Radio Frequency (RF)

What is the Radio Frequency?

  • Radio frequency (RF) skin tightening is a nonsurgical and noninvasive skin tightening and anti-aging treatment.
  • During RF treatment, current flows from the electrodes of an RF device into your skin, heating the tissues beneath to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
  • RF skin tightening is considered to be very safe; the only common side effect is mild to moderate pain during treatment.
  • RF skin tightening requires no downtime or post-treatment skin care.

Sagging skin, wrinkles and fine lines are common issues that stem from genetics or photodamage caused by exposure to the sun. Over time, collagen and elastin, two components present within your skin, break down and cause your skin to lose its elasticity.

During a radio frequency (RF) skin tightening procedure, heat is used to encourage the production of new collagen and elastin. The renewed production of these components helps to eliminate wrinkles and fine lines, and tightens skin.

How Does Radio Frequency Skin Tightening Work?

RF skin tightening works by targeting the tissue beneath the outer layer of your skin, or epidermis, with radio frequency energy. This energy generates heat, resulting in new collagen production.This procedure also triggers fibroplasia, the process in which the body forms new fibrous tissue and stimulates the production of collagen, causing collagen fibers to become shorter and more tense. At the same time, the molecules that make up collagen are left undamaged. Skin elasticity increases and loose, sagging skin is tightened.

What is the treatment like?

During treatment, an RF skin tightening machine will send alternating currents from the tip of an electrode to your tissue at a frequency between 0.3 and 10 MHz. This process bypasses the amount of melanin pigment present in your outer layer of skin, making the treatment effective for all skin types and colors.The pain caused is often rated on a five-point pain scale, where zero is equivalent to no pain and four is equivalent to an intolerable level of pain. Most patients who undergo RF skin tightening rate the pain at a level of one, with the remainder reporting a pain level of two..

Benefits of Radio Frequency Facials:

RF treatments use heat to damage the tissue beneath the epidermis without negatively impacting the outward appearance of the skin.Patients may notice skin tightening immediately after treatment. Other patients may notice results within six months of initial treatment or require multiple procedures before noticing an effect. In general, and with proper skin care, results last for two to three years.

Periorbital skin tightening:

RF skin tightening can be used on the eyelids to decrease skin laxity. The eyes are protected from RF energy with special contact lenses worn during the noninvasive procedure. In some cases, a local anesthetic may be used in the periorbital region.

RF facial rejuvenation around the eyes results in no downtime and little to no risk of negative side effects. Patients can expect mild to moderate improvement in the tightness of their eyelid skin.

Forehead and eyebrow skin tightening:

RF facials are effective in elevating the brow line. The procedure tightens the skin to pull back the eyebrows from the midpupillary line, or the center of the eye. The noninvasive process also gives the eyebrow a more natural, acute angle.

Cheek tightening:

RF treatments can tighten loose skin in the cheek area. The surface area of a person’s jowls, or saggy skin below the cheeks, can be decreased after undergoing RF treatment.Nasolabial folds, the indents on either side of the nose commonly referred to as smile or laugh lines, are also effectively treated. In fact, the tightening of the nasolabial folds following RF skin tightening is one of the most dramatic observations noted by researchers.Facial rejuvenation of the cheeks via radiofrequency skin tightening is safe for all skin types. Studies have shown that skin laxity in the cheeks and neck is improved in 96% of patients following treatment.

Radio Frequency Skin Tightening on the Body:

RF treatments can be used on areas of the body other than the face – including the neck, abdomen, arms, thighs, knees and buttocks. In some cases, patients undergo treatments for the purpose of body contouring, which reduces fat in addition to tightening sagging skin and wrinkles.

Skin tightening on the neck requires the radio frequency machine to operate at lower temperatures than normal due to the neck’s skin, which is thinner than most of the skin on the rest of your body.

Abdomen, thighs and buttocks RF treatments are an effective body contouring method for these areas and are even effective at reducing skin laxity in those postpregnancy.

Arm – loose skin on the arm can be tightened but multiple treatments may be required before there is a noticeable improvement.

Knees – sagging skin can be tightened but dermatologists should use caution when applying RF techniques because of the thin skin in this area and the lower amount of sebaceous glands (a type of gland that lubricates and waterproofs the skin)

RF skin tightening on the body also reduces the appearance of cellulite on the abdomen, thighs, arms and buttocks.

Dangers of Radio Frequency Skin Tightening:

RF skin tightening procedures cause few side effects and little to no downtime. Almost all studies report no permanent side effects following treatment.


Early RF treatments caused a great deal of pain and required patients to be sedated with anesthesia. Some procedures still require topical or local anesthetics, depending on the type of machine used or doctor and patient preference.As RF technology and treatment became better understood, dermatologists discovered that reducing the radio frequency reduced pain while still providing effective results.


Patients may sometimes experience erythema, or reddening of the skin, after a procedure. Erythema typically fades within 24 hours after treatment.


Edema, or swelling, is another side effects caused by RF treatment. Swelling can be expected to last for up to 24 hours after treatment, although some patients may experience edema for up to one week..