Of the two treatments, Radio frequency or & Ultherapy, which one is best for lifting and tightening sagging skin?

I have very good skin tone, with I no wrinkles on my skin, but my skin is beginning to sag, especially around the cheeks and jaw line. Which treatment would best correct sagging skin and lift the skin of my type. Also which machines are the best. I've heard mention of the Thermage machine for radio frequency.

Doctor Answers 7

Radiofrequency vs Ultherapy for tightening

Your best advice of course will be with a face to face consultation examining the degree of skin laxity you have. Generally speaking, Radiofrequency stimulates collagen through bulk heating and cannot be focused in a way to "skip" the epidermis- as a result, the amount of heat that can be generated and the depth of penetration is limited (otherwise you burn the outer skin). The tightening achieved is more of a surface smoothing and tightening, not a deep tissue lift. For younger patients and those with mild laxity results can be good. Ultherapy uses ultrasound and this energy can be microfocused at precise depths. The heat achieved is higher, without harming surface layers, and the lift will be more pronounced due to the depths achieved and the greater collagen stimulation. This is a better option for those with moderate or higher laxity and it requires fewer treatments than RF, often just 1 or 2. 


Lisa Vuich, MD

Nashua Physician
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Ultherapy vs. Radiofrequency

While both treatments are very effective we prefer to use Ultherapy to lift sagging and lax skin and use non-ablative 1540 fraxel laser to improve skin texture and stimulate collagen on the surface.  

Ultherapy can target three different depths: the Dermis (deeper skin), Fat + Connective tissue (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System-SMAS) and Muscle. The Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System (SMAS) is located below the fat and is a strong tissue that envelops the face. It is made up of collagen, elastic fibers, muscle fibers and fat cells. The ultrasound energy produced during an Ulthera treatment, precisely and consistently heats the targeted tissue to 60-70 degrees centigrade, which is the optimal temperature for contraction and denaturation of collagen. Other non-invasive devices like, Thermage, are radiofrequency devices which only heat the tissues to 40-50 degrees, which is suboptimal for neocollagenesis.  I recommend an in person consultation with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. 

Laurie A. Casas, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Skin Lifting and Tightening

Both treatments are effective in the treatment of tightening and lifting of the face on areas like eyebrows, jowls, and the neck. It is best to go in for an in-person consultation with plastic surgeon who can perform a skin analysis for you and provide you with options based on your desired goals. 

Cory Torgerson, MD, PhD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Why not take the best of both?

Why not take the best of both? At Key Laser we believe in both treatments for lifting and tightening the face. That’s why with we combine Ultherapy (micro focused ultrasound) and ThermiSmooth RF (Radio Frequency) on the same day of treatment. Results can be seen in as little as 3 months with best results in 6 to 10 months. 

Douglas J. Key, MD
Portland Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Radiofrequency vs Ultherapy

Hi and thank you for your question!

We have both types of devices in our practice. We find Ultherapy to be most ideal for more precise delivery of energy at higher temperatures. However, we have patients who have had both technologies and feel RF works better for them, so it is patient dependent. Also, you will want to consider that Ultherapy is one treatment every 1-2 years to maintain, and RF devices require multiple treatments and often more maintenance.

An in person consultation is best to assure you the best recommendation. You would also provide us some photos for a more individualized assessment.


Dr. Grant Stevens

Grant Stevens, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Ultherapy vs. Radifrequency: Which Is Best?

Radiofrequency treatments and Ultherapy both work well to tone and tighten the skin in appropriate candidates. You would need an in-person consultation and evaluation to determine which treatment would be most appropriate for you. I'm not a fan of Thermage and believe that there are better RF devices out there. Ultherapy works best for those with mild to moderate skin laxity. Make sure you choose an experienced provider that has different treatment options available. Best wishes.

Michael A. Zadeh, MD, FACS
Sherman Oaks General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Radio Frequency Versus Ultherapy--The Best Skin Tightening Treatments

My recommendation for all my patients that are candidates for RF treatments is: Thermage (which I like better than Ultherapy). I suggest a formal evaluation with an expert to see what would be best for you. Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 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.