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What are Ultherapy and Thermage and how are they different?

Ultherapy versus Thermage

Over the past decade, surgery has been the most popular option to diminish the impact of aging in terms of skin laxity and wrinkles. With changes in time and development in technology, surgical treatments are now a story of the past – treatments like Ultherapy and Thermage have reformed the skin treatment industry.

A new way of rejuvenating and tightening your skin, Ultherapy and Thermage use energy to increase collagen (an essential protein that keeps the skin together and keeps it fresh) on the dermal layer of the skin. Even though, Ultherapy and Thermage have similar purposes, they focus on different elements of rejuvenating the skin and have different goals.   

Treatment Areas

Ultherapy is the only FDA approved non-surgical treatment that focuses on:

1.  the neck and chin

2. the brow area

3.  the chest (décolletage)

Unlike laser treatment, ultherapy uses ultra sound energy to bypass the surface of your skin to treat the above mentioned areas.  While both Ultherapy and Thermage procedures create heat, Ultherapy goes deeper and can reach the dermal layer.

Thermage’s goal is to treat wrinkles on:

1.  the face

2.  the eye area

3.  the abdominal area

4. other areas of the body, ex thighs

The way thermage works is by using a radiofrequency energy in order to create a universal heating effect.

Thermage, which has been around for almost a decade with a million patients under treated, focuses on treating wrinkles (specifically approved by the FDA for this only) and to aid in reducing eyelids’ droopiness and bags and dark circles under the eyes while Ultherapy’s goal is to treat lines and wrinkles in the décolletage area along with tightening the skin on the face and neck area.

How Long Does it Take?

Both treatments are short, Thermage can be 45-90 minutes and Ultherapy can be as little as 30 minutes if being done on a small area.  Since the purpose is to help rebuild the collagen it takes some time to see the final results.  Thermage you may see an immediate result and then a gradual improvement over time.  For Ultherapy, it is not immediate, and it builds over the weeks and months but the results can be long lasting with annual touch ups. 


Thermage has been around since 2002 and it used to be pretty uncomfortable.  Since then, it has been improved, which includes cooling the skin to help reduce the pain.  Alternatively, Ultherapy is not thought to be painful, though you will feel heat and some may use a a topical anesthetic to minimize this.  


The two procedures treat different concerns and are options when evaluating what is best for you.  As always, consult a doctor to help with making the decision of what is best for you and your skin. 

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