Radiofrequency is a type of energy, which is measured in “frequency,” or wavelengths per second. All types of energy, from the sound waves your iPod emits, to sunlight, to the heat coming off your body, to highly radioactive gamma rays, are classified according to their frequency on the “electromagnetic spectrum.”
Radiofrequency (RF) is one category on this spectrum, and includes a lot of common energy types we use every day: WiFi signals, radio and TV waves, and microwave ovens. The RF energy used in skin tightening is in the ballpark of 450 kilohertz, which is on the slow end of the radiofrequency range. To put it in greater perspective, the wavelength used in RF skin tightening is about 100 million times slower than visible light, and over 1 billion times slower than an X ray. Physics lesson aside, RF energy is quite calm when one considers
How does radiofrequency tighten skin?
Like any form of energy, RF has the capacity to produce heat—and while each brand-name application uses a slightly different technology, all work by heating the skin’s deeper layers to induce new collagen and elastin production and encourage cell turnover, helping skin become firmer, thicker and more youthful-looking.
An advantage of using RF to heat tissues, as opposed to lasers (which use higher-frequency light waves), is that the lower frequency of RF can safely penetrate to a deeper level, helping to improve skin tone and structure, even lifting tissues. Lasers for the most part work to improve the skin’s surface. Moreover, RF can safely treat more patients with different skin tones without risking permanent discoloration.