Facial beauty is an important aspect of life, and a healthy and firm face enhances features, increasing self-confidence. Because of the fast-paced lives and the stress that comes along with it, people start showing signs of aging, such as wrinkles, as early as their 20s. It happens due to a decrease in collagen and loss of elastin, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. A nonsurgical skin tightening procedure is one of the most effective ways to manage these signs. Various nonsurgical procedures have been developed for skin tightening in recent years using radiofrequency, laser, or ultrasound. These procedures have fewer side effects, and impressive results and recovery is simple and quick. There are different types of non-invasive skin tightening procedures. This article discusses ultherapy, one of the nonsurgical cosmetic treatments.
What Is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is a non-invasive alternative to a facelift. It is a procedure of skin tightening using ultrasonic energy. It is used to manage the signs of aging, such as sagging skin, wrinkles on the face, neck, and chest, and dropping eyebrow areas. Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production, creating a more youthful look. Although ultherapy is a non-surgical procedure, it can only be performed by a licensed professional.
Ultherapy was cleared by the United States food and drug administration (FDA) in 2009. According to a study, 65 percent of the people who underwent this procedure reported improvement 60 to 180 days after the procedure. The popularity of nonsurgical skin tightening procedures has been growing over the past several years, with a reported increase of 11.6 percent from 2015 to 2016.
What Are the Indications of Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is a proven effective technique for reducing the appearance of signs of aging and tightening the skin. It is effective in the following cases:
Crow’s feet (fine lines near the corner of the eyes).
Drooping chin skin.
For skin tightening in the neck region.
Sagging skin in the upper chest region.
What Are the Types of Equipment Used During Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is a hardware and software-integrated system. It has the following components:
Control Unit - This is a display unit to support the visualization of target tissues during consultation and treatment. It improves patient comfort without impacting efficacy.
Handpiece - The handpiece works to deliver the ultrasound transducers.
Transducers - These help in simultaneous treatment and visualization. These treat at three different depths: superficial dermis at 1.5 millimeters, deep dermis at three millimeters, and platysma at 4.5 millimeters. The tissues can be visualized with ultrasound to eight millimeters. These transducers are multi-patient use transducers.
How Does Ultherapy Help in Skin Tightening?
Ultherapy is an FDA-approved technology that relies on micro-focused ultrasound therapy with visualization to go deeper than other nonsurgical treatments for collagen stimulation. It targets the areas under the skin with specific ultrasound energy using a specific temperature to support collagen production. The applicator or handpiece producing heat energy is aimed at depths affecting three different layers: superficial wrinkles, skin, and muscles. The ultrasound energy stimulates elastic tissue and collagen, resulting in firmer skin, fewer wrinkles, and less sagging skin.
The visualization feature of ultherapy differentiates it from other skin tightening treatments as it allows to keep a check on the areas being treated and hence, helps to avoid energy getting delivered to areas such as bone that may cause discomfort. It enables the practitioner to know precisely where the ultrasonic energy is getting delivered and the exact tissue layers they are treating, limiting the potential adverse effects. It is important for an effective and successful outcome.
What Is the Science Behind Ultherapy?
Ultherapy uses most of the ultrasound energy to lift and tighten the skin naturally, without surgery or downtime. Ultrasound energy used in the procedure is highly concentrated, but it does not produce any discomfort for the patient. The instrument used delivers energy that penetrates through the underlying tissues, and the skin is not directly affected.
The ultrasonic energy reaches the same dermal layers, generates heat and friction, and forms depths of coagulation. The targeted area heats up slightly to approximately to 65-degree celsius, and the body reacts to it as similar as it would to an injury. Ultrasonic energy helps in tissue repair and produces collagen. The regeneration of collagen is what helps in skin tightening and lifting.
How Is Ultherapy Performed?
Before the procedure, the patient should remove any makeup and skin products, if wearing, from the area to be treated. If the practitioner advises, the patient may take pain-reducing medications before the procedure. The patient can maintain regular eating, drinking, work, and exercise routines before and immediately after the procedure.
The practitioner will start the procedure by cleaning the area to be treated and applying an ultrasound gel. The ultherapy device or handpiece is placed on the area to be treated, and the appropriate settings are adjusted. The ultrasonic energy is then delivered to the targeted area. The patient may experience quick intermittent sensations of heat and tingling at this stage. In case of any discomfort, pain-reducing medications can be given. After the procedure is completed, the handpiece is removed. Generally, a single procedure lasts for about 90 minutes. On the chest, the ultherapy procedure takes about 30 minutes, and on the face and neck, it takes 60 to 90 minutes.
Patients can start noticing the initial results of the ultherapy procedure within a few days. However, this depends on the body’s ability to regenerate collagen. The results and improvement can be experienced for about three months. The improvement can be seen as long as the body continues to produce collagen and until the natural aging process takes over again. Depending on the skin’s response to the treatment, one can decide on additional sessions of ultherapy.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Ultherapy?
Studies have shown that ultrasound skin tightening treatments are effective and safe. Sensations of heat and tingling usually resolve soon after the procedure. However, the treated area can become red or flushed hours after the procedure, and temporary sensations such as tenderness, swelling, and tingling can occur. Rarely, some numbness or bruising may occur that usually goes away within a few days after the procedure.
Ultherapy is the only FDA-approved nonsurgical method to improve the appearance and treat the signs of aging. It is a relatively safe procedure that may rarely cause some temporary side effects. It is the best procedure for those who are not ready for a surgical facelift. It has shown proven results in a single treatment.