What’s the secret to tighter and better looking skin? Can one treatment really target fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars and photoaging at the same time as tightening, with minimal discomfort or recovery time? As we age the quality of our skin diminishes. It becomes duller and more sallow and loses its vibrancy and elasticity. Sun damage causes discoloration and wrinkling, while the breaking down of collagen causes everything to sag. Demand for treatments which improve skin texture and appearance without significant downtime are on the rise. I went to visit London skin guru Renée Lapino at the Renée Lapino Clinic in Belgravia to try Cutera’s Secret RF treatment and find out.
For this week’s Tweak of the Week, I went to Neville’s in Belgravia, London, to visit medically-trained facialist Renee Lapino and try out Secret RF, a novel fractional radiofrequency micro-needling treatment from Cutera. Designed to revitalise, refresh, tighten and lift the skin and address the common signs of ageing, the treatment uses micro-needles to allow the practitioner to deliver energy at various depths, so it can be tailored to each individual’s needs. By combining the two technologies – RF and micro-needling – Secret RF gives a double whammy when it comes boosting collagen and elastin. And it’s suitable for all skin types. I wanted to find out how effective it was and see what the treatment felt like.
You can watch the video to see how it went, or read the transcript of our talk, below.
This video is sponsored by Cutera.
Alice Hart-Davis: Hello my name is Alice Hart-Davis and welcome to this week's Tweak of the Week. I've come to Neville's in Belgravia in London to try a treatment called Secret RF. RF stands for radiofrequency which is a kind of energy that can be used to tighten up the skin; this particular treatment delivers that energy through micro needles and I think the secret bit is that it doesn't leave your face looking a complete mess afterwards, although it's meant to be really effective. So I'm going to go and meet Renee Lapino who is the therapist who is doing this treatment and come with me we'll see how it goes.
AHD: So I'm here with Renee Lapino who is a medical facialist who is going to be doing the treatment this morning. Renee, tell me , what is Secret RF?
Renee Lapino: So Secret RF is actually a combination of radiofrequency and microneedling so you're combining that needling with the radiofrequency all the way through the needle.
AHD: Ok and what the radiofrequency is going to do in the skin is, heating it up and those needles are going to get it that bit deeper than it would normally go.
RL: Well, you have two basically responses, so the response to microneedling and the response to the radiofrequency. Radiofrequency stimulates your body's own cellular response so the heat that you feel is your own body's heat, that heat is going to boost circulation which is going to tighten existing elastin and collagen but also boost new collagen. Microneedling does something similar: it creates a controlled wound and then the body begins to boost fibroblast activity which of course tightens the elastin, tightens the collagen and boosts new collagen. So those two together you get the combined effect of very similar treatments but treatments that together are exponentially greater.
AHD: Wow so what I would hope to see from this is tightening, lifting and it can be done all around the face.
RL: All around the face all over the body. A lot of patients do their neck as well because it's great on the jaw. It's really beautiful to contour the jaw and lift the cheek so before someone goes for a thread lift this is like a good segue beforehand. When you're ready to move on from just the radio frequency and you aren't quite ready for a thread lift this is a great in-between so it contours, lifts and softens the fine lines and wrinkles.
AHD: Sounds good.
RL: Yeah - and it helps with enlarged pores.
AHD: And also these are both technologies -- radiofrequency and microneedling -- that can work on any skin tone can't they?
RL: Yes both of them are completely safe so we can treat the darkest darkest skin type the fairest skin type so yeah it is a safe treatment with very minimal downtime.
AHD: Fantastic..and needles am I going to need anesthesia before this?
RL: So we find that because the needles are combined with radiofrequency that you actually have less discomfort the deeper that we go.
RL: It depends on what we're treating, so if you're wanting to do a really great lift and tightening we're actually going to go around two to three millimeters deep and it's not as uncomfortable.
RL: When you're doing the shallow needle because all of that energy is so shallow in the skin which is where the nerve endings are it actually is a little more uncomfortable.
AHD: Ok so do I need numbing cream.
RL: We usually do numbing cream for the first appointment.
RL: I don't even put it through the cheeks because you don't need it, as we're going to take it so deep into the skin we just do the forehead around the mouth because that's quite sensitive and a little in the chin.
AHD: Fantastic so is this a one-off or do I need several sessions to see the best results?
RL: You're going to see results from each treatment, some patients have one depending on their existing skin condition and their goals that may be more than enough to give them the results they're looking for. We recommend if you want the maximum lift, maximum new texture, plumpness to your tissue to have three total and you would have them separated by three to six weeks.
AHD: Ok sounds great, right we're gonna get that cream on?
RL: Yeah let’s get going.
AHD: This is 12% numbing cream which is very much what I need before microneedling and I mean it'll be fine on the cheeks but you know on the forehead I think that's where I’m going to need a bit of help.
RL: What I tell patients is the first week or so you're going to be kind of like, 'Ok well I mean I look good but I don't look like I've had an amazing treatment I just look like I've had a basic facial.' At about two weeks is when you'll start to feel like wow my face looks really great.
RL: And people will start to comment at a month, this is when you're gonna go. 'Holy crap I look fantastic!'
RL: You're gonna walk by the mirror and be super happy. I'm going to go Nice and deep but it's not too uncomfortable just one shot okay, okay one two three, okay, how was that?
AHD: That's fine.
RL: Now that's three millimetres deep.
RL: Exactly, okay so you're doing alright, so what I'm going to do is work in little sections and then I'll stop after each section. So we really want to do a nice overlap so that way I know that you're getting very thorough deep treatment.
RL: How's that feeling?
AHD: It's the strangest feeling umm it's like one clean punch I can't tell that there's a lot of needles going in at once it's...
RL: Kind of like a little zap yeah.
AHD: So the micro-needling is creating the damage all the way down and then the radiofrequency is being delivered into the lower layers.
RL: Yes exactly yeah you got it.
AHD: Ok, so what we're working on today is particularly that sort of droop that I get around the sides of my mouth when I'm not animating my face because you know... age.
RL: It's most common in women that are naturally lean that have leaner faces. We don't have the fat to plump up the face and lift yet so yeah you do get more of that sad droop around the mouth so this really helps to lift it and contour the face, lift the cheek, a lot of people don't realize as we age the muscles, the skull actually begins to widen and so the muscles kind of move down because they don't have the bones to sit on anymore and as that happens then you get the saggy look which a lot of people fix with filler but what we really want to do is lift that cheek back up rather than just put filler in there.
AHD: For sure.
RL: How are you feeling?
AHD: Feeling fine, so each pass is doing 64 needle tips into my skin..
AHD: Wow, best not to to think about really, it's just little flickering stabs is what it feels like, I know I'm not making that sound hugely attractive but, you know it's uncomfortable, but it's not painful I think that’s best how to describe it. I mean if people have to describe it on a pain level of I don't know one to ten where would they normally put it?
RL: A four or five is what most people say, it feels like to me do you remember the little TB test where they would scratch your skin
RL: That's what it feels like to me when it's on the forehead because it's like sharp and you don't like it but it's not horrible and painful you're just like oh it's like a sharp scratch.
AHD: Is there a particular age that is more keen on this treatment than others, or who are you finding.
RL: I would say early 30s through mid 50s, usually when you, if you haven't had anything done and you're having trouble with your jawline I might refer you to someone to have a thread popped in. It just depends on the condition of your skin, now if you've had treatments and taken care of your skin then you're going to be a little bit older and still using these treatments and getting a great result.
AHD: Ok that's amazing [as Renee puts on the soothing mask]
RL: It’s everyone’s favourite part.
AHD: So this is to take the heat out of the treatment?
RL: Yeah and it's also full of all kinds of yummies, you have all those channels in your skin now from the needles so it's going to get, it's both peptides, and antioxidants.
RL: So it's going to help those peptides of course you need peptides to feed the fibroblasts as they begin to work so it's basically going to give your skin the ingredients it needs to get the best results because we keep that in fridge because it just feels amazing.
AHD: Feels fantastic thank-you.
AHD: I cannot believe this, this is 20 minutes after that last shot I did and the redness has just gone. Renee you're an absolute magician here, with all your magic.
RL: Yeah. So you're going to feel a little bit sore this evening at worst, so I tell everyone don't use any actives the day of the treatment, no retinols, no acids, simply cleanse your skin with a cream or an oil cleanser and then apply a gentle moisturiser. Tomorrow you can proceed as normal with all of your skin care, just avoid retinols and scrubs or exfoliants for five days.
RL: And that's it, obviously keep spf on because you've had a treatment, I'm putting on a mineral spf now the Heliocare mineral product.
AHD: I love it yeah.
RL: So you'll be good.
AHD: So a secret treatment if you don't want people to know what you've had done, this is a good one to go for.
AHD: So that was Secret RF and I'm absolutely amazed because it was quite an aggressive needling and radiofrequency procedure but you know, look at my face now, half an hour after treatment it looks absolutely fine that's the secret bit, so intensive radio frequency delivered through needles into the skin. I'm looking forward to some lifting and tightening and I'll let you know how I get on. That was this week's ‘Tweak of the Week’ thank-you for watching.
This Tweak of the Week is sponsored by Cutera