Thermage uses radio frequency waves to stimulate collagen production in superficial skin layers through a process called "bulk heating," reports Dr. Michael Zadeh. Ultherapy, on the other hand, uses ultrasound waves to stimulate collagen production in deep and superficial skin layers.
Both thermage and ultherapy are means of stimulating collagen production and thus reducing signs of aging on skin of the face, reports Dr. Michael Zadeh. Besides this, there are many differences between the two methods. First, only ultherapy is recommended by the FDA for tightening and lifting sagging facial skin, while thermage is only recommended as a general cosmetic dermatology treatment. Thermage uses radio frequency waves to stimulate collagen production in superficial skin layers, and can cause burning of the top layer of skin if not used properly. In addition, thermage can cause hyperpigmentation of the skin if misused.
Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology to stimulate both deep and superficial skin layers, adds Dr. Michael Zadeh. This results in greater collagen production, as the majority of collagen is produced in the deeper layers of skin. Ultrasound technology also allows for precise targeting of deep layers, and thus little to no burning or pigmentation change of the skin occurs with ultherapy. It is because of these reasons that ultherapy has more than twice the patient satisfaction rates than thermage.