The Ultimate Guide to Radiofrequency Microneedling for Acne Scars


Acne scars, not to be confused with the dark marks left behind after an acne inflammation, are textural irregularities that form when the skin does not heal. They manifest as enduring depressions on the skin because acne inflammation has damaged the surrounding skin and tissue.

There are different types of acne scars, from rolling scars to ice pick and boxcar scars. While acne scars are known to be difficult and sometimes painful to treat, recent clinical approaches have made the process much more convenient.

One such treatment is radiofrequency microneedling. You may have heard of brand names like Sylfirm X, Morpheus 8, Secret RF, Cynosure Potenza and so on – these are some examples of RF microneedling machines available in the market. At Mizu, we use the Sylfirm X which has dual waves that come in eight modes, making it a versatile machine that can target a variety of concerns.

Fibrotic Scarring vs Volume Loss

So what exactly is radiofrequency microneedling? How does it work in treating acne scars? Find out more in this article.

What is Radiofrequency Microneedling?

Woman Undergoing Radiofrequency Microneedling

Radiofrequency microneedling has all the benefits of traditional microneedling, combined with the collagen stimulation and skin tightening properties of radiofrequency therapy.

Microneedling entails creating tiny skin injuries using ultrafine needles. These ultrafine needles target deep skin layers at adjusted depths to break down existing scar tissue and trigger the skin’s natural healing process to generate collagen and elastin.

Meanwhile, radiofrequency therapy aims to deliver heat into the deep skin layer. This causes immediate collagen contraction for a tightening effect whilst simultaneously engaging the skin’s natural repair process to ensure more collagen production is stimulated. 

Combining both therapies allows the delivery of the RF energy to be more controlled via the microneedles so that the treatment is more targeted. This results in a safe and effective treatment for a variety of conditions from acne scarring and large pores, to the tightening and lifting of skin for rejuvenation, and even pigmentation.

What are the Benefits of Radiofrequency Microneedling?

Apart from the treatment of acne scarring, there are also many other benefits associated with RF microneedling. This treatment can target a variety of concerns such as:


  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Enlarged pores
  • Skin laxity
  • Hyperpigmentation such as melasma
  • Vascular disorders such as rosacea and telangiectasia
  • Acne scarring
  • Stretch marks

How is Radiofrequency Microneedling Performed?

Before your RF microneedling treatment, your skin will first be gently cleansed and you will be taken for a skin analysis. A thorough consultation with one of our doctors then follows. After assessing your skin and the concerns to address, he will prepare you on what to expect in terms of downtime, results, recommended number of sessions and any potential side effects.

A topical numbing cream will then be applied for at least 30 minutes to minimise any discomfort during the procedure.

Before commencing the treatment, our doctor will ensure that your skin is thoroughly cleansed. The RF microneedling tip will be firmly rested upon your skin firmly before every shot. Each shot sends RF energy via the microneedles that will be pushed into your skin. There will be a slight prickly sensation caused by the microneedles and some warmth felt from the radiofrequency energy.

The procedure typically lasts around 15-20 minutes depending on the size and complexity of the area treated.

After the treatment is over, a cold gel and light therapy will be introduced to help reduce redness and aid healing.

What is the Downtime of Radiofrequency Microneedling?

The downtime from RF microneedling with the Sylfirm X is relatively minimal. For the treatment of acne scarring, because the microneedles penetrate deeper, you can expect downtime of slight redness and flushing for about 1-3 days.

For the week after the treatment, as your skin heals, you should avoid using harsh skincare products that contain ingredients like retinol, AHAs/BHAs, vitamin C or anything that irritates your skin. Stick to a simple skincare routine comprising gentle but adequate hydration and sun protection. A topical cream will also be prescribed which should be applied diligently for the first week to prevent side effects.

How Many Sessions of Radiofrequency Microneedling Do You Need?

The number of RF microneedling sessions required depends on the severity and type of acne scarring you have. Everyone’s skin is different and may respond differently to the procedure.

As collagen formation and remodelling usually takes around 10 weeks, improvements to your acne scars will be gradual. Generally, at least 4-5 treatments spaced 6-8 weeks apart are recommended.

Sometimes, our doctors may also recommend combination treatments to help you achieve the best results. RF microneedling can be combined with polynucleotide skin booster injections such as the Rejuran I, or alternated with laser resurfacing using a carbon dioxide laser.

How Long do the Results of RF Microneedling Last?

The results of RF microneedling for acne scarring are permanent, as the scarred tissue is repaired and remodelled by the formation of new collagen.

For other benefits like the minimising of pores, fine lines and smoothening of skin texture, significant improvements can be seen with 3-4 sessions and can be maintained for 6 months to a year with a good skincare routine at home.

Is Radiofrequency Microneedling Painful?

With the application of topical numbing cream, any discomfort felt during the treatment is minimised.

What are the Risks of Radiofrequency Microneedling?

Done properly and in the hands of an experienced medical professional, RF microneedling is a safe treatment with very few risks. The most common side effects are redness, dryness and in some cases, mild purging.

Who are Ideal Candidates for Radiofrequency Microneedling?

As a highly versatile treatment, RF microneedling suits many skin types and concerns. Apart from treating acne scarring, RF microneedling is a popular treatment for tightening enlarged pores, brightening the skin and smoothening the skin texture.

However, it would not be advisable to do an RF microneedling treatment if active breakouts are present in the form of moderate to severe acne. The treatment may not be suitable for you if you have certain medical conditions or active skin infections. This can be discussed during a consultation with our doctors, who will recommend accordingly.

Final Thoughts: Is Radiofrequency Microneedling Better for Acne Scarring?

RF microneedling has proven to be a popular treatment option for acne scarring. That is not to say that it is the best option as everyone’s skin is different. Here are some reasons why we like RF microneedling at Mizu:

  1. Faster and more effective results

Combining microneedling and radiofrequency energy allows this treatment to perform two important functions for treating acne scarring: it breaks up scar tissue while further stimulating repair and collagen production.

        2. Less pain 

Because of the smaller microneedles, RF microneedling is much less painful than traditional subcision. It is also less painful than most fractional lasers because it does not cause as much ‘explosive’ damage to the skin as the radiofrequency energy can be adjustable and controlled to match different depths of the skin and different scar types.

       3. Reduced downtime 

One of the biggest advantages of RF microneedling is the reduced downtime. Traditional procedures such as subcision and fractional lasers require about 1-2 weeks of downtime for redness and scabbing. RF microneedling, because of its controlled energy and ultrafine needles, has a reduced downtime of 1-3 days.

       4. Cost-effectiveness

Due to the effectiveness and reduced number of treatments, RF microneedling can potentially be more cost-effective at treating scars compared to traditional treatments.

      5. Other benefits

RF microneedling treats not only acne scarring but also minimises pores, reduces fine lines, and leaves the skin brighter and softer.

If you would like to find out more about this treatment, we are more than happy to help. Contact us today!

Dr Tan Ying Zhou | Aesthetic Clinic Singapore

Dr Tan Ying Zhou, known as Dr. YZ Tan, is the founder and Medical Director of Mizu Aesthetic Clinic.

His journey into aesthetics began with a medical degree from St. George’s, University of London, followed by an internship in Dermatology at the National Taiwan University Hospital.

Renowned for his expertise in nose augmentation and anti-aging solutions like Profhilo, Dr. Tan also serves as a trainer for emerging aesthetic doctors.

His philosophy revolves around personalized treatments tailored to each individual’s aging concerns, aiming to gracefully transform the aging process into a pleasant journey towards confidence and wellness.

Want to speak to a doctor about which acne scarring treatment is for you? Drop us a message by clicking on the link below.

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