Morpheus 8 vs. Scarlet RF

Microneedling with radiofrequency (RF) energy is an in-office cosmetic procedure designed to rejuvenate skin, address acne scarring, and improve skin texture. Microneedling instruments contain rows of very fine needles that pierce the skin and create a controlled injury. RF microneedling takes skin resurfacing one step further. In addition to the tiny needles, these pen-like devices are also equipped with tips that deliver radiofrequency energy into the treatment area, to further encourage tissue change. The skin injury encourages collagen and elastin production, which remodels the skin from within and improves its appearance.(1) And, when it comes to this type of skin procedure, you have choices. Morpheus 8 and Scarlet RF are two types of RF microneedling devices. But which one is the best for you?

We all want firmer, more elastic, smoother-textured skin. And because turning back the clock is impossible, effective anti-aging and scar improvement treatments are at hand to help us achieve our ideal aesthetic. If you’re not sure exactly what RF microneedling entails, and want to know if it’s the right choice for you, give the experts a call. Contact our team of patient care coordinators and book a personal consultation. Located in stunning Greenbrae, Plastic Surgery Specialists is a renowned provider of the highest quality surgical and non-surgical services in Marin County, and in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. Call us at (844) 951-5002 to get started with your rejuvenating treatment!

About RF Microneedling

Microneedling with fractional radiofrequency is a newer development in aesthetic treatment. It’s primary function is to stimulate collagen growth by creating microinjuries to the dermis, thereby tightening sagging skin and reducing wrinkles. Radio frequency has been used since 2001 for aesthetic purposes. In addition to skin tightening, clinical studies have shown it to be an effective treatment for acne scarring.(2) It can be used to address the following conditions in the face and body:

  • Skin laxity
  • Minimizing pores 
  • Acne scars
  • Sun damage
  • Dull skin tone
  • Skin texture
  • Wrinkles and lines
  • Stretch marks
  • Excess oil

RF microneedling restores a youthful glow to the treatment area. If you’re struggling with scarring, or trying to reduce the appearance of signs of aging, RF microneedling could be the solution for you.

What Is Radiofrequency Energy?

Morpheus 8 san francisco
Scarlet RF san francisco

RF energy is a high-frequency alternating electrical current, and a form of electromagnetic radiation. But, unlike ionizing radiation such as x-rays – which can be harmful  – RF is low-energy and non-ionizing, which indicates its safe use in cosmetic treatments. Skin rejuvenation therapies that use RF do so because the heat produced increases collagen production through the carefully controlled damage and the body’s healing response. Collagen is a key part of the skin’s extracellular matrix, and serves as a support framework. Startlingly, research shows that women lose 40% of their natural collagen by the age of 65.(3) RF combined with microneedling enhances the body’s ability to produce new collagen, which in turn helps to increase the skin’s strength and vibrancy.


Inmode’s Morpheus8 is a cosmetic face and body skin remodeling system that uses microneedling with RF. FDA approved in 2020, its coated micropin system is already used in many medical practices throughout the country. But is it the best choice for everyone?

Morpheus8 Pros

  • Alternating bipolar signal device
  • Safe and comfortable for most skin types
  • Minimally invasive
  • Quick procedure
  • Deep penetration
  • Adjustable needle depth
  • Minimal downtime

Morpheus8 Cons

  • More discomfort at higher settings
  • May not suit those with sensitive skin/lower pain tolerance
  • Yearly maintenance treatments required

There’s no doubt that Morpheus8 is an effective treatment for skin rejuvenation. In some cases, excessive bruising has occurred in more sensitive areas, such as under the eyes. Additionally, some patients have experienced higher than expected pain levels, with some reports of unfinished treatments due to the level of discomfort. What is a more comfortable alternative with comparable results?

Scarlet RF

Scarlet RF by Serendia is another FDA-approved, minimally-invasive RF microneedling treatment that restores and rebuilds your skin. It’s a similar system to Morpheus8, but there are a few things that set it apart from its competitor. Safety and comfort are the two top reasons to choose Scarlet. Not only is it safe, but the bipolar energy creates an incredibly effective device for collagen production and skin renewal. It is approved to treat all skin types. Scarlet RF Pros

  • Original alternating bipolar signal energy device
  • Better fit for patients with sensitive skin
  • Minimally invasive
  • No bleeding or sensitivity
  • Quick procedure
  • More comfortable procedure
  • Minimal downtime

Scarlet RF Cons

  • Shallower penetration
  • Yearly maintenance treatments required

Scarlet RF is the ideal solution for patients who want to lift and tighten skin, as well as those who want to address skin problems like acne. And, unlike many other treatments, Scarlet RF can treat active acne breakouts as well as scarring. It may be a more comfortable option for many patients, particularly those with more sensitive skin. 

Which is Better: Morpheus8 or Scarlet RF?

Both treatments yield significant improvement. Morpheus8 involves more pain and downtime. For comparable results and less discomfort, Scarlet RF is a great choice.

Candidates for RF Microneedling

RF microneedling is a well-tolerated, safe procedure that’s suitable for most patients. (1) Men and women who wish to give their skin a revamp should consider RF microneedling as an option. If you have a tired-looking face, or skin on your abdomen or legs that needs tightening, Scarlet RF can provide rejuvenating results. Similarly, if acne or blemish-prone skin is causing embarrassment, RF microneedling treatments are a great choice. You may not be able to receive RF microneedling if you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Are immunosuppressed
  • Have a bleeding disorder
  • Have an active skin infection
  • Have moderate-to-severe eczema or psoriasis

Please speak to the doctors at PSS if you have recently undergone acne treatment with accutane or similar medication. We advise any patient who has received this type of treatment to wait at least six months before undergoing RF microneedling for the best results.

Personal Consultation

We offer expert advice to every patient at an individual consultation prior to their treatment. When you make an appointment, we’ll take down your information and find out which procedure you are interested in and the issues you’d like to address. We’ll explain how Scarlet RF works and which areas would benefit most from the procedure. We’ll also give an estimate as to how many treatment sessions will be necessary in order to meet your aesthetic goals in each case. We highly recommend a series of at least three treatments, to allow the collagen to continue to build and strengthen over a period of months. Find out more about the lifting, smoothing effects of RF microneedling by scheduling a visit to Plastic Surgery Specialists in Greenbrae. Arrange your meeting by calling our front desk at (844) 951-5002 or by filling out the online form on our website.

RF Microneedling Procedure

The great thing about RF microneedling is it requires little to no preparation. Before the procedure we ask you to apply numbing cream to the area for greater comfort. Then we clean the area of treatment before starting the procedure. Precise placement of the Scarlet RF microneedles will cause controlled micro-injuries deep within the dermis which, in turn, stimulates your body’s production of collagen. Our skilled nurses are fully trained to ensure the very best results. Depending on what area needs to be treated your procedure should take about an hour to complete. Treatment protocol is a series of three treatments to build collagen over time. 


Morpheus 8 san francisco
Scarlet RF san francisco

With Scarlet RF there’s no downtime, so you’re free to leave as soon as your treatment session is over. After your procedure, you may experience some redness and bruising which will subside in a few hours. Over time, the micro injuries caused in the treatment area will trigger a cascade of collagen production and skin-strengthening properties and this process will tighten and smooth the skin. The result is significantly improved texture, tightening, and smoother skin. 

Cost of RF Microneedling in Greenbrae, CA

Every patient requires a slightly different treatment than the last. That’s why we tailor patient-specific treatment plans to address specific requirements. As a result, the cost of an RF microneedling treatment will vary. To find out more, please visit our Fees and Financing page.

Be sure to connect with Plastic Surgery Specialists on our social media! Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube for the latest news in cosmetic surgery. You can also read our informative blog here.


Does RF microneedling hurt after treatment?

Every patient has a different tolerance level for discomfort. In most cases, RF microneedling does not cause any long-term pain, but some  bruising and swelling may occur. These side-effects will resolve within a few days after treatment.

Does RF microneedling feel hot?

Topical lidocaine numbs the area during an RF microneedling treatment session. Some patients say the microneedles feel like light scratching as the device is moved from area to area. Once the effects of the numbing cream wear off after treatment, your skin may feel warm.


  1. Litchman, G., Nair, P. A., Badri, T., & Kelly, S. E. (2021). Microneedling. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing.
  2. Chandrashekar, B., Sriram, R., Mysore, R., Bhaskar, S., & Shetty, A. (2014). Evaluation of microneedling fractional radiofrequency device for treatment of acne scars. Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, 7(2), 93.
  3. Reilly, D. M., & Lozano, J. (2021). Skin collagen through the lifestages: importance for skin health and beauty. Plastic and Aesthetic Research, 2021. 
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