Wondering about the pros and cons of HIFU vs Thermage facelifting treatments? This read will help you weigh the benefits when considering a facelift in Singapore.
Signs of ageing are usually first reflected on the face. Before you know it, wrinkles and dark spots have started forming. Thankfully, cosmetic and aesthetic treatments such as facelifting can help you age with grace.
Face-lifting is in for all of us, irrespective of age. This procedure tightens and lifts sagging facial tissues that have lost their natural elasticity – perfect for disguising the signs of ageing.
How does age matter?
Collagen and elastin are the most abundant proteins in the skin’s extracellular matrix which are responsible for providing structure, support, elasticity, and firmness to the skin. Right from our mid to late 20s, skin starts losing the ability to produce new collagen.
As a result, the support weakens and all the superficial layers droop down due to ligament laxity and gravity.
This unwanted sagging mask the sharp features of the youth whereas lack of firmness leads to the development of tired-looking skin alongside:
- Smile lines in the 30’s,
- Crow’s feet and deepening of forehead creases in the 40’s; and
- Saggy skin and crisscross lines in the 50’s.
HIFU utilizes ultrasound energy to penetrate the deeper skin layers. This treatment can target depths as deep as 1.5mm(dermis), 3mm (subcutaneous tissue), 4.5 mm (superficial muscular aponeurotic system), and create tiny thermal coagulation points which heats the skin to 60oC to 70oC.
This stimulates collagen contraction and denaturation, followed by new collagen synthesis and remodeling responsible for skin tightening and rejuvenating effect.
Ultherapy and Ultraformer are the 2 main devices utilized in HIFU facelifts.
Ultherapy (micro-focused ultrasound) is the first and only FDA-approved device used to lift saggy-skin using real-time visualization that ensures accurate energy deposit.
Ultraformer, on the other hand, is the latest device used for HIFU treatments with a 2.0mm handpiece that offers detailed treatment around the eye area.
|Naturally tones your skin to a firmer texture||Mild irritation, redness, swelling or discomfort for a few hours|
|Reduced wrinkles and fine lines||May require mild anaesthetic|
|Uplifted cheeks, brows and eyelids and a sharp jawline|
|An enhanced complexion and dark spot removal|
|Non-surgical and non-invasive|
|No scarring or downtime required|
|Suitable for all ages and skin types|
Thermage is an FDA-approved device that delivers radiofrequency waves to the dermis (3mm) to generate diffuse heating (<55oC) and constrict the existing collagen for an immediate tightening effect.
Continuous exposure to heat will break down the old collagen and encourage newer collagens to settle in the skin.
This helps delineate facial contour by removing skin laxity and erasing early signs of ageing such as fine wrinkles and enlarged pores for a healthier look. Thermage works best as a preventative measure against advanced stages of ageing. Its subtle penetration and lack of fat melting ability is more suitable for areas like around the eyes.
Newer devices for Thermage radiofrequency facelift include the advanced Thermage™ FLX and INFINI which use gold micro-needles for more precise and deeper targets.
|Effectively reduces double chin, chubby cheeks and eyebags||Temporary dryness|
|Promotes skin repair, strengthening, lifting and rejuvenation||Mild swelling and redness|
|Ideal for “thin-skin” areas – eyes, forehead|
|Visible results from one session|
|Quick and easy|
HIFU vs Thermage – which facelift treatment is better?
Thermage and HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound) are the current top-rated, non-surgical, face-lift techniques that are:
- Safe and collagen-based
- Using energies (Ultrasonic in HIFU and Radiofrequency in Thermage) to create heat within the deep skin layers to amplify the body’s own collagen production in order to tighten and rejuvenate the skin
There is no one right answer to determine the “better” facelift treatment as both HIFU vs Thermage have their pros and cons. A quick overview of the benefits and mechanism of action for both facelifting techniques are highlighted below.
|Ultrasound energy||Radiofrequency waves|
|Temperature||60 – 70oC||45 – 55oC|
|Energy dissipated||Precise, focused||Diffuse|
|Depth||1.5mm, 3.0mm, 4.5mm||<3 mm (3.5mm-INFINI)|
|SMAS||involved||Restricted to dermis|
|Treatment preferences||Saggy skin, jowls, excess fat||Fine-lines, wrinkles, pores|
|Ideal for||Sagging skin, wrinkles||Loss of volume, wrinkles|
|Can melt fat?||Yes||No|
|Pain||May be there||No|
|Areas to be focused||Fatty areas like double chin, chubby cheeks||Skinny ones- around eyes|
|Age group||Any, best for matured skin||Better for 35-45, young skin|
How do I know which facelift treatment is right for me?
The best facelift treatment can be decided by your skin’s “ageing style”. Everyone ages differently, and as such, there are 3 main ageing styles among men and women. These are known by the main sign of ageing in the skin.
- Sunken cheeks and hollow temples
- Eyes sinking into the sockets
- Missing facial plumpness
- Rough, thin skin with a prominence of muscles
Treatment option: HIFU collagen treatment combined with hyaluronic acid dermal fillers.
- Drooping skin
- Pronounced nasolabial folds andjowls
- Heavy buccal fat and double chin
- Eyebags and undereye shadows
Treatment option: Thermage for younger individuals, HIFU for matured skin.
- Wrinkling in the corners of the eyes
- Wrinkling around the mouth area
Treatment option: Thermage collagen stimulating treatment.
HIFU vs Thermage – which gives long-lasting results?
The good news is both HIFU and Thermage provides long-lasting results as they help boost the body’s collagen production. Both treatments bring about immediate difference, but the complete effect takes around 3 to 6 months to appear while collagen rebuilds.
The effects may last for around a year and a half, or up to 2 years for Thermage. Naturally with time, collagen will start dipping again and the reappearance of ageing signs are an indication of a brand-new session.
Some after-treatment tips to prolong the positive effects can include:
- Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet
- Ensuring good sleeping patterns will speed up collagen formation
- Regular hydration to maintain skin’s moisture barrier
- Practicing good skincare habits, such as daily sunscreen (SPF30+), hydrating masks, mild face washes, lukewarm water, proper makeup cleansing, and minimal scrubbing or using harsh or potent chemicals ie. salicylic acids, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol
Both HIFU and Thermage are effective facelift treatments to combat ageing signs on the face. Only an aesthetic doctor can suggest you the best facelift treatment that best fit your needs.
Check out our blogpost on the best aesthetic clinics in Singapore worth your consideration!