RF therapy skin tightening

Curious if anyone has tried it, or has an opinion? I tried searching for this on the forum but “Rf” is too short a search term and he other combinations appeared to bring in extraneous results. I apologize if this has already been discussed, but I’m a fairly voracious reader of this site and haven’t seen anything on this in the past year (although my reading comprehension has recently been called into question a few times…).

People here seem enamored by NIR/red light therapy and some sound like they spent thousands (or at least on the order of one thousand USD). I’m trying it as well and it may be having a positive impact but still not sure. Some have described “skin tightening” from using this, but the red/NIR clinical trials are weak on this (stronger on “skin texture and pigmentation).

RF signals are extremely cheap to create and “guide” into a beam, and easy to control, and you can buy cheap components and put them together very easily; there are also many crappy RF home devices on the market (I haven’t investigated any of them in any reasonable depth). Supposedly the RF beams penetrate deeper with concentrated heat to stimulate collagen production and thus “thicken” and tighten loose skin. It would seem that (assuming the benefits are true) this could be a cheap at-home device used monthly (instead of the $2k sessions by a dermatologist once per year, which I am not against but find dermatologists are in general not talented electrical engineers). One RF treatment is called ThermaAge (I believe).

I’m also torn by this treatment because I hear people like Dave Aspery (who is not my role model) putting up faraday tents over the beds and banishing wifi from their houses. So if I use RF beams for skin tightening (which I’m probably not quite ready) would I be inadvertently causing increased inflammation and cancer risk?

I’m all for simplicity in my stack and longevity efforts, and I’d like to live life as well. One-off intermittent treatments to stave off sagging skin sounds like a plus to me. So are any of us doing this?



Is Rf the same as EMF?

I’m not exactly sure what people are referring to when they reference “EMF”, and I suspect neither do they. I believe EMF is “electro magnetic fields which is a very broad phenomenon. Depending on the voltage and frequency (and power) the EMF can be potentially harmful (like X-rays or microwaves) or potentially beneficial. RF is “radio frequency” and is a spectrum mainly below (roughly) 800MHz (correct me if I missed the cutoff).

We have a huge amount of roughly microwaves around us — 900MHz(cellular and wireless) and 2.4MHz (much of 5g and WiFi) and 5MHz (WiFi) are among the biggest, and a lot of people believe these are the main ones that are bad for you; I don’t have an answer for this and haven’t built a faraday cage in my home. I personally use wired headphones so I don’t have Bluetooth blasting in my ears, but carry a phone in my pocket so if I don’t get brain cancer I might get thought/testicular cancer anyway…

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NIR/Red light devices are known to emit EMF radiation. Some vendors advertise their low level of EMF. PEMF is a category name for pain relief and healing devices in a mat or a double wand format (and maybe others). I do not know what frequencies are used by those devices.

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I had a thread on my experience with RF microneedling (among many other things). I’m very pleased with it but I’d never ever try to build a machine myself. You need to have fine tuned control over the frequency and power of the device. Besides it’s a non starter if you want to marry it with microneedling as it requires bespoke heads / cartridges unless your idea of DIY is to hack together a bunch of sowing needles — too early for Halloween freak show!

The home device I have doesn’t seem crappy at all. Cost me less than $400 with the disposable heads & other parts around $7 per treatment. I do it every 4 weeks except this last time I “missed” a session due to the back to school rat race but just yesterday I did it again. In my case I look like a battered woman for a few days because it breaks capillaries in my face and neck that take a few days to get reabsorbed. The red + IR panel helps speed up recovery a bit (and didn’t pay a grand for that either). Anyway it definitely works, the microneedling modality much better than plain rf (which I also tried in the past but with modest results) as it gets delivered much deeper. But there’s some downtime (I wear foundation a couple of days post op until my broken capillaries disappear).

As to EMF I don’t know about others but I have a pretty good idea of what is meant by it at least in the context of facial skin tightening. Basically this:

Looks awesome but pricey and I’ve got to use what I’ve got so far and am reaping good results. Maybe in a year or two. Look up “em face before and after” to get an idea of what it can do. And most versions actually incorporate RF in the EMF electrodes so you get radio-frequency tightening from it too.

This is where I discuss some of my rf microneedling experience by the way: The mTOR rebound effect has been kind to my skin?


Thank you: micro needling is beyond my capabilities or needs right now. And you are right: there are definitely some high quality machines on the market, including for professional use.

“Crappy” was a term of industry art denoting that you can buy them cheaply. My point was the components are inexpensive (even high quality components) and these machines don’t require a single gating component such as a laser or MRI: it’s all just electronic components (like a WiFi). I’d gather much of the expense of the professional machines is getting them approved by the FDA, and not necessarily the quality of the specific components, but this is just a semi-educated guess without having disassembled one.

Control of frequency I believe is fairly easy with the right signal source and electronic filters. This is a well-established hobbyist space. My daughters and I built a radio telescope for 1.4GHz in our living room that worked for less than $200 (although you could rightly say this is detection and not transmitting). People are building cheap ultrasound machines (not for people), NMR (MRI for chemicals) and scanning-tunneling microscopes to see individual atoms. I had to build a working NMR from scratch in college and I can tell you none of the parts looked expensive. But I’m comfortable with this stuff: it’s not for everyone.

Well I’m sure you can build an RF machine from spare parts for not a lot. But if you buy smart, they’re dirt cheap to begin with out of China. So unless you particularly enjoy the DIY aspect as a hobby I doubt you’ll save a penny even if your time is free. I’ve tried both plain RF though and RF microneedling as the latter is order of magnitude more effective. So I’ll reiterate that for emphasis one last time and have done. If you want to skip the needles part (it’s not painful at all and the only downside for me is looking a bit freakish for a few days — it might be an individual reaction though as I’ve given my SIL the same treatment and she got zero broken capillaries) then this is what I recommend for pure RF — there’s no needles despite the name, just a fancy way of positioning the conductive elements of the probe:

If you prefer DIY then obviously I can’t help and if anything you should be giving us pointers it sounds like, from your experience.

Some other members and I get into the weeds of why there’s such “crap” prices on quality devices in that thread I linked to. But that’s neither here nor there.


$117 makes DiY definitely not worth it. But I was seeing equipment much more expensive. And the dermatologists are charging ~$2k per session but perhaps their equipment is more powerful (making DIY again perhaps an option)?

Really the point of this thread is to ask:

  1. is anyone doing this? (Either themselves with home equipment or with a professional).

  2. do you feel it works?

And 3) what type of equipment do/did you use?

From there I can assess if it’s worth tinkering with or to buy a cheap unit from China.or simply not worth any time. I didn’t really see anyone discussing it but apparently there’s a few. I’m not sure micro needling with RF is exactly the same thing but perhaps I’m wrong.

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Well I definitely recommend that thread I linked to for answers to all the above. To summarize it, I have been doing it on off for a few years. Didn’t think RF alone did much but it did something. I was also less healthy back then when I started. RF microneedling worked much better for me in terms of results. I discuss professional devices there vs at home ones. Bottom lines is you can buy the former and they’re not rocket science to operate. On AliExpress won’t set you back much compared to the price of a single session at the dermatologist’s office.

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Hi! I finally got my RF machine - though Aliexpress sent EU plus instead of US ugh… Is there an online tutorial you recommend? It came with zero instructions. Do you change settings for each facial area? Thanks and happy New Year!

Oh no will you use an adapter or did they finally send the right thing?

Some tutorials:

Hope that helps. I don’t use anesthesia personally, it’s hardly painful. I use gel-like consistency serum as a layer between my skin and the machine when operating but NOT ultrasound gel.

Yes for every area of the face there’s different recommended needle depth and wattage. I leave speed the same everywhere at the lowest speed. (The slower it goes, the longer it stays inside instead of a quick in and out but it took me time to realize this was ideal for me.) For each facial area I use the uppermost end of the recommended range.

For me three passes over the same skin area works best. At each pass there’s 30-50% overlap in surface area (the “stamping” region of the tool). Be careful around the eyes but you can definitely DO the eyes. That’s where I got insane improvement. Do spare the thyroid.

There should be a booklet with the machine that details this stuff. If you don’t have it ask the seller for a pdf of the manual. Yes it’s in broken English but it’s not rocket science.

Lemme know if you have particular questions.


Thank you so much! Yes, I ordered one in the fall and they just sent fake tracking - still trying to get my money back. This one is finally real but with a wrong plug and booklet LOL. Wish me luck.

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Don’t use alcohol to clean skin, right?

Wow that sucks! Haven’t had an experience like that but maybe I’ve been lucky. Go through your credit card company if Ali itself is being rich.

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Nooo alcohol! Maybe some people do that but I find it overkill and horrible for the skin. There’s low risk of infection as it’s a hot injection and the heat itself would kill any bacteria. I’ve never ever had any issues. But your mileage might vary. I think one of those YouTubers at least uses alcohol.

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I know… even PayPal was no help bc of the tracking so going through CC.

Great. How did you get such great eye results :)? Do you pull the skin onto the bone?
Also what about right under the jaw?
Thanks so much again!

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Yes for the upper lid I pulled the skin as high as I could to make it easier. I mean obviously don’t inject directly over the eyeball but use your common sense. Under the eye — lower lid — you can safely use the cartridge all the way to the lash / tear line, obviously with a couple of millimeter margin. I get broken capillaries for 2-3 days that get reabsorbed. I did a session for my sister in law and she got NOTHING of the sort under the same settings so it depends on the person.

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Ok cool!
So you do RF monthly? I heard 3 times 6 weeks apart then 1.5 years apart…
Also how often for my mom who’s 75 you think?

Every 4 weeks on the dot unless life gets in the way. I don’t think you need any hiatus if you don’t have to pay for each session :wink:

I’ve had to take a break because I’m pregnant and it’s counterindicated.

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