When I hear the word facial, it’s fair to say that inside I do a little ‘happy dance!’. As a self-confessed beauty-o’holic, I’ve been having facials on a regular basis since I was 27 (to be precise) and whilst I’m not one to shout my age from the rooftops – let’s just say that was quite a number of years ago!
It was way back when, at a little hair salon in sunny Queensland, Australia, I gleefully discovered a low-key beauty room tucked away at the back of the salon. It was here that I was introduced into a magical world of divine smelling lotions, potions and motions! All of which help to put that certain zing back into my skin. These days, the older I get, the more zing my skin is in need of!
So when I was asked to trial the latest facial tightening therapy at Sense of Touch Medi Spa, let me tell you, I didn’t think twice. Just to be sure I knew what I was getting in to, I was sent a blow-by-blow account of the procedure details. Scared off? Not me! With the words non-invasive and non-surgical facelift leaping off the page, admittedly I did my own leap with a triple twist!
I was told to put aside two hours for the treatment; so arriving at the Wyndham Street, Central location (on a hot, Hong Kong summer’s day) I almost dived into the cool, air-conditioned spa, eager for my two hours of bliss! Now I love a good spa, especially one with tranquil surroundings, the smell of burning oils and the fancy products that line the shelves beckoning you to try them (I know, I’m every marketer’s dream, right?). But most of all, I love the pampering… what girl doesn’t?
So, let me start by saying, Ultherapy does NOT involve pampering. Smelling the essential oils and lying back in the lazy boy chair is about as indulging as it gets. Ladies (and gents) this is all about enduring for the cause. The long-term results!
After an extensive chat with the ever charming and very experienced Medical Director, Dr Wally Chen, I was led into the treatment room for some painkillers and numbing cream! Oh yes. Repeat: painkillers and numbing cream. But before you freak out and declare it a no-go zone, it’s really not so bad.
First things first, it’s the only USDA approved non-invasive, skin tightening treatment in the world. It sounds good, but why is that important? Well for starters, it means it’s safe. USDA will, no way, never, run the risk of being sued, so goes to extreme lengths to make sure the product is not harmful, in any way. It’s for these same reasons (as shallow as they sound) it’s also effective! A lot of papers are required for submission and tests carried out to make sure it works and works well.
How does it work? Using ultrasound. And we know ultrasounds are 100 per cent safe for a foetus, so you can’t deny it gets brownie points, on that alone. No evil toxins or fillers. If you’ve ever had an ultrasound, you’ll know all about the gel they place on you beforehand, well, the same thing is done on your face. The machine then gets to work gliding over the areas requiring attention.
It works by heating up the collagen deep below the skin – just as in a surgical facelift where they hook and pull this tissue upwards, this procedure simply heats it up so that it regenerates and rejuvenates, in the right direction – a la natural! As they say, an uplift not a facelift. We decided I should have my cheeks done, you know that bit that starts to (much to my horror) droop a little, the older you get? The elastin gives way to a looser, saggy feel pulling everything south. Did somebody say ‘jowls!’
It took about half an hour and I won’t lie and say it was pain-free! It felt like a lot of tiny little pricks in my skin. Some areas hurt a little more than others, but in all honesty, it’s nothing you can’t handle. Like they say, no pain no gain! And if it is too much for you to tolerate, Dr Chen will happily turn down the intensity. The best thing about this (besides the results) is there’s no down time. A tiny bit of redness, but you can put makeup on straight away and head right back to the office or out to dinner in LKF!
The next day and admittedly for a couple of weeks after, I did feel a little tender, like I may have had bruised cheeks – but on the outside, nothing, bar a little swelling (that only you yourself would notice). They say it takes at least a month to see results – a short term boost if you like…. and three to four for best results, lasting for at least 18 months. The natural process of creating new, more elastic, collagen steadily builds overtime. For me, a month on, my face definitely looks more toned in appearance and feels lifted ever so slightly – the loose, jowly look that I see in the mirror is less noticeable and my cheeks seem smoother. Another couple of months and the fun will really begin.
The idea is it looks natural because it’s your skin’s natural way of being stimulated. Not a bad way to stand firm in the face of gravity, ladies and gents!
It’s not cheap, but comparatively it’s not bad, costing between $18,000 and $48,000 for a full face.
There are two other types of non-invasive skin tightening procedures you may have heard of – Thermage (which is a similar technique, only using radio frequency). According to Dr Chen the results are comparable, but the technology is older, meaning it’s less accurate and more painful. Sculptra is the third option but involves injections and more risk, so it pays to make sure you’ve got a very experienced doctor. Ultherapy is definitely the superior sister here.
To prove its worth even further, Ultherapy was largely responsible for Sense of Touch winning “Medi Spa Treatment of the Year” at the 2013 Asia Spa Awards. With their Ultimate Skin Tightening and Lifting Program, which combines Ultherapy and Alma Laser’s ‘Super Skin Tightening,’ the treatment received a glowing appraisal. Try it out if you’re looking for a lift!
Sense of Touch Medi Spa, Suite 206-207, 2/F, Yu Yuet Lai Building (Between Koh Thai and 6◦), 43-55 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong,2861 1800, www.sotmedi.com