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Fractional RF with Pixel8 is an innovative non-surgical way to achieve skin tightening and smoothening through the precise delivery of radiofrequency (RF) energy. By adjusting the amount of energy, depth, and areas of treatment, Fractional RF can be customized to improve the appearance of the skin by reducing skin laxity, fine lines, wrinkles, pore size, rough or pebbly texture (“solar elastosis”), stretch marks (“striae”), and scars, including surgical scars and acne scars.
Small needles (“microneedles”) quickly penetrate the skin and deliver energy (bipolar RF) at targeted depths below the skin’s surface to induce tissue tightening, texture smoothening, collagen and elastic fiber remodeling and regeneration. What sets Pixel8 apart from other fractional RF devices is its sophisticated, precise engineering and software. Compared to some other devices, Pixel8 allows needle depth to be much more customizable, ranging from 0.5mm to 3.5mm and adjustable in 0.1mm increments. Pixel8 has a powerful energy source that achieves a higher level of temperature control and more consistent delivery than many other similar devices; this optimizes the comfort, safety, and effectiveness of each treatment. The different sizes of treatment tips allow additional ways in which treatment can be individualized to your needs.
The flexibility and energy-based design of Fractional RF with Pixel8 make it a great option for a wide variety of skin problems, and it may be used on all skin types and colors. We customize each treatment to optimize skin tightening, texture, and tone. Some of our favorite effects of treatment include:
Fractional RF should not be performed on people with a history of poor wound-healing, keloid or excess scar formation, prior radiation treatment in the intended area of treatment or keloid formation. If you are pregnant or lactating (breastfeeding), you should not undergo treatment with Fractional RF. If you have been on isotretinoin (e.g. Accutane, Absorica, Amnesteem, Claravis), wait at least 6 months after your last dose prior to undergoing treatment with Fractional RF.
Given the differences between patients, the choice of topical anesthesia varies from person to person. Most patients choose to come to our office 1.5 hours prior to their treatment time. Our staff apply anesthetic cream or ointment to the skin, and the patient can relax in a private room while the skin becomes numb.
Then, after thoroughly cleansing the skin, the tip of the Pixel8 handpiece is repetitively placed on the skin surface in a “stamping” or “pulsing” fashion. During treatment, we often use a “Zimmer” chiller to deliver a stream of cool air onto the skin, enhancing comfort during the procedure.
(See also above section on numbing in-office versus at home.) The actual treatment time can vary from 15 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the size of the areas undergoing treatment and the intensity of treatment.
Immediately after treatment, the skin is rosy and slightly sensitive and swollen, like a mild to moderate sunburn. This typically resolves in 2 to 5 days and may itch or be sensitive during the healing period. Bruising is uncommon but may occur in patients on blood thinners, those with thin skin, or in certain treatment areas, such as near the eyes.
On the day of treatment, skincare should be limited to those recommended by your provider (e.g. Alastin Regenerating Nectar). The next day moisturizers, sunscreen and makeup may be applied (see information on Pre- and Post-treatment for Fractional RF with Pixel8).
Depending on the intensity of treatment and your skin color, dark pinpoint spots may appear immediately or a few days after treatment. These represent laser-stimulated skin that is being rejuvenated; the spots will emerge and exfoliate (flake) over the next 1 to 3 weeks (or sometimes longer on some areas of the body). Moisturizers reduce itching and flaking and hasten the healing process (e.g. SkinBetter Trio or Medical Barrier Cream). Daily broad-spectrum sun protection is critical and optimizes the results.
Some patients notice immediate skin tightening and reduction of lines after treatment; however, those with more skin laxity and deeper lines may not see immediate benefits. In fact, certain areas, such as the neck, may look worse before skin improvement develops. The process of remodeling and building collagen and elastic fibers takes months, and results look better at 1-2 months and even better at 6 months.
Most patients need 3 treatments to see skin tightening, softening of lines, and overall texture improvement. Scars may require 5 to 6 treatment sessions. The optimal number of treatments depends on the condition of your skin prior to treatment, the type of problem(s) we are addressing, and your individual response. Treatment sessions are typically at least 1-2 months apart and may be spaced further apart. If you have had skin filler treatment, wait at least 1 month before undergoing treatment with Fractional RF with Pixel8.
The reduction of lines, skin tightening, and texture improvement are due to skin remodeling and stimulation of collagen and elastin fibers. This is a long-term benefit, which can be seen as an “upgrade” or long-term enhancement of the skin. All of us, however, continue to age, so although Fractional RF with Pixel8 may enhance the appearance of the skin, the ongoing damage, loss of collagen and elasticity continues. By optimizing your health, including your skincare, you slow the rate at which skin damage occurs and, in turn, optimize the health and appearance of your skin.
*Results may vary by individual