Have you ever had a facial and heard a crackling, static or buzzing sound? Or felt a zap or mild shock on your skin? If so, your esthetician may have used high frequency during your facial.
What is High-Frequency?
Radio frequency (RF) treatment is commonly used to tighten lax skin, promote collagen growth, and improve local circulation. Typically, these devices use wands (electrodes) to deliver a frequency (oscillating electrical current) of 3 kHz to 24 GHz. To put this in perspective, WiFi uses 2.5 GHz to 5.0 GHz frequency bands. Unlike laser therapy, this treatment heats up water within the skin, making it effective on most skin types. Additionally, this treatment is safer and milder; the energy delivered is not strong enough to induce DNA damage.
Orange and violet wands are high-frequency tools of the trade. Estheticians often use the violet wand after performing facial extractions as a way to disinfect the skin. We typically use the orange colored wand to stimulate collagen and elastin after removing a facial mask. Some hair salons and spas offer a scalp treatment using the orange or violet wand to encourage hair growth or prevention of hair loss. Although HF hasn’t been proven to work on hair loss or prevention, it tends to be a proactive and relaxing treatment. It is considered a safe and effective non-invasive approach to skin rejuvenation.
How to Choose a Good High-Frequency Machine?
Radio frequency-based fractional devices deliver a high-frequency alternating electrical current. In skin care, these devices typically use an oscillating electrical current ranging from 100 kHz (100,000 Hz) to 250 kHz (250,000 Hertz (cycles per second)). One study we found showed that in order to encourage collagen growth you’d need to use a machine at 400,000 Hz. Less expensive versions offer lower Hz.
1kHz = 1,000 Hz; 1,000 kHz = 1MHz; 1,000 MHz = 1GHz
How Does it Work Within the Skin?
Different HF tools are used to stimulate collagen and elastin and can be effective in treating acne; the electrical current has germicidal effects, eliminating bacteria and inflammation within the pore. It is recommended to use no more than once a day for a maximum of 5-10 minutes per treatment, which allows your skin time to respond to the stimulus.
Direct high-frequency produces ozone which has an antibacterial effect for congested or acne prone skin. These electrodes are placed directly onto the skin.
Indirect high-frequency the electrode is used to hover over the skin, where it helps to stimulate blood flow. This technique is often used to treat aging skin.
Orange wands are filled with neon gas and used for anti-aging treatments.
Violet wands utilize argon gas and are used to treat acne.
Comb shapes are used on the scalp and head area.
Mushroom shaped wands are broad spectrum and used for face and back.
Wand with Coil is used for indirect massage to increase blood flow.
Spoon shapes are used on sensitive areas, such as under the eye.
Sparker wands are used for precision sparking of individual pimples.
Notes For Professionals
Direct high frequency creates a chemical reaction which causes the emission of ozone into the air. Ozone produces a small amount of free radicals. Steamers also have an ionization button that you can flip on or off during a facial. The purpose of using ozone or ionization is to create a germicidal effect. This environment may also be created by using an antibacterial cleanser or toner. If you consider using one or both of these ionizing machines in your treatment room, you should be aware that you are exposing yourself to free radicals on a regular basis.