Collagen and elastin are two proteins responsible for providing your skin with structure and elasticity. But with age and accumulated damage, their levels decline and their bonds tend to weaken. This results in wrinkles and skin sagging, two telltale signs of skin aging.

But these changes are now easy to reverse and without much pain and downtime thanks to radiofrequency (RF) skin tightening. Harnessing the power of RF waves, this skin-tightening treatment boosts collagen and elastin levels deep within the skin.

One of the best advancements in RF skin-tightening technology is Sublime™, which uses a unique combination of energies to deliver a safe and efficient treatment.

What Is Sublime™?

Sublime is a unique RF skin-tightening treatment developed by Candela, a leader in medical aesthetic device technology based in the US. The Sublime device utilizes proprietary elōs® technology, a revolutionary combination of:

Bi-Polar Radiofrequency Energy

Radiofrequency energy is the lowest type of electromagnetic energy on the electromagnetic spectrum. Bi-polar RF energy devices like Sublime use symmetric and closely placed electrodes to pass RF currents through the skin.

Near Infra-Red Light

Also part of the electromagnetic spectrum, infrared light is not visible to the naked eye but can be felt as heat. It’s used in skin-tightening treatments due to its ability to reach the deep layers of the skin.

Benefits of Sublime™

Sublime is a minimally invasive treatment for early signs of skin aging. This device offers greater precision compared to similar technologies, which translates to less discomfort and virtually no downtime.

Some of the benefits you can get from this treatment include:

  • Diminished lines and wrinkles
  • Reduced pore size
  • Improved skin texture
  • Defined facial contours
  • Smooth, even complexion
  • Healthier-looking skin

How Does RF Skin Tightening Work?

RF skin tightening works by carefully heating the inner layer of the skin called the dermis. This causes minor thermal injuries that stimulate collagen and elastin production as well as tissue remodeling. The dermis is usually heated to over 115 °F (46°C) to achieve adequate tissue remodeling.

What’s interesting about RF waves is that they can bypass the top layer of the skin (epidermis) and reach the dermis while leaving surrounding tissue untouched. This makes it different from many forms of laser skin resurfacing, which usually cause thermal injury to the epidermis as well as the dermis. Bypassing the epidermis has many benefits, including less pain, a shorter recovery period and improved safety for darker skin tones.

What Makes Sublime™ Different?

Sublime is the only skin-tightening device that blends bi-polar RF energy with infrared light to deliver advanced skin tightening. It also comes with a chilled applicator tip. This unique combination makes treatment more comfortable, reduces downtime, minimizes risks and offers greater precision. Here’s why:

  1. The cooling tip helps protect the epidermis from thermal injury while also boosting its impedance (resistance).
  2. Cooling the epidermis first forces the RF energy to bypass the epidermis as much as possible and go deeper into the skin.
  3. The infrared is the first to be absorbed by the targeted tissue and converted into thermal energy to preheat the skin. Because RF energy has a preference for hotter areas with greater impedance, only the pre-heated tissue is treated with the RF waves.

How Many Treatments Will I Need?

Most patients require multiple rounds of treatment for the best results. We often recommend three to five sessions, each spaced about four weeks apart. The exact number of treatments will depend on your skin quality before treatment, your individual goals and how your skin responds to the procedure.

Who Is Sublime™ For?

Sublime is an alternative to invasive facelifts and painful and inconvenient skin resurfacing treatments. It is suitable for a wide range of skin types and tones thanks to its gentler approach to skin rejuvenation. Patients that benefit the most from this treatment are those with:

  • Early signs of skin aging
  • Mild to moderate fine lines and wrinkles
  • Uneven skin tone and texture
  • Mild skin laxity
  • Enlarged pores

While most patients can get this treatment, those with a pacemaker, internal defibrillator and other active implanted devices should not be treated with RF energy.

The Sublime™ Experience

Because Sublime is a minimally invasive treatment, there is very little preparation involved and recovery is quick. Here is what you can expect as far as treatment steps go:


First, you will have an initial consultation with Dr. Ridenour to discuss your goals and expectations of this treatment. He will review your medical history and decide on the best approach. You will also be given pre- and post-treatment instructions so you are well-prepared. The usual pre-treatment advice is:

  • Do not undergo other skin-tightening or resurfacing treatments for at least two weeks prior. These include laser skin resurfacing and skin peels.
  • If you have a history of cold sores, take medications as prescribed the week before treatment.
  • If possible, come to your appointment with a clean, makeup-free face.
  • Make sure you are well-hydrated for your appointment — hydrated skin responds to treatment better.


Before treatment, your provider will cleanse your skin and may apply a topical numbing cream, although this usually isn’t necessary since the treatment is virtually painless.

Once you are ready, your provider will guide the Sublime device over the treatment area. Many patients describe the resulting sensation as slight and gradual warming. There should not be any burning or pain sensations.

The whole procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes to complete, depending on the treatment area’s size. Some patients need to come back for additional treatment to achieve the desired effect.

Recovery After Sublime™ RF Skin Tightening

Your skin may appear slightly red and feel sore in the first 24 hours post-treatment. This is normal and should resolve on its own. To speed up recovery and prevent complications, it’s important to:

  • Drink plenty of fluids in the first 24 hours after treatment.
  • Avoid rubbing your skin and using harsh ingredients in the first two days.
  • Avoid exfoliants, retinol, tanning and other potential skin irritants for at least seven days.
  • Avoid chemical peels, microdermabrasion and waxing for at least three weeks post-treatment.
  • Schedule your next treatment after two to four weeks.

Sublime™ Results

Understanding the timeline for seeing results can help you set realistic expectations and plan accordingly.

Initial Results

The initial effects of Sublime RF treatment can often be noticed shortly after your first session. Many individuals report feeling tighter skin and a more refreshed appearance within a few days. However, these early results are typically mild and gradually improve over time.

Progressive Improvements

As Sublime RF works by encouraging your body’s natural collagen production, the most significant changes occur as new collagen forms. This process is not instantaneous. Most people observe noticeable improvements in skin texture and firmness approximately four to six weeks after treatment.

Final Results

For the final and most impactful results, patience is vital. Your skin needs time to regenerate collagen and elastin fibers, leading to a firmer, smoother complexion. Typically, the final outcomes of Sublime RF skin tightening are visible around three to six months post-treatment. This timeline can vary depending on individual factors such as age, skin condition and lifestyle.

After that, you can enjoy your rejuvenated skin for up to three years with good skincare and sun protection. Many patients choose to have maintenance treatment at six-month intervals to maintain and improve upon their initial results.

Schedule a Consultation

At Ridenour Aesthetics, our goal is to offer our patients the best treatments available. That’s why we have decided to include Sublime as one of our skin-tightening options for patients concerned about fine lines and wrinkles, sagging skin and other early signs of aging.

If you are a resident of St. Louis, Missouri, or the surrounding communities, please give us a call at 314-878-8600 or schedule your consultation here. Our team will be happy to share more information about Sublime and help you decide whether this treatment is right for you.

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