We’re up for anything that helps keep our skin looking younger and fresher–and those with minimal pain and invasive measures are even better. While dermal fillers and Botox are all the rage these days, particularly among celebrities, another skincare treatment has been slowly garnering rave reviews among skincare experts: Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound technology to lift and increase the firmness of skin.
Just what is Ultherapy, how does it work, and how many paychecks will one have to put aside to cover the expenses involved? Dr. Chynna Steele at Steele Dermatology in Atlanta, sheds light on the new procedure so you can determine if it’s right for you.
SHEfinds: What is ultherapy?
Dr. Chynna Steele: Ultherapy is a device that delivers ultrasound energy that causes lifting and tightening of the skin and underlying tissues. Unlike a laser, however, the energy mostly bypasses the most superficial aspects of skin to instead target the layers by the muscle and fascia. The treated tissues respond by producing new and healthier collagen and elastic tissue and therefore, tightening up the lower layers. (This is what is tightened in a facelift.) When those lower layers get pulled up, the overlying layers of skin come along with it, giving it an overall tightening and lifting effect.
SF: On what parts of the face is ultherapy most commonly used?
CS: It can be used on the jowls (the lower face, where the skin starts to sag), for sagging or loose necks, sagging eyelids, the under-eye area and decolletage.
SF: How many procedures does a typical patient need to see results?
CS: It is designed to be a one time treatment, but that doesn’t mean that some patients wouldn’t benefit from a second treatment. I advise those patients of that at the consultation.
SF: How soon after a treatment can you see results?
CS: Because the results are natural (i.e. they are a result of your body’s natural response to the energy delivered), they last forever… or until you out-age them. You continue to get older, so the collagen and elastic tissues continue to deteriorate over time and at some point a few years down the road after Ultherapy, you may want another treatment. Also, because the results you get are from a natural process, they aren’t immediate. It takes about 90 days to get most of your results, and the progress will continue up to 6 months. The results are really natural and it can’t be “overdone.”
SF: Is there “downtime” after an ultherapy treatment?
CS: There is little to no downtime for the procedure because the energy is delivered to deeper tissues and the process is mostly happening “behind the scenes” and under the skin. I perform other treatments (like Botox or fillers) after Ultherapy treatments to give patients immediate results while they are waiting for the Ultherapy results to appear.
SF: Who is a good candidate for ultherapy?
CS: It can be done on almost anyone. Younger patients can use it for prevention of sagging of the skin and older patients may need it for sagging that has become really apparent. There are really very few contraindications and people who have previously had surgery in the area, like a facelift, can do it. I would say patients in their thirties to sixties are the best candidates, but it can be done for younger or older patients with modifications in the treatment protocol.
SF: How does ultherapy compare to other skin tightening treatments?
CS: It seems to be more reliable than other skin tightening devices (i.e. it works reliably, whereas not everyone responds to some other tightening treatments). It also has a great safety profile because the delivery of energy is visualized; you can see where you’re putting the energy.
SF: How much does an ultherapy treatment generally cost?
CS: It’s in the thousands of dollars depending on the areas treated. So, doing just the upper face or brow area may be $1,000-$1,800. Larger areas like the lower face and neck would be closer to $3,000-$4,000. Additional cost may be associated with doing a superficial layer of treatment for wrinkles as well.
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