Dubbed the “lunchtime lift”, Ulther­apy is a non-sur­gi­cal cos­metic pro­ce­dure re­puted to turn the clock back a good whack. Dervla Louli puts it to the test

Hong Kong Tatler - - Style Beauty -

’m in the wait­ing room of a med­i­cal prac­tice in Cen­tral, one that spe­cialises in an­ti­age­ing, aes­thet­ics and den­tistry, con­sid­er­ing whether to bolt while I have the chance. I’m about to have Ulther­apy, a non-sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure to lift, tighten and tone skin us­ing ul­tra­sound tech­nol­ogy. It’s said to be able to turn the clock back five or six years.

I’ve al­ways found new tech­nolo­gies that prom­ise brighter, tighter skin en­tic­ing, but I’m averse to nee­dles and knives. The lat­est pro­fes­sional skin-tight­en­ing treat­ments tend to in­volve lasers and at least three days of down­time. Not so Ulther­apy, which has be­come hugely pop­u­lar around the world since it was first ap­proved by the US Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2009, no doubt as­sisted by the likes of Jen­nifer Anis­ton and Courteney Cox at­tribut­ing their youth­ful looks to it.

“It’s the num­ber one in-of­fice pro­ce­dure on the planet,” says Stephen Kirkham, a grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of Bri­tish Columbia Med­i­cal School who has been prac­tis­ing in Asia for eight years. “It turns back the clock non­in­va­sively, en­cour­ages your body to cre­ate as much col­la­gen as pos­si­ble and nat­u­rally lets your body heal and re­ju­ve­nate it­self over the course of six months to a year. You might look a lit­tle flushed af­ter you leave, but in a few hours no one will no­tice any­thing. The ben­e­fits ap­pear af­ter one to two months as your body starts to pro­duce col­la­gen to re­spond to the mi­cro­scopic dam­age caused by the ul­tra­sound.”

Kirkham, an aes­theti­cian and der­mal clin­i­cian at Dr Lau­ren Bram­ley and Part­ners, says the best can­di­dates for Ulther­apy are peo­ple whose skin has some de­gree of lax­ity, and it’s most pop­u­lar with women aged 30 and above. While it’s not a re­place­ment for a sur­gi­cal facelift, it’s an ideal choice for those not men­tally, phys­i­cally or fi­nan­cially ready for surgery. For younger pa­tients, it’s a way to “stay ahead of the game” and avoid more in­va­sive pro­ce­dures like Bo­tox and fillers. The im­prove­ments be­gin to show af­ter about two weeks, with full re­sults de­vel­op­ing over three to six months.

The de­vice used in Ulther­apy trans­mits fo­cused ul­tra­sound en­ergy to pre­cise depths. The pulses the pa­tient feels in­di­cate the col­la­gen-build­ing process has been ini­ti­ated. Some pa­tients ap­pear flushed im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, but you can re­turn to nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties straight af­ter the pro­ce­dure with­out any re­stric­tions. The de­vice can be ap­plied to any prob­lem area but is most of­ten used on the chest and above.

I’ve se­lected the stan­dard full face, jaw­line and jowl pack­age, plus the neck and dé­col­letage add-on. Prepa­ra­tion be­gins with oral painkillers, which take an hour to kick in, and numb­ing oint­ment. Soon I’m feel­ing a lit­tle bit like Alice in Won­der­land at the Mad Hat­ter’s tea party—in a good way, of course. When a wand-like ap­pa­ra­tus be­gins glid­ing over my face, it’s com­pletely pain­less—un­til it reaches my jaw. I un­con­sciously back away from the slightly painful shocks, but Kirkham urges me to lean in. When the zap­ping even­tu­ally stops, I’m re­lieved.

The pro­ce­dure takes about two-and-ahalf hours, which in­cludes the hour for the painkillers to kick in. My skin is glow­ing and not red at all, and I walk home, car­ry­ing a va­ri­ety of vi­ta­mins and sup­ple­ments in pills and pow­ders, with­out need­ing the huge Jackie O sun­glasses I brought. Af­ter just a few hours I can see and feel the ben­e­fits and I’m lov­ing my tighter skin. As the weeks pass, the skin on my face, neck and dé­col­letage look smoother and firmer, and I’ve re­ceived nu­mer­ous com­pli­ments from friends and fam­ily about how re­freshed I look.

If you’re look­ing for a safe, non-in­va­sive treat­ment to turn back the clock, Ulther­apy has a great track record and de­liv­ers won­der­ful re­sults.

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