Which Works Best: Ultrasound or Radiofrequency Energy?

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As a medical and cosmetic dermatologist in Orange County, I see patients each day who want to tighten skin that’s beginning to sag on their necks and faces but who don’t want surgery. As little as 10 to 15 years ago, their options would be limited. That’s no longer the case.

Patient Options

Non-invasive skin tightening treatments that use ultrasound or radiofrequency energy to stimulate collagen growth by heating the deeper layers of skin are now commonplace. Although many patients ask for the treatment that will get the best results, I explain that certain treatments are more effective than others for specific conditions. I evaluate a patient’s skin laxity and other features, along with considering their cosmetic goals, before recommending a specific treatment.

Ultherapy®, for example, uses ultrasound energy to tighten deeper layers of the skin than, say, Pelleve, the results will be more dramatic and last longer. If a patient isn’t looking for such dramatic results and only needs to treat superficial fine lines and mild loose skin, a radiofrequency-based treatment such as Pelleve or Thermage® might be more appropriate.

Here’s a breakdown on the features of each treatment:

  • Pelleve: The effects appear gradually, and multiple monthly treatments are recommended to get the best results. Patients report little discomfort during or after the treatment, often referred to as a “lunchtime lift” procedure.
  • Thermage: One treatment should produce good results, although some patients return after 3 months for an additional treatment. Some patients request pain-relief medication to reduce discomfort during treatment.
  • Ultherapy: The focused energy heats the skin more than the radiofrequency procedures and pain medication is usually needed. The results generally last longer.

For all of the options, treatment time takes about 60 minutes or longer, depending on whether the patient is getting just part of the face done, the full face, or the face and neck. None of the procedures require any downtime, and there is very little swelling or redness, if any.

Schedule a consultation

For more information on non-invasive skin tightening treatments, call OC Dermatology today at (949) 363-1788 today!

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