HIFU and Radiofrequency (RF) treatments are commonly talked about when it comes to non-surgical facelifts.
How are they different, and which treatment should you choose?
1. Type of energy used
HIFU machines, such as Ultherapy and Ultraformer, use focused and intense ultrasound energy to target the skin and facial muscle (SMAS) layers. The SMAS layer is the same area targeted in facelift surgery. This stimulates collagen growth in the deeper skin and SMAS layers, resulting in a pronounced lifting effect.
RF machines, such as Thermage and Exilis, use radiofrequency energy to heat deeper skin tissue, thereby stimulating collagen remodelling and increasing collagen production in the skin. This translates to firmer and taut skin. These machines are able to monitor that the targeted deep skin tissues reach optimal temperature for maximal collagen production without overheating the superficial skin layer. However, the RF energy does not reach the SMAS layer.
2. Frequency of treatment
A single HIFU treatment session can last 6-12 months, depending on the machine used. While Thermage is also recommended once a year, other RF machines may require more frequent sessions for best effect. The recommended number of sessions depends on the machine as well as your skin’s response. Therefore, if you are time-strapped, HIFU may be a better treatment option.
3. Your individual facial characteristics
If you notice that you have deflated cheeks or volume loss, but do not have much skin laxity, RF may be more ideal as it firms and tightens the skin without accentuating the volume loss. RF is also good for treating delicate areas such as the upper eyelids.
If your main concern is saggy skin, HIFU may be a better choice for the “lifting” effect, especially in the eyebrows, jawline and neck areas.
Both HIFU and RF are effective in treating wrinkles and fine lines due to the increase in collagen and overall improvement in skin firmness.
Can the treatments be combined?
Although each individual treatment will produce effective skin tightening results on its own, they can be combined to target the different layers of skin at different depths. For example, you could choose to do HIFU first, then a RF treatment at a later date. You could also choose to combine these treatments with lasers, wrinkle-reducing injections, or fillers.
It is important to note that while some improvement in skin tightening and lifting can be seen immediately after treatment, the best results from HIFU or RF develop over 2-3 months.
Looking for a non-surgical facelift? Consult with our doctors on which treatment is most suitable for you.