You’ve previously read about HIFU Laser Facelifts, and how they can provide affordable options for a more contoured jawline and youthful skin. Today, we’ll be talking about another treatment, Thermage, which has steadily become an important treatment for people who want to take care of their skin. From Jennifer Aniston to Gwyneth Paltrow, it is a treatment that gives tightened skin which is desired by people with wrinkles, fine lines and those with cellulite in areas like thighs and abdomen. However what makes the Thermage cost so high and is it worth it?
What is Thermage?
Similar to HIFU technology, Thermage is also a non-invasive treatment. Using radio-frequency technology, it smoothens fine lines and wrinkles to tighten loose skin. More superficial treatments include skin tightening of the face, neck, and eyelid. Conversely, deeper treatments provide body contouring on the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, and arms.
Thermage uses technology that has been used in the medical field for decades. At the most basic level, it uses heat to trigger a process in our skin to repair itself so that the surface of the skin is tightened. This is done by radio-waves that enter the skin when the tip of the Thermage equipment is put on the skin surface. The radio-waves travel deeper in to our skin layers until it reaches a layer that contains something called collagen.
This collagen acts like walls and pillars to give the skin structure. When the skin is young, it has a lot of collagen which is generated again and again. This keeps the skin tight and plump. When the skin ages, it is less firm because the amount of collagen is reduced. So, now the skin is not being held tightly which means it will sag and wrinkle. Thermage targets this using the heat from the radio-waves which enter the skin and kickstart the skin repair such as generating more collagen and blood circulation being improved.
At first the skin is cooled, then the equipment is used to deliver the radio-waves using the Thermage tip and finally, after the treatment, the skin is cooled. The surface of the skin is not damaged at all which is why there is no downtime for the treatment. The effects can then be seen in the months after the treatment because the skin begins to heal.
So, Thermage is a treatment that works on healing the skin from the inside to improve the surface of the skin. By the sound of it, it is a treatment that everyone would want to have but they are stopped by the price.
Who Should Get Thermage Facelift?
Who then are most suitable for the treatment? If you have mild to moderate skin laxity, you're likely to be eligible for the procedure. However, this treatment may not be suitable for those who have extreme sagging skin and really deep wrinkles. In those cases surgery or other alternatives like fillers may give better results. This treatment is targeted to those with mild sagging skin, cellulite and light wrinkles. It will be cost effective for them because face lifts and surgery will cost more than Thermage and give similar results as Thermage. Also, your skin should also have had minimal sun damage and heavy smokers are not advised to receive Thermage treatments.
Thermage Facelift vs HIFU Laser Facelift
Now that you know what Thermage is, what then are the main differences between the two treatments? We summarize the key points for you here:
|Thermage||HIFU Laser Facelift|
|Technology||Monopolar radiofrequency technology; bulk heating||Focused ultrasonic energy, focal heating|
|Results||Tightening of sagging skin Smoothening of wrinkles Stimulation of new collagen production May also reduce signs of early aging||Similar benefits as Thermage Facelift Focal heating allows for tightening of deeper tissues, leading to actual lifting of skin|
|Treatable areas||Primarily for body, and also arm areas||Primarily for face and neck|
|Pain level||Comparatively higher||Comparatively lower|
Thermage Cost Explained
Thermage as a treatment is expensive on its own when it is compared with other treatments such as HIFU seen above. This is because of many reasons:
1) Single use material
First of all, the treatment uses single use tips which means that once your treatment is finished, the tip used will be thrown away or given to you if you request for it. This is to make sure the procedure is hygienic and sterilised.
2) Treatment patent
The second reason is that the treatment procedure is patented to only one company. In particular, the tip is patented, which increases Thermage cost as majority of treatment revenue goes into the company that exclusively manufactures the equipment. In fact, you can ask the clinic to hand over the tip after each procedure so you can take it back home. Key in the serial number on the official Korean Thermage website for a special gift!
This means the technology and equipment to do the treatment is owned by one company so there is no competition to lower the price. Also, the extra equipment needed to do the treatment such as cooling spray add to the overall cost of the treatment.
3) Qualified staff
The third reason is the training required to do the treatment. Clinics with highly trained staff for the procedure will charge more for the treatment because more training means better results. Unlike other treatments, this treatment requires good understanding of how the technology works so that it can be safely used on the skin.
However what makes the Thermage cost worth it for many is the effectiveness. While HIFU Laser Facelift treatments show the best results after around three procedures, Thermage generally requires only a single treatment for results. This is because radiofrequency penetrates deeper into the dermis, resulting in more impactful results after just one treatment.
You can refer to the table below for a general comparison between Thermage cost and other HIFU Laser Facelift treatments:
|Price (per 600 shots)|
|Thermage||KRW 990,000 (~ USD 880)|
|Ulthera (HIFU Laser Facelift)||KRW 920,000 (~ USD 820)|
|Shurink (HIFU Laser Facelift)||KRW 260,000 (~ USD 230)|
(Prices provided above are general estimates and may vary from clinic to clinic.)
Why does Thermage cost less in Korea?
The biggest reason for this is that there are a large number of people getting the treatment here. Korean citizens and tourists travelling for the beauty treatments all add up to mean this treatment is performed many times by clinics. For this reason many clinics invest in buying Thermage equipment and so there are more clinics who offer this treatment. This means there is more competition between the clinics and the prices are lowered because of that. The clinics don't have to charge high rates to make profit because they have many clients wanting the treatment. This also means the staff quickly become better trained at providing the treatment.