As the skin ages, many of us encounter problems such as wrinkles, sagging cheeks, and loose neck skin. One treatment method that has gained a lot of interest in Singapore in recent years is Ultherapy. Although there were many other skin lifting options—invasive and non-invasive—already available in the market, Ultherapy quickly became one of the more popular facelift procedures in Singapore.
Dr. Terence Tan from Halley Medical Aesthetics is Singapore’s second-time Golden Record Award Winner for Ultherapy. He recently also had an Ultherapy treatment done on himself! Who better to ask about the Ultherapy treatment than Dr. Tan then? And so we decided to ask him some of the most common questions people have about Ultherapy in Singapore.
Dr. Tan, why is Ultherapy so popular in Singapore?
There are a number of unique attributes of Ultherapy that boosted its popularity despite the wide variety of competing treatments by surgeons, aesthetic doctors, and facial spas.
Firstly, it is safe. Ultherapy is the only non-surgical, non-invasive, and no downtime skin tightening treatment approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA). It uses focused ultrasound energy to stimulate the body into producing collagen to lift, tone, and tighten sagging skin.
This brings me to the second unique aspect of this treatment. Because there are no surgical knives and no incisions involved, there is absolutely no downtime or recovery time needed for this treatment. After Ultherapy, you can go back to work, pick up your children, or go for dinner. Life goes on as per normal.
Next, Ultherapy is very precise. Unlike other treatments, Ultherapy is the only treatment that allows the doctor to see where to treat. The treatment is done with the Ulthera device that has a very advanced, ultrasound imaging system that allows us to scan the layers of skin tissue. Then using what we call the transducer, we are able to apply the ultrasound energy at precisely 4.0mm, 3.0mm, and 1.5mm under the skin at the SMAS layer, to kick-start collagen production. This ensures high accuracy with minimal risk during the treatment process.
Why is it important for aesthetic treatment done in Singapore to be FDA-cleared?
It not only gives consumers a peace of mind, it gives doctors a peace of mind that we are giving the best treatment possible to our patients! There are many skin lifting treatments available. It is important to choose a treatment that not only works, the treatment must be safe too. There is no need to sacrifice one’s safety for the pursuit of beauty.
Furthermore, there are many copycat devices in the market that claims to do the same as Ulthera. But they do not bear any safety seal from any authority. Being US FDA-approved ensures consumer receives safe, effective, and quality treatment.
How does Ultherapy work?
The SMAS or subcutaneous musculo-aponeurotic system is a layer under our skin that is rich in collagen and elastin. This SMAS layer is where plastic surgeons traditionally target to get the desired lift during an open surgery.
The Ulthera device is a real game-changer in that doctors are now able to target this same layer without making any cuts on our patients. Ultherapy treats the SMAS layer without disrupting the skin with pinpoint accuracy at exactly 1.5mm, 3.0mm, and 4.5mm under the skin with the help of transducers. Its unique ultrasound imaging ability allows us to determine the optimal placement of energy before we deliver the focused ultrasound energy.
Our skin’s response to this energy is an increased production of new collagen in our body, giving the desired skin tightening effect. This process develops over a period of 90 days, and evidence also shows that the lifting and firming process continues even after that.
What are patients surprised to find out about Ultherapy?
Many of my patients are surprised to find that they can combine Ultherapy with other treatment modalities to achieve more dramatic results. For instance, for patients who want a brow lift, doctors often use botulinum neuromodulators like Botox, Dysport, or Xeomin to relax the muscles and achieve a lift. But for a more long lasting result, we can combine this with Ultherapy of the brow and forehead. Patients are surprised to hear of such combined treatment options.
What happens during an Ultherapy session in Singapore?
Numbing cream is applied to the area that requires treatment before the procedure, which will make the treatment a more comfortable one. After about 20 minutes, we will wash off the numbing cream and apply gel to the face. This ensures good contact between the face and the transducer.
Throughout the treatment process, the doctor will do an ultrasound imaging of the treated area to ensure that the ultrasound energy is deposited to where it will be most beneficial for the patient.
The treatment duration depends on the area treated. Treatment of the whole face and upper neck takes 60-90 minutes, while treatment of the undereye takes approximately 30 minutes.
“My friend says that it’s extremely uncomfortable! Do people usually complete the procedure?”
The Ultherapy procedure is very tolerable and patients complete their treatment with no problem at all. Any discomfort is managed before treatment begins with numbing cream, and we customise the intensity and power of the treatment to suit all patients. There is no need to worry about pain.
What should you expect right after the Ultherapy treatment?
Your skin might be flushed and there might be some swelling right after the treatment but these will disappear within a few hours. The treated area will also feel tender to touch, almost like the skin is “aching” for a few weeks after Ultherapy but that is normal. It is an indication that the skin is responding to the treatment. Optimal results are expected in about three months’ time.
Will you need to take time off after Ultherapy treatment?
There are no incisions or surgical cuts made during the treatment. Ultherapy uses focused ultrasound energy to lift sagging skin, and it is a no downtime treatment. There is no need to take time off after your treatment, and you can resume all your activities right after the procedure. Even if the treatment is done during lunch hour, you can go back to work without worrying about any side effects.
What kind of results can you expect from Ultherapy?
Over time, your skin will gradually be tighter, lifted. With tighter skin you will also notice reduction in hollowness over the sunken parts of your face thus giving you a more rejuvenated look. Your pore size will appear smaller and your skin will have less wrinkles and sagginess when you smile or talk. You will look fresh and young again.
Is Ultherapy the best treatment for skin tightening as compared to other facelift methods?
Ultherapy is one of the best skin tightening treatments, especially for those who are not looking for a surgical facelift. Let us compare Ultherapy with other skin rejuvenation treatments:
- Laser skin rejuvenation treatments focus on improving skin complexion and skin texture while Ultherapy reaches deeper into the skin layer to stimulate collagen production.
- Dermal fillers add volume to the face and threadlift lifts sagging skin but does not tighten as uniformly as Ultherapy.
Ultimately, it depends on the patients’ requirements, budget, and preference. But all these treatment modalities complement one another and are often combined to achieve our skin goals.
Are the results from Ultherapy permanent?
The result from Ultherapy is long lasting. But we are ageing all the time, every second, every minute, every hour, every day. I always tell my patients that when we go for a haircut, the hair that has been cut off, remains cut off. Does that mean you don’t need a haircut again? No, because our hair is growing all the time. I would recommend a yearly refresh to keep pace with the body’s natural ageing process to maintain a youthful, rejuvenated look.
Who would you recommend Ultherapy to?
I would recommend Ultherapy to people who are looking for skin tightening treatment. It is a great treatment to reverse ageing. It is effective, it is safe, and there is no downtime. Everybody needs Ultherapy, even me! I personally did an Ultherapy treatment recently, and I can’t wait to see the results on myself. It has not been three months yet and I already see subtle lifting of what used to be my drooping jowls.
We have recommended Ultherapy even to the 20s, those with eye bags and chubby cheeks can be treated with Ultherapy too. Ultherapy is suitable for both men and women.
Other areas that will benefit from Ultherapy: eyebrows, double chin, jowl, and chest. Most of my patients come in for either the full face and upper neck or jowl treatment, and these areas show good results.
Do you have to be a doctor to perform the Ultherapy procedure in Singapore?
Yes, you have to be. It is important to have Ultherapy performed by a skilled professional who is an expert in using the Ulthera machine.