What is HIFU and what can it do for your face?
Have you heard of the term HIFU and wondered what it is? HIFU stands for ‘High Intensity Focused Ultrasound’ and it’s a treatment that uses ultrasound to lift and tighten the skin on the face. Interested to know how it works?
How does HIFU work?
The science behind HIFU is based on heating the tissue underneath the skin in order to jump-start your body’s own process to create fresh, new collagen. Collagen is the protein that gives skin its youthfulness by keeping it firm and toned - and it’s something we lose as we age.
HIFU uses microfocused ultrasound energy to bypass the surface of the skin and target tissue at exactly the right depths and at the right temperature. Different handpieces can be used to reach tissue at three different depths: 1.5mm, 3.0mm and 4.5mm. The 4.5mm depth is what sets ultrasound technology apart from other technologies, like radiofrequency. Radiofrequency cannot reach the depths of 4.5mm.
- 4.5mm depth - Targets the ‘SMAS’ layer. The SMAS layer is the deep muscle layer of the face that is tightened in facelift surgery.
- 3.0mm depth - Targets the connective tissue, which is made up of a mesh of elastin and collagenous fibres, in order to strengthen the skin’s foundation.
- 1.5mm - Targets the epidermis of the skin (upper layer) to refine pores, improve skin tone, and reduce fine lines.
What’s the difference between HIFU and Ultherapy?
HIFU and Ultherapy are often talked about interchangeably and it can be confusing. HIFU is the name of the technology and Ultherapy is a brand name. There are a number of HIFU brands on the market but at Ocean Clinic we use Ultherapy. Why? Ultherapy is the only machine that offers ultrasound imaging. This allows doctors to scan and analyse your skin during treatment.
It means that vital structures, such as blood vessels and bone, can be avoided, giving you a safer treatment experience.
What’s more, Ultherapy is the only HIFU machine that’s been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as safe and effective for lifting skin and reducing wrinkles on the face, neck and décolletage.
What happens during Ultherapy treatment?
Ultherapy is an entirely non-invasive, minimally painful treatment and most patients require only one session to see results. It will begin with a consultation with your doctor who will assess the specific areas to be treated. A numbing cream will then be applied and left to penetrate the skin for around 30 minutes.
Next, the Ultherapy treatment will be performed by a qualified medical doctor. Real-time imaging via ultrasound lets the doctor identify and target the areas that require treatment. You may experience a warm or tingling sensation beneath the surface of the skin but it should not be painful.
The length of your treatment will depend on the area being treated and your individual treatment plan. A face and neck procedure typically takes 60-90 minutes, while treatment for the upper chest (or décolletage) takes approximately 30 minutes.
After treatment, you can return to your normal activities immediately without any post-treatment restrictions or requirements - it’s why Ultherapy is sometimes referred to as a lunchtime facelift! In terms of side effects, your skin might initially appear flushed but the redness should disappear within a few hours. Some patients experience slight swelling, tingling, or tenderness to the touch, but these are mild and don’t last long.
What are the results of Ultherapy?
Some patients see an initial effect right after their treatment, but the real results appear over two to three months as new collagen works to lift and tighten skin on the neck, chin and brow as well as smooth skin on the chest.
The improvements can continue to appear for six months or even longer - one study found that 95% of patients were satisfied with their results after one year. The results are gradual and natural-looking and, although Ultherapy won’t duplicate the results of a facelift, it’s a good alternative for those not ready for surgery.
The proven results of Ultherapy are supported by over 50 clinical studies and 90 peer-reviewed papers. To date, there have been more than 1.5 million treatments with Ultherapy globally. It’s been shown to:
- ✓ Reduce wrinkles by 11%
- ✓ Increase skin elasticity by 19%
- ✓ Improve facial lifting by 9%
- ✓ Increase moisture content by 4.5%
- ✓ Decrease pore size by 27%
- ✓ Increase dermal density by 30%
Are the results from Ulterapy permanent?
The results are permanent in the sense that you will always look better than you otherwise would have had you not had the procedure due to the creation of new collagen. You will notice the benefits for several years but it’s important to note that Ultherapy will not stop the ageing process. Collagen will continue to break down as time goes by. To maintain it, you can choose to have a touch-up procedure after a couple of years.
Who is a good candidate for Ultherapy?
The ideal Ultherapy candidate is anyone who is interested in age reversal, although the treatment will never replace the results of a surgical facelift. A facelift will result in more lifting and tightening since excess skin is removed but you may choose Ultherapy instead if:
- You don’t “need” a facelift yet (younger patient)
- You cannot medically undergo a surgical procedure
- You don’t want a surgical procedure
- You’ve had previous surgery and want a little touch-up
It’s best to see a doctor who offers both Ultherapy and facelift surgery and is able to give you an unbiased opinion.
Want to find out if Ultherapy is a good treatment for you? Contact Ocean Clinic on (+34) 951 77 55 18.