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Article: What is Radio Frequency Skin Tightening?

What is Radio Frequency Skin Tightening?

What is Radio Frequency Skin Tightening?


5-minute read

Skin tightening treatments are quite literally everywhere. Celebs like Julianne Mooore, Kim Kardahsian and Charlize Theron have publicly lauded skin tightening radio frequency as the key to achieving their highly coveted ‘snatched’ look.

Below we delve into the science to answer one burning question, ‘does radio frequency skin tightening really work?’ And does it stand up to its reputation as the best non-surgical facelift alternative on the market?

What is Radio Frequency Skin Tightening?

Radio Frequency (RF) is a skin tightening technique that uses electrical currents to create heat in the tissue to dissolve fat cells and support collagen synthesis. Radio frequency currents are delivered in continuous wave mode and unlike laser or heat therapy, radio frequency current can create heat derived from the tissue itself.  The electrical currents, when applied to the skin create thermal energy triggering a physiological response to modify appearance of skin and reduce subcutaneous fat. The application of thermal energy releases heat-shock proteins to produce new collagen. The physiological response also alters the metabolism of stored fat cells to mobilize them releasing stored energy.

What are the Benefits of Radio Frequency Skin Tightening?

A radio frequency facial whether applied at home or in-clinic claims several benefits including  

  • Tightening sagging skin 

  • Smoothing fine lines and wrinkles 

  • Boosting collagen production

  • Dissolving stubborn fat cells

  • Reducing appearance of crowns feet 

  • Targeting jowls 

  • Treating acne scarring 

  • Promoting a more even skin tone

  • Body slimming and contouring

Is There Any Scientific Evidence Behind Radio Frequency Skin Tightening? 

Radio frequency has been used as a therapeutic technique in medical treatments since the late 1800’s, and in the past two decades has made its way into aesthetic dermatology. Radio frequency is widely regarded as being a beneficial skin treatment for tightening sagging skin and supporting collagen synthesis. While many scientific studies attest to its effectiveness, a 2020 systematic review aimed to synthesize all relevant data on radio frequency technology in aesthetic rejuvenation. The review identified 121 articles concluding most studies demonstrated a positive impact on sagging, scarring, improved elasticity, reduced fat cells and wrinkle reduction.

Who is a Good Candidate for Radio Frequency Skin Tightening?

Radio frequency is typically used as an alternative to facelifts for candidates who want to tighten loose skin after weight loss, target tagging jowls, smooth wrinkles or target marionette lines. Skin tightening treatments are also popular among those who want to dissolve fat cells or simply contour and lift the face giving it a ‘snatched’ or ‘chiseled’ appearance. Those looking to incorporate beauty technology as part of an overall anti-aging skin routine often opt for an at-home device combining RF with other treatments such as EMS, red light therapy and ultrasound.

Radio Frequency Skin Tightening as An Alternative To Surgical Procedures

Radio frequency offers similar results to that of a surgical facelift, except RF treatments require upkeep. The main risk factors associated with surgical facelift procedures including infection, bleeding, complications with wound healing and risk of damage to nerves and other tissue often leave people looking for a less invasive but effective alternative. Radio frequency skin tightening is a perfect option for those looking for something a little more than anti-wrinkle cream and a little less than invasive surgical treatments. 

What is the Benefit of Using an At-home Radio Frequency Device Over In-clinic Skin Tightening?

Choosing between in-clinic treatments and at-home beauty devices are often a personal decision and may come down to the severity of the concern to be treated as well as cost, convenience, time and overall treatment goals. 

  • Convenience : At-home RF skin tightening devices are easier to maintain than frequent salon treatments.
  • Cost: Unlimited treatments with one up front cost.
  • Time: At-home devices deliver results in 10-15 minute treatments whereas in salon may take longer
  • Treatment results: while severe cases of loose skin after weight loss or extreme jowls will benefit from a more powerful in-clinic treatment, a combination approach incorporating at-home treatments to boost results between salon visits is a great option

    Are Radio Frequency Treatments Safe?

    Radio frequency has established itself as a safe and effective treatment in the realm of cosmetic dermatology. The recent systematic review evaluated safety as well as efficacy to conclude that RF results in minimal tissue damage to achieve desired results. Radio frequency does work by heating the skin, and there is a small risk of burns where overexposure occurs. Mild redness or swelling and temporary skin sensitivity may result. Most at home devices will come with built-in safety technology to prevent the device from overheating mitigating this risk.

    How Long Does Radio Frequency Skin Tightening Last?

    The results of radio frequency skin tightening are not considered permanent, but a consistent routine will result in long-term changes to skin health and appearance. It will take a few months of consistent treatment to see real results. As with all treatments, consistency is key so make sure to choose a treatment option you can maintain.

    The Takeaway: Does Radio Frequency Skin Tightening Really Work?

    Skin tightening is no doubt establishing itself as a fan favorite amongst the stars and their celebrity facialists. As much as we love to dissect the beauty routines of our on-screen stars, who sometimes appear to be aging backwards, it is important to ensure that bold skincare claims are based in science. As far as RF skin tightening is concerned, this does appear to be the case. Hundreds of studies conducted over the past two decades have shown that it is a very effective answer to many of our skin woes, including, sagging, fine line formation, scarring, jowls and marionette lines. As far as being an alternative to surgical facelifts, it boasts similar skin results but requires a little more maintenance for long term results. If you are looking for a needle-free and non-surgical alternative to incorporate into your anti-aging skin regimen, RF skin tightening appears to be a trusted choice.

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     written by Olivia Khader


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