Skin aging is characterized by features such as wrinkling, loss of elasticity, laxity, and rough-textured appearance. Skin aging is a complex process involving both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors are physiological and natural factors such as aging that occurs with the passing of time and genetic factors which determine how rapidly the normal aging process occurs. Repetitive muscle contraction also result in the formation of dynamic lines and wrinkles on the face and the effects of gravity constantly pulls on our bodies and changes related to gravity become more pronounced as we age.
Extrinsic factors that accelerate aging include UVA and UVB rays exposure from the sun and external pollutants that our skin is constantly exposed to including pollution, smoking and even blue light from electronic devices. All these harmful factors result in the formation of Reactive Oxygen Species or free radicals that cause skin damage and facial ag4fing.
Therefore, skin tightening treatments are widely popular today. What is the difference between the different devices? Which would work better? Read on to find out more and make an informed decision between the treatments.
Radiofrequency is used to heat the deep layers of the skin, causing collagen fibres to contract, instantly improving the appearance of sagging or loose skin, giving you a smoother, firmer and younger look. It works below the surface to heat the deep layers of your skin, helping to remodel existing collagen and stimulate new collagen.
HIFU (High Intensity Frequency Ultrasound)
HIFU is a non-invasive and non-surgical facelift technology, helping to lift, tighten and improve elasticity of the skin so that we look more refreshed, and chiseled. It works by stimulating our body’s own regenerative response to gently and gradually lift the skin on the neck, under the chin and on the eyebrows, as well as smooth out lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. There are many HIFU devices available which include US FDA cleared Ultherapy and Swiss made Sygmalift.
Thermage utilizes the patented Mono-polar Capacitive Radio-frequency (RF) technology to deliver heat safely and uniformly into the skin layers and renew the collagen, resulting in an immediate skin tightening and a well-defined three-dimensional skin contour. The AccuREPTM technology auto-tunes each pulse of energy for an even more precise and consistent treatment, suited to your skin. This gentle heating tightens existing collagen and stimulates the production of new collagen, all with little- to-no downtime for the patient.
Ultherapy is a registered trademark for a brand of HIFU. Micro-focused ultrasound energy is directed at 1.5mm, 3.0mm, and 4.5mm underneath the skin without disrupting the surface. One of the other key differentiators of Ultherapy is that it allows direct visualization of the tissue that is being treated and the doctor can see which part of the skin is being treated. This means that doctors can see what layer of the skin is being treated, which allows precise delivery of energy to target tissue layers, resulting in consistent, reproducible results, while reducing the risk of side effects.
HIFU targets on a single point to produce high energy that bypasses skin surface, dermis, subcutaneous tissues to reach the Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System (SMAS) layer – the connection between the skin and muscle where surgical facelift targets. At the Dermis layer (1.5 to 4mm below the epidermis), HIFU thermal energy stimulates existing collagen and promotes new collagen production. At the SMAS layer, the heating temperature reaches the optimum of 60-70 °C to trigger new collagen proliferation. Due to the high amount of heat energy, the ultrasound energy can also reduce fat under the skin, making it particularly useful to reduce double chins and hanging jowls.
A local anaesthesia will be applied on one’s skin prior to treatment for a full numbing of the skin.
For Thermage, patients will feel a brief cooling sensation, followed by a deep but brief heating sensation, followed by another cooling sensation. There will also be a gentle vibration sensation for added patient comfort. As for Ultherapy and HIFU, patients may feel a warm prickly sensation beneath the skin when the ultrasound energy is being delivered into the target tissue.
Thermage and Ultherapy requires only 1 session and generally last for up to 1 year, depending on individual. Depending of the type of HIFUs used, one session to a few sessions are needed to see the best results. As collagen remodeling takes 10 to 13 weeks to happen, the full lifting effect of Thermage or Ultherapy will be seen over 2 to 6 months.
Preventing signs of aging can be done via treatments and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle that involves a balanced diet, regular exercise, reducing stress, enough sleep and sun protection. While reversing the biological clock and having a plethora of skin tightening devices available to choose from can be fascinating, remember that these treatments require knowledge and advanced technique. Skin tightening procedures are complex and may require a combination of treatments performed by an experienced and skilled doctor. Prior to treatment, please seek consultation with your friendly doctor who can help customize your treatment to achieve your goal.
To find out more about our treatments, please contact the doctor or therapist at Ageless Medical.