What is Thermage

Fiona Clark

What is Thermage?

Thermage FLX™ ® is a non-invasive radiofrequency (RF) treatment that smooths, tightens and contours the skin for an overall younger-looking appearance.

It helps boost collagen, the scaffolding in our skin that gives it its firmness. As we age our collagen levels decline and we start to develop fine lines and wrinkles.


How does it work?

Thermage uses heat from the radiofrequency it emits to target the cells within the skin to prompting them to produce more collagen. It causes an immediate tightening as excess water from the cells is released but over the next few months after the treatment the micro-damage it has caused prompts the cells to produce more collagen.

This helps create smoother skin after just one treatment and the results continue to improve over time.


What is the treatment like?

It is generally described as a comfortable treatment which may feel a little warm. It is usually done with an numbing cream to reduce the pain.

The Thermage FLX™ system incorporates vibration on the face and body treatments, which has been shown to provide patient comfort.

You’ll feel a brief heating sensation when the treatment device’s tip touches your skin, followed by a cooling sensation to help protect your skin and minimise any discomfort.

It is a quick and easy treatment. It takes around 30-90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being treated.


Which areas can be treated?

Thermage can treat skin on the face, neck and décolletage. It can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and can also be used on loose skin on the body. It is often used to treat:

  • the forehead to lift brows and tighten skin,
  • under the eyes to improve skin thickness, tighten and lift the upper cheek skin,
  • cheeks – to lift slightly and improve the appearance of  enlarged pores),
  • mid-face and jaw line to diminish sagging along the jaw line,
  • neck – to tighten the skin and reduce wrinkles.


How many treatments are needed?

Usually only one treatment is needed.


Is there any downtime?

There is no downtime. Most people return to their regular activities straight after the treatment. No special care is required afterward, aside from basic skin maintenance and sunscreens as part of a regular skincare regimen. Some people may experience a bit of redness and swelling but it should subside within 24 hours. (see below)


Are there any side effects?

It can cause redness and swelling for up to two to three days, but in most cases these subside within 24 hours.


Is it safe?

It is generally regarded as a safe treatment and it FDA approved.

Risks may include burns, scars, and temporary bumps. In rare instances some patients may develop small, permanent indentations in the skin, possibly because of heat damage to the fat layer below the dermis. It is important to see a well qualified medical practitioner.


How long do the results last?

According to the maker of the Thermage system results may last 24 months or more. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking too much and poor diet may affect the result.


How much does it cost?

Thermage is not cheap – you can expect to pay around £3000 for a full face treatment. Treatments around the eyes or a single area maybe upwards of £1500.


Who is it suitable for?

It is suitable for people with mild to moderate skin ageing  It’s not possible to say exactly how much it will tighten any individual woman’s skin and unlike a facelift it does not lift muscle, so it’s not useful for women with advanced wrinkling or very saggy skin. Thermage is probably best for women in their 30s to 50s who have a few wrinkles or mild skin looseness.



Who can’t have Thermage?

Like many procedures it is not recommended for pregnant women.

People with electrical devices such as pacemakers, or metal implants such as artificial metal joints, heart valves or dental plates, CAN NOT have radiofrequency treatments as it may interfere with these devices or heat up metal implants.


Is it worth it?

Thermage can produce some exceptional results for some people. It is, however, on the pricey side.


Who performs Thermage?

Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr Simon Zokaie performs Thermage.


Courtesy Dr Simon Zokaie, Linia Skin Clinics