When it comes to non-surgical skin tightening and lifting procedures, two names stand out: Ulthera and Thermage. Both have garnered significant attention in the aesthetic industry for their ability to rejuvenate the skin without the need for invasive surgery. But how do these two treatments compare? Let’s dive deep into the showdown: Ulthera vs Thermage.

Understanding the Basics

What is Ulthera?

Ulthera, also known as Ultherapy, uses focused ultrasound energy to target the deep layers of the skin. This treatment is FDA-approved for lifting the skin on the neck, under the chin, and on the brow, as well as improving lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. The ultrasound energy stimulates the production of collagen, resulting in a gradual tightening and lifting effect.

What is Thermage?

Thermage, on the other hand, employs radiofrequency energy to heat the deep, collagen-rich layers of the skin. This heat causes immediate collagen contraction, followed by new collagen production over time, leading to smoother, tighter skin. Thermage is also FDA-approved and is commonly used on the face, eyes, hands, and body.

Treatment Process

Ulthera Treatment Experience

Ulthera involves the application of ultrasound gel to the treatment area, followed by the use of a handheld device that delivers focused ultrasound energy. Patients might feel a warming sensation and intermittent discomfort as the ultrasound energy is delivered. The procedure typically takes 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the treatment area.

Thermage Treatment Experience

During a Thermage session, a cooling spray is applied to the skin to protect the surface layers, followed by the delivery of radiofrequency energy through a specialized device. Patients often report a heating sensation and mild discomfort, but the cooling spray helps mitigate this. The duration of the treatment varies but generally lasts between 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Efficacy and Results

Ulthera Results

Ulthera’s results develop gradually over two to three months as the body naturally regenerates collagen. Some patients continue to see improvements for up to six months post-treatment. The effects can last for up to two years, making it a long-lasting solution for skin tightening.

Thermage Results

Thermage also offers gradual results, with patients noticing improvements within a few weeks. The skin continues to tighten and smooth over six months as new collagen is produced. The longevity of Thermage results varies, but they typically last for about one to two years.

Safety and Side Effects

Ulthera Side Effects

Common side effects of Ulthera include temporary redness, swelling, and tenderness in the treated area. Some patients may experience slight bruising or numbness, but these effects usually resolve within a few days to weeks.

Thermage Side Effects

Thermage side effects are generally mild and include temporary redness, swelling, and a tingling sensation. Rarely, patients might experience blistering or changes in skin texture, but these are uncommon and typically resolve on their own.

Cost Comparison

Cost of Ulthera

The cost of Ulthera varies based on the treatment area and geographic location but generally ranges from $2,000 to $4,500 per session.

Cost of Thermage

Thermage is also relatively expensive, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per session, depending on the treatment area and clinic.

Which Reigns Supreme?

When deciding between Ulthera and Thermage, it ultimately comes down to individual needs and preferences.

Advantages of Ulthera

  • Targeted Lifting: Ulthera is particularly effective for lifting and tightening specific areas like the neck and brow.
  • Long-Lasting Results: Results can last up to two years.
  • Precision: The ultrasound imaging allows practitioners to see the layers of tissue they are treating, ensuring precision.

Advantages of Thermage

  • Versatility: Thermage can be used on multiple areas, including the face, eyes, and body.
  • Immediate Effects: Some patients notice an immediate tightening effect due to collagen contraction.
  • Comfort: The cooling spray used in Thermage helps enhance patient comfort during the procedure.


In the showdown between Ulthera vs Thermage, there is no definitive winner. Both treatments offer unique benefits and can deliver impressive results. Those seeking a non-invasive solution for skin tightening and lifting should consult with a qualified dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to determine which treatment aligns best with their specific needs and goals. Whether you choose Ulthera or Thermage, both promise to help you achieve a more youthful and rejuvenated appearance without the need for surgery.


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