What Effect Does Ulthera Have on Pigmentation?

I have olive (Asian) skin and was wondering if there is increased risk of pigmentation with Ulthera? Thanks.

Doctor Answers 6

Ultherapy does not cause hyperpigmentation

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Ultherapy does not cause injury to the skin (like lasers) where hyperpigmentation is a risk. I have performed Ultherapy since 2011 in hundreds of patients and have never seen this complication.

Ultherapy is safe on Asian skin

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One of big advantages of Ultherapy, in fact, is that it is generally safe on all skin types, including darker skin.  If fact, Asian countries probably has more extensive experience as it was in use in Asia well before the U.S. In may experience with asian patients' undergoing Ultherapy, this procedure has been consistently very safe in term of pigmentary alterations.

Chang Son, MD
Englewood Dermatologist

Ultherapy is indicated in skin of color

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The ultrasound energy used in Ultherapy does not cause damage to pigment the way some lasers do.  There is a very small risk of surface injury with the Ulthera if there is not good contact and some thermal energy is absorbed by the skin's surface. If this were to occur, there could be post inflammatory hyperpigmentation just as there would be from any heat source, but I'm not aware if the company has reported this having occurred.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

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Ultherapy does not cause hyperpigmentation

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Ultherapy may be used on patients with any skin tone without much concern for hyperpigmentation. Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to deliver low levels of focused heat to the tissues immediately underneath the skin. Your body responds to this thermal energy by stimulating the growth of new collagen. Because it bypasses the skin with its thermal energy, Ultherapy will not cause any discoloration of the skin. Lasers, on the other hand, often target the skin, which can lead to postinflammatory hyperpigmentation in patients with olive and darker skin tones. Hope this helps!


Sarmela Sunder, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Does Ulthera effect pigment?

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Because ultrasound energy can pass through the skin without effecting it, there is no lasting effect on pigment or other skin qualities.  It can be safely used in all skin types.

Joseph Campanelli, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon

No issues with skin type for Ulthera

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Unlike lasers, Ultherapy uses focused ultrasound to treat the layer under the skin, so the skin pigment is unaffected. It is quite popular in Asian countries. I was in Korea and Japan last year and there were already more Ulthera units in use than in the U.S.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.