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Ultrasonic: How it Works

Reviewed by Marta July 3, 2012 33 Comments

When Truth In Aging launched the Ultra Renew PLUS Ultrasonic LED, it became 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 Plus is in the 3mz range and the ultrasound penetrates less than 2 mm.

As the ultrasound waves pass from the treatment head to the skin they cause a vibration of the surrounding tissues, particularly those that contain collagen. You will not actually feel vibrations on the surface of the skin and the device will not feel hot against the skin.The vibration massages the surrounding tissue, which then 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 (by which I mean the machines used in a doctor's office) vibrate and rupture 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).

  • March 16, 2017

    by nikki

    hello, i have a few questions..
    Which would be the most powerful for cleansing for ‘scrubbing the skin?’
    Which is better for antiaging and sonophoresis?
    What makes them more or less powerful?

  • March 12, 2017

    by Marta

    Hi Lilliana, microcurrent works at the muscular level and ultrasound works at the cellular level. They both help firm the skin, but ultrasound has a deeper effect as it is boosting collagen production.

  • March 9, 2017

    by Lilliana Garcia Romero

    I would like to know is this device would work like the one that you used to have Truth Rejuvenate as a microcurrent?

  • June 5, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Meg, the Lux Renew would work very well as maintenance before and after Ultherapy.

  • June 4, 2016

    by Meg E Davis

    Sorry, posting this question twice. I posted in the wrong place.

    I will most likely be having Ultherapy done on full face for moderate skin laxity and under the jaw bone, for jowls. Would the technology in the Renew be just as effective, as Ultherapy? Will it be safe if they are combined for maintenance?

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