What if you could have younger-looking skin with fewer or no wrinkles? You wouldn’t need surgery. The process wouldn’t burn your skin like a laser or damage it like derma-rolling. Sound too good to be true? It’s not science fiction, it’s radio frequency (RF) skin tightening.
RF technology penetrates underneath the top layer of your skin so it doesn’t burn or hurt the surface. That way you don’t need to hide in the house while your skin recovers after you finish a treatment. It works best on areas of skin without a lot of muscle, like under your chin, for example.
RF remodels you from the inside out
Radio frequency skin tightening devices gently heat up subdermal tissue with radio waves. This causes your body to make more collagen and elastin, the two things that will make your skin look young again. RF literally remodels your skin structure from the inside out, shrinking lines and wrinkles and firming up your skin. It can also help reduce cellulite deposits.
RF is generally safe and works on many people
Dermatologists who perform RF therapy will tell you that this technology has come a long way. The first in-office treatments years ago required sedation for patients because the process hurt a lot and sometimes had bad side effects. But devices are much more advanced and safer now. You can even treat yourself at home. The most you’re likely to feel is a warm sensation. If you overdo your session at home, you might redden and irritate your skin.
RF works for many patients, male or female, regardless of skin pigmentation. The only requirement is wanting to erase wrinkles and firm up sagging skin. The exception would be if their case is serious enough that the only solution is cosmetic surgery, like a facelift. That might be the case if someone experienced dramatic weight loss in a short period of time. Otherwise, many people who see that their skin is aging will be able to turn back the tide with RF treatments.
Radio frequency skin tightening doesn’t require an invasion of your skin—no needles, no incisions, nothing to damage the surface. That’s the biggest benefit. Your recovery time after each session is minimal if you even have any reaction at all.
People who have not experienced results they desired with laser treatments may have success with RF. The RF waves reach deeper into tissue than lasers can. They encourage the production of new collagen and elastin. Some patients can see a reduction in their fine lines and wrinkles even after just one treatment.
If treatments are done in a dermatologist’s office, a patient may need to return every 6 months. If you use an RF device at home, you’ll probably be treating yourself one to three times a week for a few minutes each time. But home use devices can help you save quite a bit of money over visiting a clinic or spa.
The downsides to RF treatment
As we mentioned, dermatologists say that RF treatment won’t work on everyone and it won’t tighten skin in all parts of the body. It’s best for places where there is lax or loose skin that doesn’t have a lot of muscle attachment. That still means you can use it along your jawline, near your eyes, and on your neck. Some devices are powerful enough to treat certain sections of your body, too.
Although RF treatment rarely causes tissue damage nowadays, do be careful when treating yourself so you don’t end up with inflammation or irritated skin. Follow the manufacturer’s directions to the letter. Don’t try to do extra treatments just because you’re in a hurry to lose those wrinkles sooner. It won’t work.
It’s a great idea to consult with a doctor before you begin treatment. Pregnant women, persons with some skin conditions or certain chronic health challenges should probably avoid RF treatment altogether.
What devices exist for home use?
There are several brands available, and the market has been growing for a few years now. We investigated some of the best home use RF skin tightening machines and reviewed them below for you.
Top pick: Tripollar STOP - Anti-Aging RF Device
The Tripollar STOP will only require two to three treatments a week for 12 to 15 minutes each time. You can watch part of your favorite program while you massage the device over the area you want to target. Tripollar says you should see results within 6 to 8 weeks. Once you’ve firmed up your skin, simply do one treatment every week or two to maintain it.
Clinical trials done with the STOP by Tripollar themselves reported that more than half the women noticed that their skin had improved during treatments. 95% of those women were very satisfied with the results. If you want to read about a clinical trial of STOP, click here.
To use the device, apply the Preparation Gel included in the box. Plug in the device and choose low, medium, or high power. Touch the electrodes to your skin and glide the device in circular motions over the target area. You’ll probably feel a warm sensation. After the STOP has heated your subdermal tissue enough in that area, an orange LED will light up, and you can move to the next area you want to treat. Tripollar says you can actually test the before and after difference in your skin by pinching it. You can feel the improvement in firmness.
Tripollar recommends that pregnant or nursing women, persons recovering from surgery or deep chemical peels, people in treatment for cancer, AIDS, or cardiac disease, or even folks who tend to get herpes simplex sores avoid treatment with the STOP device, or at least consult with their doctor beforehand. The STOP is designed for used on faces, necks, and hands.
The STOP comes with 50mL of Preparation Gel, instructions, plus a power cord and adaptor. The adaptor has plugs for US, UK, EU, and Australian power outlets so you can take the device when you travel. This device was created by Israeli company Pollogen. See their website for more in-depth information about the STOP.
Tripollar Stop preparation gel
While the gel that comes with the STOP should last for a dozen treatments, here is a link to purchase more. The gel is essential for using the STOP safely and effectively on your skin. It has a glycerin base. You won’t need much each time you do a session.
Dia Panda Box RF Skin Care Beauty Device for Skin Rejuvenation
The Dia Panda Box isn’t quite as portable as the Tripollar Stop, but it’s just as powerful. Both devices put out a maximum of 3MHz of RF wave power. In fact, the Panda Box looks like a small version of a professional dermatologist’s tool.
You can choose from six levels of intensity and set a timer to limit how long you want your treatments to be. They recommend no more than 30 minutes a day, with sessions every ten to fifteen days. By the time you’ve completed five treatments, you should see the results you desire.
You can treat both your face and your body, just be sure to apply gel on your skin first. There are two heads, or electrodes, for the probe. One measures 10mm and the other 32mm. If you would like to see the instruction manual, just click here.
Carer 360° Portable Bipolar RF Radio Frequency Machine
The Carer 360° rotates its head while it sends RF waves deep into your skin. That way you get a little massage, too. If it starts to overheat, it will shut down by itself to protect you from burns.
They list lots of specific benefits you’ll get from their device, things like improved elasticity, brighter skin tone, reduced wrinkles and cellulite, increased blood flow, reduction in acne and fat deposits.
Carer recommends two or three treatments a week of 20 to 30 minutes each for 4 to 6 weeks. It’s a multipolar device that has a top power of 1.8MHz. That means it’s less powerful than the Tripollar STOP or the Panda Box. The 360° comes with a manual in English and a charging adaptor.
Spectra 360 Electrode Gel - Parker Laboratories
Some users recommend the Spectra 360 Electrode Gel for use with the Carer 360 as well as the Norlanya Matrix RF described below. It’s inexpensive and safe for most people with sensitive skin.
Norlanya New Mini Portable Anti-Aging Skin Care Matrix RF Fractional home use beauty machine
The Norlanya Matrix RF is rechargeable so it’s quite portable and convenient to use if you’re on the go. The charge should last for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on whether you’re using it at low, medium, or high power. That’s long enough for one treatment session with each charge.
The device has a platinum head with 144 electrode tips for superior conduction of the RF energy. A red light comes on to indicate that the Matrix RF is working. Simply apply water-based gel or cream to your clean skin, adjust the power level on the device, then hold the device to your skin. Norlanya recommends only using the lowest power setting around your eyes.
They say it may take one or two sessions to notice a difference, then up to three months of weekly treatments to see desired results.
[AUTO HEAD ROTATING] VISS RF Skin Tightening Massage Therapy System/High Frequency Device/Radio Frequency device/Skin care device
The VISS RF skin care device has an auto rotating head like the Carer 360° and it’s a little less powerful than that device. But you may enjoy the fact that its gold-plated titanium electrodes are hypo-allergenic for sensitive skin.
VISS recommends using an oil-based cream instead of a water-based conductive gel. The 1MHz bi-polar high-frequency device sends RF waves deep into your skin while its rotating head gives you a pleasant massage on the surface.
They recommend two to three sessions per week with 20 to 30 minutes per treatment. You should see definite results within 4 to 6 weeks.
The VISS RF comes with plug adapters for international travel, a hair band, and RF massage cream. It’s a product made in South Korea.
VISS RF High frequency Massage Cream & Moisturizer
VISS recommends their own Massage Cream. When the sample in the box runs out, here is where you can purchase more. Users with sensitive skin should check the ingredient list. It’s based on mineral oil and water, but unfortunately contains parabens.
Things to consider when selecting an RF device
When you’re deciding between these devices for home use, consider whether you want a portable, rechargeable one for travel, or if you plan to mainly treat your skin at home. The rechargeable ones aren’t usually as powerful as the ones that require electricity to operate. Do you want just RF treatment, or does a skin massage at the same time sound good? What are other users saying about these devices?
At the time of writing, the Tripollar STOP from Pollogen has the best reputation with the most available customer reviews in English around the Internet. Their website is very informative as well. Plus, the STOP device has proven itself in a clinical trial that you can read here.
While you wait for your new RF skin tightening device to arrive
You can keep your skin healthy with other methods while you wait. Of course, it’s very important to apply sunscreen when you go outdoors. Moisturizing with a good quality product is necessary, too. Drinking enough water, eating well, and getting enough sleep make a noticeable difference in your skin’s appearance.
Get a massage to stimulate your skin, or give one to yourself. Take a nice long bath and exfoliate. Get your blood flowing by doing calisthenics, pilates, or yoga. There are exercises for everyone, even people with limited mobility. Less stress leads to less wrinkles!