Pelleve – radiofrequency for skin tightening
Article medically reviewed by Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS, cosmetic physician, liposuctionist)
Templestowe Lower and Berwick Clinics
Dr. Gavin Chan has a background in intensive care, anaesthesia, and emergency medicine. Since 2004, Dr. Chan has provided cosmetic procedures, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, liposuction, fat transfer, skin needling, and laser treatments. He is a doctor trainer for various dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections. Read More
Traditionally, skin tightening has been done with surgical methods. But not everyone wants to go under the knife. In more recent years there have been a plethora of machines released for skin tightening. Most of the machines released have utilised heat energy to heat the skin up to a critical temperature, where the collagen contracts. A crude analogy of this would be the shrinkage you see when you put a steak on a frypan. Of course, such high temperatures are not required for skin tightening.
How Pelleve radiofrequency works
Through the use of radiofrequency, Pelleve gradually heats the skin to a temperature of 39 to 42 degrees celsius. Radiofrequency waves are passed from an electrode on a handpiece that is moved over the treatment area to a neutral (receiving) plate attached on another part of the body. Unlike other radiofrequency devices, this is done in a very gradual and gentle manner. At this temperature (from 39-42 degrees celsius), the bonds between the collagen fibres are disrupted. This causes collagen to contract and spring together, just like a spring does when released from a stretched position.
How many treatments will I need?
We usually recommend an initial course of 2-3 treatments spaced about 2 months apart. Maintenance treatments can then be performed at the patient’s will to further the improvement.
How long does it last?
The remodelling of the collagen and skin tightening are permanent, bearing in mind that the natural process of ageing and the effects of gravity cannot be avoided. Therefore, we do recommend having a maintenance treatment every so often to keep the results at optimal levels.
Alternatives to Pelleve
Although Pelleve is effective in helping the skin to tighten, there are more effective alternatives. These include the Infini, which is also radiofrequency based. However, the Infini delivers the radiofrequency energy through the tips of needles that penetrate the skin up to 3.5mm. The advantage of the Infini is that it the radiofrequency energy penetrates the skin more deeply, and it can reach higher temperatures than the Pelleve. The disadvantage of the Infini in comparison to the Pelleve is that it requires a few days of recovery. Pelleve is less invasive, and usually requires no recovery period.
Ultherapy is another treatment that uses focused ultrasound to deliver heat energy up to 4mm beneath the skin to help to heat and tighten the foundational layers of the skin.
For more information on skin tightening, see our skin tightening page.