Hifu has become a buzzword in aesthetics for its ability to rejuvenate and tighten skin without incisions or injections. It is perfect for those men and women wanting to explore non-invasive anti-ageing options before committing to cosmetic surgery. Patients often ask about the difference between Hifu and Ultherapy, the aesthetic procedure celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston are happy to admit to.
The most critical factor behind facial ageing is the gradual depletion of collagen in the dermis due to intrinsic ageing. Collagen is an essential protein in the body and is one of the primary building blocks in our bones, muscles and, of course, our skin. Collagen, along with elastin and hyaluronic acid, is responsible for giving skin its support and structure and keeping it hydrated. However, after age 20, our collagen levels deplete by approximately 1% every year; by age 45, you can expect up to 25% collagen loss.
Both Hifu and Ultherapy stimulate fresh collagen and elastin production, causing the skin to look visibly tighter and more lifted. They both employ ultrasound energy to heat tissues at a deep level in the dermis in a process known as thermocoagulation. This kickstarts the body’s natural healing process, which involves producing more collagen and elastin to repair damage.
What is the difference between Hifu and Ultherapy?
Hifu stands for High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, and Ultherapy uses Micro-Focused Ultrasound, a highly focused form of ultrasound energy directed at a specific layer of our skin. Both can deliver ultrasound energy into the SMAS layer of the dermis. This thin layer of strong connective tissue descends as we age and is typically targeted in a surgical facelift.
The main difference between the two is that Ultherapy provides real-time imaging of the skin’s layers, ensuring a safe and predictable result. Practitioners can target areas of depleted collagen without damaging the surrounding tissues. This also means less discomfort.
Hifu’s lack of precision means it can produce inconsistent results, and there is a risk of damaging other vital tissues of the face, such as bone, muscles, nerves or blood vessels.
Ultherapy is the only FDA-approved non-invasive procedure for lifting and tightening skin on the neck, chin and brow and improving lines and wrinkles on the decolletage. It is considered the gold standard in non-surgical facial rejuvenation and has undergone clinical trials to evaluate its results. However, many Hifu devices used in the UK have not received FDA and CE-mark approval.