What is the right age for Thermage?
To put it simply, it has more to do with the condition of your skin than your absolute age. In some ways it makes sense to start younger, because as we have gained experience with Thermage we have found that the more elastic tone there is in the skin, the better the response. So younger skin does better. This is somewhat ironic because those who are a little older with thinner skin will not do as well even though they need it more. I think that is why some people express disappointment with the results.
Age alone is not the deciding factor in Thermage
When deciding any anti-aging procedure including Thermage it has more to do with the quality of your skin and how you are aging than your actual number. The better your skin tone and texture the better the results with Thermage. Whether you are 36 or 46 it has more to do with the subtle signs of aging that can be addressed. If you do small non-surgical procedures to prevent sagging and aging these can be your best investments rather than waiting until you look really tired and have more significant signs of aging.
Is 36 Year Old Too Young for Thermage?
Mid to late 30's can be a great age to have Thermage. This noninvasive, no recovery procedure will stimulate collagen production and maintain skin tone. It is a perfect compliment to Botox/Dysport and fillers to maintain a healthy appearance and forestall surgery. The goal is to mainatain a youthful appearance, rather than trying to regain a youthful appearance.
Thermage is usually an excellent option for younger patients like yourself. Most people first start to notice visible signs of aging in their early 30's and Thermage can be a great way to combat these changes and induce new collagen formation and a general firming to the skin. I have been performing Thermage for more than 8 years now and the younger, more fit patients typically have the best results. I think Thermage is a great treatment option (in addition to skin care, possibly Botox etc.) for younger patients who want to address aging concerns early before they become too noticeable.
Thermage for lift or for maintenance
It is difficult to say exactly what is right for you without a photo. From your description it sounds like you are in very good shape but are starting to notice subtle changes in your face. Thermage can be beneficial for skin tightening, especially in a younger population with firmer, tighter more elastic skin. For these patients, results tend to be better.
Patients, like yourself, who have little to change can only expect a minimal difference after treatment. The other consideration, however, is that I have many patients who love Thermage for what they call maintenance. in other words doing Thermage proactively once a year to maintain their good skin tone and slow down the aging process. In following these patients over several years, they really have exhibited very little aging. So maintaining your skin with non-surgical procedures will provide benefits for the future just like your daily skin care will fight the aging process and help maintain the skin. Consider them both as part of a complete anti-aging package.
36 is a great age for Thermage
At the ages of 35-40, the skin takes a major hit with loss of collagen and elastin. Thermage is a great way to tighten the facial tissue without downtime. I'd also recommend starting Retin A, and other skin care products like Revale or PyratineXR.
At 36, Thermage is a good maintenance and preventative treatment
The aging process of the mid thirties is variable but often results in the beginning stages of loss of collagen and elastin, loss of midface fat, and a bit of sagging resulting in a mild squaring of the jawline. Thermage, by inducing collagen, can tighten the skin in these areas or at least help slow the further effect of aging. The length of time one is "maintained" is probably most dependant on ones genetics and sunexposure. Most persons at 36 don't need a facelift or blepharoplasty, but they very well might benefit from the refreshing and tightening provided by Thermage.