Radiofrequency (RF) energy treatment is a technology for non-surgical tightening of the early signs of loose or sagging skin; ideal for those people with mild to moderate sagging of facial tissues, usually those in their mid 30s to 50s, with any skin color. It is commonly used to treat the forehead, under the eyes, cheeks, mid-face, jawline, and neck. Based on current RF technologies, most people should see at least a mild improvement in their skin tightness, with minimal risks and downtime compared to surgery.
It is possible to deliver RF energy to the deep dermis and sub-dermal layers of the skin, whilst protecting the epidermis. Heating in this area, without damaging the outer layers of skin, causes microscopic changes to the tissues and collagen contraction, with subsequent collagen remodeling over the months that pass.
Radiofrequency is the number of oscillations (or waves) per second of the electric and magnetic fields within the radio waves portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. By feeding an alternating current (AC) or voltage through an antenna or electrode, electromagnetic waves can be generated that radiate through space at the speed of light; called radio waves. By applying RF energy to the human body, which can conduct current and therefore act as part of the electrical circuit, any resistance encountered by the energy flow will cause heat to be produced at the site of maximum resistance.
RF energy when used for skin tightening is able to penetrate deep into the skin and affect the deeper dermis and subcutaneous layers, causing tightening and improvements to the underlying tissue structure. There are three types of radiofrequency: monopolar, bipolar and multipolar.
Monopolar or unipolar refers to a device having one pole or electrode. With monopolar delivery, the current from the generating machine flows through the body from a single electrode (handpiece) and meets maximum resistance in the area around the tip of the handpiece, where tissue heating in the subdermal layers then occurs. A grounding, or “return pad” may also be used, attached to the patient’s lower back or abdomen, to provide a low resistance path for the current to flow back to the generating machine, to complete the electrical circuit.
Bipolar refers to a device having two poles or electrodes. With bipolar delivery, the current from the generating machine flows only through the tissue which is between the two electrodes on the handpiece; these electrodes start and complete the electrical circuit. Hence, with bipolar delivery, no current flows through the rest of the body, so no grounding or return pad is needed.
Immediately following the treatment, your skin will feel tighter, with more tightening improvements appearing gradually over the months after treatment. Some people experience mild redness immediately following treatment, but this usually disappears quickly. Most people find that they can return to work and normal activities immediately after treatment.
No special care is needed after treatment although the light application of soothing and moisturizing lotions or creams is sometimes recommended. For a better result, having a course of 4 sessions every 3 – 4 weeks is recommended.