Throughout the early 2000s, there was a barrage of new cosmetic procedures and devices entering the market. Thermage, which was approved by the FDA in 2004 as a full face skin tightening device, quickly became a media darling. But have the results lived up to the hype?
Thermage is a non-invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to heat the deeper layers of the skin, thus promoting new collagen growth. It promises no injections, no downtime and an overall younger looking appearance.
What makes Thermage unique is that it can be used on any area of the face or body, including the delicate skin around the eyes and even on the eyelids. Unlike lasers that treat the more shallow layers of skin, Thermage can treat deep into the dermis and subcutaneous tissues. Immediate results are minimal, but most patient report a “tightened” sensation. It takes several months of collagen growth to see full effects. Most providers say that only one treatment is necessary, although results will probably fade after about two years.
The procedure itself does involve some discomfort, no surprise here, but Thermage hopes to minimize pain by first spraying a coolant, then applying heat, and then another round of coolant. Some patients choose to take an oral pain medication prior to the procedure.
What are the Benefits of Thermage?
The biggest benefit of Thermage is that it truly is a lunchtime procedure without the need for recovery or downtime. But with ease comes subtlety. Results will never equal a surgical facelift or even match what can be achieved with Botox or dermal fillers. Yet for those patients who don’t want to look as if they have had “work done,” Thermage is a nice alternative.
Thermage often works best not as a single strategy but as part of an overall rejuvenation plan. For example, Thermage can be used to effectively maintain results of a surgical facelift. It is also highly effective as a complimentary treatment to Fraxel lasers, Botox and dermal fillers.
Why Have Some People Reported Disappointment with Thermage?
The most likely answer to this question is twofold: 1) Thermage results were overpromised and 2) Thermage was used on the wrong patients.
Like anything that seems too good to be true, it often is. Without invasive techniques and surgery, results (at least for now) will always be less obvious. Some people appreciate that, but others wanted and expected more impact for their efforts.
Thermage was often promised to fix everything from stretch marks to cellulite to severe skin laxity. But in fact, it is best suited for patients who are younger than late 30s or older patients who only have very mild skin damage or wrinkles.
Does Thermage Melt Fat?
In the early days of Thermage, some operators were turning the heat settings up very high in hopes of getting more noticeable results. This did result in some damage to fat and collagen structures, which left patients looking worse due to volume loss. However, lesson learned, and this is no longer being done.
Am I the Right Patient for Thermage?
Thermage might be right for you if you can answer yes to most of the following questions:
- Will you be happy with subtle results?
- Do you currently use other rejuvenation techniques?
- Is your skin still thick and fairly tight?
- ï Do you appreciate the tradeoff between convenience/no downtime and natural/delayed results?
If you would like another option for tightening your skin in a less invasive and subtle way, then Thermage may be the treatment for you. When used in conjunction with your other beauty regimens, it can be a trusted ally for both maintenance and long-term collagen growth.
More info on How Thermage Works
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