An Ultherapy Q&A With Dr Vistnes
Ultherapy is the only FDA-cleared, non-invasive skin tightening solution in the market to tighten and tone the skin – no surgery required – and one of our favorite anti-aging treatments here at SkinSpirit.
Our marketing team wanted to learn a little bit more about Ultherapy and what it’s all about – including some improvements our team has made to the protocol – so we sat down with SkinSpirit Founder and Medical Director, Dr. M Dean Vistnes, for a deep dive.
SkinSpirit: Thank you for joining us today, Dr. Vistnes! Let’s start with the basics. How does Ultherapy work, and what kind of benefits does it provide?
Dr. Vistnes: I think Ultherapy is probably the strongest non-surgical procedure that we have that is able to tighten the skin to a visible degree.
Ultherapy has focused or compressed sound waves – much like you can use a magnifying glass to focus sunlight – to different levels below the skin, creating little micro-focal zones of energy. These hot spots of injury within the skin basically stimulate the whole healing process, where the body forms more collagen, more elastin, tightens the skin – and that’s how we get results.
SkinSpirit: What can you expect when you come in for a treatment?
Dr. Vistnes: Typically when a patient comes in for treatment after they’ve had a consultation, the practitioner will apply a topical numbing medication on the surface area of the skin. Then, they’ll mark up the areas to be treated and use transfuser tips to focus the machine at different levels depending on a patient’s goals – whether it’s crepiness, or something else.
Once the topical cream is on, most people do extremely well. And that’s where we’ve changed our protocol. We’ve gone away from treating the deeper areas that are harder to get numbed up and are now putting more energy right into the skin – which is where people really want to see the results.
SkinSpirit: What kind of impact has this had on a patient’s level of pain or discomfort?
Dr. Vistnes: Everybody’s different in terms of their response to painful stimuli. I would say the feedback has been, with the topical anesthetic that’s put on, most people now find Ultherapy very easy to get through.
SkinSpirit: What about downtime? Will you need to take time off from work after a treatment?
Dr. Vistnes: We used to think it was no downtime. But every once in awhile, if you do an Ultherapy treatment and someone goes home, they have low blood pressure, they do yoga – anything that impacts blood flow – could cause a little bit of bruising. It’s very uncommon and the bruising always goes away, but if you have an event or something, it’s something to keep in mind.
But there’s no crusting, peeling, prolonged redness. No post treatment ointments are needed. People can go to work, put on a little foundation, cover up. You probably wouldn’t want to go out the next day with no makeup at all but if you did it on a Friday, you’d be fine by Monday.
But again, when you’re putting that energy right into that upper layer of skin, that’s what’s going to give you the results you’re looking for in the mirror.
SkinSpirit: How many sessions are recommended to get the best results?
Dr. Vistnes: Think about how exercise builds muscle in the body. If you work out all day, every day, you’ll see small, gradual changes because your overall fitness is very good. But if you’re way out of shape, you might see big changes – with a substantial investment. So, for the skin, the things you do at home (eat well, sleep well, wear proper sunblock and use a skin care regime designed for your skin)…those are your daily workouts.
When you come in for Ultherapy, or any skin treatment that induces collagen production, it’s like a boot camp, or an intensive health retreat for the skin. When you do sequential treatments, and you probably want to wait around six months to do so, you just get added benefits.
SkinSpirit: How long will it take to see the results after a treatment?
Dr. Vistnes: Results take about 2-3 months to really manifest and will continue to get better for up to a year. So it’s subtle. The idea is, you do a treatment and you wait for the results to get better, better, better.
SkinSpirit: Who is the ideal candidate?
Dr. Vistnes: Ultherapy has two places as far as ideal candidates: one person is someone whose aged and is showing signs of laxity in the skin, checks, jawbone, and they want to improve that.
The other great candidate is someone who doesn’t have a lot of aging. Imagine someone in their 30s or 40s – they look in the mirror and they think they don’t really need anything, but they want something preventative. Someone like that, who does it once every couple of years, isn’t going to see a huge difference in the mirror, because they don’t need a lot of tightening, but imagine when they turn 50-55 – what if they still look the same as when they were 40?
To me, it’s like sunblock. You don’t lay out in the sun for 20-30 years and start to develop all these issues, and then start to put on sunblock, – because it’s too little too late. Sunblock has its value in preventing all the damage that can happen and Ultherapy in a way is kind of the same. It stimulates the skin, makes it thicker, stronger, more elastic, more youthful – like you were in your 20s.
As far as investments in your skin, it’s probably one of the best investments you can make to really slow and prevent the aging process.
SkinSpirit: Thank you, Dr. Vistnes! Before we wrap up today, can you share a little bit about SkinSpirit’s qualifications for Ultherapy?
Dr. Vistnes: To treat patients properly, you need to be able to diagnose what’s going on. Ultherapy’s not right for everyone. Some may need combination treatments, where maybe Ultherapy’s right for that overall plan – because the aging process is so multi dimensional, it’s not just one thing.
With the level of education and ongoing, specialized training our practitioners receive, I think they represent some of the best trained, most knowledgeable practitioners in the United States. They really have a good understanding of how patients are aging and what the options are, what’s going to work best for a patient, and what’s not. They have the abilities and tools at their disposal to help a patient meet their goals and expectations.
And one other thing – a lot of patients don’t really need full face treatment. A lot of patients really have areas of concern that are localized to, say, the lower half of the face or just the brows or maybe the neck and decollete. Our understanding of Ultherapy has improved, and we have more treatment tips at our disposal; we can customize the treatment to specific areas on the face and the neck so you’re doing smaller, more focused areas, where the cost is significantly less and the results just as good.
Learn More About Ultherapy with a Free Consultation
If you’d like to get some more information from our experts and find out if you’re a candidate for Ultherapy, please come in for a complimentary consultation at any of our Bay Area or Washington locations.