Ultherapy can help rejuvenate your skin naturally, without surgery or injection of foreign substances
Ultherapy, short for “ultrasound therapy” is a non-invasive anti-aging procedure to lift and tighten your skin. It stimulates the body’s own production of collagen rather than injecting any foreign materials into the skin.
Collagen is the naturally and abundantly occurring protein that acts as the “glue” that binds your body together. It is found in multiple tissue types including connective tissue, muscle tissue as well as neural tissue. It is the most common type of protein found in the human body and gives your skin tone, strength and elasticity, all of which are the hallmarks of youthful skin.
As we age, collagen production declines and the consequent depletion of collagen in the skin causes the skin to sag and wrinkle. Our face also loses volume as a result of collagen depletion.
Ultherapy is patented procedure that is approved by the US FDA and uses ultrasound waves to stimulate collagen production. No surgery, no insertion of implants and no injection of foreign substances like Botox. Ultherapy just helps the body to help itself. This puts in a similar class of “natural” anti-aging treatments like PRP which we wrote about earlier here.
How does Ultherapy compare with PRP as a non-invasive anti-aging treatment?
Both Ultherapy and PRP are non-invasive and do not involve the injection of any synthetic or foreign substances into the body. What makes Ultherapy a little different (and maybe more appealing) is that there is no need to be pricked with needles as in the case of PRP which requires blood to be drawn, treated and then re-injected into the body.
How exactly does Ultherapy work?
Using targeted delivery of energy to the skin to stimulate collagen production is not a new idea. However, what makes Ultherapy special is that it uses ultrasound waves as the energy delivery mechanism as opposed to other techniques which use laser or radiofrequency waves.
So what makes ultrasound special versus other energy delivery mediums? Well ultrasound waves have special properties that allow them to bypass the surface of the skin and deliver energy to the subcutaneous tissue, at the level where collagen production actually occurs. Ultherapy uses a patented technique to deliver just the right amount of heat to the layer of skin tissue where it is most effective for the purposes of boosting collagen production.
By bypassing the superficial layers of skin, Ultherapy helps minimize irritation to the surface of the skin and also helps ensure that energy is not wasted targeting layers of the skin that do not deal with collagen production.
What is ultherapy best suited for?
Ultherapy is most suitable for tightening the skin on the face, neck and chest.
Is ultherapy safe?
Ultherapy is approved by the US FDA as a non-invasive therapy for lifting skin around the eyebrows, neck and right under the chin. On the chest, it is approved as a non-invasive technique for smoothening out wrinkles, lines and folds in the skin caused by aging or even excessive and sudden weight loss. The US FDA only approves procedures based on the results of an extensive number of clinical trials and so, yes, Ultherapy is safe.
Over 100,000 Ultherapy procedures have been carried out since inception, worldwide, which implies that the technique is not unproven. Furthermore, ultrasound waves are used extensively in medical treatment for both treatment as well as diagnostic imaging purposes for over half a century and, so far, there has been no evidence of its adverse impacts on the human body (unlike X-ray radiation for example which can cause cancer if used too frequently).
What are the risks of Ultherapy?
While Ultherapy is a proven and time-tested technique with minimal risks, no medical procedure comes totally risk-free. When applied to certain areas Ultherapy can damage or irritate the nerves if it is applied with too much intensity (causing too much heat) or applied repeatedly. An experienced plastic surgeon or dermatologist will, however, be well aware of this and take ample measures to prevent this from happening.
Is Ultherapy painful? How long does it take?
Ultherapy is far less painful than surgical anti-aging or skin tightening techniques for sure but it does come with some temporary side-effects such as bruising, swelling, redness and tenderness of the skin and muscle tissue and, occasionally, some numbness or a tingling feeling. These side effects generally disappear within a few days and, in some cases, some numbness or a tingling sensation may persist for up to two weeks.
The procedure, itself, is relatively painless and can take 60-90 minutes for the face and neck and just around 30 minutes for the chest.
Is Ultherapy expensive?
Ultherapy is far less expensive than surgical anti-aging techniques due to its relative simplicity. However, the cost may vary significantly by geography also depends on the exact application area. In the US, an upper face procedure can cost you anywhere from USD 500 to USD 1,500 while a lower face or neck procedure can cost you around USD 2,000 to USD 3,000.
A full face procedure can cost around USD 3,000 to USD 4,000 while a full face and full neck Ultherapy will set you back around USD 4,500 to USD 5,000.
In South Korea, which is a mecca for all manner of facial cosmetic treatments, you can expect costs to be 30-50% lower than in the US.
However, the important thing to remember when gauging cost-effectiveness is that non-invasive techniques for anti-aging are not totally permanent. The collagen production-stimulating impact of one session can last anywhere from 6 months to several years from the date of the procedure but, at some, point the procedure will need to be repeated to ensure sustained effect.
This is not surprising when you consider that time does not stand still – as we age, collagen (even the newly produced collagen) continues to deplete and so any anti-aging technique will only help “turn back the hands of time” partially rather than pause time altogether! So, be realistic in your expectation of how long the results of an Ultherapy will last.