Expert Doctor


Doris Day, MD

New York, NY


Thermage is a skin tightening procedure that makes use of a radiofrequency device to help tighten and rejuvenate the skin on the face. It transforms the skin by treating a wide range of imperfections caused by aging and other environmental factors. It can help smooth out wrinkles, correct uneven skin tone, provide better definition of the facial features, and improve unsightly bulges on the face.

Thermage is also used as a non‐surgical tightening and wrinkle reduction treatment that works to induce the production of collagen, the substance responsible for the renewal process of the body. It does not require an injection, incision, or puttng any kind of substance on the skin. Instead, it is an in‐office device used to treat the skin. Each time this device touches the skin, the patient will feel a brief cooling effect followed by a heating sensation. The heat indicates that the device is working deep within the skin to help induce collagen production. The entire procedure only takes about 45 to 60 minutes for the face and up to 90 minutes for the body.



Thermage is indicated for patients who are looking to have non‐invasive treatment for skin tightening and to treat their wrinkles and fine lines. Such patients are typically in their late 30s or early 40s. It can be used on the face or the body as well. Thermage is actually the only procedure to be approved by the FDA as an energy‐based non‐invasive eyelid treatment. This procedure is excellent for those who are beginning to feel the signs of aging such as jowls and sagging skin. The treatment can also be done on the body to serve as treatment for cellulite. Thermage is both for prevention and treatment.



Unlike dermabrasion, chemical peels, microneedling, laser treatments, and some other radiofrequency procedures, Thermage is not a superficial treatment. The aforementioned treatments only affect the outer layers of the skin whereas Thermage goes to the deeper layers. By heating the deep layers of skin, collagen production and renewal is induced, resulting in plump and smooth skin that looks young and radiant. Furthermore, with dermabrasion and chemical peels, patients typically have more downtime because those treatments wound the outer layers of the skin and that takes time to recover. With Thermage, the energy goes very deep and the downtime is usually minimal to none with possible mild redness and swelling in some cases.



The first thing patients must know about Thermage is that it is not meant to compete with or provide the same results as that of a facelift. Those who expect a facelift‐like result will only be disappointed. It is important that the procedure be performed by an experienced practitioner. Thermage is technique‐sensitive and not everyone gets the same result.

Another limitation of Thermage is that improvements are not completely noticeable right away. There is some immediate improvement but full results can take several months. Moreover, most

patients who come in for rejuvenation may need more than one treatment and may need to combine the treatment with other rejuvenation procedures such as neuromodulators like Botox, Dysport, and/or dermal fillers like Restylane or Voluma. Most patients need a combination of cosmetic procedures to get the best most lasting results.



As Thermage involves the use of a heat‐based device there is some risk of a burn. That is why it is extremely important for patients to seek a practitioner that knows how to use the device properly and carefully.

Also, patients should ask the practitioner if they have the latest Thermage CPT technology which allows for a more comfortable treatment and less complications. The so‐called CPT technology adds a gentle vibrating cooling sensation that alternates with the heating sensation. After treatment there will still be a slight redness of the skin, but it is nothing serious and the patient can resume normal daily activities immediately.



There are no special post‐operative instructions for patients who have Thermage. It is always important to take good care of their skin and use proper sun protection but otherwise no special follow‐up care is necessary. The recovery period is very little to none with most patients returning to their normal routine immediately after treatment. Minor swelling and redness may occur but it usually resolves within 24‐48 hours.



Thermage is safe and effective if performed properly. More than one session may be required for maintenance of the results. The interval depends on the patient’s pre‐treatment condition. It could be anywhere from six to nine months or as long as a year or two or longer.



Some patients see results begin right away, but for most people it generally takes a few months. Noticeable improvements can be seen within two to three months and continue for up to six months as the body produces and regenerates more collagen. The final results can last for years as long as the patient takes good care or his/her skin.



Thermage is the next great step in achieving younger‐looking skin. It can effectively improve skin texture by tightening and improving fine lines and wrinkles. It is not only used on facial skin but also on other areas like the arms, hands, thighs and abdomen. It can improve the appearance of dimpled skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite. When topical solutions prove to be inadequate and surgery seems a bit too much, Thermage might be the ideal solution.


Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - AA

Based on an exclusive interview with Doris Day, MD in New York, NY