We’re all chasing a fountain of youth, trying to turn the clock back to a day when our skin was firmer, we had fewer wrinkles, less grey hair, a few less aches. Collagen is the protein in the human body that is responsible for building the skin’s support structure. Collagen keeps the skin taut and firm, the tenets of younger looking skin.
The problem is collagen production decreases every year in the human body by one percent after you reach your 20th birthday. Add that up and when you hit 50, you now are producing 30 percent less collagen than in your youth. No wonder our skin sags and allows wrinkles to form.
There are different aesthetic procedures for triggering a boost in collagen production. One of gentlest, yet most effective, procedures uses ultrasound energy to do so. The procedure is called Ultherapy®, a non-invasive way to firm the skin without any downtime. Dr. Tarbet offers Ultherapy® for her patients.
What Is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy® is a gentle, non-invasive ultrasound treatment that pushes back against the effects of decreasing collagen production and sagging due to gravity and natural aging. This FDA-cleared procedure uses ultrasound to initiate new collagen production in the dermis layer of the skin. This lifts, tightens, and tones the skin on the face, neck, and décolletage.
How Does Ultherapy Work?
In an Ultherapy® session, a handpiece is passed lightly over the skin. It delivers focused ultrasound energy down into the dermis, the second layer of the skin beneath the epidermis. When this ultrasound energy reaches the deeper levels in the skin the energy heats up the skin’s foundation. The body perceives this as a wound and responds by producing new amounts of collagen and new skin cells to address the “wound,” despite the fact that there is no actual injury. The new collagen and skin cells improve the tone and texture of the skin in the treatment area.
Unlike some tightening procedures that can damage the epidermis, Ultherapy®’s ultrasound energy passes right through the epidermis into the dermis. This protects the outer skin surface and is more comfortable than other procedures. Plus, there isn’t any downtime.
Benefits of Ultherapy
Ultherapy® delivers some of the same tightening effects as a facelift, although it does not achieve that level of change. Ultherapy is a good procedure for candidates who have mild to moderate skin laxity across the eyebrows, the neck, under the chin, and who have lines or wrinkles on the décolletage.Ultherapy® won’t replace a facelift, but it is a good alternative for patients who either don’t want to have surgery or are looking for ways to extend a prior facelift, neck lift, or brow lift.
When the handpiece is passed across the skin and the ultrasound energy is delivered into the dermis, you’ll feel a mild prickly or warming sensation. We recommend our Ultherapy® patients take 800 mg of ibuprofen about 45 minutes prior to their session to alleviate any discomfort.
The length of your session depends on where we are treating. A face and neck procedure typically takes from 60-90 minutes, while a chest treatment takes around 30 minutes.
How Many Ultherapy Sessions Will I Need?
Many of our patients see great improvement in just a single Ultherapy® session; others prefer a series of sessions. Your approach depends on your goals. Future Ultherapy® sessions are a good way to keep up with ongoing natural aging.
Ultherapy Before & After
Some patients see an initial tightening, but most of your improvements will occur over the following 2-3 months, as your body builds new collagen.
Because Ultherapy® triggers new collagen production, your results last for about one year. Then the natural decline of collagen comes back into play, so another Ultherapy® session can be scheduled to maintain your results.
Are There Side Effects with Ultherapy?
Ultrasound has been used in diagnostics for decades; the human body tolerates this sort of energy very well. After your session, your skin may appear flushed, but this will disappear within a few hours in most cases. Some patients experience slight swelling, tingling, or tenderness on the treated areas, but this also resolves quickly.
There is no recovery with Ultherapy®. Immediately after your session, you can go right back to work, exercise, or your other normal activities.