Secret RF is a skin rejuvenation treatment that combines microneedling and radiofrequency to improve skin tone and texture, with minimal downtime. Developed by Cutera, it can address fine lines, mild wrinkles, stretch marks (striae), acne scars, photodamage like hyperpigmentation, and other skin conditions on the face, neck, and body.
It works by remodeling existing collagen and kick-starting your skin’s natural development of new collagen, for firmer, more supple, and evenly toned skin over time.
During a treatment, microneedles penetrate the dermis and deliver fractional radiofrequency energy into the lower layers of subdermal tissue, at various depths. This triggers a healing response, which stimulates new collagen production and accelerates cell regeneration.
Your provider will customize your treatment for your skin concerns.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the skin, providing structure and keeping skin firm and supple. Production slows in our 20s and 30s, leading to wrinkles and sagging. The Secret RF help reverse this process, while addressing a range of other tone and texture concerns.
To see optimal results, most people need a series of three to four treatments, every four to six weeks.
Frequently asked questions
Q: WHAT IS SECRET™ RF?
A: “Secret™ RF is a radiofrequency (RF) fractional microneedling system that delivers heat energy to specific layers of the skin to trigger a healing response typically improving skin texture and tightening skin. Benessere Clinic providers tailor this multi-layered treatment to address each individual’s unique skin concerns in customized treatments.”
Q: WHAT SKIN CONDITIONS DOES IT TREAT?
A: “Secret™ RF treatment is ideal for improving aging skin, photodamage, fine lines and wrinkles on the face and neck, scars, acne scars, skin quality and stretch marks. Secret™ RF is safe and effective, and suitable for all skin types and ethnicities.”
Q: HOW DOES IT WORK?
A: “Secret™ RF combines micro-needling AND radiofrequency energy. While both treatments are effective when used separately, combined they achieve even better results. Tiny microneedles disrupt the skin surface triggering a healing response while radio frequency energy is delivered into different levels of the skin including the deeper layers. Unlike other devices which only deposit energy in the upper layer of the skin, Secret™ RF delivers radiofrequency energy deeply into the skin where it’s needed most to help revitalize and regenerate the skin’s collagen and elastic fibers. This unique approach achieves optimal results with little to no downtime on all skin types.”
Q: WHAT IS IT LIKE TO GET A SECRET™ RF PROCEDURE?
A: “Secret™ RF is an easy, safe and effective procedure. Prior to the procedure, a numbing cream is applied to the treatment area for approximately 30 minutes to increase comfort during the procedure. During treatment, you will feel a slight heating and some pressure on the treatment area. Most patients find the treatment is tolerable and your provider will work with you to maximize your comfort level. Treatment time depends on the area(s) being treated and typically last 20 – 40 minutes.”
Q: WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF SECRET™ RF?
A: Secret™ RF is very safe with only a few known side effects and little down time. Side effects can include:
• Redness lasting 1-2 days
• Minor swelling lasting up to 3 days
• Minor bruising (rare)
• Skin color changes (rare and most common in dark skin patients)
• Patterning of treated skin (temporary)
• Infection (rare)
Q: HOW MANY SECRET™ RF TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
A: “Patients typically need 3-4 treatments spaced 4-6 weeks apart, to achieve optimal results. Most patients report seeing improvement after the second treatment however results are optimized 3 months after the last treatment.”
Q: HOW LONG DOES A TREATMENT LAST?
A: “Results vary based on the individual. To maintain results, maintenance treatments are recommended every 12-18 months.”
Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT AFTER MY PROCEDURE?
A: “Your skin will be red, warm and tingling immediately after the treatment and subside within a few hours. Some redness may still be present the next morning and there may be minimal swelling, but most patients can return to work the next day without any obvious effects. After the treatment, a soothing ointment will be applied and you will be asked to refrain from applying anything to your skin for a number of hours. Makeup should not be applied for several hours after the procedure.” After the treatment, you can expect to return to normal activities.
Q: WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OF SECRET™ RF?
A: Both microneedling and radiofrequency are considered quite safe, and many patients have minimal recovery time.
However, microneedling devices like this one have the potential to do long-term damage to your skin in inexperienced hands. A number of RealSelf members report pinpoint marks or grid marks that remained on their skin long after their treatments.
Marks like this should resolve on their own within six months. If that doesn’t happen, you may need skin resurfacing, like Fraxel or Clear + Brilliant laser treatments to help clear them up.
The key to treatments like Secret RF microneedling, which purposely create injuries to trigger a healing response, is that the trauma is completely controlled. The needles should not tear the skin, and the heat should not burn it.
Insulated needles are less likely to cause damage because they heat only the subdermal tissue, the deeper layers of skin below the surface. “By bypassing the epidermis, the risks of heat damage, burns, blisters, and pigmentation are all but eliminated, making this safe and effective for all skin types,” says Dr. Steven Swengel, a dermatologic surgeon in Los Gatos, California, in a RealSelf Q&A.
Especially if you have olive or more deeply melanated skin, ask your provider to use insulated needles, to minimize the risk of hyperpigmentation.
RealSelf Tip: Some RealSelf members have expressed concern that the heat from the radiofrequency could “melt” their fillers. Doctors on RealSelf say that theoretically, this could happen with hyaluronic acid fillers. To minimize the risk, several suggest waiting to get any radiofrequency treatment for at least six months after filler, to give the hyaluronic acid time to be fully integrated into your skin tissue. You should also, of course, discuss this risk with your doctor.