Cavitation/RF Oil, Cream, Serum or Gel: When to Use Which and Which Works Best - LipoTherapeia | London cellulite experts (2023)

Cream, gel, oil or serum: what is the best conductive medium for radiofrequency and ultrasound cavitation treatments?

  • “Radiofrequency” is a general term for treatment with different types of high-frequency electrical currents.

  • Different machines use different frequencies, from an extra low 300 kHz to an extra high 5 GHz

  • The types of physical phenomena at play in these different machines are quite different, and therefore different contact fluids are needed at different frequencies.

  • Generally, gels and serums can be used with low frequencies, oils with higher frequencies, glycerin with most frequencies, and lotions and creams are not as practical...

Full review below

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[Caution / Disclaimer]

The analysis below is for educational purposes only. For safety reasons, DO NOT change the contact medium of the radio frequency treatment without first consulting the manufacturer or distributor of your machine. Blind experimentation may cause burns or other injuries/irritations. This article is NOT professional advice.

Radio frequency at lower frequencies

Low frequency machines (300 kHz to 1 MHz) are based on ionic currents that create heat in the tissues and unfortunately also on the skin surface depending on the treatment medium.

In this case, gels or creams with high water content applied to the skin will have little resistance to the electricity generated by the RF machine and therefore will not heat up.

However, being made mostly of water, gels and creams will evaporate with constant movement and heating, which means constant application of gel or cream will be necessary.

radiofrequency treatment gels

Gels, which are just water and thickener, are the most unstable as the dried thickener will flake off and create a big mess.

RF treatment creams

With creams, however, things are more complicated. A cream is a mixture of water and oil.

When the water evaporates, due to the heat and constant movement of the RF handpiece, we are left with oil, which is not absorbed as quickly as water through the skin. This will actually represent more resistance to the RF currents and will therefore get hot.

This means that unless we keep replenishing the cream, we are going to have very high surface heating. This defeats the entire purpose of radiofrequency treatment, which is deep heating.

The solution is to use a low fat/high water cream to make sure you don't run too early into the treatment with an oily cream that will create epidermal overheating. Still, we have to keep replenishing, to avoid epidermal overheating.

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RF Treatment Serums

Obviously, the use of sera during low frequency RF treatment is not practical, as sera evaporate quickly. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn't absorb deeply into the skin either. They only stay on the epidermis (total waste of money, but try explaining it to "beauty experts"...)

Glycerol and Glycol RF Treatment Products

There is also a fourth option as a contact medium for low frequency RF, consisting of glycerin, propylene glycol, hydroglycolic gels and hydroglycolic creams. Glycerin* and propylene glycol** are not as electrically resistant as oil at these frequencies and do not absorb into the skin as quickly as water, so they fall somewhere in between, providing a good compromise. Even so, they heat up the skin perhaps more than we want, so combining them with water, in the form of a hydroglycolic gel, or with water and oil, in the form of a hydroglycolic cream-gel, is an even better compromise.

* Many low power RF machines normally operate with pure glycerin as the contact medium, which overheats the epidermis, creates skin redness and high temperature, and fools unsuspecting therapists and clients that the machine is too strong. It's not. It's just that glycerin overheats the epidermis while deep down the dermis and hypodermis feel very little.

** Propylene Glycol is never used alone as it is very runny and makes a mess everywhere. Propylene glycol also superheats the surface, as does glycerin.

RF treatment oils

El aceite como medio de contacto con un tratamiento de RF de baja frecuencia crearía un arco eléctrico entre la piel y la máquina, lo que provocaría quemaduras. Definitivamente no recomendado.

Non-contact radiofrequency treatment

Finally, not having a contact medium with low frequency RF treatment would create an electrical arc between the skin and the machine, resulting in burns. Definitely not recommended.

Radio frequency at higher frequencies

Higher frequency machines (10 MHz to 5 GHz) are based on the rotation of water molecules that generate heat in the tissues and, unfortunately, also on the skin's surface, depending on the treatment medium.

RF treatment gels and creams

In this case, products containing water (gels, creams, hydroalcoholic gels/creams, serums) cannot be used as a treatment medium, as they will heat up excessively, burning the epidermis.

So there are two options left: glycerin/propylene glycol or oil.

Glycerol/glycol products for radiofrequency treatment

Again, in this case, the glycerin/propylene glycol will give the illusion of an effective treatment, as it will heat up on the surface of the skin, making it red, while deep within the skin (dermis/hypodermis) temperatures will be maintained. lower. It simply means ineffective treatment.

radio frequency treatment oil

Oil, on the other hand, is completely inert at high frequencies, so it will allow deeper tissues to be properly treated (if the machine is strong enough) without overheating the epidermis.

Non-contact radiofrequency treatment

The fixed high-frequency radiofrequency applicators (hands-free) can be used without any means of contact, depending on the technology they use, always ensuring that sweat (water) does not accumulate.

Radio frequency at intermediate frequencies

RF frequencies of 1-10 MHz fall somewhere in between. In this case, a little water or a little oil may be the right or wrong ingredient in the contact medium formulation, depending on how the machine is running.

In most cases, glycerin or propylene glycol are used.

Ultrasound cavitation: gel, oil, cream or serum?

With ultrasound, things are not as critical as with radio frequency, but the choice of conductive medium is still important.

Generally, high frequency 1-10 MHz ultrasound would ideally require a gel, but creams and serums can also be used.

At lower frequencies (30-300kHz) oil can also be used.

Effect of electromesotherapy with the combination of ultrasound/radiofrequency and a concentrated contact medium

Both ultrasound and radio frequency enhance the absorption of active ingredients, so if a quality concentrated cream/gel/serum/oil is used, there will be extra benefit from the active ingredients in the contact medium.

The problem is that most of these serums and creams are not that concentrated. Quite the opposite: most are pretty watered down, especially all the advertised "magic" serums.

The other problem is that some actives can damage the ultrasound/radio head. Vitamin C (highly acidic) and essential oils are examples of this.

And there is yet another problem: some actives can cause skin irritation and the use of RF/ultrasound can make them even more irritating. A good example is strong exfoliating agents like glycolic acid. Combining the two can be complicated or dangerous, clearly not a good idea...


As we saw earlier, the choice of contact media can make a radiofrequency treatment more effective, ineffective, or even dangerous. This is because it can cause low, medium or excessive heat on the surface (epidermis), depending on the combination of machine settings and contact medium.

Sometimes we need some heat on the epidermis (eg for acne treatment), other times we don't (eg for cellulite reduction, deep fat reduction).

Often it is not only the machine and the operator's technique that is important, but also the means of contact.

Caution / Disclaimer

The above discussion is for educational purposes only, so that the public understands how contact with the media can affect the application of a radiofrequency treatment. It is NOT a professional instruction manual on the use of contact media for radiofrequency treatment. Different machines, depending on the technology they use, may require means of contact IN CONTRAST to the above discussion; this is just a general article.

DO NOT change the contact medium of the radio frequency treatment without first consulting the manufacturer or distributor of your machine. Blind experimentation can cause burns or other irritation. This article is NOT professional advice.

How to reduce cellulite and firm the skin:

  • For the fastest possible results, take a crash course of 6-12high-powered, deep-acting radio frequencytreatments, the most effective anti-cellulite technology available today. Combine, if possible, with high-power, deep-acting ultrasonic cavitation.

  • For the best value for money and to maximize the results of your exercise, diet and treatment, apply an anti-cellulite cream withmultiple high-purity anti-cellulite active ingredients in high concentrationsfor 6-12 weeks

  • For cellulite maintenance, prevention and reduction at home for free, but slower than treatments and creams, check out our epic guide withOver 100 expert tips


Is RF or cavitation better for cellulite? ›

Ultrasonic cavitation is best for reducing cellulite and adipose fat.

Does RF work on cellulite? ›

Radiofrequency. This is a type of treatment that heats the cellulite. One FDA-approved device combines radiofrequency with a laser, suction, and massage in order to target cellulite. Bottom line: Recent studies suggest some patients see a little less cellulite.

What gel should I use with my RF machine? ›

Premium radiofrequency gel developed in years, this rf gel is specifically designed to be hypoallergenic, clear and water-soluble. The best face rf gel choice for RF treatments. The rf gel for face and body can be used with all brands of RF Equipment. This is why it is the number one choice of professionals.

Can you use oil instead of gel for cavitation machine? ›

A: Conductive gel isn't necessary. You can use almost and oil.

Which cavitation is best? ›

8 Best Cavitation Machines For Body Sculpting
  1. Best Overall: Enshey 8 in1 Anti-Aging Beauty Machine. ...
  2. Best Portable: BeautyHuolian Multifunctional Body Facial Beauty Machine. ...
  3. Easy To Operate: Fencia 7-in-1 Body Shaper Machine. ...
  4. Best Multiple Settings: IXAER 7-in-1 Body Shaper Machine.
Jan 31, 2023

Which is better for skin tightening RF or ultrasound? ›

1) RF cannot tighten skin as much as ultrasound can 2) RF takes many sessions thus is not useful for patients who are short on time and need a lot of change 3) RF cannot target deeper fat layers and give a strong mechanical lifting effect. These flaws in RF can be overcome by a combination of UltraFormer and threads.

How do the Kardashians get rid of cellulite? ›

Even the Kardashians are known to incorporate workouts and good nutrition into their busy lives. VelaShape III is meant to be used to target and smooth the problem areas that diet and exercise alone can't reach. To learn more about what VelaShape III can do for you, talk to one of our expert laser technicians.

How many sessions of radiofrequency do you need for cellulite? ›

Radiofrequency body contouring is not a one-off procedure. We typically recommend a course of six treatments, and you will begin after several treatments.

How many RF sessions for cellulite? ›

A course of 6 treatments is recommended for optimum results. Ideally this should be 2 treatments per week for 3 weeks. After completion of your course it is recommended to have a maintenance session every 4-6 weeks. You will continue to see results for up to 3 months after the treatment course has ended.

Can I use RF without gel? ›

No. The device is used with a special gel, which aids unified and efficient transmission of RF energy. Gel usage also increases the lubrication between the device and the skin and reduces the level of friction while the device is in motion.

Can I use RF machine without gel? ›

RF treatment without contact medium

Non-movable (hands-free) high frequency radiofrequency applicators may be used without any contact medium, depending on the technology they use, always ensuring the sweat (water) does not accumulate.

Can I put serum after RF? ›

We recommend our Hyaluronic Acid Serum or Alastin Regenerating Skin Nectar. It is important to apply every 3 hours for the first 24 hours after the RF microneedling procedure.

How do I get the best cavitation results? ›

Maintaining a low calorie, low carbohydrate, low fat, and low sugar diet for 24 hours pre-treatment and three days post-treatment will help achieve the best results. This is to ensure your body utilizes the triglycerides (a type of body fat) released by the fat cavitation process.

Can I use ultrasound gel for RF? ›

Once the patient arrives at the spa, a simple cleansing of the skin is done to remove any impurities or residue of makeup the face may have. Following this step, the aesthetician applies ultrasound gel so the RF device can easily glide on the skin.

What can I use instead of ultrasound gel for cavitation? ›

KY Jelly is a water-based product that is often used as a lubricant. The consistency of KY Jelly is the closest you can get to actual ultrasound gel - it's not too thin, and is thick enough that it will not drip off your belly when using it. It is one of the most common alternatives for ultrasound gel.

What frequency is best for fat cavitation? ›


Does cavitation work on belly fat? ›

Ultrasonic Lipo Cavitation (also called Cavi Lipo, Ultra Cavitation, Ultrasonic Liposuction or Ultrasonic Cavi Lipo) is essentially like a nonsurgical, pain free liposuction treatment. It's a great body slimming, body contouring and skin firming treatment for many areas of the body, including the stomach.

How many sessions of cavitation do you need to see results? ›

Generally most clients start to see a difference in 3 treatments. Often time you'll see results after first session. However, between 8 and 12 sessions are needed for optimum results. The exact number of treatments will vary due to factors such as age, weight, and the area being treated.

Which is better RF or laser? ›

Lasers can help on a variety of levels to resurface the skin by repairing damage caused by the sun, aging, or scars. RF microneedling treatments offer similar resurfacing results, with less downtime that may make it a better option for some patients.

What is the difference between cavitation and RF? ›

Ultrasonic Cavitation also known as Ultrasound Liposuction and Ultra Cavitation is a non-surgical fat removal procedure that uses scientifically proven non-invasive technology to break down unwanted fat whilst the radio frequency is a non-invasive heat treatment that helps tighten, contour and refine deeper lines of ...

What is better ultrasound or laser therapy? ›

According to a study found here, laser treatment is more effective than ultrasound on wound healing. Cold laser (low level laser) is a non-invasive treatment which uses a non-thermal infrared light to reduce inflammation, increase joint mobility, stimulate healing and decrease both short and long term pain.

Does fat cavitation get rid of cellulite? ›

Lipo cavitation is highly effective in removing unwanted fat, reducing cellulite, and stimulating circulation and collagen production. The procedure targets fat cells in the underlying skin layers using low-frequency ultrasound waves to break down fat.

What cellulite treatments do the Kardashians use? ›

Emsculpt is an FDA-approved, noninvasive body contouring device designed to simultaneously build muscle and burn fat.

Is ultrasonic cavitation the same as RF? ›

Radiofrequency (RF) does not use ultrasonic cavitation. Ultrashape uses ultrasound and ultrasonic cavitation to rupture fat cells. Radiofrequency uses thermal energy to irritate fat cells and thus create a reduction in the fatty layer.

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