What is Radio Frequency (RF)?

Radiofrequency (RF) is a type of energy, which is measured in frequency or wavelengths per second. All types of energy, from the sound waves your iPod emits, to sunlight, to the heat coming off your body, to highly radioactive gamma rays, are classified according to their frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum.  Radiofrequency is one category on this spectrum and includes a lot of common energy types we use every day including WiFi signals, radio and TV waves, and microwave ovens. The RF energy used in skin tightening is on the slow end of the radiofrequency range.

During a radio frequency facial treatment, radio waves penetrate the clients’ outer skin layers, delivering heat energy to the muscles and tissue beneath. The heat stimulates collagen production and that triggers tissue contraction. That is why this treatment is often referred to as a “Radiofrequency Facelift”.  Radio frequency creates the shortening and lengthening of the muscles in your face to tone and lift them to go back to their original state.  Each brand of equipment has different technologies but they all generally work by heating the skin’s deeper layers to induce new collagen and elastin production and encourage cell turnover, helping skin become firmer, thicker and more youthful looking.

An advantage of using radio frequency to heat tissues, as opposed to lasers (which use higher-frequency light waves), is that the lower frequency of radio frequency can safely penetrate to a deeper level, helping to improve skin tone and structure, even lifting tissues. And with radio frequency treatments a professional can safely treat more patients with different skin tones without risking permanent discoloration.  Some devices are specifically manufactured for aesthetic use on the thighs, arms, and abdominal circumference and for sagging skin, the appearance of cellulite, and the stimulation of fat metabolism.

What are the benefits of Radio Frequency?

Radiofrequency energy was introduced as an alternative to plastic surgery procedures. This treatment method involves running electromagnetic energy through your skin to boost the performance of collagen. Radio frequencies stimulate fibroblasts to produce natural collagen and elastin, which activate the natural processes of skin restructuring. This treatment makes significant improvements to your skin appearance, making it firmer, smoother, and healthier.

Radiofrequency energy is primarily used to treat skin through facial tightening, but the treatment also improves skin tone and texture. This protocol is FDA-approved as a non-surgical treatment for wrinkles and facial skin imperfections. Because it is non-invasive, there is no downtime or recovery. Results are immediately noticeable, and they become even more so in the weeks following the treatment. Benefits appear on the skin as:

  • Forehead (lifts brows and tightens forehead skin)
  • Under Eyes (thickens skin and tightens and lifts the upper cheek)
  • Cheeks (lifts slightly and diminishes enlarged pores)
  • Mid-Face and Jaw Line (diminishes jowls and sagging along the jaw line)
  • Neck (treats “chicken neck” by tightening skin and diminishing wrinkles)

Anywhere radio frequency is performed on the body, the pulses contribute to increased blood circulation, intensity of metabolic processes, decrease in pain and muscle tension, saturation of oxygen in the cells, and improvement in lymphatic drainage.

What are the risks?

As the treatment is carried out, clients will experience brief, deep heating sensations every time the radiofrequency energy is delivered to the skin and its underlying tissue. As each client’s pain tolerance varies, it is difficult to quantify how painful or uncomfortable a treatment may be. This factor also depends on the device used and the power settings for the treatment. The most frequently reported side effects of treatment with radiofrequency energy are edema, erythema, bumps, and blisters on or around the treated area, which typically disappear within a few days or weeks. Discontinue any treatments where these side effect occur.  It is imperative for the skin care professional to make sure that they are adequately trained and certified to perform the radiofrequency treatment. 

In the Treatment room

Radiofrequency energy technology can be used for many modalities. Today, companies are introducing its usage for non-surgical tightening of facial issues at the early signs of loose or sagging skin. Other companies are creating radio frequency treatments for the body.  Radio frequency will assist in restoring elasticity, narrowing stretch marks, preventing sagging of the skin, and reducing the volume of fat.  Please inquire all different types of equipment and modalities to accommodate your treatment room and services offered.  Compare treatment options, pricing, quality and if there is adequate training for each procedure. 

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