Truth In Aging launched the Ultra Renew LED and ultrasonic device in May and it has become our runaway bestseller. It has also elicited lots of important questions about how ultrasonic works. In this post, I am going to try to answer as many as I can. I consulted more than 30 sources and this is a summary of what I understand. As I come across more research, I will update.
First of all, ultrasound (ultrasonic ) is high frequency sound waves, between 800,000 Hz and 2,000,000 Hz. This cannot be heard by humans and this is why you will not hear Ultra Renew when it is working in ultrasonic mode.
Therapeutic ultrasound frequency ranges from 1-3 MHz. The higher the frequency, the less effective the ultrasound is. Ergo, 2 is stronger than 5. The Ultra Renew is in the 3mz range and the ultrasound penetrates less than 2 mm.
As the ultrasound waves pass from the treatment head into the skin they cause the vibration of the surrounding tissues, particularly those that contain collagen. This vibration leads to the production of heat within the tissue. With a handheld home device, this heat does not become very intense. The temperature rise in the surrounding tissue increases oxygen to the cells and aids in the removal of waste. The skin is should feel instantly energized, rosy and firm.
There are theories that the non-thermal actions of ultrasound are also important and beneficial. The idea is that the rapid oscillation of tissue created by ultrasound energy promotes movement of fluid waves against cells, facilitating movement between the inner and outer cells and thereby increased fibroblastic activity and collagen formation.
Since some of you have compared the action to medical grade machines such as Ulthera. At 4 to 7 MHz, Ultherapy is close to the frequency used in Liposonix (a fat reduction therapy that some of you have also mentioned), but it is microfocused at depths of 3 mm and 4.5 mm. The smaller focal point causes “coagulative necrosis” with peak temperatures between 60° and 70° C. Temperatures have to get above 56°C for "thermal toxicity" to occur".
Because Ulthera and Liposonix are associated with fat reduction, some of you are concerned that ultrasound on the face will “melt fat cells.” First, the facial devices are not microfusing the energy and they don’t get to temperatures anywhere like 56°C. Also, it is is important to understand that “fat melting” isn’t actually what happens with ultrasound. As mentioned above, the energy is not thermal at all; rather it vibrates and ruptures the cell membranes of the fat cells then the fat is aspirated from the body - in effect the ultrasound is making liposuction easier. (source
In any case, there are theories that the non-thermal actions of ultrasound are also important and beneficial. Rapid oscillation of tissue and fluid as a result of ultrasound energy promotes movement of fluid waves against cells. This may result in alterations of the cellular membrane permeability and ion concentrations between the inner and outer cell wall, which may stimulate an intracellular cascade resulting in increased fibroblastic activity and collagen formation.
One feature that I was personally a little skeptical about – the theory that ultrasonic increases product penetration – actually seems to be proven. One study I found demonstrated enhanced penetration with a vitamin C serum used for hyperpigmentation. It seems to do this by a process called cavitation – the ultrasound creates bubble that implode to produce millions of microscopic jets of liquid (your serum in this case).