Intracel (RF Microneedling): Before & After, Side Effects, and Cost

Intracel Skin Tightening treatment
  • Intracel combines microneedling and radiofrequency into one quick non-invasive skin tightening procedure.
  • By causing controlled trauma deep under the surface of the skin, Intracel promotes natural collagen repair and renewal.
  • The procedure comes with minimal risks or side effects and effectively has no downtime.

While Intracel was only approved by the FDA for use in the United States in 2016, Europeans have been enjoying what’s being billed as a “revolutionary” new skin tightening treatment for over half a decade, and Koreans for even longer. Here’s what you need to know about this increasingly popular device.

What is Intracel?

Intracel is a skin rejuvenating device manufactured by a Korean company called Jeisys. It incorporates the aforementioned techniques (radiofrequency and microneedling) into one simple process where they don’t interfere with one another or cancel each other out.

It’s a particularly targeted treatment — the tissues surrounding the actual treatment site are never affected, as they can be with certain other popular skin tightening methods. What this means for patients is a substantially quicker and less involved post-treatment recovery period.

In fact, there’s essentially no downtime to speak of with Intracel. It also comes with minimal potential side effects. But most importantly, the treatments are reported to provide excellent results, no doubt a major factor as to why Intracel has become as popular as it has in such a short amount of time.

Which skin conditions can Intracel treat?

Intracel can treat any number of common cosmetic skin issues, among them:

The treatment is typically used for general firming, skin tightening and wrinkle reduction on the face, neck, jaw, upper lip, around the eyes, mouth and jowls. However, it’s equally effective when applied to other areas of the body such as the thighs, buttocks, abdomen, and knees.

Intracel “injects” heat energy directly into the skin’s deepest layers. Among other benefits, this approach results in the production of more collagen, leading to firmer, smoother skin and smaller pores. Intracel is also said to reduce the production of sebum.

According to its distributors, Intracel employs bipolar and monopolar Fractional RF microneedles to achieve electrocoagulation and hemostasis. As such Intracel is unique in its ability to deliver thermal energy to tissue for the purposes of skin tightening.

Put simply, through microneedling and radio frequency technology, Intracel works to introduce a controlled trauma to the skin, which in turn reduces oil and bacteria at the treatment site, but also, and most importantly, promotes collagen repair and renewal.

This process helps to tighten the skin while simultaneously addressing acne scars, stretch marks, fine lines, and other common skin concerns.

» Learn more about another popular skin tightening procedure, Thermitight.

Intracel Before and After Pictures

intracell before and after
Results: before and weeks after Intracell

How is the treatment performed?

To begin, a topical anesthetic cream is applied to the treatment area roughly 30 – 60 minutes in advance of the procedure. The device’s tiny insulated needles are then used to penetrate deep into the dermis and effectively heat the tissue to the desired temperature within microseconds.

Not including the time required for the local anesthetic cream to take effect, the entire process takes approximately 30 – 60 minutes, depending upon the area being treated. Afterwards the body’s natural healing process immediately kicks into gear to produce a new, healthier, tighter skin structure.

While the in-office Intracel procedure may sound simple, in actuality treatments should only be performed by a credentialed provider – not only for safety’s sake but in order to emerge with the best results. Only a properly trained medical professional can accurately determine how much energy needs to be applied to any given treatment area and at what layer of the skin.

How many treatments are required for the best Intracel results?

Much depends on the location and general condition of the area to be treated. Typically, however, patients need between 2 and 5 treatments for best results. The treatments are usually spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart, although this is relatively flexible.

Right after the first treatment most patients report their skin starting to feel smoother and tighter, but the results will continue to improve for a period of up to six months. As with many cosmetic procedures, the final results tend to vary from person to person and are at least partially determined by the overall health of each patient’s skin and the degree of damage that needs to be addressed.

Does Intracel hurt?

To a point, yes, it can hurt. But only so much, and don’t forget that topical anesthetics are always applied to the treatment area in advance.

Many patients report a mild prickling sensation when the Intracel device head is brought to their skin, a discomfort which apparently intensifies with each pass of the device. Bear in mind that several passes will likely be required before the session is complete.

So while there can be a certain amount of pain involved, it’s not intense, and the treatments can be adjusted accordingly should discomfort become a genuine concern. In other words, you don’t have a lot to worry about — worst case scenario is your doctor tones down your treatments, possibly leading to your requiring an additional session you otherwise could have avoided.

Most people describe the pain and discomfort as being “tolerable.” If you believe you are especially sensitive to pain and worried about undergoing the treatment because of it, this is something you can discuss with your provider during your initial consultation. Again, adjusting your treatment to the point where you feel next to no discomfort is a feasible option.

Who should not undergo Intracel?

So long as you are in good health and being treated by an experienced practitioner, Intracel is a perfectly safe procedure.

Individuals not considered to be suitable candidates for the treatment include those who:

  • Are using anticoagulant drugs or have a bleeding disorder
  • Have active skin infections
  • Have skin malignancy
  • Use a pacemaker
  • Suffer from keloids
  • Are pregnant (or lactating)

What are the side effects?

Immediately after treatment there will be some pinpoint bleeding but it quickly subsides. Patients report they feel like they have a mild sunburn in the area for the first few hours post-treatment.

Swelling is common for the first few days and is sometimes accompanied with bruising around the treatment site. As your skin naturally heals it will likely become dry and flaky for a few days as well, but within two weeks the improvements to your skin tone and texture will become noticeable.

How should I care for my skin after treatments?

Avoid wearing make-up for the first 24 hours afterwards. You will also be advised to stay out of the sun and wear an SPF 30+ sunscreen when you do go outdoors.

To improve your comfort level and promote healing, applying certain aftercare products such as aloe vera gel is typically encouraged to protect your skin and help avoid potential complications while you heal.

How much does Intracel cost?

As with most cosmetic procedures in the United States, the cost of Intracel varies from region to region, city to city, and doctor to doctor. That being said, the average price of an Intracel session generally runs between approximately $750 and $1,000.

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