Is Pelleve the safest radiofrequency treatment for the outer layer of skin?

Dear Dr.Irwin, is pelleve treatment the least damaging radio frequency treatment for the outer layer of the skin (facial)? Thank you so much! Vera

In general, radiofrequency passes through the outer layer of skin without damaging it.  This is true for all radiofrequency systems.   The occasional problems with these systems, which include Thermage, Exilis, Pelleve and others is that if the person doing the treatment isn’t knowledgeable or careful, the energy can “arc” and cause a burn.  The other problem is lack of effect.

I know these systems are confusing for all of you because many doctors (including me sometimes :)) find these confusing.  They are being heavily marketed, very few have any real data behind them and they promise (seemingly) to do everything.  From a technical point of view they come in unipolar, bipolar, and several other incarnations – again without a ton of data.

I still think that these systems including Thermage (face) and Exilis (face, neck and body) are an excellent choice for patients who fit a certain age range, degree of sun damage and skin type.   But they can be a huge waste of money and time if you are not the right person for this type of treatment!

In my opinion, Thermage and Exilis, so far have the best track records and data behind them.  Stay away from “medi spas” where there is no full-time board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon on site. 

Hope this helps,  Dr. I


Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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