Does radiofrequency skin tightening work?

Radiofrequency skin tightening might sound like something from the year 3000, but it’s available now for use all over the body.

Using heat through low energy radiation, radiofrequency skin tightening targets the dermis (third layer of skin) and stimulates the cells (fibroblasts) that are responsible for making collagen and healing wounds.

Speaking on Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, our Beauty Editor, Kelsey Ferencak, who has had the treatment, gave us the low down on the effects, price, longevity and pain scale for this innovative offering.

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“You’ll see it spruiked as RF, skin tightening, fractional RF and body contouring, and it’s all kind of the same thing,” Ferencak tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode Does radiofrequency skin tightening really work?

“The treatment works to tighten lax skin and improve skin structure and sagging, It’ll plump out wrinkles and fine lines and can even be used to reduce and eliminate fat cells – so it’s kind of this one size fits all almost treatment.”

The treatment can be used on the face, particularly areas where skin can tend to sag including the jawline and neck. It’s also great for stretch marks, as it can smooth out the lines, tighten and tone.

Body treatments are also available on the belly, arms, thighs and more.

“I’ve had it done on my knees, as I mentioned, and I can absolutely tell the difference but like anything, maintenance is key,” explains Ferencak. “ I had 10 sessions done about a year ago and then I thought that that was it until I started noticing quite recently that the sagginess and general tone had changed and sort of looked like it did before, so I have to go back again.”

“From there I think maintenance sessions you’ll do every few months that might be the key to your long-term results.”

You should start to see results after the first few sessions, but best results are achieved after the final session. Price-wise, it’s roughly $150 per session, so it is an investment.

And now to the most important question – does it hurt?

“The best way to describe it is, it’s similar to a hot rock massage…it’s sort of like a metal tool and it rubs on you, so it’s a warming massage. It just feels a bit hot, but it’s super nice. It’s quite relaxing,” Ferencak says.

While the treatment is pretty much safe for all skin types there are a few instances when you should not get it, including if you have broken capillaries, rosacea, metal plates in your body or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

“In terms of side effects, it can leave a bit of redness and swelling, but they won’t hang around for long.”

“I also want to flag that you do need to do a few sessions, so it’s not a standalong procedure. It requires about six to 10 and they can go from anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes on a weekly or fortnightly basis.”

Quite the investment, but for results that are difficult to otherwise achieve without more invasive surgery, it’s a really great alternative.