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Do Portable RF and Thermage Devices Really Work?

More importantly, are they safe?
Do Portable RF and Thermage Devices Really Work?
IMAGE Aliexpress
More importantly, are they safe?

Radio Frequency (RF) treatments are one of the most popular age-defying solutions out there. Almost every dermatological clinic offers them, and patients usually can't help going back for more. But with how advanced beauty tech has become these days, is it really possible to get an RF treatment at home?

Claudine Barretto seems to think so, as we spotted videos on the actress' Instagram of her doing just that. In the five-minute clip, Claudine demonstrates how she uses a portable RF device. She starts by applying a clear gel on her skin, which apparently helps the device glide smoother, and then lists down the different benefits of the device.

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Since RF treatments are usually done in a derm clinic, seeing this immediately had us wondering—can a handheld one like hers reap similar results? But more importantly, is it safe? This, we asked Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas of Beautique MD and here's what she had to say:

"[Portable RF devices] are safe, but you need high power to achieve results," she answers. "In order for collagen remodelling to take place you need to heat your dermis to at least 45 degrees. If not, you're just increasing blood flow and 'stimulating' your skin but true collagen remodelling will not take place." However, don't get these confused with face massage tools like jade rollers—the derm says the RF devices do more than just massage the face despite their too-gentle power. Hence, if you want visible results with RF, you might want to drop by your derm's clinic.

With that in the clear, let's talk about another video on Claudine's IGTV, where she used a handheld device that she claims is a portable Thermage machine. Posted last November 30, it quickly gained traction online and has received more than 200,000 views as of writing.

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Thermage, basically, is a non-invasive RF treatment that smoothes and tightens the skin. "It goes deeper into the skin than your regular bipolar (and multipolar) RFs. So it can be a little bit more painful but also more effective," explains Dr. Gaile. In fact, it's recommended to get Thermage only once or twice a year, while bipolar RFs need to be performed weekly from four to eight sessions.

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That said, not only is Thermage the name of the treatment, it's also the brand of the machine used in authorized clinics worldwide. Meaning, there's only one Thermage machine out there, and from the doctor's knowledge there is no portable kind that yields its potent results.

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Our takeaway? Always consult your doctor before trying anything, especially if it's a machine that claims to have electronic currents or radio frequency. Because while it is convenient to skip a derm trip, your safety always comes first!

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