Do you need skincare devices in your routine? Part 3 of 3 - radiofrequency & conclusion

Posted by Natasha Dauncey on

This is the final part of this mini-series on skincare devices. We looked at LED red light / infrared masks in part 1 and microcurrent / nanocurrent devices in part 2. In this blog post, we look at radio frequency (RF). As a reminder, I purchased all the devices mentioned in this series myself and I’m not affiliated with any of these brands – these are just my opinions 😊.

For context: I'm 48 years old with a consistent skincare routine in place. I don't use any injectables (botox / fillers) but I'm interested in "ageing well" and protecting my skin the best way I can. My skin type is fairly balanced but I'm getting progressively dehydrated with age and I'm prone to closed comedones (which are under control with regular retinoid use).

Radiofrequency (RF): skin tightening

Claims: While microcurrent uses electrical current to stimulate the muscles and skin, RF uses heat to stimulate collagen production. This helps tighten and lift your skin, for improved tone and healthier skin appearance. So the choice between microneedling and RF comes down to whether you want to address muscle tone or skin tone / skin sagging. Again, there are a number of devices on the market and I don’t want to get too technical but what seems to differentiate them is the temperature they heat the skin up to (40-43C), the length of time needed to treat the face (big variation with this!), and the technology used (bipolar, tripolar).

My Experience: I was torn over which device to go for but after speaking with a local aesthetician I went for Newa because the brand has a professional in-clinic device using similar technology. I must admit, due to my skin tone putting me at greater risk of hyperpigmentation I was a little worried about using a device that heats up the skin but was assured by the retailer that it was safe for all Fitzpatrick types so I went for it. Now compared to the LED and microcurrent, this is quite a big commitment to use initially – for the first month you need to use this 5 times a week and the issue is, it takes 24 minutes to cover your whole face (which needs to be treated in sections in order to ensure the skin heats up sufficiently) so it’s a lot and not realistic for the typical person. Even though I could do this whilst watching Netflix, it felt pretty tedious trying to fit it in 5 times a week! The skin certainly gets very warm but as long as you keep moving the device around, it’s not uncomfortable. It must be used with a conductive gel (I used an inexpensive ultrasound gel which worked well). I dutifully did my 5 times a week for a month and by the end of it I don’t think I noticed any improvement in my skin. I *think* a small area of pigmentation I got from a short trip abroad may have even worsened slightly. Needless to say, the device has been sitting unloved for over 6 months since. I might consider giving it another go if I notice signs of sagging, but at the moment I don’t think it’s going to give me noticeable enough results to warrant the amount of treatment time needed. I also wonder if this modality is probably one with much better results in-clinic?

Verdict: Of all the modalities tested, this was my least favourite due to the lack of results I saw and the time commitment required in the first month. To be fair, maybe it just wasn’t necessary for my skin concerns at the moment so perhaps I might change my view if I try it again in future. Or maybe I’ll try it on my saggy mum-tum and see magical results!!

Final Thoughts

Skincare devices can be a wonderful complement to your routine but it’s important that you already have a solid routine in place which includes daily sunscreen use, and potentially retinoids if goal is healthy ageing. These devices can offer targeted treatments that can enhance your overall skincare regimen depending on your skincare concerns, but I don’t think any of them are “must haves” really. Especially because they are a substantial investment and need to be used consistently to see their benefits. So if you’re unlikely to be able to use these 3-5 times a week then I would personally save your money and go for in-clinic treatments instead (which don’t need to be done as often). If I had to choose one at-home device from here that’s had the biggest impact on my skin, it would be the LED mask. I love how it supports my overall skin health (which is my main goal) and I really notice when I use it vs. when I don’t. Remember, consistency is key, and integrating these tools into an already balanced skincare routine will yield the best results. One final thing – there are a lot of “cheaper” devices floating around, many of which have multiple modalities in them. Whilst this may seem like a more cost effective option, just be aware that you probably won’t be getting the best technology from each modality and you’re less likely to see any results. So if you’ve decided to invest in a device, I would suggest prioritising one skin concern and getting one reputable device to tackle that concern.

Have you tried any of these devices? I'd love to hear about your experiences and any tips you might have!

 

 

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