This method of scar revision does not use laser- light interactions, but uses radiofrequency energy to remodel collagen and scars. The pulse of energy is delivered via a fractional technique into the deeper layers of skin.
Energy and heat breaks down the scar tissue, with minimal damage to the upper layers of skin. This process is gentle, and has very little, if any downtime.
RF can be used as a stand-alone treatment for certain types or acne scars, or it can be combined with anti-acne treatments as well as other laser treatments.
I had 4 treatments over 4 months and cannot believe the results! Well worth the effort. The treatments were pain free and I noticed my acne scars were better within the first month
My scars and acne we treated together. The program took just over six months to complete, but after 4 visits my skin has cleared up completely. Can’t be happier with the program.
Box Car Scars
Mixed Acne Scars
Rolling & Depressed Acne Scars
Red Acne Scars
Radiofrequency is the newest, and latest method of treating acne scars. This procedure has the least amount of downtime for the patient, and if used in the correct method and acne scar type, it can have a significant improvement in acne scars. Radiofrequency can be used on all skin types, including dark skin patients, and in all scar types.
RadioFrequency treatment can be used for all acne scars, in all skin types and scar types however it is ideally suited for certain types of acne scarring including-
- Early acne scars (less than 3 -6 months old)
- Scars in darker skin patients
- Acne scar revision in patients who can not have downtime
- As part of the Synergy Program for acne scar revision
Dr Davin Lim explains the fundamental differences between laser treatment of acne scars and RadioFrequency (RF)
Laser uses heat, light and energy to ablate the skin, whilst fractional RF uses radiowaves to heat the collagen under the skin.
Lasers that target acne scarring must first penetrate the upper layers of the skin to hit the scars that lie in the deep dermal layers. This means that lasers must first ablate (defined as a controlled thermal burn) the top layer before passing into the deeper layer. This ablation partially accounts for the longer healing times associated with Fractional lasers, and Full Laser Resurfacing.
Radiofrequency or RF uses radiowaves that flow between electrodes placed on your skin’s surface. For the scientifically inclined – energy in the form of heat flows thru the layers of less impedance, namely the dermal layers of the skin. This thermal energy (heat), causes collagen (scars) to denature (breakdown) and remodel. Over time scars improve.
NO! This does not mean than RF is better than laser for the treatment of acne scars, in fact the opposite is true.
RF is an alternative method of acne scar treatment- remember that there are many ways to treat acne scars, and an ideal treatment will depend on the scar type, the age of the scar, the patient’s skin type, downtime, and also the budget of the procedure. RF is ideal for -
- Early acne scars (less than 3 -6 months old)
- Rolling scars (can have modest improvement of ice pick, box car and tethered scars)
- Scars in darker skin patients- ideal for Asian skin or darker
- Acne scar revision in patients who can not have downtime- skin heals up within 48 hours with even high settings of RadioFrequency treatment
- As part of the Synergy Program for acne scar revision- RF compounds the effects of laser scar revision for acne scars
Like all other fractional devices, including Fraxel laser ™and Profractional Erbium, patients will require 3-5 treatments for optimal results. The extent of improvement will depend on several factors including-
- What type of acne scars you have
- How your scars respond to RadioFrequency
- How old your acne scarring is
- Any associated treatment for scarring you may have had
In some cases we combine RadioFrequency as part of our Synergy Program of acne scar revision, namely RF after Full Ablation Laser.
This form of acne scar revision is one of the least painful. In fact on low settings the majority of patients do not require any numbing cream. In higher settings, we may use either a cooler on the skin, or numbing gel. No injections are needed for this form of acne scar treatment.
Recovery is super quick from RF and depends on two factors- your skin sensitivity and what settings we use. Patients who have sensitive skin or have a tendency to flush may take an extra day to recover. In general:
Low setting RF Subablative: Few hours to 12 hours
Medium setting RF Subablative: 6-24 hours
Highest setting RF Subablative: 12-52 hours
** Recovery can be defined as a noticeable difference in treated area visible at 3 meters.
Skin immediately after RF treatment. Almost no downtime.
Side effects from RF are minimal, in fact this procedure is very well tolerated.
Reported side effects include-
- Prolonged redness lasting a few days (less than 5% of cases)
- Skin colour changes that lasts a few weeks (less than 1% of cases, more common in darker skin patients)
- Burning and stinging that lasts a day or two (less than 3% of cases)
Yes it can! In fact the safest way to treat acne scars in darker skin types include RadioFrequency, Fractional lasers including Erbium laser, as well as Skin needling (very outdated procedure). RadioFrequency has the least amount of epidermal damage, that is, this procedure does not target the outer layers of your skin, but heat is concentrated underneath your skin, minimising side effects.
Like any other acne scar treatment, certain scars respond better to RF compared to others. Early scarring is best treated with RF as radiofrequency gently encourages collagen remodelling, early in the evolution of scars. In the authors experience scars less than 6 months old respond best.
Dr Davin Lim, International expert and lecturer in the use of Radiofrequency Acne Scar Remodelling provides the following advise-
RF can be utilised in the following manner-
- As a stand-alone treatment or in combination with acne treatment. In this setting, early scars tend to improve better compared to older scars. RF is a gentle process of collagen denaturing, and encourages the natural process of scar revision.
- I also combine this will full resurfacing or with fractional laser resurfacing for acne scars, as part of my ‘Synergy Method’ of scar revision. This method uses more powerful lasers to target old acne scars, and kicks start the process of collagen remodelling. RF treatments are then conducted 4-8 weeks after resurfacing. The logic behind RF in this setting is to further compound the effects of laser resurfacing, without significant downtime for patients.
- Scar types that seem to improve better compared to others include rolling scars. This treatment has been reported to improve box-car and ice pick scars, however I do prefer TCA cross over RF in this setting.
- In select patients, I use RF with low dose Roaccutane therapy, and this has worked extraordinarily well. We have presented several National and International papers in regard to the safety and efficacy of using low energy RF with Roaccutane to remodel scar and treat acne. This is the basis behind the RF Acne Free Program
The Acne Specialist Clinics at Westside Dermatology are the leaders in acne scar treatment. We are one of the first centers to use RadioFrequency in the treatment of acne scars, and continue to lead the way in research and education.
Our Specialist training coupled with the very latest in technology ensures patients receive the best possible results. Our group is involved in education and teaching of junior doctors, and is a laser training faculty for registrars enrolled in the Australasian College of Dermatologist. Dr Davin S Lim is a National and International lecturer in the techniques of acne scar revision.
This treatment provides an entry level pricing to acne scar revision and is affordable for the majority of patients.
Price ranges from $1200 to $1500 for 5 treatments depending on number and size of areas treated.
- RF treatments are conducted in our laser suites
- RF treatments are conducted every 3-4 weeks apart
- Full payment required for entering the RF Treatment Program
- RadioFrequency treatment is not covered under Medicare or Private Health Insurance. Other treatments such as laser treatment of acne scars may carry a Medicare rebate.
Payment plans are available for acne scar revision.
The first step is to see if this treatment is suitable for you. The Acne Specialist Clinic approaches acne scar revision via a tailored program- and hence a detailed assessment of your acne scars is needed prior to RF treatment. This ensures all patients will have results.
Our acne scar clinic runs from Monday to Saturday. A referral from a GP will enable patients to claim a percentage of the consultation fee as well as any procedures from Medicare should an item number apply. If you do not have a referral, our Specialist Practice Nurse can arrange one for you.
For more information on booking times and the referral process call 07 3871 34 37. Saturday appointments spaces are limited
Dr Davin S. Lim
Acne Specialist Clinics, Westside Dermatology
The event of RadioFrequency Subablation has really changed how we manage acne and acne scarring and has added another useful modality in how we manage acne scars. RF treatments are not suited for every scar type, but it now gives us an opportunity to treat acne and acne scars at the same time. Undoubtedly this is the least invasive of all scar treatments, with the least amount of downtime for the patient. Suitable candidates include those with early scarring, and rolling scars, and RF can safely be used in all skin types, including Asian and darker skin patients.
Even within the umbrella of RF treatments, we have the flexibility to use low, medium or high settings in each patient, and in different areas of the face. As emphasised through this website, I take an individual approach to scar revision and use RadioFrequency as part of my ‘Synergy approach’- different treatments for different scar types.