Turning Back Time with Thermage

February 7, 2015

About a month ago, I was offered an opportunity to experience a Thermage facial treatment session courtesy of Asia Healthcare Associates, the exclusive distributor of Thermage in Singapore.  Up until now, I have declined all offers for single-session services and treatments as most non-surgical treatments are unable to give visible improvements in just 1 session.  Moreover, I do not want to promote any one local service provider as being superior to others, at the expense of being completely irrelevant to my overseas readers.  However, I made an exception for Thermage as this is about the technology behind it (and not any particular aesthetics practitioner).  Also, this is a company that I had known for over 10 years now, and watched it evolve over the years, so am personally interested in experiencing it.  This post is going to be a tale not just about the business of beauty, but the geeky aspect of it all!

Where this tale begins…. The story of my life….

In my previous life, fresh out from business school, I had envisioned myself to become a savvy investor someday, and found a position in a Venture Capital firm in Silicon Valley.  I was one of those generalists who are full-fledged techies at heart, without an actual engineering or medical degree to appreciate the finer details of the technology innovation.  What I did take to heart, was how a team of incredibly youthful-looking guys sat in my office and spoke so passionately about their medical device that was going to change the aesthetics world.  That company, was Thermage.


Even as a junior associate, I knew the market potential of Thermage.  To be able to rejuvenate looks in a non-surgical way with no down-time was the holy grail of the aesthetics business.  But I am a scaredy cat, and a little old-fashioned, brought up by my mom to embrace what nature has given me.  However, times have changed, and we live in a world in which aesthetics treatments are more and more widely accepted and easily accessible.  Whilst I’m still not sure where I stand on plastic surgery, Thermage falls under that whole other category of being completely non-invasive, i.e. no cutting open, nothing put in or taken out that is not “originally me”.

What is Thermage?

Thermage is an FDA-approved, non-invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency (“RF”) heat energy to kickstart the body’s own natural Collagen renewal process.  It uses a unique monopolar technology that allows the RF heat energy to penetrate deeper into the dermis tissue than lasers are able to reach, and are therefore more effective, requiring only a single session for effects that lasts up to 1-2 years depending on individual’s skin condition and aging process.  The RF heat energy works on the collagen fibers in the skin, causing them to contract, and hence tightening the skin.  Depending on your needs, Thermage may be used to combat cellulite-dimpled skin on the body, reduce the appearance of wrinkles (lips and eyes included), counter sagging and create a more defined jawline.

Thermage CPT

A trained aesthetics doctor uses a specially designed treatment tip to deliver the RF heat energy on targeted areas, guided by a treatment grid and treatment protocols established by Thermage.  Each treatment tip is good for a specific number of shots (your doctor will advise how many shots you need to achieve the ideal results), and disposed after each use.

Why Thermage now?

Even though I have been diligent in caring for my skin, there are things that even the best skincare products in the world cannot prevent.  As I grow older, and the many demands of juggling a career – motherhood – blogging deprived me of sleep, I find the very structure of my skin has changed.  For a few years now, I have noticed the deepening of my nasal labial lines, sagging jowls and the appearance of double chins.  Even without zooming into the fine flaws, the overall look seems more tired, face appears “longer” and my cheeks lack that youthful bounce.  At 35, I’m not quite ready for collagen fillers, nor have I quite made up my mind about Botox.  I definitely do not require a surgical face lift nor do I want that drastic overnight change.  Thermage seemed like an ideal way to reset the clock, help my skin regain its youthful appearance, and delay aging.

My personal experience…

Thermage is now into its 3rd generation, known in the industry as Thermage CPT (which stands for Comfort Pulse Technology).  This improved platform incorporates vibration into its treatment tip in order make the treatment more comfortable for customers.  When placed on the skin, the treatment tip vibrates to diffuse any sensation of pain caused by the RF pulses.  The tip design and software have also been upgraded to ensure more uniform delivery of the RF energy for better visible results.

Thermage consultation with Dr Yeak

A typical session begins with a consultation with a trained aesthetics doctor, where you can (and should) highlight all your problem areas and any concerns.  For me, I was most concerned about pain and the potential for burns.  As I had a history of eczema, and have been using steroidal creams to control eczema flare-ups, my skin is thinner than the average.  To minimize the possibility of side effects (which may include temporary redness, swelling, blisters, bumps and surface irregularities), my doctor decided to dial down the intensity from her original intended 4 (out of a maximum of 5) to 2.5 for my face, and 2 for my neck (where the skin is naturally thinner and where I had been using more steroidal creams).

Thermage numbing cream

After the consultation, I was shown into a comfortable treatment room where I removed my makeup, and a nurse applied a numbing cream.  I was also given some anti-inflammatory painkillers to help minimize discomfort during the treatment.  Thereafter, I was left alone for about 30 minutes to relax and for the numbing cream to take effect.  Typically, the nurse will also apply a treatment grid before the treatment begins, which guides the doctor on where to place the treatment tip.  However, some doctors may choose to skip the grid entirely as they are very familiar with the treatment.

Thermage treatment process

The biggest question of all: Did it hurt?

Even though Thermage works by delivering RF heat energy deep into the skin, it does not cause any burning sensation on the surface as it is coupled with cryogen cooling at the before and after RF heat energy penetration.  This also massively reduces the potential for burns and blistering post-treatment.  At an intensity level of 2.5, I did not feel anything initially, not even the typical rubber-band-snap sensation that is commonly described with IPL treatments.  However, as the doctor makes more passes on the same spots, the RF heat energy builds up.  Up to a certain point, I did experience intense sharp jabs.  The intensity varies depending on how thin/thick the skin is at that particular spot, and how many passes has been done.  I did not feel anything at all on the fleshiest part of my cheeks, but on the sides of my temples and jawline where there is less flesh, I felt it more.

It would be a lie to say the treatment was pain-free.  However, whenever I felt anything, I made sure my doctor knew, and she adjusted accordingly.  Simple techniques like giving that spot a brief rest and moving onto other parts of the face before returning later, or even taking a break in between the treatment, helps.  For me, I just wanted to plough on and get it over with, but lots of other patients request for a break, so don’t be embarrassed to speak up!  If necessary, the doctor may also dial down the intensity, and she did dial it down for my neck from 2.0 to 1.5.

The results…

I was very thankful that by letting my doctor know about my concerns and medical history, and giving her feedback about my comfort throughout the process, she was able to adjust accordingly and I left without suffering any side effects at all!  No redness, no burns or swelling.  However, I did find the surface of my skin to be slightly drier than usual for the following 2-3 days, and there was some slight peeling which I fixed with just home exfoliation and lots of moisturizer.  After which, I found my skin much plumper and smoother than it has been for a long time!!

It has been about a month since my Thermage treatment, and I have noticed my jawline has become more defined and my face is better sculpted than before.  The thing I’m most happy about is that my nasal labial lines are much less pronounced!  Overall, minor changes that others may not immediately notice, but as I often take selfies for my makeup reviews, I definitely recognize the improvements.  And I’ve been told I will see even more improvements in the months to come as my skin slowly rebuilds itself internally.

Cle de Peau radiant fluid foundation correcting cream veil LOTD

This is one of my most recent photo, which you may compare against this which was taken just weeks before my Thermage treatment!

I had my Thermage treatment done at Singapore Aesthetic Center located at 10 Sinaran Drive, Singapore 307506.  If you are interested to find out more about Thermage, please head over to their website or Facebook page.  Of course, feel free to leave me any questions you may have below, and I’ll do my best to answer them!

xo Linda

This is a sponsored post, and it contains affiliate links.  Regardless, I have tried to express as honest, and unbiased a perspective as possible.


12 responses to “Turning Back Time with Thermage”

  1. Sil says:

    I had never heard of this treatment before, but then, I really don’t know much about this sort of things.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us! Any non invasive treatments that can help us prevent or slow down aging are very welcomed! And I guess a little pain is to be expected in this sort of things.
    I like that the results are subtle, not obvious, but you still end up with a more fresh look, in a way.
    And I find very interesting that the effects are so long lasting too!

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Sil, yeah, I’m all for non-surgical alternatives! I would much rather it be completely pain-free, but technology is always improving, so hopefully soon!!!

  2. Noodles says:

    Intriguing!! I havent heard of this treatment before, but yes I can certainly see the difference in your pictures! The only treatment I’ve been tempted by is the one that’s supposed to reduce the size and depth of the pores on my nose which had been enlarged due to sqeezing in my teenage years. Now I wonder if this is actually the treatment I heard about?

  3. Eileen says:

    What a brave woman you are! Not because you underwent what is well known to be a painful procedure, but because you were wiling to share your experience with us. 🙂 So many women have minor procedures like this but are unwilling to fess up. That’s a shame because nowadays minor in-office procedures are so ubiquitous that there is really nothing to feel embarrassed about. Personally, I don’t care who knows that I have Botox between the eyebrows and at the corners of the eyes every four months to erase frown lines and prevent crows feet or that I have an IPL treatment every six months to keep my rosacea at bay. I’m still me only smoother! LOL I wear my 70 years well and with great pride so my goal is not to look younger; rather, it is to look as healthy, energetic, and vibrant on the outside as I feel on the inside. If a few little tweaks like Botox and IPL help me accomplish that goal, then I’m all for them.

    Treatments like Thermage, Ematrix, and Ulthera are not substitutes for a face lift, but they can stimulate collagen, smooth the skin’s surface, and give some lift without looking artificial or unnatural. Ironically, it takes collagen to build collagen and so the more you already have, the better these treatments will work. That’s one of the reasons why you hear about so many younger women undergoing these subtle procedures. For them, it is a question of maintenance. They want to protect the collagen they’ve got and hold steady for as long as possible. This is not about surgery or fillers to alter a person’s natural appearance. This is about looking like the best version of yourself. You’ve achieved a beautiful result, Linda, that will continue to improve for several months post treatment.

    Sunny, there is a huge difference between the prescription strength retinoids that you get from the dermatologist and the much, much weaker retinol OTC products that line the cosmetic shelves. Whereas retinol acts primarily on the surface as Linda mentioned, prescription strength retinoic acid (tretinoin) penetrates and has actually been proven to stimulate collagen production. A good cosmetic dermatologist can prescribe the strength and formulation best suited to each person’s skin type so that even people with dry or sensitive skin can benefit from retinoic acid. I’ve been using retinoic acid five nights a week for over thirty years. Every six months, I give my skin a month off prior to my IPL treatment. If my skin starts showing any irritation, I drop my use down to just a couple times a week or maybe I’ll skip a week until my skin normalizes. It’s strong stuff and its use requires diligence and care but it is soooo worth it! Although I have my share of wrinkles, my skin is even in tone, has a smooth texture, and is luminous.

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Eileen, thank you so very much for taking time to share!!! Yes, you’re right about how so many women are undergoing such treatments, and just keeping it a secret. I really wish to be able to stall aging, whilst looking like myself and not some artificial being. Thermage really helped me achieve that. It is certainly not pain-free, but i’m grateful this CPT 3rd generation has improved so much in that aspect, and at the intensity level that I had, it was certainly manageable. I’m intrigued to hear that IPL is helping your rosacea, and that you are taking retinoic acid despite having rosacea! I have atopic dermatitis, and have always had an irrational fear about lasers and acids…LOL. Love to see how you look… i bet you look amazing at 70!!!

      • Eileen says:

        Hi Linda,
        Yes, IPL is an established treatment for rosacea that has a pretty good track record. Obviously, like any treatment, it will work better for some people than others. For me, it has proven to be much better than the various medications I had previously tried. In fact, since undergoing IPL, people are completely taken by surprise when I say that I have rosacea. As for using retinoic acid, my dermatologist prescribes a formulation for me that she refers to as “sooth and firm”. It is .01 retinoic acid (which is relatively mild–most women use .05) in an emollient and soothing base. I can apply it everywhere except on two little spots on my cheeks that tend to be über sensitive. I think the key is to find a dermatologist who is knowledgable about the esthetic side of the profession. Not all derms are interested in that aspect of the profession.

  4. The story with the hot guys is really interesting, lol, I haven’t heard about Thermage but it doesn’t sound like something I would do. Maybe if I were a movie star lol. Still it was very interesting to read how it goes, how you feel during and after.

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Sara, I never thought I’d do anything like this either! But having tried it myself, I suddenly realize that such treatments are really VERY common in Asia now… and ladies younger than me have even more treatments done that my 1 Thermage session! I feel as if I’ve been living in a cave and just emerged! LOL

  5. Sunny says:

    Hey Linda, thanks so much for the post! I find it very informative, and naturally now I want to look into it! I really haven’t gone farther than a bit of retinol, but I suppose at some point, something like this will be very welcome! I definitely see a difference, particularly around the nasal labial folds!

    • silverkis says:

      Hi Sunny, i’m glad you found this helpful! Retinol and skincare work well and are still indispensable (unfortunately my skin can’t tolerate retinol at all), but they only work on the surface of the skin. Ingredients like collagen, hyaluronic acid, protein extracts etc in skincare are generally there for surface moisturizing and are unable to actually plump up the collagen layers in the skin. That’s where Thermage comes into play. I’m glad you see the difference, because I feel it myself!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.