Ultherapy Hurts, But It’s So Worth It
Ultherapy hurts, but it’s so worth it. After a year of thinking and reading about it, during which time did not stop for me and I went from being 65 to 66, I decided to pull the trigger on ultherapy. It doesn’t cost a huge amount of money, but it was enough to make me stop and think about it for a year before scheduling an appointment.
Ultherapy is a non-invasive cosmetic procedure that uses focused ultrasound to stimulate the formation of new collagen deep below the skin’s surface.The production of new collagen takes time, so results can become more apparent over two to three months, even up to six months. The procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the area treated, and there is no downtime afterward. It also is the only procedure to use ultrasound imaging, which allows practitioners to actually see the layers of tissue targeted during the treatment and ensure the energy is deposited precisely to where it will be most beneficial.
The aesthetician consulted with me first to explain the procedure, and gave me instructions for preparing for the treatment. Before I left her office, she took a bunch of pictures of me. I don’t know what they use in their camera, but I could swear I didn’t look that bad in the mirror at home. Being as how I never turn on the bathroom light when I’m in there, that might be a clue.
Four months after the treatment, they want you to come back so they can take more pictures. If you look good, I imagine they use you as proof that it works. Since that will be on my own time, I expect a free treatment. Good luck to me on that.
I suspect they take pictures because the aesthetician wants to make sure you don’t change your mind and decide you look like Kylie Jenner and don’t need the treatment after all. So they put a “special filter” on the camera and show you the results. Yeah, that’s it.
My appointment for the treatment was two days after the consultation. I was instructed to take an ibuprofen two hours before the appointment, and put numbing cream on the area being treated thirty minutes before.
The cream looks like a regular lotion, but it made my face numb, like a drunk dentist had missed with a Novocaine needle over and over and stuck me in the face instead of a tooth. The effects of the numbing cream should have been a red flag for upcoming pain, but I’m nothing if not a trooper.
We agreed on the lower face and neck first, which was my decision. I thought I needed it more there and didn’t want to commit my whole face to it until I was sure it worked. It wasn’t two days later that I decided I wanted to do the rest of my face — the eyes and the brow — and when I go yearly, which I’m considering doing, I’m going to have my whole face done in one session.
It’s much like any other facial in that you lay down on a table and the aesthetician cleans and prepares your face for whatever comes next. She peered at me first under hot lights through a magic mirror. I imagine she could see where all my fillings are with that thing.
Ultherapy uses microfocused ultrasound to generate a thermal effect under the skin. The thermal effect essentially jump-starts a process that produces fresh, new collagen.
Ultherapy uses sound energy — tried-and-true ultrasound — which has unique properties that allow it to bypass the surface of the skin to treat depths not matched by any other non-invasive cosmetic device.
The aesthetician administers ultherapy with a wand type device. It zoinks the frequencies down to your lower dermis. During most of the treatment, I was comfortable, and even began to wonder whether this facial’s benefits were hyperbole. If it wasn’t going to feel like much, was it doing anything?
Nothing in the description of ultherapy gives a hint that it might hurt, so I was preparing mentally to be a bit disappointed in the results. Then the wand hit a nerve and I almost hit the ceiling. It reminded me of The Marathon Man, and you’re bound to give up your secrets to the killer aesthetician after 30 minutes of that.
If I had known exactly what it would feel like before I went, there’s a chance I wouldn’t have had it done, but then again, I’m a sucker for these things. I love trying new beauty treatments, new foods, new exercises.
Beauty takes sacrifice and all women who indulge should be sainted.
The treatment didn’t bother me the entire time, but when she zapped certain areas it hurt like a son of a buffalo. The jawline and the brow area are the worst because it’s right on the bone. There’s no fat to protect you from the thermal effects or the zapping. When she did my brow line, I felt it clear up to the top of my head. It brought tears, I’m not ashamed to say. I’m surprised I didn’t short out the equipment.
If the literature suggested that ultherapy hurts the way it does, it might discourage people. They use the word “discomfort” instead, in that there’s the possibility that people might feel some. Uh-huh.
But once it’s done, it’s done. There was some residual soreness, but I only noticed it when I rubbed my jaw. It also left a few red streaks on my face, like I’d slept with my face crushed into the pillow, but those disappeared after a day.
I noticed a change immediately, but when I went back for the second session and asked whether she noticed any changes, the aesthetician said that was normal, because the dermis was inflamed and the skin would look plumper. But it didn’t subside and the positive changes kept accruing.
Ultherapy’s results are supposed to take two to six months to show the full effects, with four months being the average. It’s been three months and I’m very happy with it. It has rolled the face clock back at least five years, so I hope to keep seeing improvements over the next two months, stopping shy of looking like my goofy first grade class picture.
Like the sports massage I had a few years back, wherein I felt like I was being punished for a crime so terrible they hadn’t even invented it yet, the person administering the punishment told me I was doing great. She and the massage therapist both informed me I did better than the men they worked on. Big, strong male athletes were in tears during sports massage, and one man who had ultherapy had to stop every five minutes to take a break from it.
If men had babies, they might enjoy things like ultherapy more.
One mistake I made was taking ibuprofen in the week following the treatment. I read the supplied information again, which says not to take it for at least a month because it reduces inflammation, and inflammation is what is making the treatment produce collagen, as I understand it.
Since I couldn’t afford a facelift, this is as good as it gets. In fact, I think I like it better. I’ve seen people after a facelift and somehow there’s a plastic look. It never looks quite natural, whereas the effects of ultherapy are nothing but natural.
One person, who I know has had a facelift, pretends she doesn’t believe in it when the conversation veers that way in company, which isn’t often. If people don’t want to announce their plastic surgeries to the world, that’s okay by me, just don’t pretend you don’t believe in it and would never do it in front of people who know better.
Like childbirth, it’s all over once it’s over, and when the pain is forgotten, you can start enjoying the results — unlike childbirth, wherein you will end up with a teenager down the road— but also, unlike childbirth, I’ll do it again next year.