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Ultherapy or Thermage: Which treatment is better?

Both Ultherapy and Thermage are non-invasive treatments that can be used to address the common signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles, laxity, and skin texture. However, which treatment is better for you depends on your individual circumstances and what your aesthetic goals are.

Ultherapy and Thermage are two very popular options and each treatment option has its pros and cons. While Thermage uses radio frequencies to tighten skin, Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy. In this article, we will compare Ultherapy and Thermage to help you decide which treatment is better for you.

Dr. Wiroj Suyapieang

Medical aesthetic & Anti-aging specialist

What is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is a non-invasive treatment. It is a procedure that is administered with ultrasound energy that is used to tighten and elevate skin that is loose and sagging on the body. It is designed to work best on the neck, face, and décolleté. Ultherapy can be used on individuals who are looking to improve their appearance and those who are looking to treat the signs of aging.

Ultherapy is the only non-invasive procedure clinically proven to lift and tighten skin mainly on the neck, face, or décolleté. It tightens loose skin by stimulating the production of new collagen.

What is Thermage?

Thermage is a non-invasive skin tightening procedure that was FDA-cleared in 2004. It works by heating the deep skin layers with radiofrequency energy, causing them to contract, and then stimulating the production of new collagen.

Thermage can be used on almost all areas of the body, and can target the deep layers of the skin – though not as deep as Ultherapy – by stimulating existing collagen and the production of new collagen.

More about Thermage: Thermage – skin tautening in Bangkok

what is thermage treatment_how thermage works

What do Ultherapy and Thermage do?

Ultherapy is a non-surgical skin tightening procedure that smoothes and firms the skin by heating the deeper layers of the skin. Thermage is a non-invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to tighten the skin.

One of the many differences between the two is that Thermage is more suitable for skin tightening and rejuvenating, while Ultherapy can also offer a much better lifting effect in addition to tightening and rejuvenation. Ultherapy can reach the deepest layer of the skin, the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS), which is otherwise only possible through surgery. Although the full results take a while to show on Ultherapy, the effects also last longer than Thermage.

Although both have very natural-looking results, if your looking for more lifting, Ultherapy can do the job much better.

Take note though that Thermage is FDA-approved to be used on many areas of the body, while Ultherapy is FDA-approved mainly for face, neck, and chest.

How much do Ultherapy and Thermage cost?

The cost of Ultherapy varies depending on the area being treated and the number of lines that are needed to be treated. Ultherapy at Metro Beauty Centers starts at 120 THB per line. Since Ultherapy tips and machines are more cost-efficient to maintain, a patient can come in and simply pay for what they need – some as minimal as 100 lines under the chin only which.

Meanwhile, the Thermage Comfort Pulse Technology (CPT) system that uses the Total Tip 3.0 costs an average of 90,000 THB in any clinic. Thermage tips are not only very expensive but also have a four-hour expiry period, which results in the high maintenance costs of these tips being passed on to the end consumer.

Ultherapy treatment delivered at Metro Beauty Centers, Bangkok
Genuine Ultherapy is available at Metro Beauty Centers in Bangkok

How many Ultherapy and Thermage treatments do you need?

Ultherapy and Thermage require that most patients schedule treatments about once or twice per year. Some patients will likely take longer to notice the difference, but others will begin to see the benefits much faster. Many patients find they only need to undergo the procedure once a year, while some every 6 months or so, and others actually need less than that. Some patients will exhibit more skin laxity or a more severe case of aging symptoms and therefore may have to opt for additional treatments after their initial one. Most patients’ results however tend to be very positive with continued maintenance necessary for lasting effects.

How long do Ultherapy and Thermage last?

Ultherapy and Thermage treatments are very similar in that both take targeted wavelengths of energy to retighten the skin. Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound, while Thermage uses radiofrequency. Since Ultherapy uses targeted ultrasound energy waves, it has the capability to stretch the muscles from deep within, stimulating activity that leads to both a lifting effect and tightening of the skin.

Another drawback with Thermage treatments is that for a more comfortable experience, the epidermis – also known as the outer layer of skin or surface area – requires a spray of cryogen to cool off in between each pulse. This can result to a longer treatment time, especially if the clinic you go to is not using newer technology such as Thermage FLX.

how long does thermage last
how does ultherapy work- difference between ultherapy and thermage

What is the difference between Ultherapy and Thermage?

While Thermage has been shown to fight the signs of aging by tightening loose skin and reducing fine lines, Ultherapy is currently found to be more effective than Thermage when it comes to lifting and treating deep-seated wrinkles as its ultrasound energy is able to penetrate deeper into the skin.

Downtime

In just a matter of minutes, Ultherapy and Thermage can give you a younger, more vibrant appearance. Both procedures are minimally invasive and require no downtime. Patients can undergo either treatment on their lunch break. Side effects of Ultherapy include numbness and swelling at the area(s) treated (rarely nerve damage which is not permanent) while Thermage causes redness, blisters, and tenderness in the surrounding areas of skin; both will subside after several days without treatment.

Final Word: Ultherapy or Thermage?

Ultherapy is the cheaper, simpler, and more effective alternative to Thermage. Although both treatments can lift, tighten, and tone the skin on your face, neck, and chest, Ultherapy results can last for a couple of years and often look more natural than surgery. What makes Ultherapy different from Thermage is that it uses ultrasound instead of radio frequency to stimulate collagen production, making the end result better in terms of lifting and lasting effect. The entire process is much less expensive than Thermage and even though the final results can be achieved in a longer amount of time, they also last much longer. The procedure is non-invasive, takes less than an hour, and requires no downtime. It is FDA-approved and works for people who want to look younger but are not good candidates for surgery.