RF Microneedling Promises Smooth, Poreless Skin – But Is It Worth The Splurge?

RF Microneedling Before and After

When it comes to trying new products or treatments, I consider myself down for pretty much anything. However, when I was invited to try RF Microneedling, I had some less-than-ideal memories that made me hesitant.

My first bungle with microneedling came in 2018 — at home devices were everywhere on Instagram, and I picked one up for $40 at a K-Beauty store near my Bushwick apartment. The experiment did not go well, and I ended up with some pretty gnarly breakouts. I abandoned microneedling until 2021, when I was invited to receive a professional service at a beauty salon. This experience was significantly better, as were the results. However, it was a pretty odd sensation. Think of an electric toothbrush full of needles scraping away at your face. I have fragile skin, and while I definitely saw results, I also had a lot of redness and breakouts for a few weeks before my “baby face” emerged.

I can confirm RF Microneedling is an entirely different experience. The treatment addresses everything from pores and acne, to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. Effectively it’s Barbie skin in a wand — how could I resist?

I attended my session at The Manse Clinic in Paddington. Dr Naomi McCullum, the founder of the Manse, is a cosmetic doctor who specialises in injectables, laser treatments and high-tech procedures. Local celebs like Martha Kalifatidis and models like Moe Alhassan rely on her treatments and best-selling skincare line Dr. Naomi Skin, for their snatched, glowing complexions.

She also runs the funniest Instagram account in the beauty industry, —@drnaomi1 — which has collected 361k followers. Dr McCullum tells me that while Vivace RF Microneedling is similar to traditional micro-needling, it also incorporates radiofrequency energy and LED Light.

What’s the Difference Between RF Microneedling and Microneedling?

As with traditional microneedling, RF Microneedling creates micro-injuries in the epidermis, prompting an acceleration of skin’s collagen production. Where it differs is that it uses radiofrequency energy. The radiofrequency energy heats the underlying layers of the skin, which causes a tightening effect. Radiofrequency facials can be found everywhere, and they’re often recommended as a non-invasive alternative to face lifts.

“When the needles on the RF Needling Device ‘push’ into the skin, they create physical channels for the RF energy to be released at a deeper layer,” Dr McCullum explains.

The hook with RF is that in combining radiofrequency and microneedling, you’re getting the lifting benefits of radiofrequency while boosting the traditional effects of microneedling. The Vivace machine at The Mance also incorporates LED, which calms inflammation and reduces recovery time, while boosting skin regeneration.

Dr McCullum says patients concerned with acne scarring, texture and lines will see the best results. However, anyone will see an improvement in overall skin quality from the treatment.

RF Microneedling takes around an hour and fifteen minutes if it’s delivered correctly, so make sure you set aside enough time.

My therapist Michael cleansed my skin before sterilising — vital for preventing infection — and applied a lot of numbing cream, which he allowed to sit for close to 30 minutes. By the end of it, I was channeling The Weeknd in 2015, in that I couldn’t feel my face. This is exactly what you want before enduring 45 minutes of RF Microneedling.

The RF Microneedling Experience:

RF Microneedling treatment with numbing cream applied

RF Microneedling takes longer than traditional microneedling because it uses a stamping method. This allows the machine to go deeper without causing the “electric toothbrush” friction I experienced wth traditional microneedling.

It is an absolute credit to Michael that I could barely feel a thing, other than slight warmth and a dull stamping pressure, but you can expect your orbital bone and forehead to be a little more sensitive. Michael said that some of his patients actually fall asleep during the procedure, but the highest rating a very pain-sensitive patient has ever given it is a 3/10.

RF Microneedling Results:

Because the process was pretty painless, I was surprised to see my face was red following the treatment — I was definitely redder than I was after my traditional micro-needling treatment. I have very fair, sensitive skin, so the redness calmed down within about four hours, and I was only slightly pink the following day. The channels of your skin remain “open” for 4-6 hours post-treatment, so you should avoid wearing makeup to reduce the risk of infection or acne.

RF Microneedling Treatment downtime
Immediately Post Treatment

For post-RF Microneedling care, skip your actives and opt for a very gentle moisturiser — I used Go-To’s Repair Shop Mask. Another great alternative is La Roche Posay, Cicaplast Baume B5 Balm Barrier Cream — both contain panthenol, shea butter and other skin-soothing ingredients. I also had slight bruising around my prominent orbital bone, but it was easily covered with makeup.

You should be able to return to your regular routine the next day. Because my skin is a little sensitive, I skipped my Vitamin C and used tbh, Rebound Serum ($68), which is fabulous for treatment or environmentally induced skin sensitivities, Dr. Naomi Plump Fiction Moisturiser ($139), and McCo Beauty’s Mineral Sunscreen ($35). I also used Dr. Noami, LED It Glow, Anti-Ageing Light Therapy Mask ($595) to speed up healing time and results.


Post #rfmicroneedling 1 week glow courtesy of @The Manse + a touch of @Hourglass Cosmetics “Sublime Flush” Ambient Lighting Blush. #beautyeditor #beautytreatment #microneedling #microneedlingtreatment #microneedlingtreatment

♬ Eyes. Lips. Face. (e.l.f.) – iLL Wayno & Holla FyeSixWun

Best results are seen around three months, however, I noticed a surreal glow around the one-week mark. The kind where a dab of blush made me look like I was wearing a luminous foundation. See above. Unlike my experience with classic microneedling, there was no awkward waiting period for purging. We got straight to the good stuff.

Around the three-month mark, my skin remained just as fresh, but the incredibly slight indentation — my single reminder of cystic acne in my mid-twenties — was completely flat. I can’t provide a photo because it was so shallow nobody but me and some eagle-eyed estheticians could see it, but I can see why this is a favoured treatment for acne scarring.

RF Microneedling before and after
RF Microneedling results after 3 months

Are There Any Risks?

“There are risks with all energy-based devices,” Dr Naomi explains. “These include hyperpigmentation, scarring and infection.”

Dr Naomi says the best way to avoid undesirable results is by booking in with a reputable medical clinic, ie, one that’s overseen by a doctor.

“These clinics use the best technology, like Vivace, and have very experienced staff,” she explains.

How do you know you’re at a medical clinic, you wonder? Just ask if they have a doctor on staff.

RF Microneedling at The Manse is $680 per treatment (the recommended number of sessions for conditions like acne scarring is five), which is standard for a medical clinic.

It’s a significant price hike from traditional forms of microneedling, which usually cost between $250-365 per session. Still, as I’ll explain below, the results are neither as speedy or comparable.

Is RF Microneedling Worth It?

Absolutely. While I don’t have significant textural issues, I noticed improvement in the small area of acne scarring I had at the 2-month mark, and instant glow.

Five treatments are an investment, with each treatment costing $680. However, if acne scarring or significant textural issues are making you miserable, or you have a big event like a wedding coming up, I would absolutely recommend RF Microneedling.

FYI: RF Microneedling Pre and Post-Care


The Manse advises using SPF and avoiding solarium or fake tanning for two weeks before the treatment (the first two, you should always be doing!)


  • Avoid heavy exercise or swimming for 2 days following treatment.
  • Skip makeup until the next day.
  • Use SPF50+
  • Follow a good skincare regime with a focus on a high-quality moisturiser.
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