In today’s society of constant images that eventually end up on social media, feeling good and confident in our own skin has never been more important for our overall mental and emotional health. Many men and women reach a point where they start avoiding the camera because they, unfortunately, feel that their faces just aren’t as youthful as they use to be. Luckily, Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN has an easy and pain-free solution for such sufferers: ultherapy.
Maybe you’ve heard about this unique and innovative treatment that is the only FDA-approved therapy of its kind. Or maybe you’re wondering exactly what it is and if you’re the right age to use it. Let’s take a look at exactly how the treatment works, who is the ideal candidate, and what you can expect during the treatment experience.
How Ultherapy Works
Also know as Ulthera, ultherapy is a one-of-a-kind treatment for sagging or loose skin that uses ultrasound waves to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin proteins deep within the layers of the skin. Unlike the ultrasound equipment used during pregnancy to see inside the womb, the ultrasound machine used during this treatment delivers a more focused and strong wave of thermal energy, which heats the deeper layers of the dermis without affecting the top superficial layers of the skin.
Collagen and Elastin Proteins
So what are these proteins that the ultrasound waves are triggering during treatment? Remember that your skin is made up of three major layers: the epidermis (or outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer), and the hypodermis (the deepest, fatty layer). Collagen and elastin proteins exist within the dermis, or middle layer, where they are produced naturally. Both are necessary proteins that your skin needs to look plump and tight, as these proteins help to keep your skin and organs in place.
Collagen makes up about 80% of your skin, but over time and with exposure to the elements, such as getting too much sun, the protein goes down in production levels. The same happens with elastin, as the two proteins work together in the dermis to keep your skin from sagging and wrinkling. Therefore, when the ultrasound waves hit the dermis and create heat there, that triggers the body to produce more of these two proteins.
Where the Magic Happens
Once the heat reaches the dermis and triggers more production of collagen and elastin, the dermatologist’s work is done. Now the skin will go through a natural process of healing, where the collagen and elastin will work together to retighten the sagging skin that you see on the surface. This process starts taking place immediately, but you will physically be able to see the results about 3 to 6 months after the treatment.
A Light and Lasting Treatment
Because ultherapy is using non-invasive energy to heat the inner layers of the skin without affecting the outer layer and is used to simply trigger your body’s natural response to heat in the dermis, this type of treatment is perfect for anyone looking for an alternative to surgeries or anything that requires a needle, knife, or downtime afterward. The treatment is easily administered in the dermatologist’s office, and you can walk out right after the appointment and continue with your day.
And even more on the plus side, this particular therapy doesn’t need to be repeated very often. You’ll see the best results within 6 months after your first treatment, as your skin will have been producing more collagen and elastin during that time. Most results will last for at least a year, with some patients not needing to return for another treatment for up to three years! These results will vary based on the regular use of sunscreen and environmental factors.
The Ideal Candidate for Treatment
While other skin treatments that address sagging, wrinkles, and overall elasticity might have some strict guidelines about who can accept the treatment and who cannot, ultherapy is so light and non-invasive that really anyone can accept the treatment. The therapy simply triggers something that your body was already naturally designed to do, so it’s not introducing anything foreign or harmful to your skin in the least. There’s no risk of an allergic reaction, and there’s no need for a recovery period.
The Right Age for the Treatment
The ideal candidate for this type of therapy is someone who is starting to notice some sagging, wrinkling, or general loss of elasticity in the skin. Typically, these patients are about 30 to 40 years old, but there is no age requirement for the treatment. Younger candidates are fully welcome to receive the therapy, as well as older patients. While older patients might have more damage that needs to be corrected, they will still see visible benefits from the ultrasound therapy.
Keep in mind that this type of treatment is not as dramatic as a surgical procedure, so it is best to get started earlier and consider coming in for treatment every few years. As you get older, your body will be less able to produce collagen and elastin on its own, even when triggered by the ultrasound waves. Because of this, your dermatologist might recommend another treatment if you are looking for a more dramatic change in your appearance.
If You Need Something Stronger
While ultherapy can help to bring back a few years to your face, the effect is not as dramatic as a more thorough change to your skin, which can be achieved through surgery or radiofrequency therapies. If you feel that your particular sagging and wrinkling zones need more than just a few years back to their look, your dermatologist can help you choose which treatment would be best for you.
Where on the Body It Can Be Used
Keep in mind that this treatment is not only limited to your face and neck! It can be used almost anywhere on the body that you are experiencing sagging, wrinkling, or loose skin. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Eyes (eyebrows, crow’s feet, heavy eyelids, bags under the eyes)
- Cheeks (cheekbones)
- Jawline (chin, jaw)
- Neck (just under the jawline, around the collarbone)
- Chest (just above the bust)
- Arms (underneath, armpit)
- Knees (the back of the knee as well as just above in the front)
Because the treatment is safe to use anywhere on the body, it will also not harm your eyes or teeth, meaning you can have the treatment on the delicate skin around your eyes and mouth. It’s also effective for the wrinkles that can appear just above a woman’s bust on the chest.
What to Expect at Your Appointment
If you’re thinking that this treatment might be right for you, don’t hesitate to set up an initial consultation with our onsite dermatologist. Let the receptionist know that you are interested in ultherapy when you call so that the doctor is ready to answer any questions you may have and discuss which treatment is right for you.
Before the Treatment
You’ll first start with an informative consultation where you’ll meet our specialist and discuss what you are looking for in terms of results for your skin and the areas where you are experiencing any problems. Your doctor will analyze your skin’s condition carefully and might use an ultrasound machine to examine the deeper layers of your skin and pinpoint target areas that need to be worked on.
This ultrasound is not the same as the waves used in the treatment, as it is set at a lesser intensity, much like the ultrasound used during pregnancies. Using this ultrasound machine will allow your dermatologist to thoroughly examine the dermis and determine where the treatment should be focused.
During Your Treatment Visit
There are no specific requirements for skincare before or after the treatment, so don’t be worried about having to prepare anything in advance. If you arrive wearing makeup or with excessive hair in the area, your dermatologist will gently remove it before starting the ultrasound therapy.
Your dermatologist will then gently cleanse the area that is going to be treated. Next, they will apply an ultrasound gel to the area, and your physician will use the ultrasound applicator to target the intended area of the skin. They might spend a minute or two in this position as they adjust the viewing screen and intensity levels, making sure they are focusing on the exact section of the dermis they want to treat.
When the ultrasound waves are emitted, you might feel a warm or tingling sensation. Let your doctor know if this bothers you, as a pain-relieving medication can help to counteract this feeling. The waves take just a few minutes to be administered, and then the dermatologist will remove the applicator from the skin, and gently wipe away the ultrasound gel. An average session will last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.
Do I Have to Take Medicine Beforehand?
In some cases, your doctor might recommend taking an anti-inflammatory or pain-relieving medication before coming into the office, but be sure to check with your physician first before doing so. During your consultation visit, your dermatologist will give you clear instructions for how you should arrive for your appointment, and you should follow those specific instructions given to you.
After You Leave
Once the treatment is finished, you’re completely free to go! The treatment requires no downtime afterward to recuperate. You might notice a little redness in the area, but this should go away within a few hours. You should start to see changes and results in your skin within just a few days, and the results will continue to get better for about 6 months when the natural aging process will slowly start to take over again.
How soon you need to return for another treatment will depend on how well your body can produce collagen and elastin on its own. The older we are, the less our body is able to produce naturally, meaning that treatment visits will be more frequent as we age.
Making It Last
Wearing sunscreen and limiting your exposure to direct sunlight will help your results to last longer. Other factors will also make your result time vary, such as smoking and age. Talk with your dermatologist about the best skincare products you should be using for your particular skin’s chemistry.
Many patients choose to have the treatment again each year to stay on top of their wrinkles and sagging areas before they become too visible. Each individual should decide with their dermatologist how often they should receive treatment.
Get Started Today
Are you ready to see if ultherapy is right for you? Contact Gold Skin Care Center in Nashville, TN today to schedule your first consultation with our experts.