Its name rings a bell because for more than a decade, it’s been one of the medical world’s most effective noninvasive anti-aging breakthroughs. Thermage has received upgrades over the years, not so much to amplify its final output, but to improve treatment comfort and procedure. Gone are the days when patients had to be sedated or needed topical anesthesia prior to this intensive radiofrequency treatment that tightens the skin, lifts eye bags, smoothens out wrinkles, and improves overall plumpness and texture.
WHAT IT DOES
Unlike other radiofrequency treatments that involve monthly or even weekly trips to the dermatologist, Thermage, which works by stimulating the formation of new collagen in the deeper layers of the skin, only requires one treatment every one to two years. After the procedure, immediate skin tightening and plumpness are felt, but best results are seen in three to six months when the newly stimulated collagen is produced. The results—claimed to be comparable to surgical facelifts—last between two to three years. The most dramatic effects are seen on people in their 30s to late 40s, whose collagen fibers are more responsive than younger ones who still have more supply and older ones who minimally respond.
HOW IT WORKS
“Results last long because this kind of radiofrequency is delivered into deeper layers of the skin,” says Dr. Shayla Valdez of Facial Care Centre, which carries the machine. We know about these layers—there’s the epidermis, our outer skin; the collagen-rich dermis under it; and the subcutaneous layer, which is the deeper “inner layer” containing fat and the more important web of collagen fibers. Of course, no topical solution can go deep enough to rebuild lost collagen (due to the aging process, stress, or sun exposure) beyond the skin’s surface, but more powerful yet non-invasive RF treatments can. “Thermage heats the skin’s dermis as well as the subcutaneous layer under it, specifically targeting the water surrounding the collagen fibers,” says Valdez. “When it reaches a certain temperature, it makes the collagen fibers contract and stimulates the body to produce new and thicker collagen in the treated areas, making the skin smoother and tighter especially over time.”
An hour’s procedure for two years of youthfulness, why not? Every treatment starts with the doctor laying an inked grid over the face. This pattern will be her guide in ensuring she points the machine’s tip on the skin’s surface accurately and doesn’t overheat what’s already been zapped. The first half of the face and neck are treated first, followed by the second half, each requiring four passes of the Thermage RF. The first two passes treat all sections of the grid—nearly the entire face and neck—while the last two passes are for the facial points that need more lifting such as the jawline, under the chin, cheekbones, and upper forehead.
HOW IT FEELS
Each zap begins with a cooling sensation before it emits heat and again ends with cooling, allowing greater comfort and promoting a quick recovery. The RF energy may be adjusted according to one’s pain tolerance, but at its maximum, which is above 40 degrees Celsius, the pain may be compared to having a warm rubber band flicked over the face especially when the machine’s vibrating tip goes over areas with veins such as the jawline, outer neck, and temples of the head. For the most part, however, each zap feels like a warm sensation which lasts just as long as the one-second beep the hand piece makes every time it emits RF energy. As with most treatments that inflict heat on the skin, the best part is when it ends, and the great thing about Thermage is that it ends even before you start wishing it were over. Facial Care Center, 892.7546.