Ultherapy vs. Thermage: Which Skin Tightening Treatment Is Best For You?

If you’ve been searching for facial skin tightening treatments, chances are you’ve come across Ultherapy and Thermage. While these two leading technologies have a similar primary objective, to tighten skin on the face, they have quite a few differences.

About Ultherapy and Thermage

What is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is an FDA-approved treatment designed to non-invasively lift and tighten skin on the face and neck, as well as improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. In fact, it was the first treatment – and until recently, the only treatment – to gain FDA-approval for lifting and tightening skin on the face and neck. 

What is Thermage?

Thermage is designed to non-invasively tighten skin and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is FDA-cleared for treatment of fine lines and wrinkles. The treatment is most popular on the face and neck.

How Ultherapy Works

Ultherapy uses micro-focused ultrasound energy to stimulate collagen production within the skin. The technology creates tiny thermal coagulation points, a “controlled injury”, which triggers neocollagenesis, or the formation of new collagen. This ultrasound energy bypasses the surface of the skin, targeting deeper layers within the skin system. By using the onboard diagnostic ultrasound visualization tool to analyze each patient’s skin, skilled practitioners can strategically determine which of the specific depths to deliver energy to for best results. Ultherapy is able to treat layers as shallow as the dermis, the main layer of skin, and as deep as connective tissue, which are the fibers that attach the skin to the underlying muscle.

How Thermage Works

Thermage uses monopolar radio-frequency, or RF, energy to contract collagen fibers and to stimulate collagen remodeling. The RF energy is delivered into the skin, bypassing the surface and heating underlying layers. Unlike with Ultherapy, which allows the practitioner to select the ideal depths of treatment for each patient, Thermage does not allow for customized treatment at specific depths. The treatment provides heat to the general area below the skin’s surface.



How long does it take to see results from Ultherapy?

Because it relies on the body’s natural collagen building processes, results take some time to develop. While patients may see an immediate effect on the skin, this is really a response to the heat from the treatment, and is not related to the actual results. Most commonly, results from Ultherapy take 3-6 months to develop.


How long does it take to see results from Thermage?

Patients often report seeing an immediate toning effect on the skin after a Thermage treatment as result of the immediate contraction of collagen that occurs. Similar to Ultherapy, due to the time it takes for the body to produce new collagen, full results from Thermage become most apparent about 3-6 months after treatment. It is noted by some practitioners that Thermage results may appear to develop a little more quickly due to the nature of RF energy.


How many Ultherapy treatments do I need?

Ultherapy is often touted as a single-treatment protocol, and generally speaking, this is accurate. For most patients, one treatment provides visible results. Some patients benefit from a second treatment, especially for cases with a higher level of skin laxity.


How many Thermage treatments do I need?

Thermage is similar to Ultherapy in that typically only one treatment is necessary. Additional treatments may be beneficial for certain cases.


How long do Ultherapy results last?

The high temperature of the Ultherapy energy allows for a long-lasting effect. Results from Ultherapy typically last about 18 to 24 months. Many patients choose to do a maintenance treatment every 2 years.


How long do Thermage results last?

Results from Thermage are relatively long-lasting, but since the heat from Thermage is not as high as Ultherapy, the duration of results tends to be slightly shorter. Many estimate the results to last about 12 to 24 months. Some Thermage practitioners recommend a maintenance treatment every 6-12 months.


Ideal Candidates

Who is Ultherapy best for?

Ultherapy is a fantastic option for those who are specifically looking to lift and tighten skin on the face and neck without downtime. Ideal candidates for Ultherapy have mild to moderate skin laxity.

Some of the most popular areas of treatment are the brow, to provide a brow lift; the lower face, to improve jowls and sagging skin under the chin; and the neck, to improve loose neck skin and neck wrinkles. Ultherapy also is great for reducing crepiness, lines, and wrinkles on the décolletage (chest) without dealing with downtime associated with laser and microneedling treatments. However, it is not an ideal option for other areas of the body.


Who is Thermage best for?

Thermage is very effective for general skin tightening, as it provides good results on fine lines, wrinkles, and crepiness. It also provides a general contouring and tightening effect through collagen stimulation.

The face and neck are common areas of treatment with Thermage. It is often a top choice for fine lines around the eye area as well as laxity on and around the eyelid. While not ideal, Thermage may be a better choice for body areas such as abdomen and thighs, compared to Ultherapy.



How much does Ultherapy cost?

The cost of Ultherapy averages around $2,500-$2,800. There is much variance in the cost of Ultherapy due to the customization of the treatment. Some patients may treat smaller areas of concern such as the brow, while others may opt to treat the entire face and neck. In general, smaller areas may range from $500-$1,500, while larger areas such as a full face may range from $2,500-$3,500. Treatments on multiple areas will have a higher cost. Costs will also vary based on the experience of the practitioner, as well as the specific practice and location.


How much does Thermage cost?

The cost of Thermage averages about $2,500 nationally and can range anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. Cost will depend primarily on the areas of treatment, but also on the location of the practice and the practitioner who is performing the treatment.




Both Ultherapy and Thermage are long-established, proven treatments for tightening skin on the face. While they both stimulate collagen production, Ultherapy is best suited for deep lifting and tightening, while Thermage is great for more superficial concerns, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Ultherapy allows for precise customization of each treatment based on the individual’s skin. Both treatments are long-lasting, although Ultherapy results tend to last longer and require less frequent maintenance treatments than Thermage. 

At Aesthetic Center of New Jersey, Ultherapy is our go-to treatment for lifting and tightening skin on the face and neck. Our Ultherapy specialist, Pam Delacruz, served as Clinical Educator and has trained hundreds of physicians and practitioners on Ultherapy, and has been performing the treatment since its inception. Pam’s patients report that her treatments are much more comfortable than Ultherapy treatments performed by other providers, and her results are unparalleled. 

Looking to learn more? Call us at 877-750-0020 or text us at 201-425-0825 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

About Aesthetic Center of New Jersey

Aesthetic Center of New Jersey is a premier luxury aesthetic center providing advanced non-surgical medical aesthetic treatments for the face, body, and hair. Aesthetic Center of New Jersey takes pride in delivering fully customized, high-performance, results-driven treatments for a wide range of cosmetic concerns and conditions.

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