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When it comes to the areas where skincare and cosmetic surgery collide, it would be fair to say that the desire to look younger is among the top concerns that people visit plastic surgeons all over the world.

There’s a wide variety of effective treatments including Botox, dermal fillers, dermatology peels, facials, and surgical facelifts that will improve the appearance of wrinkles, improve elasticity, address loose skin, even out skin tone, and even delay the aging process.

The treatment options are either invasive (surgical treatments) or non-invasive (cosmetic treatments) and it is in the area of non-invasive that more innovative treatments keep appearing. This is in response to the greater demand for anti-aging facial treatments without surgery. Patients are looking for a non-surgical procedure that is effective but is also quick and with minimal downtime so it doesn’t interfere with the daily activities of a busy schedule.

People who have issues such as skin laxity, stretch marks, uneven skin tone, poor skin texture, wrinkles, and crepey skin are faced with numerous treatment options so let’s take a look at two of the most popular procedures using skin tightening technology  – Radiofrequency microneedling and Ultherapy. 

Both are types of non-surgical facelifts designed to deal with various skin issues and are suitable for all skin types to rejuvenate a youthful appearance. 

What Is RF Microneedling?

RF microneedling is a type of cosmetic procedure that combines the act of microneedling with levels of radiofrequency (RF) energy. 

How Does RF Microneedling Work?

RF Microneedling is effectively a controlled skin injury designed to provoke the natural healing process. The treatment utilizes ultrafine needles, along with LED lights that emit radiofrequency waves, to produce thermal energy. 

Tiny puncture wounds are made on the skin’s surface which create microchannels that enable topical products to penetrate deeper into layers of tissue, boosting their effectiveness.

As well as triggering the repair reaction, the micro-injuries stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. The RF energy also heats the skin’s deeper tissue layers leading to tighter skin. 

The RF Microneedling Procedure

The first step is that the skin is cleansed with alcohol to prevent infection. About one hour before the procedure, a topical anesthetic is then applied to the treatment area. In some situations we may prefer to use a local anesthetic. Whatever the method, the treatment area is numbed so that pain is minimized during the procedure. 

Our Genius RF microneedling device operates with an array of insulated fine needles applied to the treatment area, puncturing the top layer of skin to a depth of up to three and a half millimeters causing tiny wounds. Simultaneously, the microneedles deliver bursts of high-intensity radiofrequency energy in a fractional pattern.  

This part of the procedure can last between 10 and 90 minutes depending on the extent of the area being treated. 

The treatment ends with the application of a stem cell, exosome, and growth factor solution designed to support cell regeneration and a soothing solution that minimizes discomfort. 

A typical treatment plan is three sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart and results show after three to six months. 

There is minimal downtime and an immediate return to regular activities.

What is Ultherapy?

Introduced in 2004 and FDA approved in 2009, Ulltherapy has become one of the most trusted brands in cosmetic practice and fits the bill of being non-invasive, effective and an early return to normal activities.

Ultherapy is a non-invasive procedure that offers a less aggressive alternative to the traditional surgical facelift. It is an FDA-approved treatment to stimulate additional collagen production, a natural process that slows down with age and is the primary cause of loss of plumpness and elasticity (hence the wrinkles and lines).

The treatment is designed to go into the deeper layers of the skin to lift the brow, chin, and neck and can also be used for improving lines and wrinkles on the upper chest. These are the areas most affected when natural collagen production slows and are also the areas most responsive to this treatment.

How Does Ultherapy Treatment Work?

Ultherapy is a treatment using advanced micro-focused ultrasound. The ultrasound device creates heat energy that stimulates the production of the two essential skin proteins, collagen, and elastin, in the deepest layers. No damage or harm is done to any layer, including the outer layers of skin.

The boost of extra collagen and elastin helps to rejuvenate and restore the firmness of the skin and the patient should see a reduction in sagging and wrinkling in the skin as early as 6 weeks after treatment. The ultrasound waves are effective enough to stimulate collagen production for about three to six months after treatment with the results lasting from six months to two years.

Each Ultherapy session lasts between 30-90 minutes depending on the extent of the areas being treated and there is zero downtime with an immediate return to normal routine.

Frequent or additional treatments are a perfectly safe way to delay the visible signs of the natural aging process to maintain tighter, younger-looking skin.

The Ultherapy Procedure

The treatment begins with a cleansing of the targeted areas then an ultrasound gel is applied to each area. The handheld device connected to the Ultherapy machine delivers focused ultrasound energy which provides a detailed view of the deeper skin layers on a monitor. The practitioner can then adjust the concentrated ultrasound waves as required.

When the treatment begins there may be something of a tingling sensation combined with a feeling of warmth. There can be varying degrees of discomfort with the procedure, and often pain control is required.

The length of a single session depends on the skin tightening and rejuvenation that is required by the patient. For example, facial Ultherapy may take 30 minutes, which will double for the full area of the face, chin, and neck, and extend to 90 minutes if the decolletage is included.

Why Is RF Microneedling Better Than Ultherapy?

On the whole, most expert surgeons and cosmetic professionals will tell you that in a battle between radiofrequency microneedling vs Ultherapy, RF microneedling is going to produce better and longer-lasting results. Here are just a few reasons why RF microneedling might be a better option than Ultherapy.

Depth Of Treatment

RF microneedling can penetrate the skin at a much deeper level than Ultherapy treatments. The more impressive depth of penetration makes it a much more effective treatment for things like deeper wrinkles, acne scars and other types of common skin imperfections.

Greater Precision

The fact that RF microneedling uses a device containing tiny needles means that it can deliver a high amount of radiofrequency energy to the skin in a precise and targeted way.  Ultherapy is only able to use ultrasound waves to cover a wider, more general area of lax skin or saggy skin.

Shorter Treatment Time

While both processes have minimal downtime and minimal recovery period and both non-invasive treatments are carried out in a clinical setting, the session times for RF microneedling are usually shorter. RF Microneedling is also a less painful skin rejuvenation process than Ultherapy and results tend to show more quickly. 

Less Expensive

RF microneedling is generally less expensive than Ultherapy. The fact that it is a more affordable option makes it more attractive to a lot of potential patients, and in the world of cosmetic procedures, it is pretty rare for the more effective treatment to be the more affordable option. 

Longer Lasting Results

In many patients, we have seen that RF microneedling produces longer-lasting results than Ultherapy. In the majority of cases, patients can expect RF skin tightening treatments to last more than 12-24 months. It is important to carry on with regular treatment to keep your skin in the best condition possible, as the higher frequency of treatments, the better the results are going to be over a longer period.

Ultimately, the choice between RF microneedling and Ultherapy is going to depend on the individual qualities of your skin and the concerns and issues that you are hoping to address. 

It is important to consult a professional to help you decide if RF Microneedling is the right treatment for you. Book a personal consultation at the Z Center for Cosmetic Health in Sherman Oaks to receive personalized advice.