This month, I was happy to help Vanity Fair breakdown Ultherapy®, the only FDA-cleared, non-invasive procedure that uses microfocused ultrasound to stimulate the production of new collagen that lifts and tightens skin over time. Christie Brinkley is the official ambassador to Ultherapy, and she uses it as part of her beauty routine to look flawless as she celebrates her 65th birthday this year.
Similar to Christie Brinkley, Ultherapy is part of my self-care, beauty routine to prevent aging. As preventative maintenance, I undergo Ultherapy to the full face, jawline, and upper neck about every 18 months. I’m lucky enough to guide patients through a beauty routine during cosmetic consultations here at the practice, and I think it is important as a cosmetic dermatologist that I practice as I preach. Aging is a complex process – muscle hyperactivity, skin laxity, volume loss (fat and bone!), as well as environmental exposure to the skin all play a role in the aging appearance of the skin. Ultherapy is my go-to nonsurgical option for working against gravity, a preventative and active treatment measure to improve the jawline, keep eyebrows in proper position, and rejuvenate the delicate skin around the eye and lower face.
Ultherapy is a unique treatment that is based on an FDA-cleared ultrasound technology. Using a handpiece, we apply energy to the skin and deeper connective tissues to create controlled heat delivery that stimulates new collagen to lift and firm the skin. What’s remarkable about Ultherapy is that it features an ultrasound screen to visualize the tissue as you’re treating it in real time. Using this technology, we can bypass the top layer of the skin and go directly to create “thermocoagulation points” at depths that will provide optimal treatment results. Technically, Ultherapy can reach the same depth as a facelift without being surgical. This means we can really tailor the treatment to the individual and stimulate collagen more effectively
Another differentiator is that Ultherapy is a quick, in-office procedure with minimal or no downtime. If we’re lifting the brow or treating the lower face it takes about 30 minutes; for a full face and neck treatment it’s about 90 minutes. Discomfort during the procedure is one of the most common questions or concerns brought up by patients when exploring Ultherapy for skin tightening options. However, I am confident in stating that at Art of Skin MD we take extraordinary measures to make patients comfortable during the procedure. I have had the procedure three times, done after clinic with the aid of only 600 mg of ibuprofen. However, for most patients, I recommend other comfort measures. Topical numbing, microdroplet numbing techniques, vibration technology, forced air cooling, and anti-anxiety and pain medications can all be used during treatment to make Ultherapy a breeze. During the treatment, patients may experience a mild tingling with a dull heat sensation. Following treatment, there can be very mild soreness when washing the face for a period of several days, and patients may rarely have very minimal swelling that lasts a day or so. For the vast majority of patients, this is considered a “no-downtime procedure.”
In my experience, most patients like meaningful results that occur gradually over time so they can continue to be front-facing in their professional and personal lives. I recommend that people use Ultherapy three to six months before any and all events, such as a wedding or awards ceremony, to see maximum results. The lifting and tightening capacity takes time because it relies on our body’s own machinery to build new collagen. While Ultherapy’s effects are FDA-cleared for 12 months, maintenance may involve retreating some areas to continue the collagen stimulation, depending on the patient
My clientele seeking Ultherapy in Southern California run the gamut. Many are professional women who have noticed some aging changes and want a response without surgery and downtime. I also have a growing practice of people—men and women—who are in their twenties, thirties, and early forties who want prevention treatment. I have other patients for whom surgery is never an option, whether it’s for medical reasons or fundamentally they want to avoid the knife for life. Ultherapy has been a tried-and-true, consistent technology that patients ask for and come back for.
I’m proud of celebrities like Christie Brinkley (whom I haven’t worked on) who are honest with the public. She has recently celebrated her 65th birthday and looks phenomenal, and that’s because she’s taken care of herself and uses technology such as Ultherapy. I hear things like “I got my jawline back,” “I recognize the face I had ten years ago,” or “My friends say I look fantastic but they can’t put their finger on it.” I myself have done it three times, and have done it for my mother, who is in her seventies. And we went to lunch right after.
The non-invasive Ultherapy procedure is U.S. FDA-cleared to lift skin on the neck, on the eyebrow, and under the chin as well as to improve lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. The most common side effects reported in clinical trials were redness, swelling, pain and transient nerve effects. Reported adverse events from post-marketing surveillance are available in the Instructions for Use (IFU). Please see the IFU for product and safety information, including a full list of these events at Ultherapy.com/IFU. Most importantly, there’s little to no downtime—which means most patients can resume normal activity immediately!
To schedule a consultation with me, please call 858.792.7546 or click here. We look forward to speaking with you!