Can a radio frequency machine really tighten age-induced saggy knees?

We’re currently in that weather sweet spot, right in the thick of Spring and you know what that means: bare legs. Aside from now having to shave regularly, I now also need to have my knees on show. It may sound silly, but for the past few years I’ve noticed the skin above and around said leg joints has started to look more Shar Pei than smooth. I never really thought about ageing or my skin changing, but it prompted me to begin my hunt for the best anti-ageing leg options available.

After a couple of years of applying anti-ageing skincare superheroes like retinol, upping my collagen and protein intake and even taking the coconut oil craze as gospel and slathering myself in it for 365 nights of the year, I realised nothing I was doing topically was going to reverse the damage I’d already done. And when I say damage, I mean from the sun yep, the years of laying out baking myself had finally caught up with me.

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That’s until I discovered radio frequency, AKA a machine that tightens sagging skin. The high-tech treatment uses heat on both the skin surface and deep into the dermal layers to create a smoothing and tightening domino effect, while simultaneously boosting your body’s own collagen and elastin production. I’d heard about it being a non-invasive version of a facelift but had no idea it could work it’s magic on the body, too.

I head to Body Catalyst for my consultation and first of eight Skin Tightening Treatment ($149 per treatment, at Body Catalyst). I’ll be honest, at first I was a bit put off by how many sessions I had to commit to – but here’s why: “The general ballpark for most people is around eight to ten sessions, depending on age and skin laxity, “ explains Lauren Naidu, Body Catalyst Clinical and Wellness Therapist.

“The first priority is to strengthen the connective tissue which helps firm the area and boost collagen. The treatment is designed to heat deep skin layers by delivery high frequency electrical current via electrodes to the body. Body cells don’t interpret the current as electricity, rather as an energy source to stimulate and strengthen the connective tissue. Then, as the sessions progress we adjust the headpieces based on how your skin is improving and to work through each layer of skin.”

The treatment also takes into account the skin cycle and sessions are based on how your skin rejuvenates. “Eight weeks allows for a full cycle [or two], keeps it consistent and doesn’t dilute treatment time or results,” she explains.

During treatment, the radio frequency waves penetrate the skin to tighten it from the inside out which sounds scary but isn’t. The only feeling comes from the heat of the tool, it’s a little hot but nothing unbearable and when the heat is causing the contraction of collagen fibres and increasing the metabolism of the fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen fibres) you suck it up. This stimulates and accelerates the production of collagen and elastin proteins, which has a tightening effect on the skin.

After my first session I can’t really tell a difference but I’m told that it’ll look worse before it looks better as it brings toxins to the surface of the skin. By round three I start to notice the texture of my skin is more supple and bouncy and by appointment five the wrinkles had pretty much disappeared.

Naidu explains it’s a personalised treatment that takes into account your current skin concerns – from dimples to cellulite, as well as your lifestyle. If you smoke, drink, don’t exercise regularly and aren’t drinking enough water it can make it harder for your skin to improve. “We’re relying on your lymphatic system and unhealthy lifestyle habits limit your ability to detoxifying and repair,” she explains. Basically, the healthier you are, the better the results.

Like they say; the proof is in the pudding and in this case the pudding is my knees. Supple, tight, smooth – all of the above. Results are ongoing and get better with a maintenance session every six to 12 months.