​What is Thermage?

Thermage is a noninvasive skin rejuvenation treatment that’s FDA-approved for skin tightening on the face and body. Thermage works by using radiofrequency (RF) energy to heat the skin’s dermis (under the surface layer) and stimulate new collagen production. It's a versatile treatment that can be used on the stomach, arms, backs of the hands, thighs, knees, and butt as well as around the eyes and along the jawline.


What happens during a Thermage procedure?


During the treatment, the handpiece is “placed flat on the targeted treatment area, to allow the RF energy to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin,” says Dr. Green. You’ll feel gentle vibration as the device heats the deep layers of your skin, followed by a cooling sensation. The combination of vibration and cooling should help mitigate the discomfort from the heat—but your doctor should keep checking in with you to ensure you get an effective treatment, without too much pain.

Each session typically takes between 30 minutes and two hours, depending on the location, size, and condition of the area being treated. 


What can you expect after Thermage?


There’s no downtime afterward, though the treated area may be slightly pink and swollen for a few hours following your session. The redness should go away within 24 hours and shouldn’t hinder your normal activities. Swelling should resolve within five days, though in rare cases it can last a few weeks.

Is Thermage safe? What are the side effects?



Thermage was the first tissue tightening treatment available in the U.S., and it’s been shown to be safe and effective since its FDA approval in 2002. But it can have side effects, particularly in the hands of an inexperienced provider. According to its manufacturer:

·       Irregularities in your skin’s surface can appear up to a month after your treatment.

·       Numbness or tingling in the treated area can last for a few weeks afterward.

·       Burns, blisters, or scabs can form if the upper layer of your skin gets too hot. In some cases, this can lead to scars. 

·       Nodules or lumps can appear, usually in the neck, but they typically go away on their own within two weeks. 

·       Hyperpigmentation is also a risk. It may fade on its own within a few months but may linger longer and require additional treatment to remove.

Your results and safety will depend heavily on your provider’s technique, so it’s worth going to a board-certified dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or other qualified provider.

How soon will you see Thermage results?


Some patients notice slight tightening immediately after their treatment, but full Thermage results usually aren’t visible until three to six months later, once the new collagen has formed.

How many treatments of Thermage do you need?


Most people have just one treatment session, followed by maintenance treatments every 6 to 12 months.

How long does Thermage last?


Thermage results typically last between one and two years. The longevity of your results will depend on your aging process and how well you care for your skin. Some doctors recommend follow-up treatments every 6 to 12 months, to maintain your results over time. It’s also vital to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day and follow a medical-grade skin-care regimen, to keep your skin in its best shape.

Before & After