High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a way to combat the visible signs of ageing, and two of the most popular devices are Ultherapy and Ultraformer III. They’re not the only HIFU devices, but they are probably the best-known. So I thought it would be helpful to look at the differences. But before I do, let me explain what HIFU does for your skin to combat the visible signs of ageing.
Many of us, at some point, will notice the skin beginning to sag, and if it’s a concern, you may feel the only solution is a face or neck lift. Let’s be honest; it’s hard not to feel bad about our ageing neck. Right?
But a facelift seems a like a drastic measure, or it’s financially out of reach, or the idea of surgery is something you’d never consider.
Many device technologies are promising to turn back the clock, and while you may not achieve the dramatic results of a surgical face and neck lift, with the advent of new technologies, you can now invest in subtle improvements to slow down the ageing process by activating collagen and elastin at a deeper level than ever before.
How does high-intensity focused ultrasound work?
High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is one such technology that offers a safe, non-surgical alternative for lifting and tightening sagging skin on the face and neck.
Collagen and elastin are the key elements that keep your skin firm and bouncing back after facial expression; however, your age and skin condition can leave the skin diminished, with lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin making their unwanted appearance.
HIFU is a way to target the skin’s underlying structures to lift and tighten; it does this by reaching down below the skin’s layers to deliver energy wavelengths to the SMAS layer, where a micro-injury is caused to activate new collagen and elastin.
What is the SMAS layer?
Great question! SMAS stands for Superficial Musculo-Aponeurotic System. It’s the layer of tissue that lies beneath the skin and is located between the subcutaneous fat layer and the underlying muscle layer. It’s a fibrous layer of connective tissue rich in collagen and elastin fibres to support the contour and structure of the face and neck.
As we age, the SMAS layer loses its elasticity and begins to sag, resulting in jowls, folds around the mouth, and other signs of skin ageing.
HIFU aims to tighten and reposition the SMAS layer, skin, and underlying tissues to achieve a youthful appearance.
HIFU technology: Ultherapy v Ultraformer III
Ultherapy and Ultraformer III are popular non-surgical HIFU devices that skincare professionals use for facial skin tightening and lifting.
While both devices use high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) technology to target the deeper layers of the skin, there are some key differences between the two devices to consider when deciding which treatment option is right for you.
How the energy waves are delivered.
One of the main differences between Ultherapy and Ultraformer III is how the ultrasound energy is delivered.
- Ultherapy uses a single transducer that delivers energy in a straight line.
- Ultraformer III has various cartridges allowing more precise targeting of specific areas and depths within the skin.
The precision of Ultraformer III can be especially useful when treating smaller, more delicate areas of the face.
The intensity and focus.
Another difference between the two devices is the intensity and focus of the ultrasound waves. While both devices can reach a depth of 4.5mm into the skin, the intensity and focus of the ultrasound waves may vary, which can impact the depth of treatment and the specific layers of tissue that are targeted.
- Ultherapy is often used to target the superficial layers of skin and the SMAS layer.
- Ultraformer III targets deeper layers of tissue, such as the deeper SMAS layer and the subcutaneous fat layer.
Which areas of the face are targeted?
There may also be differences in the areas targeted by each device.
- Ultherapy is often used to treat the forehead, brow area, and upper cheeks.
- Ultraformer III can treat a wider range of areas, including the jawline, neck, and eye area (both under the eye and the sagging skin below the brow).
How long does each treatment take?
The treatment time is another difference between Ultraformer III and Ultherapy.
- Ultherapy can take up to 60-90 minutes for a full-face treatment.
- Ultraformer III treatment can be completed in as little as 30 minutes for some patients.
Customisation of your treatment.
- Ultherapy, on the other hand, has a single transducer that can be used for all areas of the face and neck.
- Ultraformer III allows for more customisation of treatments than Ultherapy. It has various cartridges that target specific areas of the face and body, such as the forehead, cheeks, jowls, and neck.
How does it feel? What’s the comfort level?
The comfort level during the treatment also differs between Ultraformer III and Ultherapy.
- With Ultherapy, you might experience more discomfort due to the higher energy levels required to penetrate deeper into the skin.
- Ultraformer III has a feature that allows it to deliver energy to the skin in a more controlled and precise manner, which you might find more comfortable.
What type of results can you expect?
The final difference to consider is the results of the treatments. Ultherapy and Ultraformer III both stimulate collagen production and provide a lifting and tightening effect on the skin. However, the results of each treatment may vary depending on the individual patient, their specific concerns, and the areas being treated.
- Ultherapy provides more noticeable or immediate results.
- Ultraformer III results are gradual and may be longer-lasting.
How much does HIFU cost?
Both devices are cheaper than a facelift; still, they’re not cheap.
- Ultherapy pricing ranges from $300AUD for an eye treatment to $3000AUD for a full face and neck treatment.
- Ultraformer III pricing ranges from $350AUD for an eye treatment to $2000AUD for a full face and neck treatment.
Of course, these prices may vary depending on your needs and the clinic carrying out the procedure.
Discussing your concerns with a skincare professional is the best way to determine which treatment option and HIFU device is best for you.
My final thoughts?
While it may seem that Ultraformer III is the better option, both HIFU devices provide skin tightening and lifting; there are differences between the two devices in the delivery of energy, intensity and focus of ultrasound waves, the treatment areas each one can target, treatment duration and the results but ultimately both will deliver results.
To be honest, I think both HIFU devices offer an excellent solution to sagging skin. Will it replace a surgical facelift? In my opinion, probably not, but as I mentioned earlier, HIFU is a good option if a facelift is not for you. However, if the way your face is ageing is distressing to you, and the signs of ageing are advanced, then a full facelift is something you might consider. But this is something you should only discuss with a medical healthcare professional who can give you a medical appraisal of your options.
In a nutshell? Ultherapy is said to give an immediate result, whereas Ultraformer III provides a gradual result; however, in both cases, the micro-injury caused by the ultrasound wavelengths stimulates new collagen, and you’ll see continued improvements as new collagen comes forward. Nice!
Ultimately, the time it takes to see your desired results might be what sways you from one device over another.
If you still have questions, you can email me here or if you found this article helpful, why not share it on your socials?
See you next time,