One of the best ways to tighten sagging skin is using radio frequency treatments. Dr Karen Soh, medical director of Prive Clinic, explains how it works, the pain factor, and how long the results last.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

What’s RF? It radio frequency energy sent deep into the skin to tighten and give a lift.

What’s the best skin tightening treatment for someone in their 30s. I’m seeing the first signs of sagging and lines.

Patients between 30 and 60 years, who are looking for a non-invasive facelift will benefit from having Thermage and/or Ultherapy done.

Thermage is a non-invasive radio frequency (RF) treatment which lifts and smooths skin. When RF energy is sent deep into the skin, it heats up the collagen in it to create a tightening effect. At Prive, we offer the latest Thermage FLX treatment, which offers greater accuracy, comfort and speed, compared to previous generations of Thermage.

You can also consider Ultherapy. It is a non-surgical, non-invasive US FDA-approved ultrasound treatment that gently and gradually lifts and tightens skin, with very little downtime.

Do note that not everyone is a good candidate for these treatments. At Prive, every treatment is customised – we vary the shots and intensity levels based on what is best for each individual.

I’m sold on RF treatments being able to give me a non-surgical skin lift, but I worry about the cost, pain factor, side effects and whether it will damage my skin in the long run.

Not all radiofrequency machines work the same way. Unlike the RF treatments offered by beauty salons, Thermage operates at a much higher intensity and can only be done by a doctor.

What Thermage does: It targets and remodels collagen in the deeper skin layers, which produces more obvious and longer-lasting results. The treatment tightens the underlying skin structure and contours the face to create firm, toned and youthful-looking skin.

Prices start from $3,000 and in general, only a single treatment is needed; results may last a year or longer. The discomfort level for Thermage varies, depending on pain tolerance – at Prive, we have various pain management methods so that patients feel comfortable throughout the treatment.

To maintain the results of your Thermage treatment, consider Exilis Elite, which is a combo of RF, ultrasound and skin cooling. The treatment delivers controlled heating into the skin, addressing fine lines, deeper wrinkles, sagging skin and jowls. It’s a comfortable treatment and most describe it as a warm face massage. Like Thermage, Exilis Elite is only available at clinics and medi-spas; prices start from $300.

The side effects of RF treatments are minimal and short-lived: mild and temporary swelling, redness, and tingling. The Thermage and Exilis Elite machines are both manufactured by reputable companies, and have gone through numerous clinical trials to ensure their efficacy and safety.

My Reading Room

Repairing Damaged Skin

Nanopore Micro Needling uses tiny needles that rapidly puncture the skin to induce a natural healing response in the body. The new layer of skin that forms after the treatment is firmer, more even and toned. There are also other benefits: It reduces the appearance of enlarged pores, heals acne marks and mild scars, clears up blackheads, reduces hyper-pigmentation, and treats sun damage. For best results, four to six sessions are recommended. Scan the QR code below to find out more.
My Reading Room

Dr Karen Soh is best known as a trainer for Merz Aesthetics and Silhouette Soft threadlifts. She is recognised for her experience and skill across different modalities in aesthetics practice. With passion and a keen eye for detail, she balances the art and science of aesthetic enhancement, achieving natural-looking results safely and effectively.