Zap Your Zits, *Literally* : How High Frequency Can Change Your Skin

by Julia Gibson


Zap Your Zits, *Literally* : How High Frequency Can Change Your Skin

No joke, this can actually flatten pimples.

Welcome to Bo-Talks, our feature series where we talk with industry professionals about the treatments, tips, and tricks that can change your skin for the better.

I have to admit: I’m a sucker for a high-tech skincare device. You can’t separate me from my FOREO, I love LED therapy, and I’m currently torn between splurging on a Nuface or a ZIIP. There’s something that feels so…effective about a device. I like my skincare to be on the cutting edge, you know?

So when I found out about a little thing called high frequency, I was instantly intrigued. It sounded right up my alley, and I had to learn more. Luckily, Medical Aesthetician Caitlin Ribbans knows it all when it comes to zapping your face (hey, anything for beauty). 

Before we get into the skincare benefits, let’s start with some science. What exactly is high frequency and how does it work? “High frequency (HF) is a type of electrotherapy that uses a glass electrode, argon gas, and an alternating, brightly colored current,” says Ribbans. As the current moves through the glass in the electrode, it creates oxygen molecules, as well as a buzzing and glowing that’s unique to the treatment. In addition to being great for killing off bacteria, this process also stimulates nerve endings and increases collagen production.

This bacteria-killing capability makes this treatment an amazing option for those acne-prone patients. “HF is a great option for hormonal acne because unlike other machines, it can kill pesky bacteria under the skin’s surface, where cystic and hormonal pimples live,” says Ribbans. “It’s great after extractions to close any openings, as well as kill congestion underneath the skin. The results are pretty immediate, especially where extractions are done, as the skin flattens in response to HF.” Immediately flattened zits? We’re in.

Okay, this sounds like a zit-busting dream, but what does it feel like to have an electrode on your face? No pain, according to Ribbans. “You can expect a buzzing sound, accompanied by a tingling sensation on the skin, but no discomfort at all,” she says. “For really stubborn pimples, I may “zap” a few times (with warning beforehand) to give extra power to the electrode where necessary.” 

“Unlike other machines, High Frequency can kill pesky bacteria under the skin’s surface.”

For those beauty DIY-ers, this might not be the best project to do at home. Although you can purchase and use a high-frequency wand kit yourself, make sure you proceed with caution. “You can zap yourself or use a wand incorrectly, resulting in discomfort.” says Ribbans. “Examples of misuse include using the electrode on wet skin, touching metal while using the treatment, or using frequency for too long at a time and burning the skin.” Overall, she says, “it’s better to leave it to a pro.” If you have epilepsy or excessive dental work, let your aesthetician know: they might determine this treatment isn’t right for you. And avoid high-frequency treatments altogether if you are pregnant or have large metal implants such as pacemakers. 

If you’re all cleared for high frequency, regular treatments are going to be your best bet for maintaining clear, clean, and glowing skin. “High-frequency treatments are a part of every facial at FACILE, which I recommend getting every 4 weeks,” Ribbans says. “However, HF is safe to have done as often as desired.”

Interview courtesy of Caitlin Ribbans, Medical Aesthetician (@skincarebycait)

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