One beauty treatment that has become the talk of the town in the tinsel town and other places is Thermage. Celebrities like Jennifer Anniston and Gwyneth Paltrow swear by it due to its non-surgical and non-invasive approach, as well as zero downtime.

So, What is Thermage?

Human skin has several layers. The outermost layer is known as the epidermis, below which lies a thick layer known as the dermis. A layer a fat lies beneath dermis under which lies muscle tissue.

The dermis consists of collagen proteins arranged in parallel fiber layers called fibrils. This matrix holds the skin together. As one age, the fibril layers get loosened and less organized, which results in sagging skin.

This sagging skin was previously tightened by surgery. However, with the advancement of technology, new treatment methods have been developed to make the skin tightening process smoother, less complicated, and less invasive.

Thermage is one such treatment that was approved by the US FDA in 2001. Thermage uses heat to treat fine lines present around the eyes, wrinkles, sagging cheeks and jowls. It uses nonpolar radio frequency technology for tightening and lifting the skin through collagen stimulation.

On its own, collagen takes several months to produce. Thermage bulk heating mechanism helps in stimulating new collagen that forms over three to six months. During this period, the patient experiences a more toned, fuller, and lifted appearance.

How Does it Work?

In Thermage, the dermis layer gets heated up without impacting the epidermal layer. Radiofrequency energy is delivered into the dermal layer using a hand-held device while epidermis is protected using a cooling spray.

Heating the dermal tissue results in disruption of collagen fibrils, which then contracts and thickens resulting in tightening of skin layer below epidermis. As the collagen fibril heals, they get reshaped and new collagen is formed, which further tightens the skin.

While some tightening becomes visible quickly, more pronounced benefits get visible over a few weeks to several months. Thermage treatment time lasts somewhere from half-an-hour to two hours, depending on the targeted area.

Unlike other invasive cosmetic surgeries, Thermage does have a prolonged recovery period. Some of the risks of Thermage treatment include facial swelling, temporary bumps, scars, or burns.

A minor percentage of patients can develop permanent skin indentations (tiny) due to damages caused to the fatty layer by heat. Also, it is painful. Even though the treatment team does apply anesthetic cream beforehand, it doesn’t eliminate the pain.

Thermage is becoming a craze because of the longevity of the results. The makers claim the results will last 24-36 months.

The Downside

There no certainty that the procedure will work, and no one can predict how much skin will get tightened. Thermage also does not work on lifting the muscles, so it is not beneficial to patients who have very saggy skin or advanced wrinkling.

Thermage is best suited for patients in 30s to 40s who have mild skin looseness and a few wrinkles.

The Cost

Thermage treatment does not come cheap. The treatment costs around $2000 on average but generally falls anywhere from $1000 to $5000.

And insurance companies do cover the procedure. However, many physicians allow payment in monthly installments. Many physicians have a dedicated person who helps patients with finance options.

The Verdict

Thermage is an effective way of treating wrinkles, jowls, and fine lines, but the results are not visible entirely for 3-6 months.

If one is aiming for long-term treatment for facial complaints, then Thermage is the best option.

But, if one is planning is for the wedding next week, then it’s best to switch to some other options or plan long term and get Thermage well before the date.