Radio frequency (RF) treatments utilize high frequency electrical currents in order to intensively heat the deeper (and some times the superficial) layers of the skin.
This heat causes existing collagen fibers to contract, stimulates the production of more collagen and elastin, increases blood circulation, and triggers adipolysis (fat cell loss) and fat release from the fat cells (lipolysis), thereby acting on several aspects of cellulite at the same time. Furthermore, RF currents increase skin absorption of anti-cellulite/skin firming creams/gels.
RF treatment has been used for medical applications and in physiotherapy for decades, but has only become a popular esthetic treatment in the last few years.
Although one session provides instant, and quite often visible results, a course of 6-12 treatments is typically recommended for maximum results, while claims of 1-3 treatments being enough for successful cellulite reduction or body skin tightening are misleading.
Immediate collagen fiber contraction
High-powered RF treatments increase the temperature of the deep and superficial layers of the skin and cause an immediate contraction of existing collagen fibers 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. This collagen fiber contraction keeps occurring for a up to three months, although most of the results occur in the next few days after treatment.
Increased collagen and elastin production
In addition to fiber 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 summary, radio-frequency treatment has a two-fold effect on skin tone and firmness: it contracts existing fibers and also stimulates the production more fibers to give the skin a firmer, tighter, more lifted look and feel.
Radio Frequency treatment for local fat reduction
Furthermore, 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 loss.
Enhanced blood circulation
Finally, the increase in blood circulation caused by the deep heat produced by RF treatment 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 characterizes cellulite.