“Dr Justin, which is the BEST face-lift?”
Sorry to burst your bubble. There isn’t ONE that is the best. Why?
HIFU, Thermage and Thread-Lifts are all market-leading treatments.
The correct question is: “Which is the BEST non-surgical face-lift FOR ME?”
Having used all of these treatments, let me review the best non-surgical face-lifts in Singapore:
Your Facial Aging Style Determines Your Best Treatment
There are 3 types of Facial Aging: Sinker, Sagger and Wrinkler.
Key problem for “Sinkers” is Volume Loss.
- HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) – Stimulate Collagen Production in the deeper skin layers to firm and thicken skin.
- Filler Facelift – Replace volume loss using Hyaluronic Acid/Calcium Hydroxyapatite fillers.
Key Issue for “Saggers” is Saggy Skin.
- HIFU – Tighten skin by stimulating collagen at multiple depths (up to 4.5mm).
- Thermage (RF)– External RF stimulates collagen up to 3.0mm
- INFINI RF – Micro-needle (internal) RF stimulates collagen up to 3.5mm.
- Thread-Lift – Lifts skin and soft tissue at spot areas.
Key Issue for “Wrinklers” is Fine Lines.
- Botox – to relax dynamic lines
- Fillers – to fill static lines
- INFINI RF – stimulate collagen for static lines.
Most Common Facial Aging Pattern is MIXED
In reality, most people will have a combination of facial ageing patterns.
The common reason for all 3 facial aging patterns is Collagen Loss.
Facial Anti-Aging is a highly fascinating topic and it is of personal interest to me.
The most common combination of facial aging I see in Singapore is Sagger + Sinker.
My Approach to Facial Anti-Aging
Early Facial Aging: HIFU/ Thermage
Late Facial Aging: HIFU/ Thermage/ INFINI + Fillers + Thread-Lift
Let’s explore the differences between HIFU, Thermage and Thread-Lifts.
HIFU vs Thermage
Both are excellent technologies with many satisfied patients who swear by these treatments.
If you have not tried any of these treatments or if you have tried one of these but not the other, this comparison is for you.
How does Thermage work?
The first device for skin tightening to be approved since 2002, Thermage uses monopolar radiofrequency to deliver heat to the deep dermis (3.0mm) which smoothens out fine lines and stimulate new collagen production.
How does HIFU work?
HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) is one of the most popular skin tightening treatments in Singapore and goes by several brands like Ulthera and Ultraformer 3.
Ultrasound technology was first FDA-approved for skin lifting and tightening with Ulthera in 2012.
Subsequently, many other brands of HIFU were introduced with less pain and more treatment handpieces for specialised treatment in targeted areas (eyes, body).
I was an ex-Ulthera user.
Currently, I use Classys’ Ultraformer 3 HIFU which is a newer generation HIFU technology that is approved by HSA (Singapore), Korea FDA and CE (Europe).
It has a specialised 2.0mm treatment depth for more precise treatment around the eyes.
Compared to Thermage which is Radiofrequency, HIFU treatments reach DEEPER (4.5mm vs 3.0mm) to the SMAS layer (superficial musculoaponeutic system).
This is the layer that is tightened in a facelift surgery.
|In a nutshell||Ultrasound||Monopolar Radio-frequency|
|Brands||Ultherapy, Ultraformer 3||Thermage|
|Ideal for||Sagger, Wrinkler||Sinker, Wrinkler|
|Benefits||Saggy skin, excess fat||Fine lines|
|Pain factor||3/10 (newer HIFUs)||5-6/10|
|Downtime||Pinkish skin||Pinkish skin|
Thermage vs INFINI
For fans of Radio-frequency (RF) treatment, you’ll be glad to know that the newer generations of RF treatments like INFINI are more effective and less painful.
Thermage (mono-polar RF) relies on BULK HEATING to deliver energy to tighten skin.
FDA approved for skin tightening since 2013, newer generation RF like INFINI, Profound, Endymed, Vivace avoid bulk heating and deliver RF energy using MICRO-NEEDLES instead.
I prefer INFINI which delivers energy MORE PRECISELY and DEEPER (3.5mm vs 3.0mm) into the skin using insulated gold micro-needles.
The insulation of the micro-needles means that only the tips of the micro-needles deliver heat.
With INFINI, there is less heating of superficial skin, less pain and safer treatments.
The added benefit of delivering RF energy using insulated micro-needles instead of bulk heating is an improvement in uneven skin texture and acne scarring due to the micro-needle effect.
HIFU vs Thread-Lift
How does Thread-Lift work?
Silhouette Soft and PDO threads are commonly used for targeted lifting of sagging skin and they give immediate results with long-term stimulation of collagen.
|In a nutshell||Micro-Focused Ultrasound||Bio-absorbable threads|
|Benefits||Full face skin tightening||Lifting of targeted areas|
|Onset of effect||2-3 months||Immediate|
|Duration of effect||Around 1 year||Around 1 year|
|Side-effects||Temporary tingling||Dimpling of skin, Visible threads|
|Down-time||Needle marks, Bruising||Mild aching/ swelling|
|Pain factor||2/10 (Less for Newer HIFUs)||6/10|
|Who should do this||All-round sagging skin||Desire immediate lift|
|Who should not do this||Severe sagging skin (needs combination treatment)||Fear of injections|
HIFU vs Thread-Lift: HIFU is completely non-invasive.
In patients who have severe sagging skin, I use HIFU to firm and tighten sagging skin first before performing Thread-Lifts.
Price of Non-surgical Facelifts in Singapore
HIFU: from $2000
Thermage: from $3000
Thread-Lift: from $2500 – full face treatment
INFINI: from $1500/session
Fillers: from $800/syringe
Confused about which treatment you REALLY need?
You are not alone. To achieve beauty at any age, speak to your aesthetic doctor for a facial assessment.