Skin tighening/lifting and cellulite removal with radiofrequency

  • Radiofrequency (RF) treatment has been used for medical applications and in physiotherapy for decades, but has only become a popular cosmetic treatment in the last few years. For example, RF is used for muscle and tendon injury treatment as it increases circulation and helps resolve inflammation; for snoring reduction, as it tightens the loose oral cavity tissues that vibrate when breathing; for thread vein (spider vein) removal as it tightens the broken capillary walls, effectively sealing them and stopping the vein from leaking blood.
  • Radiofrequency treatments utilise high frequency electrical currents (typical frequencies: 300MHz to 1GHZ) in order to intensively heat the deeper (and quite often the superficial) layers of the skin. This focused, intense heat has several effects, outlined below:
  • It increases the temperature of the deep and superficial layers of the skin and causes an immediate contraction of existing collagen fibres, which results in tightening of the skin and underlying connective tissue. This skin and connective tissue contraction can cause certain tissues such as the buttocks or face cheeks to "lift". This lifting effect is almost immediate, as it can be felt and seen right after the treatment and intensifies in the next 2-3 days.
  • In addition to fibre contraction, RF treatment also stimulates the fibroblasts to upregulate (increase) their production of collagen and elastin, the very proteins that give the skin it's firmness and elasticity. This effect gradually takes place in the next few days after treatment and continues up to three months after treatment.
  • In addition to fibre contraction and collagen/elastin production up regulation, radiofrequency treatment stimulates the proliferation (multiplication) of fibroblasts, quite often at the expense of fat cells, thereby replacing fat (and cellulite) with firmness. This effect gradually takes place in the next few days after treatment and continues for several months after treatment.
  • It triggers adipolysis (fat cell number reduction) and lipolysis (fat release from the fat cells). Radio frequency treatment leads to the apoptosis (early cell death) of adipocytes (fat cells), and the consequent release of fat from the fat cells, thereby contributing to local fat/cellulite reduction.
  • RF treatment increases blood circulation. This has a therapeutic effect on the tissues, as it enhances nutrient absorption and waste product removal and stimulates the resolution of low grade chronic inflammation that characterises cellulite.
  • It increases skin absorption of actives in anti-cellulite/skin firming creams/gels and therefore is essentially a no-needle mesotherapy technique (for example, at our practice we use gels/creams rich in hyaluronic acid, botanical extracts and vitamins for our RF treatments, and the amount of therapeutic gel-cream that is absorbed by the skin is phenomenal (mesotherapy refers to nutrients placed inside the skin either through multiple mini-injections or by increasing the skin's permeability to nutrients via ultrasound or electrical currents, such as specific types of radiofrequency).
  • It is evident that radiofrequency treatment fights skin looseness and cellulite in multiple ways. iven that cellulite is a complex problem of loose skin, poor circulation, inflammation and superficial fat accumulation, it is no wonder that radiofrequency treatments are used for cellulite reduction and prevention, as they act on multiple aspects of cellulite.
  • In an ideal world, radiofrequency anti-cellulite treatments are combined with ultrasound cavitation and highly concentrated creams / gels for a needle-free mesotherapy effect. This provides for maximum results and faster improvement in skin tone, smoothness and texture.
  • Real radiofrequency, i.e. deep heat which reaches the deep layers of the skin (dermis and hypodermis) is only monopolar radiofrequency. On the other hand, all other types of radiofrequency (bipolar, quadripolar, tripolar, octapolar etc.) is so superficial (works mainly on the skin surface / epidermis), it should not be called radiofrequency, as it is misleading.  
  • Although one RF session with a high-powered monopolar machine offers visible and tangible results, repeated treatments (6-12) are typically recommended for maximum results. Claims of 1-3 treatments being enough for successful cellulite reduction or body skin tightening are misleading, especially when attributed to the superficial, bipolar machines. In fact, if treatment is applied with low-power equipment, a course of 12-24 sessions - or even more - may be needed...
  • Claims of satisfactory results for cellulite reduction and butt lifting with only 1-3 sessions clearly aim to tempt you to pay an extortionate amount of money per session, and should not be believed. There is no satisfactory cellulite reduction with only one, two or even three sessions of any technique or machine...
  • So look for 6-12 sessions with monopolar, high power equipment, for some real results.