Considered a non-surgical alternative to facelifts, Ultherapy makes it possible for us to achieve a more youthful look without cuts, stitches, or injections – it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most popular aesthetic procedures not just in Singapore but also around the world!
But, this level of popularity also means that there’s a slew of myths being perpetuated out there that makes the US FDA-approved treatment sound more invasive and complicated than it really is. To separate fact from fiction, Daily Vanity spoke with Dr. Terence Tan, medical director and founder of Halley Medical Aesthetics, to help you debunk the top 10 common misconceptions about Ultherapy.
Keep reading to learn the facts about one of the most popular aesthetic procedures, and find out where you can get one in Singapore!
10 Ultherapy myths you probably believe in – but shouldn’t
1. Ultherapy can melt your fat
Probably one of the most outrageous claims to be perpetuated but the answer is no, ladies. In fact, no research ever published proved that Ultherapy can actually melt fat – if the protocol is done correctly.
Theoretically, such an incident may occur if continuous heat from the micro-focused ultrasound energy is focused on the same spot over and over which, in turn, can generate a temperature that’s high enough to cause some of the fat cells to “burst” and melt. However, this can only occur if the person performing the treatment is not educated sufficiently on the procedure or is just lazy – or both!
If you take your time to research the aesthetic clinics in Singapore and go to a respectable clinic with aesthetic doctors who are trained to use the Ulthera device – the machine used for doing Ultherapy – and have a clear understanding of human anatomy and physiology to perform this treatment, it’s highly unlikely to have your fat cells melted away by the device.
2. Ultherapy requires multiple treatments to get results
According to Dr. Tan, most patients require just one treatment yearly but you can safely repeat it more frequently if desired. Therefore, Ultherapy is one of the few aesthetic protocols that’s very time-efficient. He adds, “I say that because it’s a single treatment that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to about 1.5 hours. I’m sure most people can spare about one hour a year for a skin refresh!”
3. Results are not that long-lasting
Some have said that Ultherapy produces results that last no more than six months only, which is not exactly true – let us tell you why.
You might see initial improvements a month after your Ultherapy session but results are most optimal at about three months. That’s because Ultherapy’s primary function is to stimulate our body’s natural production and generation of new and fresh collagen, and that process takes time.
At about three months, our ‘baby collagen’ is strong enough to lift and tighten loose skin. “But our skin is constantly ageing – very much like how our hair continues to grow although we trim or cut it from time to time, so the speed of ageing also depends on environmental factors and your skincare regime,” says Dr. Tan.
“That’s why I would recommend an annual ‘touch-up’ or maintenance treatment in order to maintain your skin’s youthfulness as you age. If you incorporate Ultherapy as a yearly treatment while your skin is still young, look at it as a way of putting more collagen in your collagen bank.”
4. The treatment is extremely painful
The treatment has long been plagued by this stigma, but it’s no more than a myth now. According to Dr. Tan, many improvements have been made with treatment protocols modified and enhanced to deliver the amazing results it is able to provide today. Now, Ultherapy is a very tolerable treatment and does not cause extreme discomfort.
Of course, as with most things in life, a good procedure must begin with good preparation and attention to detail. As Dr. Tan shares, the following is a must:
- Application of high-quality numbing cream;
- Using an effective medical-grade cooler, like a Zimmer cooler, to cool the skin during treatment;
- Oral medications help better as Ultherapy Treatment penetrates deeply;
- Varying the power level according to the area treated; and
- Reducing the power and increasing the number of lines or shots.
“Do you know that studies have shown that the number of lines or shots is much more important than the power level of the treatment? The 800-line Ultherapy treatment protocol for the face and upper neck introduced in 2019, for instance, brings good news to those who have always wanted to do the treatment but is afraid of the discomfort they have heard or read about.
“What this upgraded protocol delivers is 800 lines or ‘shots’ of micro-focused ultrasound energy to the face as opposed to the old protocol of 500 lines. This means that the amount of energy directed into your skin, stimulating your skin’s elastin fibre to generate collagen is increased by 60%.
“Studies have also shown that clinical results can be achieved regardless of the intensity or power level of the treatment. Therefore, with the 800-line Ultherapy protocol, doctors are able to deliver a higher density of this collagen-generating, micro-focused ultrasound energy at a power level that is comfortable for the patient and yet achieve optimal results at the same time without the need to use a higher power level.”
If you think that you have low pain tolerance, ask the doctor about safe painkillers that you can take like ibuprofen prior to treatment.
5. Ultherapy has a long downtime and can potentially bruise the skin
As mentioned earlier, Ultherapy is a non-invasive treatment so there is no downtime involved. Your skin may look slightly red – never bruised – after the procedure, but this should subside after a few hours and you can immediately go back to your normal activities after the procedure.
6. Ultherapy can be performed only on the face
Although Ultherapy is known to lift saggy skin of the whole face, the Ulthera device can target specific parts of your face like your forehead, brows, undereye, cheeks, upper and lower neck, and even the decolletage.
However, this can only be done if the doctor has all the full range of Ultherapy transducers (pictured above) to discharge the micro-focused ultrasound energy at the correct skin depth to trigger collagen production for the area of concern.
7. Ultherapy can damage facial nerves
According to Dr. Tan, there is no risk of permanent nerve damage but what may possibly occur is nerve irritation if too much heat is delivered to certain areas repeatedly, making it a painful procedure. This is where a good knowledge of facial anatomy is important.
“An authentic Ulthera device features a visualiser that allows doctors to scan your skin in real-time during treatment. I would always see and analyse the patient’s skin composition and facial structure, and plan the treatment to accurately target the tissue that he or she wants to treat. This is the basis of the new ‘SPT treatment protocol’ which I will elaborate on later.
“While this form of irritation isn’t a sign of nerve damage, it is best avoided by paying attention to facial anatomy and utilising the unique features of Ultherapy to the fullest.”
8. Ultherapy can melt your fillers
“There is no evidence that fillers are affected by Ultherapy treatment. Ultherapy only heats up the skin to 60 or 65 degrees Celsius for a fraction of a second, so the power is likely to be much lower than what is required to affect the filler,” explains Dr. Tan.
“However, if Ultherapy is performed together with filler treatment on the same day, I would generally perform Ultherapy before the filler treatment to avoid applying pressure on the area treated by filler when doing Ultherapy.”
9. Ultherapy can be performed by anyone, including a salon therapist
“Ultherapy requires a combination of ultrasound assessment and planning before the treatment and continuous real-time ultrasound imaging during the treatment to maximise the safety and effectiveness of the procedure,” Dr. Tan lets on.
“As with handling any equipment, a piece of good equipment is only good if you handle it well. A piece of equipment with many advanced features fails to be a piece of advanced equipment if the user chooses not to use the advanced features.
“In inexperienced hands, complications can occur. As such, Ultherapy is only available in licensed medical clinics, performed by licensed doctors.”
10. All Ultherapy treatments are the same regardless of which aesthetic clinic you go to
“Not all ultherapy treatments are the same. Firstly, two protocols exist for Ultherapy: 800-line and 500-line (or shot). An 800-line treatment has a 60% greater treatment density than a 500-line treatment without significantly increasing the incidence of side effects. Most people should choose the 800-line treatment when appropriate,” Dr. Tan shares.
“Secondly, we need to maximise the potential of the Ulthera device. To maximise results and safety of ultherapy, I would visualise, understand, and put into practice my assessment of the patient’s skin anatomy which is projected on the device’s ultrasound image before and during treatment.
“I would then plan based on different properties of the skin between different patients, or even between different areas of the face and neck within the same patient. Thereafter, planning should be customised to the patient but still conforming to Ultherapy’s well-researched protocols based on research and science.
“This is the essence of the new ‘Ultherapy SPT treatment protocol’. Remember, you only get results with a combination of good equipment and good performance.”
Where you can go for Ultherapy in Singapore
Convinced that Ultherapy can help you achieve your ultimate #skingoals? You can consider checking out Halley Medical Aesthetics to get your Ultherapy treatment!
A clinic that is passionate about unveiling a better version of you inside and out, Halley stands out from the rest as an aesthetic clinic that’s certified in the Ultherapy See. Plan. Treat (SPT) protocol in Singapore.
What is the SPT protocol, you may ask? Well, it’s the latest Ultherapy treatment protocol for doctors to ensure that they deliver the desired result for patients with mild to moderate skin laxity. This three-pronged protocol ensures that doctors:
- SEE the patient’s skin anatomy through real-time ultrasound visualisation technology to identify the area that requires treatment;
- PLAN and map out a bespoke Ultherapy treatment for the individual based on the visualisation; and
- TREAT according to the plan that is customised for the patient.
“Different patients have different skin conditions,” says Dr. Tan. “The SPT protocol allows doctors to adjust the treatment by identifying the right transducer to use based on our patient’s skin condition.
“It also allows us to avoid dangerous areas like the bone or blood vessels. This results in a highly customised Ultherapy treatment that is safer, more comfortable, and effective,” he adds.
Here at Halley, you will only be offered the updated Ultherapy Amplify 800-line Protocol, which is a more comfortable procedure that provides a more dramatic lift. The machine used at Halley also comes equipped with a full range of transducers, which means the aesthetic doctors here can treat a wider range of problematic areas effectively.
What’s more, Halley is also the winner of not one, but four “Golden Record Awards” by Merz Aesthetics (the company behind Ultherapy). This accolade matters greatly, as it is only given to top-performing clinics that provide Ultherapy.
If you’re keen to ask the doctors further about all the myths that you’ve just read about Ultherapy, consider checking out Halley’s Ultherapy Consultation Fortnight which is happening from now until 16 October!
A session of Ultherapy costs S$3,500 for the full-face and upper neck – consultation and GST included. If you’d like to have a more dramatic lift, you can also pair your Ultherapy treatment with dermal fillers – just ask the doctors how during the consultation. For more information, visit the official website of Halley Medical Aesthetics.
Address: 277 Orchard Road, Orchard Gateway, #03-15, Singapore 238858
Contact number: 6737 8233, WhatsApp 9816 6148 (click on the number to send a WhatsApp message) or book an appointment online here
Operating hours: 10am – 9pm (Mon to Sun)
This article is brought to you by Halley Medical Aesthetics.