What Is A High Frequency Facial?
High frequency facial treatments are often used by spa and salon professionals to assist their clients in addressing a range of issues including acne, enlarged pores, fine lines and wrinkles, puffy eyes, and hair growth. The technology has been shown to stimulate cell renewal and improve skin care product penetration and absorption by gently warming the tissues of the skin.
The safe oxygenating power of high frequency electrical current enhances blood circulation, increases collagen and elastin production, eliminates toxins and acne-causing bacteria, encourages lymphatic drainage, and safely exfoliates away dead skin cells to improve the appearance of the skin. In technical terms, the primary action of high frequency current is thermal (heat producing) and is characterized by a high rate of oscillation. Due to its rapid rate of oscillation, high frequency does not cause visible muscular contractions - instead, it works on the principle of gentle skin toning.
High frequency facial machines and devices (traditionally referred to as "violet rays") vary in design and appearance however the underlying principle, technology, and operational functions are virtually the same. Most professional high frequency machines used in spas, salons and medical offices operate at a frequency of 100,000-2500,000+ Hertz (cycles per second). Compact versions of the technology may be purchased by professionals and home users experienced in the application of high frequency.
Recommended High Frequency Facial Systems:
|Jellen® Portable High Frequency Facial Machine||Jellen® High Frequency Facial Wand|
|$329 $249||$149 $110|
|Shop Now||Shop Now|
I am a big fan of the Jellen® Portable High Frequency Facial Machine which operates at an oscillating electrical current of up to 250,000 Hertz (cycles per second) yet it is compact enough to use at home or in the treatment room where space may be limited. This system includes a full set of different sized interchangeable electrodes in either violet or orange and is intended for more experienced users and licensed professionals.
The Jellen® High Frequency Facial Wand is an example of an "entry level" device that operates at an oscillating current of up to 100,000 Hz. This type of device is also quite effective and is designed for those who are new to the application of high frequency treatment. Also ideal for frequent travelers, these devices are lightweight and easy to use. They do not offer the ability to interchange electrode sizes and colors but do offer the convenience of portability for use at home and can be very effective when used in between spa visits or as part of one's regular skin care routine!
A Brief History Of High Frequency Treatment
The first high frequency appliance was developed in the late 1800's by renowned scientist Nikola Tesla and was referred to as the Violet Ray. While it offers a number of functions, before the invention of 'modern' antibiotics it was largely used for medical purposes such as in the treatment of strep throat and other infections and to expedite the healing of wounds.
French biophysicist Jacques-Arsène d'Arsonval also did early work in the area of electrotherapy. In 1892 he introduced the use of high frequency currents to treat diseases of the skin and mucous membranes. High frequency is traditionally referred to as "D'Arsonval high frequency" or the "Tesla current".
In the 1970's, European salons discovered the cosmetic and healing benefits of high frequency electrical stimulation on the skin and by 1980, the the technology became widely used in North American by skin care professionals. Considered a very safe and non-invasive approach to skin rejuvenation, high frequency technology became quickly recognized by licensed aestheticians as the leading treatment for many skin conditions ranging from acne to wrinkles to hair loss.
How Does The High Frequency Facial Work?
High frequency facial machines work in conjunction with high frequency electrodes which are made of clear tempered glass and come in a variety different shapes and sizes to facilitate the treatment of various contours of the face and body. When the high frequency electrode is firmly inserted into the high frequency hand piece, a gentle alternating electrical current is generated by the high frequency machine which then passes through the attached glass electrode upon contact with the skin. This contact ignites the inert gas within the electrode which produces healing electrical light energy and unstable oxygen which instantly converts into purifying ozone. In other words, when mixed with the air outside of the electrode, the electrical current infuses the skin with rejuvenating oxygen molecules and a therapeutic zapping or tingling sensation is experienced.
In treating aging skin, high frequency current firms and tones by causing an immediate circulation rush to the skin in addition to subtle tissue warming. These functions cause a very safe and natural contraction of the underlying blood vessels and tiny muscle groups. The dilation of the underlying vessels pushes away toxins, while the cells enjoy a feast of increased nutrients and hydrating volume. This result is in an increase in blood circulation and cell renewal as well as increased production levels of Collagen and Elastin which soften and smooth away wrinkles, reduce pore size and improve overall skin texture.
The application of high frequency current to the skin also promotes a natural cleansing and antibacterial action that helps treat existing acne and prevents the onset of new acne. Clients experiencing cystic acne will benefit greatly from the deep penetrating germicidal action of high frequency. The skin is left feeling instantly energized, rosy, firm, refreshed and noticeably softer - even after just one treatment. The enriched oxygen molecules produced by high frequency machines are safe and have been proven to be effective in helping to heal and restore the skin's health. High frequency is used to treat a range of concerns from skin lesions, acne, waxing procedures and cold sores to fine lines, sagging skin and puffy eyes. Common areas of treatment include the face, neck and scalp but high frequency can be used on the entire body including the back.
Why Do Wattage and Oscillation Rates Matter?
The power level and output strength of a high frequency machine is ultimately measured by the high frequency oscillation rate (measured in Hertz), NOT by the level of wattage! It is important to choose a portable high frequency facial machine that operates at a relatively LOW wattage level (anything less than 10 watts) and a high rate of oscillation (>100,000+ Hz). This optimal combination is a signal of efficiency in operation and output.
I have highlighted a list of recommended home high frequency facial machines above. A quality portable high frequency machine operating at a low level of wattage is more efficient at producing high frequency current, and will last much longer than inexpensively manufactured units running at higher levels of wattage. A portable high frequency machine operating at a HIGH level of wattage (10+ watts) can signal a red flag. Typically, such machines are not as efficient because they have to work very hard to generate the same electrical current output, and are much more prone to internal damage and early coil burnout due to overheating.
The Main Differences Between Orange and Violet High Frequency Electrodes
Quality high frequency electrodes are typically made of tempered glass and filled with either 1) argon gas which produces a subtle violet colored glow, or 2) neon gas which produces an orange glow. The high frequency electrode acts as a safe conductor of the current. High frequency is a wonderful holistic treatment offering a host of benefits for many skin care concerns ranging from acne to wrinkles.
|Electrode Color||Inert Gas Type||Intended Use|
|Orange||Neon||For treating aging skin, scalp and hair|
|Violet||Argon||For treating acne, scalp and hair|
Traditionally, the violet electrode is used by professionals to treat acne prone skin. An extremely small amount of ultra-violet light is emitted when the violet electrode makes contact with the skin. Such brief and low level UV exposure is considered very safe (non-skin damaging) and provides excellent anti-bacterial and healing benefits.
The orange electrodes are generally indicated in the treatment of aging skin because they are said to direct more warmth to the treatment area which promotes blood circulation, encourages cellular turnover and improves product penetration.
About High Frequency Electrode Shapes and Sizes: The Basics
High frequency electrodes are available in a variety of convenient shapes and sizes to facilitate the treatment of different areas of the the face and body. The most commonly used electrode shapes include:
|Electrode Shape||Intended Treatment Area|
|Mushroom||Cheeks, Forehead, Neck, Chest, Back|
|Point||Eye Area, Small Targeted Points, Cystic Acne Spots|
|Spoon||Cheeks, Forehead, Neck, Scalp|
What Are The Benefits Of A High Frequency Facial?
High frequency facials offer a safe and gentle alternative to dramatic plastic surgery procedures, laser resurfacing, chemical peels, Collagen and Botox injections and other invasive skin recovery procedures. When using high frequency for anti-aging purposes, results can vary by individual and skin type, are gradual, and do not occur overnight! Although high frequency has been shown to produce an immediate and temporary lifting effect, continued daily application can provide more cumulative long-term, lasting results. Interestingly, many acne sufferers have found improvements in their complexions after only a few days of use.
1) An Improvement In Acne
Sometimes the body can become immune to certain acne medications if used over an extended period of time. When combined with an effective acne treatment lotion, regular application of high frequency keeps the acne away long after other expensive medications and treatments can fail. High frequency gently cleanses the skin of acne-causing bacteria and unwanted toxins while making the skin more receptive to acne lotions, creams and other skin treatment products. The results can be extremely dramatic - even after only a few treatments! Try to select an acne product that is effective yet gentle on the skin such as Clear Skin Acne and Scar Solution. My personal favorite has always been ProActiv's 3-Step System which uses a specially formulated blend of micro-crystal benzoyl peroxide to attack the acne cycle to clear current blemishes and help prevent new ones from forming. I like these systems because they are effective in combination with high frequency yet gentler on the skin and do not not cause excessive redness. Many of our clients have reported excellent results using these two lines of acne topicals together with our Jellen High Frequency Wand and our Jellen Professional-Grade High Frequency System (for licensed professionals).
2) A Reduction in Enlarged Pores & Blackheads
With regular use, high frequency facials can be quite effective at reducing the size of enlarged pores, softening skin, controlling excess sebum production and eliminating the occurrence of blackheads. The gentle spray of oxygen molecules produced by the high frequency current diminish enlarged pores by penetrating deep down into the root of the affected area and cleaning out unwanted debris and toxins allowing the pore to quickly regain its natural size once again. I have found that the best products to use in conjunction with high frequency treatment to help shrink down large pores are clay or mud masks. Oshi Glows makes an excellent healing Facial Clay Mask that contains gentle ingredients such as Bentonite & Kaolin in addition to ocean mineral rich kelp and spirulina to reduce inflammation and irritations and give your skin a healthy, radiant glow and Pure Body Naturals offers a best-selling Dead Sea Mud Mask product that as it dries, pulls out the toxins and excess oils from the skin and helps shrink down the size of your pores.
3) A Softening of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, and Sagging Skin
The oscillating action of high frequency can increase blood circulation, which in turn nourishes the skin's surface and renews underlying cells. It also produces an enriched form of oxygen, which can provide the skin with a firm, youthful, vibrant glow. It can diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, tighten double chins and jowls and improve overall skin texture and tone by promoting increased collagen production. Be sure to follow up treatment with a high quality, organic topical such as Jellen® Organic Hyaluronic Acid Illuminating Serum which contains natural brighteners and other organic ingredients to help even out skin tone, improve texture and restore elasticity and suppleness to dry, aging skin by reinforcing the skin's protective barrier function. This serum is also ideal for those with combination or acne-prone skin as it is non-oily, easily absorbing, light-weight does not clog pores and contains a host of skin calming organic botanical extracts.
4) A Reduction in Eye Puffiness
The pulsating "oxygenation" action produced by high frequency current aids in lymphatic drainage and disperses excess fluid while increasing blood circulation. The result is a reduction in the appearance of congested, tired, puffy eyes. High frequency also helps the skin more efficiently absorb skin care products thereby extending their effectiveness.
5) A Fading of Dark Eye Circles
New scientific research has shown the cause of severe dark eye circles to be broken capillaries that have leaked hemoglobin, creating a red-blue pigment deposit under the eyes. High frequency creates a circulation rush in the area and helps your current under eye product penetrate deeper into the skin tissue. The application of high frequency can be very effective at fading dark under eye circles resulting in a fresher, brighter, more youthful looking appearance.
6) An Improvement In The Appearance of Cellulite
With regular use, high frequency treatment can be very effective at reducing reducing the appearance of cellulite when used in conjunction with a quality cellulite product (see below for recommendations). For years, the skin care industry has relied on this same high frequency, oxygen molecule producing technology to aid in lymphatic drainage, gently exfoliate the skin, increase blood, circulation, assist in the production of collagen and elastin and promote healthy cell metabolism. The result: smoother, firmer, more refined skin.
7) Healthier Hair Growth
Through its rapid oscillation, high frequency current improves the process of nourishment, gently exfoliates the skin, promotes local blood circulation, stimulates local glandular activity, supplies heat to the area which is soothing to the nervous system and significantly improves the scalp's receptiveness to and the overall effectiveness of post-treatment hair growth formulas. For many years, hairdressers have used high frequency current technology to revitalize scalp conditions which can aid in promoting healthier hair growth. For more on hair loss solutions, please see: 6 Natural Ways To Stimulate Hair Growth.
The Importance of Grounding Plugs
It is important that any high frequency facial machine operating at over 5 watts offers a three-pronged power supply plug. The third grounding pin is a critical safety feature that prevents against the risk of shock to you or damage to your high frequency facial machine during operation. Superior quality portable high frequency machines will offer a three-pronged power plug for safety.
Are High Frequency Facials Considered Safe?
High frequency facials are considered a safe and gentle therapeutic approach to skin rejuvenation however the following contraindications should be noted:
- Avoid using aggressive AHA or glycolic acid products with high frequency as they an over-dry the skin, especially during the winter months.
- Avoid treating areas of broken capillaries, spider veins and rosacea as high frequency may exacerbate these conditions.
- Do not use if you are pregnant, have a pacemaker or history of heart disease.
- Avoid wearing metal jewelry during high frequency treatment to avoid risk of shock.
- Never operate the high frequency system with a broken bulb.
- Do not use outdoors, near water or around combustible substances.