At a certain age, it can happen to any of us—we look in the mirror and notice areas of our skin sagging where it used to be taut and tight. When we turn our heads, we might notice the skin under and around our chin has loosened or our brows aren’t as arched as they used to be. There was a time when our only options were to have surgery or grin and bear it, but not anymore. When it’s time to talk to a professional about your options, call Rejuvenate Med Spa in Oak Brook, IL and ask how Ultherapy can work for you.
What Is Ultherapy?
Ultherapy is an innovative technique for firming loose skin by stimulating collagen growth at a foundational level. Using ultrasound energy, the deepest layers of the skin are targeted. Micro-injuries are caused so that your body will begin its natural healing process. This is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment requiring no preparation and no downtime, but it still gets remarkable results.
While your doctor is using the handheld Ultherapy device, they will be able to use ultrasound imaging to see the exact depth of tissue they want to target to maximize your results. A doctor will normally target three levels of your skin to trigger collagen production every step of the way. There is no guesswork or generalized application—this treatment is completely personalized to you and your body, on the spot.
Why Does Collagen Production Get Results?
Ultherapy’s main goal is to get your body to produce more collagen, but why is this so important for skin tightening? Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and our skin is 80% collagen. When we’re young, collagen forms a fibrous and strong foundation in the middle layers of our skin. New and healthy cell regeneration happens on these sturdy layers.
Elastin and Hyaluronic Acid
When the middle layers of our skin are strong, our skin on top is strong, healthy and smooth. Collagen works with another protein, elastin, to ensure that even when our skin is pulled it will snap back to place. To round out everything our skin has going for us, hyaluronic acid, a natural sugar our body makes, ensures our skin, eyes and connective tissues stay lubricated and hydrated. When you put all of this together, you have strong, dewy, supple and smooth skin without wrinkles or sagging areas.
Something happens around our mid-20s. Our production of collagen slows down. It’s thought its production declines by 1% per year with an even bigger drop-off happening for women after menopause.
What Happens When Collagen Declines?
The signs of aging begin to show and take over our skin. If collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid make up that youthful, healthy and solid foundation on which our new skin cells are regenerated, that bedrock weakens. The dermis is no longer as smooth, so small pockets or hollows form where collagen has broken down and not been replaced. Gravity causes our surface skin to fall into these hollows causing wrinkles, folds, and areas of lost volume.
When that strong foundation is weakened, there’s less of a scaffold for our skin to hang on to, and it sags. The areas where we tend to have the most sagging result from gravity pulling our skin and tissues toward the ground. Without the anchor or collagen holding it in place, it becomes lax and loses its tightness and contour. The same is true of the brow area. The skin of our foreheads and brows becomes too heavy for our weakened skin to hold up, so the brows sag, giving us a tired and aged appearance.
Slowing the Decline of Collagen Production
There’s no preventing the breakdown of collagen. It happens to all of us with the passage of time, but there are things you can do to prevent expediting this breakdown. Give your skin the best chance of keeping its collagen for as long as possible by avoiding:
- Too much time in the sun without sunscreen
- Sun damage
- Drinking alcohol to excess
- A diet high in processed food and sugars
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Low water intake
- Unmanaged long-term stress
How Is Ultherapy Different?
There are many treatments that work by stimulating collagen production, though many of them just do it on a superficial level. Treatments like microdermabrasion and microneedling are forms of skin resurfacing that cause microscopic abrasions to the very top layers of the skin. When collagen is produced, those are the layers it replaces. These treatments are great for things like addressing fine lines, uneven skin tone and texture, and even acne issues. These areas of concern are addressed because they affect the very top layers of your skin.
Treatments like lasers bypass the top layer of your skin, leaving it unharmed and also create micro-injuries to deeper layers of the skin, but they can’t go much deeper than the middle layers. This works well on acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, age and sunspots, and hyperpigmentation. These treatments do very little for skin laxity, because they’re not really addressing the foundation of the skin.
Ultherapy can reach layers of the skin only before reached by surgeons. This treatment will not give you the results a facelift can, but the results are remarkable and are a “next best thing”. This is also a great option for a younger clientele who have worked hard to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise but can’t lose their submental fat or double chin. The areas of concern that can be effectively treated are:
- Mild to moderate skin laxity on neck or chin
- Eyebrow area
- Lines and wrinkles on the chest or decolletage
- Diet and exercise-resistant submental fat or double chin
What to Expect
When you and your doctor have discussed your areas of concern and explored your desired results, they will do an examination of your skin to determine your level of skin laxity and foundational structure. Once you’ve both decided this is the right treatment for you, there’s no preparation for you to do. Because this is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment, you just show up.
During Your Appointment
On the day of your appointment, your doctor may apply a topical numbing cream with lidocaine, a topical anesthetic, to maximize your comfort. Most clients describe the treatment as a warming sensation. If you’re just uneasy with treatments in general, you can ask your doctor their recommendations to calm your nerves. They will then apply an ultrasound gel to the treatment area. The treatment should last between 60-90 minutes depending on the areas you’re having treated. Afterward, there’s no downtime or aftercare.
Many clients will schedule their session in the middle of the day, come in for their appointment and go back to work immediately afterward. There are no needles and nothing invasive, so there will be no distinctive outward appearance of just having had a treatment of any kind.
Results aren’t immediate, which a lot of clients are happy about. You don’t walk into the office looking one way and walk out looking completely different. Because the ultrasound energy was focused on the foundational levels of your skin, the process will be gradual. Your collagen will immediately go to work regenerating new cells at each level your doctor targeted. As those cells regenerate, those layers of skin get stronger, healthier and more youthful-looking.
Your surface skin will have a stronger anchor to hold on to, so you’ll see skin laxity slowly improve. People describe it as one day looking in the mirror and seeing a sculpted jawline or more pronounced features and tighter skin. The best part? Those results you see can last up to a year or longer.
How Many Treatments Do I Need?
Most clients only need one treatment session to get the results they want, while others, depending on their level of skin laxity, may opt for more than one if they’d like more dramatic results. Once you’ve achieved the level of results you want, your doctor will recommend the right time for you to come back for a follow-up visit.
Who Is a Good Candidate?
If you’re bothered by the appearance of sagging skin and undefined features like brows and your jawline, this could be a good option for you. This works best for people with mild to moderate skin laxity who don’t feel ready for surgical intervention but still want results that are more than what superficial treatments can get them.
Although this treatment can’t replace the results of a facelift, clients who have already had a facelift are turning to this therapy to extend their results and keep their skin looking smooth and tight.
Once you’ve had this treatment and are enjoying tighter skin and more contoured features, your doctor may recommend other treatments to round out your plan and address all your areas of concern. Lines, wrinkles and skin laxity aren’t the only aging concerns we have, so consider a comprehensive plan.
Skin resurfacing refers to a family of treatments designed to remove the top layer or layers of your skin to reveal a brighter and softer complexion. While these treatments don’t do a lot for moderate to severe lines, folds and skin laxity, they can work wonders for things like:
- Uneven skin tone and texture
- Acne and acne scarring
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Sun damage
- Large pores
- Overall dull appearance
Methods of Skin Resurfacing
These treatments use different modalities to achieve the same thing—removal of the top layer of dead and dull skin cells along with dirt and debris. When you do this, a fresher layer of skin is revealed, and if you’ve chosen a treatment that causes micro-injuries to the skin, collagen production will regenerate healthier skin cells to address things like shallow acne scarring and age spots.
Your doctor will have several options for you to choose from and will recommend the one right for your stage and health of skin, areas of concern and expected results. These treatments can go from very superficial and mild to a deeper treatment with more pronounced results. Skin resurfacing treatments include:
- Microneedling with or without PRP
- Chemical peels
- Laser skin resurfacing and skin tightening
Choosing the Right Provider
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to address some of your areas of aging concerns, the most important decision you can make is to choose the right provider. Call Rejuvenate Med Spa in Oak Brook, IL to schedule your consultation. We know taking the first step can be the most overwhelming, so we take our time to get to know each of our clients personally to make sure each treatment plan is customized to help them achieve their unique goals.