RF Treatments for Skin Tightening
The prospect of treating sagging skin and cellulite without the scalpel, appeals to the majority of patients who are looking for subtle improvements but are not ready for a traditional facelift or surgery. Radiofrequency (rf treatment) energy is one of the latest additions to the treatment options available for skin tightening for the ageing face and body. This safe, non-invasive, no downtime procedure are ideal for tightening loose or lax skin and aids cellulite reduction resulting in a better appearance of the ‘orange peel’ effect. Popular treatment areas include:-
• Face – forehead and around the eyes, cheeks and around the mouth, jaw line, jowls and the area under the chin
• Body – arms, thighs, knees, buttocks and breast areas.
RF is considered a non-invasive ‘Gold Standard’ method of skin tightening as it provides the very best balance of results and comfort.
How Does The Treatment Work?
The skin is made up of two layers, the visible outer layer called the epidermis and the deeper layer called the dermis. The main structural support of the dermis is provided by the protein called collagen. RF energy differs from laser light energy because RF is able to selectively deliver heat energy much deeper into the dermis (penetrating up to 25mm) whilst protecting the epidermis by cooling. Laser light tends to absorb or scatter in the upper layers of the skin making it difficult to deliver heat energy to the dermis without damaging the epidermis. RF tightens the skin by two separate processes. Firstly it has an immediate effect by tightening the supportive framework of the skin (by contraction of collagen fibres and tissue retraction) aiding remodelling and rejuvenation, secondly, heating the dermis stimulates the body to produce collagen, boosting a healing response. This acts as a new deep foundation for the skin producing further tightening that becomes evident over several months. The combination of these two processes hence provide immediate skin tightening and further long-term tightening effects. RF also facilitates cellulite and fat reduction by improving blood flow to the treated area and promoting the breakdown of fat cells, aiding the re-absorption and drainage of fatty deposits and retained fluids.
Can all areas of the body be treated and does skin colour make a difference?
Any patient with loose or lax skin can have the treatment and skin colour makes no difference to the effectiveness of the procedure. It should be noted that Radio Frequency cannot be applied to patients with pacemakers, metal plates or pins in the treatment area, severe heart disease, diseases of connective and muscular tissue or pregnant and breast feeding women.
How long does it take and does it hurt?
Depending on the size of the area being treated the procedure can take as little as 15 minutes up to a maximum of several hours for the treatment of extensive areas. The patient experiences a gentle heating sensation during the procedure. There is no pain and because the surface layer of the skin is not damaged there is no prolonged healing time and normal activities can be resumed immediately.
Are there any side effects?
RF procedures have an excellent safety record. Redness (erythema) of the treatment area is usually noted during the procedure and resolves within 30 minutes to 24 hours following treatment. Rarely swelling and blistering in the treated area may occur. These side effects usually settle within a few days.
How many treatments are needed?
A series of 4-8 treatments at weekly intervals are recommended for the body and 2-4 treatments at monthly intervals for the face. Methods to reduce further collagen breakdown includes smoking cessation and the application of a moisturiser with an SPF30 sun block. These will enhance the longevity of the treatment. It must be remembered that the skin is constantly ageing so it is envisaged that further treatment in the future may well be desirable.