Dr. Miles always stays up-to-date on the latest developments in cosmetic medical technology, so he can offer the best cutting-edge treatments to his patients. We’re delighted to offer minimally invasive treatments with a radiofrequency (RF) device, an excellent form of treatment for skin tightening.
After extensive research and trial of various devices, Dr. Miles has chosen the Legend Pro RF treatment device for his patients. This device offers a few benefits over other RF devices. It provides the flexibility to deliver RF energy to the skin in different ways while using proprietary state-of-the-art technology to avoid injury to the skin. This device offers the highest levels of both safety and effectiveness while producing great results with minimal to no downtime.
How does radiofrequency affect the skin?
When radiofrequency energy, or RF energy, is delivered to the skin, it causes controlled heating of the tissues. This leads to a mild thermal injury, which activates the body’s natural healing responses. Cells called fibroblasts are stimulated to make the structural proteins collagen and elastin, along with hyaluronic acid, which is a natural gel-like substance that provides volume to the skin. Together, these responses lead to skin tightening and add volume to the skin.
There are a few different ways to deliver RF energy to the skin. It can be done noninvasively through a handpiece that’s moved across the skin’s surface, or the energy can be delivered directly into the skin on the ends of extremely tiny needles. It’s also possible to use both of these methods during a single treatment session. Whichever method is chosen, RF treatments using our chosen device produce minimal discomfort and don’t generally require anesthesia or extra cooling. This is because of the safety features of the device, which help to avoid causing excessive heat damage or injury to the skin.
Noninvasive RF treatment with TriPollar
The noninvasive method is called TriPollar. With TriPollar, the RF energy is delivered to the skin through a handpiece that is passed across the skin’s surface. The energy is calibrated for precise delivery into the deeper layers of the skin. Pure medical-grade glycerin is applied to the surface of the skin before the treatment. This lubricates the skin so that the handpiece can pass smoothly and evenly, and also helps to protect the surface of the skin from the RF energy, both to prevent skin damage and to help deliver the energy to deeper layers.
In the deeper layer of the skin, the RF energy triggers the production of, and the contraction of, collagen and elastin fibers. These are the proteins that provide the skin’s structure and are responsible for its elasticity, or ability to “bounce back” after being stretched. By stimulating these proteins, TriPollar causes skin tightening, which is noticeable right after the treatment.
The TriPollar handpiece is unique because it uses 3-6 different electrodes. Electricity passes between these different electrodes to deliver RF energy to the skin. Many other RF devices use just one electrode. This produces uneven and unpredictable heating, making it difficult to control the treatment. A higher power level must then be used for the treatment to be effective, which means that it’s uncomfortable and there may be more side effects. Some handpieces use two electrodes, which is better but still hard to control. With its multiple different electrodes, TriPollar allows a far greater degree of control of the treatment.
Minimally invasive RF treatment with VoluDerm
RF energy can also be delivered through the surface of the skin, using microneedles. This is known as VoluDerm. Some people are anxious at the thought of “needles,” but the needles used for the treatment are extremely small, and most people barely feel them. They can also be referred to as microelectrodes.
The microelectrodes are able to deliver RF energy all along their length (rather than just at the tip, as in many other systems), creating tiny columns of thermal injury to the skin. This induces a healing response, while the untouched zones around the columns provide cells and nutrients to aid in healing. This particular device is unique because it’s engineered to prevent RF energy from flowing between the different electrodes, which helps to prevent burns from occurring.
VoluDerm encourages the growth of new and healthy skin, as well as collagen production. It can be combined with TriPollar, to offer a complete rejuvenation of all of the layers of the skin. The TriPollar treatment will target the deeper layers, while the VoluDerm will deliver RF energy through the skin’s surface and into the areas just beneath.
SmoothGlo combines RF Microneedling with intense pulsed light (IPL)
We also offer a treatment called intense pulsed light (IPL), which uses light energy to help with removing lesions on the skin (such as “sun spots”), improving skin tone, and other common concerns. This can be combined with VoluDerm RF microneedling, which helps further improve skin texture, contour, and volume. The combined treatment is called SmoothGlo.
The IPL treatment is performed first. Among other effects, this treatment increases the water content of the skin. This increased water content helps to conduct the RF energy used in the VoluDerm treatment, which is performed afterward. In this way, the two treatments work together for enhanced results.
Who is a candidate for RF microneedling?
This is a very safe procedure, with a low risk of side effects. However, it isn’t right for everyone. Those who are good candidates for RF microneedling are people who:
- Have skin concerns that RF microneedling is effective for (like those listed above).
- Are in good general health, with no serious medical issues (like cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, or a bleeding disorder).
- Don’t have any current skin conditions or skin lesions in the treatment area.
- Don’t have any type of metal implants in the treatment area or any type of implanted electronic device anywhere in the body (like a pacemaker or defibrillator).
- Have not taken Accutane at any time within six months before treatment.
- Are not pregnant or nursing.
What is the expected downtime with RF treatments?
With the RF treatments that we offer here in our office, downtime is minimal to nonexistent. Patients may experience some mild redness or swelling of the treated area, but it shouldn’t prevent them from returning to their job or social activities right away. These mild symptoms typically resolve within a few hours to a few days. In some cases, there may be some minor scabbing of the skin, which will shed off in the days after the treatment. This can be covered with makeup and is not generally enough to be disruptive to a patient’s daily routine.
You might want to avoid having this treatment right before a major event, such as a wedding, when you may have photos taken. Otherwise, you won’t need to plan for any downtime or avoid normal social activities.
What is the aftercare protocol for RF microneedling?
Although this is a very safe treatment with a low risk of side effects, there are a few things you can do to support your skin as it heals and rejuvenates after the procedure.
It’s important to treat the skin gently in the first few days after the procedure. We recommend avoiding makeup for the first 24 hours; after that, you can use mineral makeup. Some people have some small scabs or crusting in those first few days, which are generally easy to cover up with makeup.
Moisturizing the skin is very important after an RF microneedling procedure, to help protect the skin while it’s healing. We recommend using EltaMD Moisturizer or EltaMD Laser Balm to give your skin the hydration that it needs. This will also help to soothe any irritation that you may feel as your skin is healing.
It’s also best to avoid sun exposure for at least two weeks following your procedure. This helps to avoid hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin. Using sunscreen at all times is extremely important to protect your skin from further damage. We recommend ZO Sunscreen+Primer SPF30 or EltaMD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF46. Although this is especially important in the first few weeks following your RF microneedling procedure, it continues to be important for the long term, because exposure to the sun causes 80% of the visible signs of aging.
Is one treatment enough?
With RF treatments, some results are noticeable immediately. After any redness or swelling has subsided, you will be able to see a difference in your skin. However, for the best long-term effect, it’s recommended to have a series of treatments. We usually recommend between three to five treatments initially. The exact number is personalized, depending on how severe your skin concerns are and what kind of results you wish to achieve.
Once your initial treatment series is complete, some patients choose to have maintenance treatments every 6-12 months, in order to maintain their results.
RF Microneedling Charlotte area
While Dr. Miles is a true artist and can get great results from a surgical facelift, RF microneedling technology offers a skin tightening option for patients who are not quite ready for a facelift. There are many people who aren’t yet at the point where they would need a facelift, but they’d still like to reverse the signs of aging that have started to appear. RF treatments allow us to serve these patients. For patients who have already had a facelift, or are planning on undergoing facelift surgery, RF microneedling technology can further enhance the overall results. Facelift surgery can reposition the skin and lift the jowls, however, it does not change the quality of the skin or improve its elasticity. RF microneedling can play a complementary role in many of these cases.
If you’re in the greater Charlotte or Lake Norman area, and you’re looking for a minimally invasive anti-aging treatment, we invite you to schedule a consultation appointment here at our office. In addition to RF treatments, we also offer a variety of other treatments, including laser skin resurfacing with Coolpeel and IPL treatments, chemical peels, dermal fillers, Botox, and more. Dr. Miles and his expert aesthetician will spend time with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to help you get the results you’re looking to achieve. Simply contact our friendly front desk staff to schedule your appointment.