Does Smoking Make Ulthera Ineffective?

I was told that because I smoke Ulthera will not work for me. Is this true?

Doctor Answers 8

Smoking and Ultherapy

Smoking in general is something that accelerates tissue damage via oxidants. Such oxidants can destroy collagen that is already present in the skin. Hundreds of published studies have shown that it can affect collagen production, remodeling and collagen turnover. Ultherapy is not contraindicated in smokers but the effect may well be less dramatic in smokers. It will make the procedure less durable in the long run, making it seem less effective, as its effects on skin tightening may be counterbalanced by more rapid collagen destruction from the harmful effects of oxidant damage. 

Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Ultherapy can help tighten and lift facial skin, even in smokers

smoking has an inhibitory effect on skin healing from the lack of oxygen that new skin cells need to heal well but Ultherapy induces new collagen formation in the dermis by stimulating the inflammatory reaction via a stimulus of heat. The more sundamaged and smoking induced skin wrinkled appearance that exists, the less the improvement will appear because Ultherapy does not create a better exterior of the skin. This isn't to say that a smoker won't see a lifting result from Ultherapy!

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Ultehra and Smoking

While smoking certainly may hinder the formation of new collagen, my experience with ablative technologies like Ulthera have consistently shown that the patients do get a benefit in terms of improves skin tone and skin tightening. We have seen no complications performing Ulthera on patients who may smoke.  One side benefit of these technologies in smokers is that the skin improvement is often a great confidence booster for patients to see themselves having better skin, and thus feeling inspired to stop smoking altogether.

Farhan Taghizadeh, MD
Phoenix Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Smoking & Ultherapy

Smoking does hinder healing in general, but that does not mean that smokers are incapable of healing.  Ultherapy relies on your body's ability to form collagen in response to tissue injury (heat produced by highly focused ultrasound energy).  I have seen improvements in my patients who smoke, but I do not hesitate to encourage smoking cessation in general.  I also mention that smoking accelerates the aging process so the tightening results from Ultherapy may not last as long.  Good luck.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Smoking and Ultherapy

Although smoking can hinder the results of Ulthera, I have still seen some great changes in patients who smoke. This treatment relies on the patients own body to repair tissue and produce collagen so it is helpful for the tissues to be in their most optimal condition before and after the treatment. With that, I have seen some amazing results in the skin texture, skin tightening, and lift with patients who smoke.

Theresa M. Jarmuz, MD
Atlanta Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Smoking and Ulthera

It is possible that collagen production is compromised in smokers because the blood supply to the skin is compromised by smoking. However, smoking is not an absolute contraindication.

Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Smoking has negative impact on your skin - period!

No matter what cosmetic treatment you select, smoking will negate some of the benefits. The free radical damage alone will accelerate tissue breakdown. Plus the muscle action of pulling smoke into the lungs creates the vertical lines above the lips that we all try so hard to avoid and get rid of - and which are really really hard to improve on a grand scale.

You'll still get benefit from Ulthera, but likely not as much as someone who does not smoke - and you'll lose the effects sooner because your skin is subject to the aging effects of smoking.

If you can't quit, then take the extra steps to keep your skin well-ydrated, eat foods with tons of antioxidants and talk to your doctor about the use ot retinols and topical antioxidants to fight some of the damage smoking causes.

Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Ultherapy skin tightening and smoking

The answer you got maybe partially correct. The effects of the treatment maybe blunted due to smoking which reduces blood flow and oxygen delivery to the cells and blunts the efficiency of fibroblasts which are the cells responsible for collagen and elastin production which are important in the processe of tightening and rejuvenating the skin after ultherapy treatment. The initial effect created by the heat and contraction of the tissues at the time of the treatment should not be effected greatly by the fact you smoke.


Hope that helps !


Good luck

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.