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Ultrasonic: How it Works

Reviewed by Marta July 3, 2012 30 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).

  • 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?

  • February 14, 2016

    by Eric

    I purchased an ultrasonic 3 mhz LED photon device on ebay for $40 and it has totally rejuvinated my skin. i use it 3 times a week after microneedling with a .5 mm dermaroller. you don't have to spend ridiculous prices to achieve amazing results. the cosmetics industry preys on women and men by pushing over priced serums and devices on them saying the device from china is not going to work. this is just baloney. i have also switched to babyface skin care products and have achieved amazing aesthetic results better than lancer and skin ceuticals products. use common sense and read the ingredrients on the bottles instead of wasting money. my one indulgence is le meiux;s tgf-b booster serum which i can find on ebay for $41.25 for 1 ounce of serum. it is fantastic and boosts the results of my other serums and creams. best of luck and happy anti-aging to all :)

    much love,
    eric xxxx

  • December 18, 2015

    by Marta

    Hi Lori, you mention RF (radio frequency). That is a different technology from ultrasound. You can read about RF and differences with ultrasound here:
    As mentioned in this article above, a professional machine would be set at between 4-7 Mhz. Regarding 1Mhz, that is usually used on the body where it needs to penetrate more deeply. 3Mhz is typically used for the face.

  • December 17, 2015

    by lori

    Two questions..First..for at home RF for the face...MHZ1 is going to be best correct? and could u please explain why MHZ1 has more benefits than using MHZ3? I keep getting all kinds of different answers that r favorable to whatever is being sold.

    ok..another ?? sorry...what MHZ is used in a dr.s office? That may help me as well as others to understand we get more of our moneys worth going to a professional rather than DIY.

    Thank U!!!

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