We all have our bad beauty days–you wake up and regret the salty food you ate the day before or the extra-late night or the second cocktail. But you get through the day, get some extra shut-eye, eat lots of fruit and veggies and within a day or two your eyes are bright again and your skin glows. Lately though, I’d been noticing it took me a little longer to bounce back and my skin wasn’t as taut as I remembered. I couldn’t blame it on anything but age. My less-than-tight jawline was all I could see when I looked in the mirror and I was hoping there was a solution to reverse this downward shift, short of cosmetic surgery.
I’d heard about Ultherapy and thought it might be just what I was looking for but there were conflicting reports–some people seemed to love their results and others couldn’t even see a difference. Said to improve loose, sagging skin in the face and neck in a significant but completely non-surgical way, Ultherapy is a non-invasive, no-downtime, anti-aging, in-office procedure that uses focused ultrasound waves to bypass the skin’s surface and heat the deep layers of skin tissue, stimulating collagen production for subtle yet visible tightening (the best candidates can expect about a 30% improvement).
I made an appointment with world renowned Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Dr. Andrew Jacono at his NYC office. He explained how the loss of volume in my lower face was contributing to my less than taut jawline. Though everyone is not an ideal candidate for Ultherapy (possibly the reason for the mixed reviews) he accessed my skin and assured me great results. Apparently, those with a fair-ish, on-the-dry side, thinner-skinned complexions will get better results than those with oily, thicker skin. Since it’s hard for people to determine this on their own, speak to your doctor about your skin type and whether you’re a good candidate for it as well.
Before my treatment I took some Advil to make it a bit easier to handle. Through an imaging window (that looks very much like a computer) Dr. Jacono looked below my skin to determine which specific areas needed the most energy to jumpstart new collagen growth. He marked up my skin like a roadmap (see my before picture) so that Joyce, his Laser Technician/Aesthetician would know the precise locations and depths to direct the energy. I had to stay very still as Joyce used the hand-held transducer to zap me a few times in each area Dr. J had marked. The whole procedure took about 60 minutes.
It can be uncomfortable at times (especially around the bonier areas), but Joyce was calming and patient as she got the job done. She didn’t even bat an eye when I found that the lamaze breathing I learned many years ago was helping me get through it. In fact, once I started doing the breathing techniques it was quite easy to handle. The second the treatment was over any discomfort was all but forgotten.
Afterwards, I had almost no redness and was able to go about my day as if I hadn’t done anything. I went to a work event and even met a friend for dinner. Over the next week or so I did experience some mild tenderness that almost felt like what a sunburn or mild bruise feels like even though there weren’t any visible marks on my skin. I was actually happy for it since I knew it meant it was working.
Ultherapy prices vary from office to office but it costs approximately $2000 – $6000 depending on the area(s) being treated and the doctor or technician’s expertise. Though it’s non-invasive with no downtime whatsoever, don’t count on a spa-like experience. Basically, Ultherapy heats small, targeted amounts of soft tissue below the surface of the skin to the point that it contracts and the body will starts creating new collagen. It’s tricky because the right amount of heat needs to be delivered to the right depths of tissue, without injuring the surface of the skin.Re-building collagen takes time and I was informed that results can take 2-3 months to appear and many clients experience continued gradual lifting and firming for up to 6 months afterwards. My after photo is taken just 2 months post-treatment and you can already see a more defined jawline, so I’m excited to see this through to the 6 month mark. Though the results aren’t as dramatic as they’d be with surgery, I’m quite pleased. I actually prefer maintenance types of treatments like this that no one will ever mistake for surgery. You’ll look like yourself, but you on your best day all the time.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive, anti-aging treatment with no downtime that can put off (or put an end to) the need for surgery Ultherapy has got what it takes. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!