure that we offer here at OAFP. This procedure is popular after summer as patients seek to address sun damage exacerbated by enjoying seasonal outdoor activities.
When we talk about facial rejuvenation, there are many modalities to choose from ranging from noninvasive, like topical skin products, to invasive, like a surgical facelift. Less invasive options offer the benefit of minimal risk and downtime, while more invasive procedures have more dramatic results. Microneedling falls somewhere in the middle; it’s a minimally invasive procedure that offers improvements in skin texture, pigment, fine lines, and discoloration with minimal redness and downtime. So let’s talk about the benefits of adding Profound® radiofrequency treatment to the less invasive traditional microneedling.
Looking Beneath the Skin’s Surface
In order to understand radiofrequency microneedling, it is helpful to have a knowledge of the skin’s structure and function. The outermost layer of the skin, the part that we can see, is called the epidermis. If humans had a protective outer shell, this would be it. When the epidermis is damaged, it is noticeable to the naked eye as redness or an abrasion.
Below the epidermis lie the dermis and the hypodermis. This deeper dermal layer contains the structural building blocks we target with Profound® radiofrequency microneedling: collagen and elastin.
The Power of Profound® Radiofrequency Microneedling
Profound® radiofrequency microneedling works by introducing slender microneedles through the epidermis creating channels into the dermis and hypodermis. There, the electrodes on the Profound® system deliver energy and heat these layers of the skin in a controlled and targeted fashion. Both the outermost epidermal layer and the deeper structures are protected from injury, while Profound® radiofrequency energy stimulates long-term natural production of new collagen and elastin and increases the thickness of the dermal layer. Microscopic analysis demonstrates up to 2-fold increase in collagen and up to 5-fold in elastin. Collagen is the framework, providing integrity and structural support, while elastin provides resilience and flexibility. Hyaluronic acid levels are also increased, promoting moisture and volume.
Research shows that after Profound® radiofrequency microneedling treatment, patients can expect smoother, tighter skin due to a reduction of wrinkles and sagging. Profound® also improves acne scarring, skin texture, and discoloration.
Profound® radiofrequency microneedling treatments target the lower half of the face, so I recommend it for patients who are troubled by mild to moderate sagging near the jawline for tightening, lifting, and firming. The procedure mimics the effects of a surgical facelift, without the additional downtime, surgical risk, or post-procedure scarring. But, like all noninvasive or minimally invasive procedures, the results of a Profound® radiofrequency treatment may not be as dramatic as a more invasive intervention. The makers of Profound® cite their results as 37% of a facelift.
Profound® radiofrequency treatments can also treat fat beneath the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite by breaking apart the fibrous bands that separate the fat (and cause dimpling) and by thickening the skin layer. I like to recommend this treatment for patients who are troubled by drooping skin or excess fat below the chin. It can also be used for smoothing and firming in other areas of the body.
Dynamic Duo: Profound® Paired with Laser Resurfacing
For patients who are interested in whole face skin rejuvenation, Profound® radiofrequency microneedling can be paired with laser resurfacing during the same procedure appointment. Laser treatment targets pigment changes, fine lines and wrinkles, and texture irregularities. I’ll dive deeper into laser treatments in a forthcoming post.
How to Prepare + What to Expect
Prior to your Profound® treatment, hydration is important, so I recommend drinking 8 glasses of water per day and using topical moisturizer twice per day. Stop all topical retinoids 3 to 4 days before your appointment. Avoid sun exposure if possible and, as always, use a broad spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 coverage. Do not apply any products to your skin on the day of your appointment.
The procedure usually takes around 2 hours. You will be given a topical numbing medicine over the treatment area prior to injections of numbing anesthetic. We also offer inhaled nitrous oxide (or laughing gas) to improve comfort during the procedure.
After the Profound® procedure, patients can expect some redness, swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort that should dissipate within 5 days. We will discuss recommendations for soothing these symptoms during your appointment. Since discomfort is minimal, patients can go back to work once the post-procedure redness, swelling, and bruising have improved to their satisfaction. You may start to notice improvement in your skin within 6 weeks of the procedure. Definitive improvement is visible at 3 and 6 months and these effects may continue to improve over the next 6 to 12 months. Oftentimes 1 treatment is enough to achieve the desired results.
Adding a laser resurfacing treatment to your procedure has the benefit of more immediate results; patients will notice improvements in laser treated areas as soon as the skin starts to heal after 7 to 10 days. Patients who have a laser treatment in conjunction with Profound® radiofrequency microneedling should expect additional recovery time, usually a total of 7 to 10 days.
If you’d like to discuss a personalized skin rejuvenation regimen, click to request a consultation or call today: 317-708-6984.
Bloom BS, Emer J, Goldberg DJ. Assessment of safety and efficacy of a bipolar fractionated radiofrequency device in the treatment of photodamaged skin. J Cosmet Laser Ther. 2012;14(5):208-211. doi:10.3109/14764172.2012.724534
Alexiades-Armenakas M, Newman J, Willey A, et al. Prospective multicenter clinical trial of a minimally invasive temperature-controlled bipolar fractional radiofrequency system for rhytid and laxity treatment. Dermatol Surg. 2013;39(2):263-273. doi:10.1111/dsu.12065
Farber SE, Epps MT, Brown E, Krochonis J, McConville R, Codner MA. A review of nonsurgical facial rejuvenation. Plast Aesthet Res 2020;7:72. http://dx.doi.org/10.20517/2347-9264.2020.152
Tan MG, Jo CE, Chapas A, Khetarpal S, Dover JS. Radiofrequency Microneedling: A Comprehensive and Critical Review. Dermatol Surg. 2021;47(6):755-761. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000002972
Chandrashekar BS, Sriram R, Mysore R, Bhaskar S, Shetty A. Evaluation of microneedling fractional radiofrequency device for treatment of acne scars. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2014;7(2):93-97. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.138328
Alexiades M, Munavalli G, Goldberg D, Berube D. Prospective Multicenter Clinical Trial of a Temperature-Controlled Subcutaneous Microneedle Fractional Bipolar Radiofrequency System for the Treatment of Cellulite. Dermatol Surg. 2018;44(10):1262-1271. doi:10.1097/DSS.0000000000001593
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