Sagging skin, wrinkles in the neck and cleavage... To act against the effects of aging, some people resort to a well-known surgical method: the facelift. But there is a lifting technique without surgery, without injections and without pain, which can achieve the same effect.
Yes, it is possible to tighten and firm your skin without surgery, and without spending a fortune! Thanks in particular to HIFU, a technique that comes to us from the United States, based on the use of ultrasound. Bonus: HIFU promotes the natural regeneration of collagen and elastin. No injections, no chemicals, no scalpels.
What is HIFU?
HIFU stands for High Intensity Focused Ultrasounds. This technique consists of concentrating the energy of the ultrasounds in the dermis (the deepest part of the skin), without damaging the epidermis (the most superficial layer of the skin). It is therefore a non-invasive aesthetic technique (1, 5) that leaves no marks or scars on the skin.
Why should you choose for HIFU? What are the indications?
HIFU is perfect for tightening the face, neck and cleavage.
HIFU is ideal for people (men or women) who are looking to firm and "tighten" the skin, especially on the chin, neck and cheeks. It is also useful for wrinkles. Some beauticians also use HIFU for the eye area and for eyebrow lifting.
HIFU is especially recommended, as part of a facial treatment, for people over 30 years old who notice sagging skin, wrinkles, sagging cheeks and who wish to redefine the shape of their face and have a more skin toned appearance.
Use of HIFU for slimming and cellulite
Focused ultrasound can also be used to attack fat and reduce waist size (5). This is the case when the device is equipped with a handgrip adapted to the body, such as Neocure's LipoHIFU Ultralift.
How does focused ultrasound work?
The device uses ultrasound energy). This energy is delivered into the subcutaneous fat, the SMAS (Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System), the dermis and the subcutaneous fibrous tissue. HIFU causes a temporary increase in temperature that reaches more than 47°c. A clotting zone is created and new tissue regenerates this area which then becomes more flexible.
This energy reaches the skin in depth (at 1.5 mm, 3 mm or 4.5 mm depending on the protocol chosen by the esthetician).
This increased temperature only occurs at the focal points targeted by the device. Tissues outside the target area do not heat up and are used to dissipate the heat.
HIFU works in three steps:
- Mechanical effect: the sound vibrations induce the contraction of collagen fibers and the stimulation of collagen by the fibroblasts.
- Cavitation effect: the vibration of the ultrasounds causes the membranes of the adipocytes (fat cells) to implode.
- Thermal effect: the ultrasound energy is transformed into heat which destroys the adipocytes and creates a small invisible wound.
Is HIFU painful?
The perceived sensation depends a lot on the person. Most patients describe that it's not painful, but slightly unpleasant. A localized increase in body temperature is felt as the ultrasound produces heat. The esthetician can adjust the settings during the treatment if the pain is too great.
Are there any side effects?
- Redness on the treated area and very slight pain may be felt after the session.
- You may also feel a tingling sensation.
- Slight swelling of the treated area may occur.
These symptoms are expected to disappear two to three days after the session.
How does a HIFU session take place and how long does a session last?
The skin is first cleaned and the areas to be treated are marked out with a pencil. Prohibited areas must be marked (jaw line, Adam's apple, belly button, maxillary and temporal nerves).
The esthetician or practitioner makes his or her adjustments and chooses the appropriate treatment handpiece. Ultrasound "shots" are then given (see photo). Depending on the felt sensation, the esthetician can adapt her settings to make the session as pleasant as possible.
After the session, you can resume your normal activities. In general, no side effects are observed, apart from redness in the treated areas. Don't worry, this is completely normal. You will simply need to protect your skin from the sun and avoid exposure for a week. Treatments such as laser or radiofrequency are not recommended for 15 days after the session.
The duration of the session depends on the area to be treated. It takes between 20 and 45 minutes for a session on the face and 1 hour to 1h30 for a body session. (5) The smaller the area, the quicker the session.
What results can be obtained with HIFU?
The main advantage of HIFu is that it offers results from the first session, and directly after the session. The results will continue to improve gradually and are fully noticeable after 12 weeks, with an improvement in skin elasticity. (1) We observe that the skin is more flexible and tight, the face shape is more tight and better defined, facial features are enhanced and wrinkles of the neck and cleavage less visible.
Results with HIFU on waist
In the case of the treatment of fat in the stomach area, according to some studies, a reduction in waist of 4.6 cm on average is obtained after 3 months. (5). On the body, the results seem to be observed a little faster: 4 weeks after the treatment (2). The skin is visibly firmer and tighter.
How many sessions of HIFU are required?
It is up to the esthetician to estimate how many sessions are necessary depending on the condition of the skin and the results obtained after the first session. But most of the time, two to three sessions are necessary to achieve optimal, visible and long-lasting results. Maintenance sessions can then be performed on a less regular basis, two to three times a year.
How much does a HIFU session cost?
Prices vary greatly from one geographical area to another, but the price of a session generally hovers around €300 in Belgium for the face, neck wrinkles or double chin.
In a Parisian salon, on the other hand, the bill can be as high as €900 for the same treatment.