An Introduction to RF Facial Therapy
Updated: Jan 31
Radio frequency facial therapy utilizes radio frequency, or RF, energy to heat facial tissue, stimulating collagen production under the skin. This procedure improves the appearance of the skin by reducing fine lines and tightening loose skin. A favorite treatment among the likes of Jennifer Aniston, radio frequency facial therapy operates on a lower frequency of light waves to penetrate the skin to a deeper level. This deeper penetration can help to improve the skin’s tone and structure. Radio frequency facial therapy is preferred over lasers, as lasers are primarily focused on the surface of the skin.
Is Radio Frequency good for your face?
According to New York City Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Director of Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology Heidi Waldorf, radio frequency machines “can tone and tighten the skin, and results can last for up to two years. They won't do anything for fat, but some of them do heat deep enough to soften up the fibrous areas that make cellulite look prominent." In the process of applying the RF waves, the skin is prompted to make new collagen and elastins, which assist in the toning and tightening appearance. So therefore, in a nutshell, yes -- RF is good for your face.
Is RF facial therapy safe?
Most informed sources agree that RF facial therapy is generally safe if performed by a well-trained professional. For example, the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery suggests the procedures are fine as long as you choose “an experienced provider, such as a board certified cosmetic surgeon, who offers FDA cleared technologies.”
The Board also advises that, “Non-surgical skin tightening is generally best suited for patients who are bothered by mild to moderate skin laxity and do not need the more dramatic lifting and skin removal possible with cosmetic surgery,” and, “While there are very few serious side effects associated with non-surgical skin tightening, it may not be appropriate for patients who are pregnant, taking certain medications, or have certain medical conditions.”
Additionally, Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Heidi Waldorf, mentioned earlier in this post, agrees on the safety precautions, adding that potential patients should be careful about who does the treatment. Waldorf suggests going to a doctor's office, and says, "I've seen people burned by radio frequency. A lot of these treatments shouldn't be done over scars or hernias, so you need to have an examination first."
Does radio frequency skin tightening really work?
It appears to work quite well. One study explains that RF energy has been effective in skin tightening since 2001, stating that,”The effects of dermal heating are well-recognized and include immediate effects on collagen structure with stimulation of dermal fibroblasts inducing a synthesis of new collagen fibers (known as neocollagenesis) and elastic fibers (known as neoelastogenesis)” (Krueger, Levy & Sadick, 2012). (A simpler way of phrasing this is to explain that neocollagenesis is the process of making more collagen, and neoelastogenesis is the formation and development of new elastins.)
In 2006, the stimulation of the dermal extracellular matrix was found to induce immediate shrinkage of collagen fibers in another study. Study authors elaborated, ”Thermal stimulation of the fat cells induces an immediate increase in the rate of lipase breakdown of triglycerides to glycerol and free fatty acids.” (Del Pino, Rosado, Azuela, et al., 2006).
Further evidence was revealed in another study in 2012, showing improvements in the delivery methods and heat distribution of RF which allowed higher temperatures to be used “while still providing a minimal risk and minimal pain aesthetic solution for patients looking for treatment options on their face, neck, or body” (Lacey, 2012).
How long do skin tightening results last?
The American Academy of Dermatology advises that RF facial therapy patients will likely experience some skin tightening after their very first treatment, but actual collagen-building takes some time. Some patients will need more than one treatment, also. Best results are expected to be seen in around 6 months. The AAD states that “results can last 2 - 3 years with the right skin care.”
How much does RF skin tightening cost?
Two estimates say these treatments aren’t cheap. For starters, the Cost Helper states that any skin treatment using radio frequency or infrared light (or a combination of both) will usually cost between $1,000 and 4,000 for the first five sessions. Another source has them starting at $1,000 and going on up to $5,000 USD depending upon the course of treatments. At-home devices are a bit more affordable, assuming you’re confident enough and have been trained properly in how to use them, beginning around $369.99.
We’ve discovered several important things about RF facial therapy today, including that it is safe (as long as used by a well-trained professional and performed on patients who haven’t been excluded for health reasons like pregnancy), it’s beneficial for the skin in causing new collagen and elastin to form, the results tend to last at least two or more years, and the cost of sessions aren’t cheap. (And most importantly, we learned that Jennifer Aniston uses RF facial therapy ;-) ) So do you still have questions or are you curious enough to book your first appointment? Give us a call or stop in anytime we’re open (hours and location are posted below) and our friendly, well-informed staff can answer your questions and advise you on making your first appointment. You can also email us at: email@example.com
Cryo Body Works
3501 Hyridge Dr
Austin, TX 78759
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Sat 10AM - 5PM
Sun 12PM - 4PM
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Del Pino, Rosado & Azuela, et al. (2006). Effect of controlled volumetric tissue heating with radiofrequency on cellulite and the subcutaneous tissue of the buttocks and thighs. Retrieved from: https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/are-radiofrequency-treatments-really-safe/
Krueger, Levy, & Sadick. (2012). Safety and efficacy of a new device combining radiofrequency and low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields for the treatment of facial rhytides. Retrieved from: https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/are-radiofrequency-treatments-really-safe/
Lacey. (2012). RF and Pulsed Magnetic Fields, Achieving and Maintaining Consistent Temperature In-Vivo. Retrieved from: https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/are-radiofrequency-treatments-really-safe/