6th June 2023

Unlock Youthful Radiance: Radiofrequency vs. Microcurrent for Skin Tightening

Last Modified: July 3, 2024

If you’ve been looking for ways to reverse lax, sagging skin you may come across two popular skin tightening treatments: radiofrequency and microcurrent. Both of these non-invasive techniques claim to help lift and rejuvenate your skin, but what are the differences, and which one might be best suited for you? In this article, we will delve into the main aspects of these two modalities, shedding light on their benefits and functionalities.

Radiofrequency treatments use controlled heat to stimulate collagen and elastin production within your skin, resulting in an instant tightening effect. Meanwhile, microcurrent treatments use low-level electrical currents to mimic your body's natural processes, targeting the muscles under the skin to provide a firmer, lifted appearance. While both options can contribute to a more youthful complexion, there are distinct differences in how they work and the results they deliver.

In order to select the most suitable treatment for your individual skin needs, it's important to understand the pros and cons of each method. Weighing the effectiveness, costs, and potential side effects associated with radiofrequency and microcurrent technologies is key to achieving your skin tightening goals.

Radiofrequency vs Microcurrent Technologies

Fundamentals of Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency (RF) technology involves the use of electromagnetic waves to generate heat and stimulate collagen production in your skin. This process helps tighten and lift your skin, improving its overall appearance. The frequency range for RF treatments is typically between 1 MHz and 6 MHz. As you undergo an RF treatment, your skin's temperature increases, facilitating collagen remodeling and providing tightening effects.

RF treatments are non-invasive and can efficiently target various skin concerns such as sagging skin, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Some benefits of radiofrequency treatments for skin tightening include:

  • Instant skin tightening effects
  • Ongoing improvement in skin elasticity due to increased collagen production
  • Improved skin tone and a general healthier appearance

Related: Morpheus8 RF Microneedling vs NuEra Tight with FocalRF Technology

Fundamentals of Microcurrent

Microcurrent technology, on the other hand, uses low-level electrical currents to stimulate your facial muscles and encourage cellular activity. This process promotes collagen and elastin production, essential for maintaining youthful-looking skin and reducing sagging or fine lines. Microcurrent treatments typically use a frequency range between 0.1 Hz and 1000 Hz.

During a microcurrent treatment, gentle electrical currents pass through your skin, targeting facial muscles and tissues beneath the skin's surface. Some of the benefits associated with microcurrent treatments for skin tightening are:

  • Lifting and toning facial muscles
  • Enhanced blood circulation, which improves skin appearance
  • Boosted collagen and elastin production for firmer, more supple skin

Both radiofrequency and microcurrent technologies offer non-invasive approaches to skin tightening and rejuvenation. As you consider these treatment options, be aware of their distinct mechanisms and benefits to determine which method aligns best with your skin goals and personal preferences.

How They Work for Skin Tightening

Radiofrequency Mechanism

Radiofrequency (RF) therapy works by using controlled energy waves to heat the deep layers of your skin. This heat triggers your body's natural wound healing response, which in turn stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are essential proteins responsible for maintaining the elasticity and firmness of your skin.

As this process occurs, fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) are activated, leading to a gradual increase in collagen production. The growth of new collagen fibers results in the tightening of your skin and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Moreover, radiofrequency can also improve your skin's overall tone, giving it a healthier, more youthful appearance.

This topic is covered more in-depth in our comprehensive guide on Radiofrequency Skin Tightening.

Microcurrent Mechanism

Microcurrent therapy, on the other hand, targets the facial muscles beneath your skin rather than the skin tissue itself. The low-level electrical current delivered during this treatment mimics your body's natural current.

This subtle current helps to retrain your facial muscles and stimulates the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in your cells. ATP is essential for cellular energy production, facilitating various cellular processes such as collagen and elastin synthesis.

As your facial muscles tighten and strengthen, they begin to lift, providing support to your skin and reducing sagging. Additionally, increased collagen and elastin production contributes to improved skin texture and tone, creating a more youthful and revitalized appearance.


To summarize, the key differences in how radiofrequency and microcurrent therapies work for skin tightening are:

  • Radiofrequency focuses on heating the skin layers to stimulate collagen and elastin production.
  • Microcurrent targets underlying facial muscles, stimulating ATP production and promoting collagen and elastin synthesis.

Comparing Radiofrequency and Microcurrent


Radiofrequency (RF) treatments work by producing heat to encourage the production of collagen and elastin, resulting in tightened skin. This method can help to instantly lift and tighten your skin, while also offering long-term benefits by increasing collagen and elastin production. Furthermore, it improves your skin tone, giving it a rosy glow and a healthier appearance.

Microcurrent therapy, on the other hand, focuses on tightening the muscles beneath your skin. By using sub-sensory currents, this treatment "re-trains" your facial muscles, leading to a more toned and lifted appearance. 

Side Effects

Both radiofrequency and microcurrent treatments are generally considered safe and non-invasive. However, there are some minor side effects that you may experience from each.

  • Radiofrequency: Potential side effects include temporary redness, swelling, or mild discomfort during the treatment. These should resolve on their own shortly after the session.
  • Microcurrent: Possible side effects can include a mild tingling sensation during the treatment, as well as temporary muscle stiffness afterwards. However, most people don't experience any discomfort or significant side effects.


When it comes down to the choice between radiofrequency and microcurrent therapies, consider your individual needs and preferences.

  • If you're seeking to tighten skin and improve your skin tone, radiofrequency may be the better option. It's particularly effective in reducing wrinkles and lifting your skin, making it a popular anti-aging treatment.
  • For those looking to tone muscles and achieve a more defined facial contour, microcurrent therapy may be a more suitable choice. The muscle-toning effects of this treatment can contribute to a lifted appearance, especially around areas like the jawline and cheekbones.

It's important to consult a licensed professional to discuss which treatment is best suited for your specific needs and to ensure the safest and most effective results.

Discuss The Best Option For You With Birmingham’s Leading Aesthetic Doctor

Treatment Process and Results

Radiofrequency Treatments

During a radiofrequency (RF) facial treatment, an electromagnetic device is used to generate heat, stimulating the production of collagen, elastin, and new skin cells. This non-surgical facelift helps firm and lift sagging skin. The treatment is relatively painless and there's minimal downtime, meaning you can return to your daily activities quickly. You might experience some redness and swelling, but these side effects typically subside within a few hours to a couple of days.

RF treatments are particularly effective at tightening the skin around the jawline, giving a more youthful and contoured appearance.

At Dr Aestehtica we use one of the world's leading radiofrequency devices:  NuEra® Tight with FocalRF® Technology

radiofrequency vs microcurrent

Microcurrent Treatments

Microcurrent treatments use low-level electrical currents that mimic the body's natural processes. The goal is to retrain and tighten the facial muscles beneath the skin. Microcurrent treatments are typically painless since the currents are sub-sensory, meaning they shouldn't be felt during the procedure.

You can usually expect little to no downtime after a microcurrent treatment, so you can resume your daily activities almost immediately. Mild redness is possible but should dissipate quickly. Swelling and pain are generally not associated with microcurrent therapy.

Microcurrent treatments focus on the muscles underneath the skin rather than just the skin itself, offering a more comprehensive approach to facial rejuvenation. As the muscles are tightened, it can help improve the overall appearance of the face, including the jawline. Regular maintenance sessions may be needed to preserve the results.

Professional Advice and Recommendations

Deciding Which Treatment to Choose

To decide between radiofrequency and microcurrent treatments for skin tightening, it's essential to consult with a dermatologist, aesthetics doctor, or plastic surgeon. They can assess your skin's specific needs and recommend the most effective treatment for you. Make sure to share your skin concerns, goals, and medical history during the consultation to help the professional decide which treatment is right for you and develop a customized treatment plan.

Book a Consultation with Birmingham’s Leading Aesthetic Doctor

Precautions and Contraindications

Like any other skincare treatments, radiofrequency and microcurrent have some precautions and contraindications that you must consider before undergoing the procedure.


  • People with pacemakers or metal implants should avoid radiofrequency treatments, as the waves can interfere with the devices and cause complications.
  • Pregnant women are advised to postpone radiofrequency treatments, as the effects on the unborn baby are not well-studied.
  • If you have rosacea or other skin conditions, consult your dermatologist before undergoing radiofrequency treatments.


  • Microcurrent treatments should not be performed on people with pacemakers, as the electrical currents can interfere with the device's function.
  • Pregnant women are also advised to avoid microcurrent treatments, as the safety of the procedure during pregnancy is unclear.
  • Open wounds and active skin infections should be healed before any microcurrent treatments, as the therapy could exacerbate the condition or introduce bacteria into the wound.

In addition, both radiofrequency and microcurrent treatments may have side effects, such as redness, swelling, tenderness, or bruising, which should be discussed with the professional during your consultation. Always follow the aftercare instructions provided by your provider to ensure proper healing and get the best results from your chosen treatment.


In the quest for achieving youthful radiance and firm skin, two popular techniques have emerged as powerful contenders: radiofrequency and microcurrent for skin tightening. Both methods offer unique benefits and have their rightful place in the realm of aesthetic treatments. Whether you're looking to enhance your natural beauty or combat the signs of ageing, we hope this post has helped you understand the differences between these two approaches.

Radiofrequency provides deep-reaching skin tightening benefits while microcurrent offers a unique approach by focusing on muscle stimulation and toning.

Remember, choosing between radiofrequency and microcurrent ultimately depends on individual preferences, desired outcomes, and specific skin concerns. That’s why consulting with a qualified aesthetic professional is crucial to determine the best course of action for your specific skin concerns. They can assess your unique needs and guide you toward the most suitable treatment option, whether it be radiofrequency, microcurrent, or a combination of both, helping you unlock your youthful radiance.

Book Your Consultation Today!

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 6th June 2023
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

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