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Thermage® vs. Ultherapy™: Choosing the Best Fit for Your Needs


When exploring leading non-invasive skincare treatments for skin tightening and lifting, Thermage® and Ultherapy™ frequently emerge as prominent options. Both offer the advantages of skin firming and lifting without requiring injections, surgery, scalpels, or any recovery time.

However, diving into the specifics of their functioning, several notable distinctions between them become very evident. The distinctions encompass the targeted areas and the technologies used for treating sagging, aging, or wrinkled skin. This article aims to delve into these similarities and differences, helping you in the decision-making process between Thermage® and Ultherapy™.


Thermage® and Ultherapy™, have both received FDA approval and are recognized as top non-surgical options for skin tightening and lifting across the world. They offer the advantage of lifting and firming sagging or loose skin, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles, and enhancing the skin’s texture and firmness and the overarching purpose of both is to renew collagen. Unlike surgical procedures such as liposuction or facelifts, both Thermage® and Ultherapy™ come with the benefit of no downtime, no recovery period, and no severe side effects or long recovery times.

Both of these treatments progressively stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, leading to skin that becomes tighter and firmer. They are effective in addressing various signs of aging, and the benefits include but are not limited to:

  • Minimally invasive procedures with immediate recovery
  • Reduction of wrinkles and fine lines
  • Enhancement of natural collagen and elastin production
  • Lifting of sagging and drooping skin
  • Improvement in skin texture
  • Long-lasting results


Although both treatments utilize heat energy to promote the natural regeneration of collagen to firm and lift the skin, they employ distinct technologies to achieve this. Ultherapy™ uses ultrasound heat to stimulate deep collagen renewal within the skin layers, while Thermage® employs radiofrequency energy to initiate collagen production in the more superficial layers of the skin. 


Thermage® utilizes an advanced radiofrequency laser with a specially designed smooth-tip handpiece, which directly heats the dermis layer of the skin to a controlled temperature ranging from 40-55 degrees Celsius. This targeted heating causes the collagen proteins within the collagen-rich dermis to contract in a unique three-dimensional manner. This process rejuvenates the skin similarly to a deep skin chemical peel, yet it does so without harming the outer epidermis layer. 

Radiofrequency (RF) heat plays a crucial role in speeding up the healing and regeneration process of damaged skin cells. As a result, Thermage® proves exceptionally effective in revitalizing and smoothing out textured skin, such as crepey ‘orange peel’ skin, and in significantly reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Types of energy: Radiofrequency (RF) energy

Depth of penetration of the skin: Shallower areas of skin tissues (from the dermis to the layer of subcutaneous fat tissues).

Treatment purpose: Contours, lifts and smooths skin.

Treatment Sessions: From 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the areas being treated. Unlike many other body contouring treatments, Thermage® can be delivered in a single session, delivering results that can last for years.

Timing of results: Immediate tightening effect. Up to 6 months for the best results to show through. A single treatment can provide lifting and tightening results lasting 1-2 years, depending on the patient’s skin texture and quality.

Treatment areas

Thermage® stands out for its ability to target a wide range of body areas. Thermage® can treat:

  • Face
  • Eye area
  • Neck
  • Décolletage
  • Stomach
  • Arms
  • Buttocks
  • Knees
  • Thighs
  • Hands


Thermage® can address skin laxity issues across a broader range of body areas. It is especially effective for patients seeking to reshape and contour. Proven to successfully treat cellulite and crepey skin, Thermage® is particularly beneficial in areas like the abdomen and neck, as well as the thighs, arms, and buttocks — regions where Ultherapy™ is not approved for treatment. Additonally, t is also an optimal choice for individuals dealing with uneven skin texture.


Ultherapy™ employs highly precise micro-focused ultrasound energy to activate collagen renewal in the deepest skin layer, known as the SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) layer. This technique generates a brief heatwave in the specified treatment area through the transmission of high-intensity frequency ultrasound waves. The Ultherapy™device rapidly heats the skin to temperatures between 60-70 degrees Celsius, leading to the rejuvenation of collagen and elastin proteins. 

Besides, the technology features 3D visualization, allowing practitioners to visually identify areas in the SMAS layer where collagen is depleted. This capability ensures a highly targeted and accurate approach to skin regeneration treatment.

Types of energy: Ultrasound (MFU-V) energy

Depth of penetration of the skin: Deeper layers of skin tissue (the fibromuscular layer or ‘SMAS’ layer that sits just above the muscle tissue. The technology can target multiple skin layers for more enduring effects.

Treatment purpose: Lifts skin layers from deep within

Treatment Sessions: Facial treatments take between 30 to 90 minutes, whereas a chest treatment takes about 30 minutes. In most instances, one single session of Ultherapy™ can deliver results that are noticeable and can last for years.

Timing of results: Immediate tightening effect but best results tend to show through more quickly than Thermage®. It takes up to 2-3 months for the best results to show through. 

Treatment areas: 

Ultherapy™ is distinguished for its capability to treat the muscle fascia area, much like a traditional surgical facelift. Ultherapy™ has the ability to treat:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Cheeks and mouth area
  • Jawline
  • Décolletage
  • Chin
  • Chest
  • Brow
  • Under-eye area

Emphasis: The technology behind Ultherapy™ penetrates deeper than Thermage®, allowing it to target multiple skin layers for a more prolonged effect. Ultherapy™ is particularly effective in facial skin tightening, excelling in lifting sagging jowls and brows and reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the face. Its advantage in areas like the brow and jowls is attributed to its deep-penetrating technology, which facilitates the reconstruction of collagen and elastin proteins from deep within the skin layers.


Both Thermage® and Ultherapy™ are ideal for mild to moderate skin laxity, and they are popular non-surgical facelift procedures known for their safety, minimal recovery time, and limited side effects in targeting aging skin.

For Thermage®, it might be the better option for those looking to treat areas other than the face and neck. It excels in body contouring, covering a broader range of the body, and is particularly effective in addressing issues like crepey, uneven, and cellulite-marked skin, as well as lifting saggy fat areas. Thermage® is more suited for individuals concerned with the texture and quality of sagging skin.

For Ultherapy™, on the other hand, tends to yield more notable results for those with deeper wrinkles and more severe skin sagging. It’s generally more effective in stimulating the deeper layers of the skin and offers longer-lasting effects, especially in correcting key facial issues like sagging jowls or drooping brows. Ultherapy™ is the preferred choice for targeting the neck and décolleté area, where Thermage® may not be as effective. 

An interesting point to note: Ultherapy™ tends to show more dramatic results on thinner skin areas. Men are excellent candidates for Thermage® as they typically have thicker skin layers than women. Thermage® also shows effectiveness in treating patients with oily skin. However, officially, both treatments are suitable for a variety of skin types.

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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