Thursday, March 26, 2015

Does Ultherapy’s non-invasive facelift hold true to its promise of firmer skin that gets better in time?

Article from

Ultherapy promises to tighten and tone the skin with nary a nip nor a tuck. We try out one of the first machines to hit the region and finds out you really can turn back the clock.
The background
I have been interested in Ultherapy ever since interviewing several MDs from the original American edition of the television show The Doctors. Near the end of the interview, in February 2012, I asked Dr Andrew Orton and his partner, Ritu Chopra, what facial procedures really, really work – and Ultherapy was at the top of the list.
The FDA-approved device uses ultrasound to stimulate tissue under the skin of the face and neck to produce more collagen, penetrating to 4.5 millimetres. Previously, the only way to stimulate the collagen that deep was by cutting – no thanks. The treatment, which conforms with Orton and Chopra’s “not-obvious” aesthetic, wasn’t even available in the UAE or Gulf region at the time.
I have heard many promising things about Ultherapy since then, watching as it received good reviews and explained some of the most gorgeous and natural-looking forty and fifty-something actresses of our time. So when Euromed’s Rebecca Treston Aesthetics bought one of the first machines in the region earlier this year, I jumped at the chance to test it out.
The mindset
Deep breath: I am 44. But also pretty happy with the way things are going in terms of the ageing process and my face. The only thing I have been worried about is my neck. I have always had a double chin and the kind of neck and jawline that is the opposite of defined. And once I hit my late 30s, I started to obsess about the state of the skin on the neck I already didn’t love. It was, um, sagging. Treston explained that I am a great candidate for a little “prejuvenation”; as are women in their 30s.
The procedure
I was warned to use a numbing cream on my face and take ibuprofen, which I did. When I arrived at the clinic, Treston cleansed my face and applied a cool ultrasound gel, which served as a conductor for the Ulthera wand. I have to say, despite the precautions, it still hurt. The most similar experience I could liken it to would be sticking a series of needles into your face. But it wasn’t nearly as painful as laser hair removal and it never hurt to the point where I thought I wouldn’t be able to take it.
When Treston gave me a mirror before moving on to the second half of my face, I could totally see a difference. And when we finished less than an hour later, I noticed an immediate tightening up around my jaw. Afterwards, I looked totally fine. My face did ache all over for more than a week and was also quite itchy – a sensation that cropped up on and off for several weeks after that – and I swear I still feel it sometimes, months later.
The verdict
Although there are some immediate results, the benefits are supposed to unfold as new collagen is produced. After more than three months, the recommended time for making judgements, I can really see a difference. And I’ve had about half-a-dozen compliments too, of the “you look really well” variety. Oddly, Treston had promised me in the office that is exactly what people would say. Word for word.
All I really wanted to change was my neck and jawline and there is an obvious improvement and tightening there. I hadn’t even thought about the grooves around my mouth (in the business they are called “nasal labial folds”) until I saw the before-and-after pictures. To me, they are quite diminished.
Treatments, which can also be tailored to target certain areas such as the chin, eyes or brow, are supposed to last for several years. I like that there is a viable, natural-looking freshening-up option out there that is not outrageously priced – compared with fillers and Botox, which are extremely expensive, can be painful, need to be done regularly and, let’s face it, can make people look weird if overdone. If you are ageing and concerned about your face and neck, with some money to spend, this is the way to go.
• A full face and neck Ultherapy treatment takes between 60 to 90 minutes and costs Dh18,000, including consultation, treatment and follow-up appointments. 


This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Harper's BAZAAR.

If you start noninvasive treatments early, you may not need a face-lift. My approach is three-dimensional. First, it's about targeting muscles—the foundation of the face—with an Ultherapy ultrasound treatment [$4,500], which tightens both muscles and skin by stimulating the production of collagen. For extreme sagging on the neck or jowls, I'd reach for ThermiRF, a radio-frequency device [$6,500]. A tiny needle goes inside the skin to melt fat and tighten. Next, it's about adding volume. I like to inject Restylane, a filler, under the muscle instead of directly in folds, for a nice plump lift—along the jawline, the front of the ears, and the apples of the cheeks. Finally, I'll resurface with a Fraxel Dual laser [$2,000]. It makes microscopic tunnels in the skin to create new collagen. If you have it done enough times, all of your old skin is replaced.

How Ultrasound Skin Tightening Can Firm, Lift Your Face

Many people don’t realize that ultrasound imaging can be used to lift skin and promote collagen production. One such noninvasive treatment, Ultherapy®, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Practitioners use the ultrasound treatment to target deep tissue layers. They can use the device to focus energy where it is most needed.
Ultrasound therapy — long used for imaging and other treatments — is now helping to give people’s faces a lift.
Ultherapy uses noninvasive ultrasound energy to lift the eyebrow, neck and under-chin. Recently, the FDA approved the technique for smoothing d├ęcolletage (chest area) lines & wrinkles as well. 

How does ultrasound therapy work? 

The ultrasound device reaches 4 mm deep under the skin, penetrating into the second layer of muscles underneath the facial muscles. Lasers don’t even go that deep.
Going deep into the skin matters because that’s where your skin makes new collagen.

Stimulating collagen creation 

Unlike other laser treatments that simply target the outer layers of skin, ultrasound therapybypasses the skin's surface. It delivers the collagen stimulating ultrasound energy to the deepest layers. 
The dermis layer of the skin contains most of the skin’s specialized cells and structures. It synthesizes less collagen each year after about age 20. For women, estrogen levels decrease after menopause. This leaves the skin drier, thinner, and not as taut as before.
Once the dermis begins producing the new collagen, sagging facial and neck skin lifts and starts to look younger and tighter.

A micro facelift without the scalpel 

Because ulrasound therapy  is noninvasive, there is no cutting, no stitches and no downtime, 
Ultherapy is a good alternative for those who cannot or do not want a face-lift or who at least want to put off surgery for a few years.
After the procedure, clients can go right back to their normal activities without having to follow any special post-procedure instructions. Most people see the full effect of the treatment about three to six months after the procedure. Some notice initial effects sooner. 
One treatment is usually sufficient. However, some people need three or more sessions to achieve the desired goal,

For mild to moderate skin laxity

People with mild to moderate facial and neck skin laxity make good candidates for ultrasound therapy treatments. Even younger people (i.e., under age 30) can use the procedure as a preventive measure.
Some plastic surgeons use the therapy on surgical face lift patients to enhance and prolong results of the surgery.