Would you pay $5K to tighten your face?
Dara has a flourishing career as a model. Her livelihood depends on maintaining her fresh-faced beauty.“My friends and I are very conscious of doing things that prevent aging,” says the Upper East Sider, who declined to give her last name for professional reasons. “We exercise and tighten our bodies — why shouldn’t we tighten our skin?”
But at 36, she isn’t quite ready to go under the knife — so she explored other options. Her dermatologist, Dr. David Colbert, recommended Ultherapy, a cutting-edge ultrasound-based lifting technique that takes one to two hours and requires no anesthesia, injections or downtime. A machine delivers a series of pulses that bypass the skin’s top layers and go into the deep underlying connective tissue. The vibrations are said to stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and other proteins.
“I first did it last year and was so happy with the result I did it again this week,” Dara says. “I was getting a little loose around the jawline, and it was definitely worth it.”Ultherapy has become one of the most popular rejuvenation tools to arrive on the beauty scene since it was FDA-approved for the neck and chin in 2012. While the results are more subtle than those of a face-lift, the procedure is gaining a following among those who have neither the time nor the inclination to have surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the number of patients seeking skin tighteners has increased by more than 20 percent over the past five years.
Upper East Side cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Paul Frank says Ultherapy is now the gold standard in skin tightening because it goes deeper than other technologies. “We use it on young patients trying to minimize the use of injectables,” he says, “as well as older patients who are looking for an additional lift.”While Ultherapy can be done on the whole face, many people choose to just tighten the neck and jawline, and treatments cost between $2,500 to $5,000 each. It takes just one session to achieve results, and doctors recommend getting the procedure done every year or two.
“The process initiates a healing cascade, which starts to take place at three months and continues for up to two years, so the real results aren’t visible immediately,” adds Dr. Sheryl Clark, a Park Avenue cosmetic dermatologist who offers Ultherapy.
Antoinette Piazza, who owns a barber shop and an ice-cream parlor in the Hamptons, says her friends have been going to Mindy Armandi, an ultrasound therapist who works in the office of Southampton plastic surgeon Dr. James Brady.
“It felt like I was punched. But it tightened all my muscles, and I can see my jawline again.”
– Dee Chow, 34, who did Ultherapy last year
“I’m 40, I have a baby and I look exhausted,” says Piazza, who had the treatment around her eyes and brows. “I take good care of myself, so I’m not going to inject [Botox] or foreign fillers.“After doing [Ultherapy], I initially looked more rested, and as time wore on I saw a lift in my brow. I’ll save surgery for when I need it.”
While Ultherapy has no recovery time, the process itself can be painful. Doctors recommend taking a painkiller or muscle relaxer to lessen the discomfort.
“It felt like I was punched,” says 34-year-old Flushing resident Dee Chow, who had the procedure last year.
“But it tightened all my muscles, and I can see my jawline again.”