Ultherapy vs. Thermage

Ultherapy vs. Thermage: Which Procedure is Better?

In 2019, one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures was a facelift. In 2020, the number of people getting facelifts decreased partially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the decrease can also be connected to the rise in non-surgical procedures.

Many are opting for Ultherapy and Thermage treatments because they are non-invasive options. Read on to learn the differences between Ultherapy vs. Thermage to decide which option is right for you.

What Is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy machine

Ultherapy treatments are one of many skin-tightening procedures that are used as a non-invasive alternative to a facelift. Those experiencing signs of aging may opt for this procedure.

This treatment can target specific areas such as the face, neck, brow areas, and chest. Ultherapy stimulates collagen production in the desired wrinkled areas giving off a more youthful and lifted look.

This technology is FDA-approved and uses heat energy to promote collagen regeneration. The goal is to receive better-looking skin with fewer wrinkles and less sag.

The three major treatment areas of Ultherapy are the brow areas, chin and neck, and the chest. 

What Is Thermage?

Ultherapy vs. Thermage: Which Procedure is Better? thermage machine

Thermage, another non-invasive procedure used for skin tightening, also works by targeting collagen. This treatment works with radiofrequency technology for collagen growth promotion. It also works to tighten the skin by reaching every skin layer.

This treatment can be done on multiple areas of the body. Thermage is FDA-approved specifically for wrinkle treatment. Unlike Ultherapy, they do not have FDA approval for skin tightening even though this treatment can provide some skin tightening.

Thermage can treat more areas of the body than Ultherapy. These areas include the eye area, face, abdominal area, and other parts of the body. Many choose to get this treatment done on their thighs.

Ultherapy is not approved to treat the areas around the eyes like Thermage is. Thermage helps the reduction of droopiness, minimizing bags, and reducing dark circles.

Ultherapy vs. Thermage: The Differences Explained

Both Ultherapy and Thermage are non-surgical procedures used as skin tightening solutions. The differences between the two involve how Thermage works and vice versa.

Although they have similarities, determining the difference between Ultherapy vs. Thermage can help you decide which option is right for you.

The Energy

Even though both treatments aim to make people look younger, the procedures are quite different. The main difference is the energy used.

For Ultherapy, ultrasound is used while radiofrequency technology is used for Thermage treatments. Both energies create heat during the treatment process.

Ultrasound, Ultherapy energy, has the ability to reach deep skin lasers better than radiofrequency technology. This is one of the major benefits of Ultherapy because it is safer and more effective.

Treatment Goals

Both treatments aim to create beautiful skin, but one approach may be better at treating a specific person. This is because Ultherapy works best for skin tightening but Thermage is better for diminishing the look of bulges and wrinkles.

Depending on the individual and their skin type, one treatment may be more effective than the other to reach the desired results.

Ultherapy Before and After Photo

See More Ultherapy Results in our Before and After Gallery

Targeting Skin Layers

The way each treatment penetrates deep layers of skin is different. Ultherapy’s energy is highly focused and can penetrate through skin layers that were not always accessible through non-invasive methods.

Thermage can penetrate deep skin layers, but not as easily. Because of this, Ultherapy provides a longer-lasting look.


Ultrasound technology focuses on smaller deep skin layers that produce more accurate results. Generally, radiofrequency technology aims for large areas of the skin. Because Ultherapy uses highly focused energy, the treatments tend to be more expensive compared to Thermage.

Discomfort Levels

With any procedure, non-invasive or invasive, the biggest concern for many is the level of discomfort.

Thermage often gets a bad rap because it is an older treatment. When it first came into the limelight it was incredibly uncomfortable because of the level of heat.

As technology develops, Thermage becomes less and less uncomfortable. Before the treatment, the skin is cooled which helps a lot with the level of heat.

Most people find Ultherapy painless. You may feel a tingling sensation or small burn when the treatment begins, but nothing difficult to handle.

Everyone’s pain levels are different when it comes to skin-tightening treatments. Your doctor may offer to give you a local anesthetic or topical to ease any discomfort you feel during treatment.

Downtime and Time Commitment

For non-invasive procedures, the downtime is little to nothing. What you do after the treatment is often up to you. Some prefer to take the day off because of redness or soreness.

One session of Thermage treatment is around 45 to 90 minutes long. Ultherapy is shorter as it only lasts around 30 to 60 minutes.

The duration of the treatment depends on the area being treated. For example, a large area is going to take more time than a small one.

Through Thermage treatment, you can see differences quicker. However, the results don’t last as long as Ultherapy.

After Ultherapy, you may not notice a change for weeks or months. It takes a bit longer for skin laxity to improve with this treatment.

To maintain the results of these treatments, you can schedule touch-ups each year.

It is important to note that not everyone is right for Ultherapy or Thermage. Someone who has a significant amount of laxity or skin sagging on their face may be better suited for a facelift instead. Those not in good overall health will not be considered for these non-surgical treatments.

Which One Is Right for You?

If your healthcare provider gives you the ok on getting non-surgical treatments, understanding the differences between Ultherapy vs. Thermage is essential. Both can make the skin look brighter, tighter, and younger. To make the right choice, consider the differences between the two along with your skin type and skin problems.

Ready to make a long-overdue change? Contact us today at one of our many locations to learn how we can help you with our non-invasive treatments.

View Our Testimonials

Schedule Your Consultation Today

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Get Your Consultation Today

Give us a call today to schedule a consultation with one of the plastic surgery experts at Wave Plastic Surgery.

Subscribe to Receive Exclusive Email Specials

With a wide range of breast, body, and face procedures, our goal at Wave Plastic Surgery is to allow for all of our patients to achieve their ideal appearance, no matter their age or ethnicity. Our doctors all have extensive experience working with patients of all different backgrounds and have developed an expertise in Asian plastic surgery procedures such as Asian eyelid surgery and Asian nose surgery. We work with all sorts of men and women—both local to the Los Angeles area and from far out of town—to help find the right procedure to help them reach their goals.

Wave Plastic Surgery offers an inclusive menu of non-surgical treatment options that will cover all types of anti-aging and skin concerns from wrinkles, sagging skin, hair loss, women’s health, poor skin texture, large pores, skin discoloration, Rosacea, acne, scars, volume loss, and aging hands, neck and chest.

Dear Wave Beauties,

To ensure the continued health of our clients, our team, and the community during this unprecedented time, we are adhering to strict social distancing rules and following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 to provide you with a clean, safe, and comfortable experience. Please keep in mind that when booking your virtual consultation, our team will kindly ask for you to consent to the following protocols:

All patients who visit our locations are required to undergo a COVID-19 screening. For more detail please call our office at 888-674-3001.

For surgical/ non-surgical virtual consultation, a $100 non-refundable consultation fee is required to secure your virtual consultation. If you wish to proceed, the consultation fee will be applied to your treatment.

For surgical/ non-surgical in-person consultation, we will require: 

o   $100 non-refundable consultation fee with our consultant/ mid-level providers; 

o   $250 non-refundable consultation fee with our plastic surgeons; 

o   $500 non-refundable consultation fee with Dr. Peter Lee; 

o   This fee is non-refundable but can be used as a credit for future treatments or retail product purchases. 

If you have any questions, please call us at 888-674-3001.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment to accommodate for additional screenings. We offer a 15-minute grace period, please note that if you are more than 15 minutes late, your treatment may be shortened or rescheduled. In addition, you will also be charged a $100 late fee. Wave Plastic Surgery is committed to the health and well-being of you and our staff members. Your safety is our top priority. Thank you for understanding.

We are all in this together to keep our community safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing you at your next visit.


Get A Consultation

Let us provide you with a consultation that will help you find the easiest path to awaken your inner beauty.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.