How do Radio Frequency Energy Devices Benefit the Skin?
Radio frequency energy, (RFE), applications are non-invasive beauty treatments designed to rejuvenate and restore a more youthful appearance to the skin. These devices have undergone several changes since they became available for public use.
“It wasn’t the prettiest start,” says Dr. Miriam Hanson, board certified dermatologist and cosmetic expert at Sanova Dematology. “When RFE devices first hit the market, the procedures were quite uncomfortable and really quite painful for patients.” Some patients even opted to go under anesthesia before receiving the treatment.
The first devices were bipolar RFE devices that would send controlled dual microwave currents through the layers of the skin. The goal was to target the collagen and fatty layers of the skin, ultimately causing skin tightening. However, there were a few reports of damage to the subdermal fat layer under the skin.
“There was definitely a learning curve with these devices,” says Dr. Hanson. For example, the first generation bipolar devices were not ideal for facial skin, but produced great results for getting rid of cellulite tissue.
The companies that manufacture RF devices learned from these early experiences and greatly improved the technology. They created gentler yet still extremely effective devices like:
- Monopolar RFE devices – that send a single current
- Bipolar RFE devices – that send a gentler dual current from electrodes that are closer together than they were on original bipolar RFE devices
- Monopolar and gentle bipolar combo devices, and
- Fractional bipolar RFE devices – that send out strong dual currents to smaller skin regions (smaller areas of skin heal quicker and easier while still producing great results)
“Clinical trials have demonstrated that treatments with these devices cause very few side effects – if any – yet still tighten the skin,” explains Dr. Hanson. What’s more, with the newer generation machines, patients don’t experience pain, there is no need for patients to undergo anesthesia and there is no risk of permanent damage.
“I always ask my patients to tell me if they have pain,” claims Dr. Hanson. “Take the Sublative fractionated RF, for example. I rarely get much more than a 2 out of 10. Compare that to other lasers and resurfacing treatments that can similarly be used for tightening or to treat skin laxity – it’s really unbelievable.”
No matter if it’s the face, neck, tummy or other areas on the body, RFE devices can deliver results with minimal discomfort and almost no downtime.
Overall, RFE treatments alone, or in combination with other aesthetic treatments such as botox or dermal fillers, offer a non-invasive alternative to resurfacing, acne scar treatments, facelifts and other surgical treatments that come with additional risks.
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