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Radiofrequency Procedures in Dermatological Practice

Published on Jan 30, 2017 and last reviewed on Nov 10, 2022   -  4 min read


Radiofrequency is the procedure used for skin rejuvenation. This non-invasive procedure results in young and glowing skin. To know more, read the article below.

Radiofrequency Procedures in Dermatological Practice


In today’s era, individuals are looking for natural ways to stay young without the risks and complications associated with invasive facial rejuvenation procedures. Out of all, radiofrequency (RF) procedures are ideal. These procedures are considered safe and are capable of providing remarkable esthetic results. Individuals who are afraid of plastic surgeries can opt for this procedure for anti-aging and facial rejuvenation.

What Are Radiofrequency (RF) Procedures?

Radiofrequency energy is a novel non-surgical procedure widely used nowadays in esthetics, including skin tightening, lifting, body contouring, and cellulite reduction. It differs from lasers because it uses an electric current rather than a light source. Radiofrequency devices cause localized or focal thermal damage to the dermis, so that the epidermis gets preserved. Thus the risk of procedural complications and side effects get minimized.

Since radiofrequency devices are not targeted to affect the epidermis, they may not impart all the visible changes expected by the patient. In addition, if certain topical agents like incorporating yeast extracts, tripeptides, hydrolyzed rice protein, microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose gum, and HLA (human leukocyte antigen) are given along with radiofrequency devices, then they will help in improving the appearance of sagging skin and enhance the clinical benefit of radiofrequency devices.

Radiofrequency devices also enhance the penetration of topical agents into the skin layers allowing optimal proximity to the zones of new collagen synthesis.

What Are the Types of Radiofrequency Techniques and Their Functions?

There are different types of radiofrequency devices which are used for facial rejuvenation. The latest technologies that have been introduced recently are discussed below:

1. Polaris WR (Wrinkle Reduction):

Use of a combination of light sources and RF recently have been introduced for treating wrinkles and tissue tightening by pan-dermal remodeling.

Optical energy levels of 30 to 50 J/cm2 (joule per square centimeter) and RF energy levels of 80 to 100 J/cm3 (joule per cubic centimeter) are most commonly used. Usually, it requires three to five treatment sessions monthly, and follow-up maintenance programs are recommended once or twice a year.

2. ThermoCool:

It is a high-energy monopolar technology employing a current tip and coupled RF. It can heat up to 2.5 mm in depth with a large amount of RF energy deposited at deeper levels. This concept allows tightening in three-dimensional planes.

The best treatment candidates are individuals with thin skin, an early sign of photoaging, and mild to moderate skin laxity. Immediate tissue tightening is the desired visual end point of treatment. The greatest effects most likely occur secondary to delayed deep dermal modeling. Slight pain is the primary concern, and it can be alleviated by the application of the topical anesthetic cream.

3. Titan:

Titan is a new technology that uses an infrared light source of 1100 to1800 nm (nanometer) spectrum. This technology is used primarily for tightening skin laxity in the submental region, jaws, abdomen, or arms. Pain is much less than ThermoCool, and it can be managed with Ibuprofen.

Two treatment algorithms are currently used. One is the use of the highest tolerable fluence, and the second one is the use of low fluence with a higher number of pulses in concentrated areas. The common treatment guidelines include two treatments performed at monthly intervals.

The above three technologies have been newly introduced. If the patient's primary objective is rhytide reduction and skin tightening is a secondary goal, in that case, the Polaris WR system is a better option. For the patient whose primary objective is tissue tightening, then ThermoCool or Titan will be better.

What Are the Risks Associated With Radiofrequency Procedure?

Although the procedure is safe, however sometimes side effects can occur, which are discussed below:

  • Rarely skin may get burned due to overexposure to radiofrequency while doing procedures for skin tightening.

  • This procedure may result in dark spots.

  • The skin may become reddened.

  • The patient might experience pain after the procedure.

  • Swelling might occur.

What Are the Advantages of Radiofrequency Procedure?

Radiofrequency procedures have several advantages over surgical facial rejuvenation procedures. These advantages are discussed below:

  • Studies have shown that the radiofrequency procedure helps in facial contouring.

  • These procedures are very effective in the reduction of wrinkles and fine lines.

  • Radiofrequency procedures are also found to be effective in reducing facial fat.

  • Downtime is less compared to surgical rejuvenation procedures.

How to Use Radiofrequency at Home?

The radiofrequency method can be used at home also with the radiofrequency device. However, the most important step before using the radiofrequency device is the consultation with a dermatologist. Before using the device, all the instructions should be followed properly.

What Is Fractional Radiofrequency (FRP)?

Fractional radiofrequency is the newest approach in radiofrequency. It works by sending the energy in fractions. These fractional energies make zones of affected areas of skin next to unaffected areas of the skin. As a result of this fractional energy, thermal damage occurs in the deep dermal collagen of the treated area. This thermal injury boosts the new collagen and elastin production. In addition, it promotes healing, dermal remodeling, and hyaluronic acid formation.

The zone of the unaffected area, which is situated in between the affected area, keeps the integrity of the skin at the beginning; however, later on, it acts as a reservoir of cells that stimulates and speeds up the wound healing process.

FRP is primarily used for the rejuvenation of the skin. The results can be seen after four weeks. Its side effects include redness and swelling, which are temporary and resolve on their own after a few days.


Radiofrequency procedures are used to enhance facial appearance by reducing wrinkles, fine lines, sun-damaged skin, and contouring and tightening the skin. It results in a younger and glowing appearance of the skin. Recovery time is much less than plastic surgeries, and it is the least invasive procedure. The risk associated with this procedure is minimal and does not cause much discomfort to the patient. Therefore, to conclude, radiofrequency procedures can be considered safe and effective procedures for skin rejuvenation.


Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Radiofrequency Used For Treating Skin?

Radiofrequency is a non-invasive procedure for skin tightening. Radiofrequency is used to heat the dermis layer of the skin between 50-75 degrees Celsius. This procedure results in a glowing and younger appearance of skin.


What Is Considered the Best Radiofrequency Treatment?

FaceTite radiofrequency is considered to be the best radiofrequency treatment. It is useful for patients who want more fat reduction, lifting, and contouring. FaceTite is an invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy under the skin to melt fat and stimulate the production of collagen.


Are Treatments That Involve Radiofrequency of Skin Safe?

The treatment that involves radiofrequency of the skin is usually safe and effective. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approves it to reduce the appearance of wrinkles on the skin. The treatment can involve side- effects such as swelling, blistering, bruising, and redness.


What Is Meant by Radiofrequency Cautery?

Radiofrequency cautery is a medical device that works by using radiofrequency energy to destroy or heat tissue. It removes skin tags, warts, moles, and keloids. It consists of an active electrode that transmits radio waves and an antenna plate placed behind the tissue, which is in contact with the patient’s skin.


How Often Can A Person Get Radiofrequency Done On the Face?

Radiofrequency includes multiple sessions of treatment. It is done once every three to four weeks in initial rounds of radiofrequency. Regular self-care and maintenance are important after radiofrequency.


How Long Does the Treatment of Radiofrequency Last?

The treatment of radiofrequency lasts for a minimum of six months. With proper skin care and maintenance, it can prolong to twelve months. Radiofrequency helps in producing collagen for the skin.


How Effective Is Radio Frequency Used for Skin Tightening?

Radiofrequency, used for skin tightening, is an effective and safe method. It is a popular treatment for the neck and face areas. The skin tightening treatment lasts for about twelve months.


Is Radiofrequency Approved by FDA?

Radiofrequency is approved by the FDA and is considered effective and safe. It is a therapy that uses low-energy radiation to heat the innermost layer of the skin. It is effective in treating mild to moderate signs of aging.


What Should a Person Do After RF Cautery?

The person should apply ice packs to reduce discomfort and swelling. Antibiotic emollients and creams should be used and prescribed by the doctor. A gentle cleanser should be used after radiofrequency cautery.


What Can Go Wrong After Having RF Ablation?

The risk of complications occurring from radiofrequency ablation is very low. In rare cases, permanent damage to nerves or pain can occur. Other complications include bleeding at the needle insertion and infection.


Can A Person Use Retinol After RF Treatment?

After a radiofrequency treatment, a person should avoid using foreign products on the skin. Foreign products include retinol, vitamin C, makeup, and AHA for one week. Also, procedures such as facial waxing, facial treatment, and chemical peels should be avoided for two weeks after radiofrequency treatment.


Is Radiofrequency Facial Considered Painful?

Radiofrequency facials are usually not painful. It causes redness on the face that subsides or disappears after the treatment. Some people may experience slight discomfort and pain during the procedure.


Should A Person the Wash Face After RF?

The face can be washed with lukewarm water after 24 hours. A gentle cleanser can be used after radiofrequency treatment. Makeup should be avoided until the next day of radiofrequency.


How Many Times Can RF Ablation Be Performed?

Radiofrequency ablation is effective after one treatment. The procedure may get repeated after every six months to one year. The treated nerve has the potential to regrow.


Which Is the Better Treatment Option, Microcurrent or RF?

Microcurrent treatment is a precautionary measure to naturally slow down the appearance of aging on the skin. Radiofrequency devices are used with a core that focuses on renewing and repairing skin, making the skin plumper, firmer, and tighter, and helping wrinkle removal. Both microcurrent and radio frequency works well when the treatment is consistently repeated over time.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
10 Nov 2022  -  4 min read




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