When I was 22 my “skin care routine” consisted of using a makeup remover wipe and splashing my face before bed – and somehow my complexion was still so good. beautiful despite neglect. But once the fine lines and sun spots started showing up on my forehead in my early 30s, I knew it was high time to start caring for my skin a little bit more. Personally, I don’t agree with the idea of Botox and other injectables (but you do, boo). So when I heard about Vivace RF Microneedling – a minimally invasive service that stimulates collagen production without any downtime – I was immediately intrigued.
Olivia Culpo, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Aniston are just a few celebrities who swear by the treatment and their complexions are goals, so I would call it a hard sell. As the New Year approaches, I decided to give my skincare resolutions a boost by booking my first Vivace microneedling service at DermWellesley in Wellesley, Massachusetts. The goal? This one session alone could help alleviate some of those lines, lessen the damage and discoloration from my unfortunate sun worshiping days, and give me an overall smoother and more supple complexion. A tall order, I know.
According to Dr. Emily Wise, MD, a certified dermatologist and founder of DermWellesley, your 20s and 30s are the perfect time to start this treatment. “As we age, we lose collagen and elastin, which leads to increased fine lines, wrinkles and loss of tone,” she explains. “While there is nothing yet that will absolutely prevent this from happening, investing in your skin at an early age will pay off in the long run.”
So, has one session of Vivace RF Microneedling paid off? Was it painful? Read on for all the details on my experience – and the results.
Vivace RF Vs. Other Microneedling Treatments
Microneedling is a procedure that involves repeatedly piercing the skin with fine-tipped needles to create very small wounds. This process sends your skin into repair mode, which means increased production of collagen to help it heal. And, as you may know, collagen plays a key role in your skin’s strength, elasticity, and hydration – in other words, preventing your complexion from sagging and wrinkling. The Vivace treatment uses a medical grade stamping device with 36 gold tipped needles for the microneedling component. But the secret weapon is radio frequency energy, which provides deeper penetration into the skin and further stimulation of collagen and elastin production. This powerful combination makes the treatment more efficient than many other professional micro-needle devices. Additionally, Vivace’s device uses LED light therapy to reduce inflammation while facilitating healing.
While microneedling treatments don’t require any downtime, some can cause redness that can last up to 48 hours or more. This is not the case with Vivace RF – Wise says most patients are only a little swollen and red for a few hours afterwards. This means that you can definitely go out to dinner or have a drink with friends the night of your treatment.
How to Prepare for Vivace RF Microneedling
As per Wise’s instructions, I made sure to stop using my retinoid skin care products a week before my microneedling appointment. Patients are also advised to stop using retinoids, glycolics, exfoliators and other acids five to seven days in advance (as they can make your skin very sensitive), to avoid use sunless tanners (this could increase the risk of changes in skin pigmentation) and anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen) two weeks before treatment (these can potentially interfere with natural inflammatory processes which are crucial for skin healing). It is also very important to wear an SPF 30+ in the weeks leading up to your appointment, as dermatologists say they cannot microneedling on sunburned skin.
I arrived at my microneedling appointment without makeup. After quickly cleansing my skin, the assistant applied a topical numbing cream (lidocaine) all over my face, which was left on for 45 minutes. This is standard with microneedling treatments as they can be painful otherwise. I could feel a slight tingling sensation within a few minutes – but by the time my esthetician, Julie Flavin, erased it before starting my facial, I couldn’t feel a thing anymore (a very good sign).
What does the Vivace RF Microneedling look like?
I was a little nervous about getting my face pricked with three dozen needles over and over again. Surprisingly, I was very relieved that I didn’t feel any pain once the treatment started. I could feel a very light pressure throughout, but it didn’t hurt. I’ll put it this way: Compared to a Brazilian wax or eyebrow waxing, it’s a total walk in the park. It hurt so little that TBH, I kind of forgot that it was happening while Flavin and I were enthusiastically chatting about Kourtney Kardashian’s love life.
The device made several passes over different parts of my face, and Flavin continually adjusted the needle depth depending on the area to be treated. Shallow areas – like the skin of the nose and around the eyes – don’t penetrate as deeply as thicker tissue, like the cheeks.
In the very last pass, Flavin turned up the radiofrequency heat to further stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. Granted, that part was more uncomfortable, like quick heat blasts, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Fortunately, this last pass was done at a much faster pace, so it was over in a minute or two or so. The whole process took about 35-40 minutes.
Post-care and results of Vivace RF Microneedling
When I looked at myself in the mirror after my treatment, I was not surprised to find that my skin was rather rosy – especially since I’m the type of girl whose face looks like a tomato after a vigorous workout. or even a hot shower. I was assured this was completely normal, but to help Flavin applied a refreshing sheet mask filled with peptides that felt so soothing to my skin. After leaving the mask on for 20 minutes, she sent me with a vial of Vivace Boost serum, which I was advised to use every two hours until it was depleted within a few days.
Most of the redness was gone by the time I got home an hour later – and it was completely gone when I went to bed that night. My skin was tight and looked dewy AF. In fact, he looked so fabulous that I didn’t even want to put on makeup for the next few days.
As per the instructions, I kept my skin clean for the next 24 hours – no makeup, moisturizer, or any other products other than Vivace serum. I also made sure to avoid the sun, hot showers, and any vigorous exercise that could cause sweating for 48 hours. After a full day, I was able to use my usual cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF, but retinoids and glycolic acids cannot be used for a full week, so your skin has time to fully heal.
Even a week later, I’ve already noticed some promising changes: my skin looked more even, the texture was smoother, and my pores seemed to be shrinking. My face also looked more streamlined overall and some of my sun spots had faded. Basically it looked like my skin was wearing an IRL Instagram filter. With Vivace RF Microneedling, results are expected to keep improving over time, so I can’t wait to see what my skin will look like in three or four weeks. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
To reap the full potential benefits of facial skincare, Wise says you should get three sessions spaced about four to six weeks apart (followed by maintenance sessions twice a year). After seeing what one session can do, I admit that I have already started looking to book my second treatment. I might not be able to repair all the damage caused by carelessness in my 20s, but with Vivace RF I can at least give my skin a boost to the natural anti-aging processes. Better late than never to prioritize skin care, right?
Anderson, K. (2012). Factors that interfere with wound healing. J Am Coll Clin Wound Spec. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495737/
Avci, P. (2014). Low Intensity Laser (Light) Therapy (LLLT) in the skin: stimulation, healing, restoration. Semin Cutan Med Surg. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4126803/
Bolke, L. (2019). Nutrients. A Collagen Supplement Improves Skin Hydration, Elasticity, Roughness, and Density: Results from a Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Blind Study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6835901/
El-Domyati, M. (2019). Radiofrequency facial rejuvenation: evidence-based effect. J Am Acad Dermatol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6541915/
Tang, SC. (2018). Double effect of alpha-hydroxy acids on the skin. Molecules. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017965/
Varani, J. (2006). Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin. Am J Pathol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1606623/