Let’s face it. Sagging skin is not cute. Jangly jowls and hanging cheeks have always been a source of unhappiness as we age. It can also be caused by moderate or severe weight loss. The good news is, we don’t have to resign ourselves to fate. Speak of “face lifts” and the first thing that comes to mind is no longer the surgical facelift.
GENTLE FACE LIFTS
If you find yourself pulling back skin on your face when you look in the mirror, and you like what you see, know that it is possible to tighten your skin non-invasively using energy devices. This is possible usually once you are in your 30s, and doing this when signs of aging are still early is better than doing it too late. Facial sculpting energy-based devices that are most reliable for this purpose are ultrasound-based ones such as Ultherapy, or radiofrequency-based (RF) ones such as Thermage.
ULTHERAPY VERSUS THERMAGE
So is one better than the other? Medical professionals generally say that RF is great for improving skin texture and collagen. I like to think of it as a “skin iron”, being able to iron out wrinkled skin. For this reason, it is also good for improving the appearance of lines around the neck. If you don’t have a very “heavy” face, it can actually contour and tighten the skin quite satisfactorily, as long as the sagging is at most moderate.
Where RF devices fail is it cannot tighten the skin as much as ultrasound does, or you might need more sessions of RF treatments to see a difference. Ultrasound devices such as Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy which bypasses the skin, therefore being able to reach higher temperatures (up to 65 degrees Celsius versus low 40s with RF) and therefore theoretically expedites the collagen production process required to see a skin tightening effect.
Ultherapy, in particular, allows the doctor doing the treatment to examine the layers of tissue being treated (yes it looks very much like how medical ultrasounds do) and this allows a targeted treatment – 4.5mm beneath the skin where a layer of tissue known as the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS). This results in a clever productive wound-healing response, increasing collagen production for smoother, tighter, younger-looking visage.
So it doesn’t mean that one is better than the other, but rather which treatment is more suitable for you, or whether you need both treatments at different parts of the face to see the best effect. Combination approaches such as the Trinity Facelift, or a combination of energy-based device plus injectables such as fillers and/or botox may also be considered for an all-rounded, natural looking effect!