Radio frequency (RF) therapy, also known as radio frequency skin tightening, is a powerful anti-ageing treatment that firms the skin, boosts circulation and stimulates the production of collagen for tighter skin and overall skin rejuvenation. The technique uses radio frequency energy to heat the skin which stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a common protein found in the human body, making up 80% of the skins texture. It creates the framework of the skin and provides firmness and strength.
How RF skin tightening works
Radio frequency has emerged as a popular treatment option for reducing the appearance of fine lines and loose skin. Its principle relies on using radio frequency energy to heat the deeper layers of the skin to between 122 and 167°F (50–75°C) for a precise amount of time in order to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, thereby tightening the skin.
Studies have found that maintaining a temperature over 115°F (46°C) for over 3 minutes causes your body to release heat-shock proteins. These proteins stimulate the body to create new collagen fibers.
Where does the name “radio frequency” derive from?
The electrical currents used for beauty treatments happen to be part of the radio frequency spectrum, i.e. the frequencies used for radio communications (3 kHz to 300 GHz). Hence aesthetic treatments using electric currents or electromagnetic fields of such frequency are called radio frequency treatments. However, there is nothing else common between radio communications/radiation/radioactivity and radio frequency treatments.
The exact mechanism: How radio frequency works
With the radio frequency treatment, electrical current enters the skin from one pole, which is charged positively, and then exits the skin from another, which is charged negatively. A split second later, the polarity changes and what used to be a positive pole becomes negative and vice versa. This happens hundreds of thousands of times a second.
Now if the frequency of the current was much lower, for example 100Hz (one hundred such polarity alternations per second) then we would have muscular contraction. Such low frequencies are used in TENS machines for pain relief and in other physiotherapy machines for muscle rehabilitation etc.
As mentioned earlier, at higher frequencies we do not have muscular contractions, just heat. This is because the frequency is so high that motor nerves are not fast enough to sense the polarity alternation, so no muscular contraction occurs.
Now the question is: how is heat being produced with radio frequency? The answer is simple. Heat is random molecular movement. With RF currents, the alternation of the current is so fast that no electrons, atoms or molecules ever really move towards one pole or the other. As a result, molecules just vibrate around a central position or simply rotate. This random molecular movement (vibration or rotation) manifests macroscopically as heat.
In a nutshell, radio frequency treatment vibrates our molecules, producing heat.
Which areas can be treated with RF skin tightening?
Radio frequency skin tightening can be used on all major areas of the body for skin that is losing its laxity, including:
- Whole face, neck and décolletage area
- Hips and tummy
- Legs and thighs
As a person ages, the quantity and quality of collagen fibers in the skin declines. RF therapy uses high frequency RF energy to heat the deep layers of the skin called the dermis. This heat stimulates the production of collagen and elastin to help improve signs of wrinkles and sagging skin.
Research has found that the radio frequency skin tightening treatment is safe and can be effective at treating mild to moderate signs of aging. If you would like to learn more about radio frequency skin tightening, The Body Sculpting Institute offer affordable online radio frequency training solutions and other related body contouring courses to help fast track your journey into becoming a certified professional.