I get patients asking about anti-aging treatments that can help to lift and firm the skin. Of the non-surgical and non-invasive/minimally invasive treatments available, the most frequently enquired are HIFU and RF Microchanneling.
Essentially, HIFU and RF Microchanneling use heat to induce immediate collagen contraction and a subsequent secondary wound healing response with new collagen formation and remodeling in the deep layers of the skin that result in skin tightening. However, the type of energy used is different. HIFU uses ultrasound energy and RF Microchanneling uses radio frequency (RF) energy. So, which one should you choose? Not everyone ages the same way. The way you age determines the best treatment for you.
HIFU or RF Microchanneling or Combination of Both?
HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) or MFU (Micro Focused Ultrasound) uses ultrasonic energy to deliver heat to the deep facial tissues and treats it from the inside out.
HIFU works by depositing tiny bits of ultrasound energy to 1.5mm, 3mm and 4.5mm beneath the skin surface to create thermal coagulation points.
At the depth of 4.5mm, the superficial musculoaponeurotic system (SMAS) is targeted. This is the same layer that is targeted in a surgical facelift. Therefore, collagen contraction and stimulation at this level can result in a lifted appearance, while targeting the more superficial layers can tighten the skin.
People whose skin sag as they age often complain about loose skin and tissues. They may have more pronounced nasolabial folds and jowls, with loss of jawline definition.
If your main problem is sagging, then you are looking for a treatment that can lift better.
As mentioned, HIFU targets deep to the SMAS layer at 4.5mm, which is effectively the depth where a surgical facelift is performed. Hence, HIFU will be the best choice for you.
In addition, HIFU is able to reach the depths of subcutaneous tissue at temperatures of 60-70 degrees Celsius (140-158 degrees Fahrenheit), the thermal-coagulation effect may also induce contraction of the fat tissue.
Therefore, it can improve your issues of sagging jowls and the presence of heavy buccal cheek fat. It can also aid to firm the neck, define the jawline and reduce the appearance of double chin when done over these areas due to the contraction of soft tissues.
HIFU treatments target the skin superficially at depths of 4.5mm or less, they are also good options if you are looking to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines pores, hyperpigmentation, good for non-surgery face-lift, brightening the skin, and body fat reductions.
Conversely, the energy of RF Microchanneling is typically administered at approximately <2mm underneath the surface of the skin. Therefore, it is better for people who are just looking to tighten and firm thin skin. It is also a good choice for people who have volume loss as they age as the collagen stimulation can help to create more volume.
People who lose volume often complain of sunken cheeks and temples. However, please note that if you have volume loss, it is best to combine these skin tightening treatments with fillers to restore volumes deeper in your face.
RF Microchanneling treatments target the skin superficially at depths of 2mm or less, they are good options if you are looking to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, pores, acne scars, stretch marks, and other scars.
HIFU (non-invasive procedure) and RF Microchanneling (minimally invasive) have minimal downtime. There may be some slight pinkishness and swelling to the face after both procedures which should go away in less than a day.
As both procedures help to stimulate your own body to produce collagen, the effect of both treatments are best seen after 3 months.
How often the procedures should be done and the longevity of results depends on multiple factors such as how much collagen your skin is able to produce, the strength of the treatments as well as the presence of other factors that may contribute to ageing such as smoking and rapid weight loss.
Therefore, to maintain the effects of the treatment, it is still important to follow the good old rules of a healthy lifestyle: eat a healthy diet with sufficient nutrients and vitamins, adopt a regular exercise regime, wear sunscreen to protect against UV damage, get a good night’s sleep and avoid smoking and excessive stress in your life!