Thermage vs Ultherapy: Which should I get?

Many people prefer non-invasive anti-aging treatments due to a variety of personal reasons. Not everyone can commit to the relatively longer recovery periods of invasive anti-aging options such as a surgical facelift. If you have been researching on non-invasive anti-aging treatments, you would have come across Thermage and Ultherapy. Both are very popular and have rave reviews online, but how should you go about making the choice? Check out the differences between the two below so you can make a more informed decision.

The Main Difference: Type of Energy

Left: Thermage machine, Right: Ultherapy machine

Both Thermage and Ultherapy uses heat to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of your skin, which helps to reduce visible signs of aging. However, the two treatments use different types of energy to generate heat. Thermage uses patented monopolar radiofrequency (RF) waves to generate heat and has been around since 2002. Since it has been around the longest, Thermage is the most well-studied and tested skin tightening device. Ultherapy is a newer technology that was developed in 2009. If you've read our previous Beauty Journal on the comparison of New Thera and Shurink, you would be familiar with HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) lasers. Ultherapy is a type of HIFU lifting laser. It uses ultrasound energy, which is also commonly used for medical imaging and physical therapy, to deliver heat energy to lower layers of the skin. This method firms, tightens and lifts skin tissue without damaging the surface layer.

Related: Korean Lifting HIFU Lasers Comparison: New Thera vs Shurink?


How They Work

The radiofrequency energy produced by Thermage is able to generate high temperatures deep in the skin layers to stimulate collagen production. These days, Thermage has an in-built cooling mechanism that makes it safer and more tolerable. The energy reaches a depth of around 3mm under the skin. You can think of it as energy spreading outwards from the surface of your skin.

On the other hand, Ultherapy uses ultrasound to deliver a very precise dose of energy that reaches deeper within the skin layers. Doses of energy are delivered simultaneously at 1.5mm, 3mm and 4.5mm depths. It can reach the Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System or SMAS, which is the main layer that loses elasticity during aging. During invasive anti-aging procedures such as thread lift and surgical facelifts, the SMAS layer is tightened. Ultherapy is a non-invasive alternative to tighten saggy skin caused by this SMAS layer.

Discomfort and Downtime

Older versions of Thermage used to be fairly uncomfortable due to the amount of heat, but the newer versions are a lot more tolerable since there are cooling systems in place. As for Ultherapy, you might feel a tingling or burning when the energy is delivered. Before the treatment, the dermatologist can give you a local or topical anesthetic to minimize any discomfort.

The downtimes for both Thermage and Ultherapy are similar. While you may experience some redness and sensitivity after the treatment, you can return to your normal daily activities if you wish to. There may be some swelling for one or two days. Lumps and numbness are also normal for the first few weeks, and they should disappear with time.

Determining the Right Treatment

When comparing Thermage with Ultherapy, there isn't a clear choice as to which treatment you should get. It really depends on your skin concerns. Thermage is more suitable for individuals with sunken faces due to aging and whose main concerns are fine lines and wrinkles on their skin. Ultherapy is more suitable for individuals with fuller faces and whose main concerns are heavy, sagging skin that creates undesirable folds and jowls.

Of course, by visiting a professional dermatologist, he or she would be able to diagnose your skin type and concerns more accurately. When getting treatments like Thermage or Ultherapy, you should always seek professional medical advice.

If you are interested in the Ultherapy treatments, you can book an appointment on our website here. We also offer an All-In-One Anti-Aging treatment which includes both Ultherapy and Thermage, as well as Skin Botox for a well-rounded treatment plan that targets all kinds of signs of aging.


More info?

Interested in getting a quote or customized consultation? Please request a consultation here or contact our concierge at or Whatsapp +82-10-6576-1267.

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