Non-Invasive Skin Tightening: Ultherapy vs Laser Treatments

While there is no doubt about what a surgical facelift can do, not everyone is a candidate for an invasive procedure. Some are also not willing to go under the knife, worried about its downtime and potential complications. Others, meanwhile, simply find facelifts expensive or a bit over their budget. 

Whatever your reason is for forgoing the procedure, you may be glad to know that there are non-invasive options that can help tighten the skin. Ultherapy and laser treatments are two popular procedures that are said to stimulate collagen production to make the skin look tighter and firmer, without cuts, needles, and anesthesia. 

Continue reading to find out the differences between Ultherapy and laser treatments and if one is better than the other.


The basics: Ultherapy is a US-FDA cleared non-invasive procedure for lifting and tightening the skin. It is also European CE-marked for sculpting and lifting of the upper and lower face, neck, and chest area. Ultherapy can define your facial contours, lift the skin on the brow, and smooth wrinkles on the decolletage.

How it works: It uses a handpiece called Ulthera, which delivers time-tested focused ultrasound energy. It bypasses the skin’s surface, delivering the right amount of ultrasound energy under the foundational layers of the skin. This triggers a natural response in the body, jumpstarting the production of new and fresh collagen. 

The procedure: It is normal to feel tiny amounts of energy sensation, which are only present while the skin is being treated. Topical numbing cream may also be applied to reduce any discomfort. And if you have a low pain threshold, your provider may ask you to take painkillers like Ibuprofen a few hours before the treatment. 

What to expect: You may be able to see improvements after the procedure, but do take note that significant changes appear over two to three months. This is the period where the new collagen starts to lift and tighten your skin. You can also see improvements up to 6 months following your Ultherapy treatment. The results can last for up to a year or two, but this can still depend on every patient. 

Check our previous post about 5 Ultherapy myths

Laser treatments

The basics: Laser skin tightening is a non-surgical procedure for skin tightening/firming using laser or infrared light. It can be used on the face and other areas of the body, including the jawline, neck, upper arms, and abdomen. It helps stimulate the production of collagen and elastin with minimal to no downtime.   

How it works: Instead of ultrasound energy, this treatment uses laser infrared light to heat the skin. It causes the collagen to constrict and trigger the body’s self-healing properties. This then encourages collagen production, resulting in less crepey and tighter-looking skin.

The procedure: It is normal to feel a warm sensation during the procedure, but many patients find it tolerable. Most also find the treatment comfortable without anything, but you can choose to take a mild pain reliever before the procedure. No anesthesia is required, as laser tightening is considered safe and non-surgical. 

What to expect: You can see improvements after one session, but three to four treatments are needed to achieve optimal results. Noticeable changes also appear within three to six months – the period when new collagen is formed and starts to tighten the skin. 

Is one better than the other?

When it comes to lifting the face and neck, Ultherapy is a more popular option. Laser skin tightening also works, but one of its advantages is that it can tighten other areas of the body and not just the face. Ultherapy, however, has a Hyper-Personal Lift treatment that is customized for your skin and goals.

This treatment plan involves the use of real-time imaging to gather data and tailor the treatment based on your skin composition and unique needs. The Hyper-Personal Lift involves three steps: See, Plan, Treat (SPT Protocol):

  • See – uses visualization technology to get an insight into the quality of your tissues and determine the right depth and application.
  • Plan – uses the imaging data to determine collagen-rich tissues and create the proper treatment technique.
  • Treat –  uses the data and imaging collected to continue with the delivery of ultrasound energy on the areas where it will be beneficial. This helps ensure proper technique and effective treatment. 

The Hyper-Personal Lift lets you have a treatment plan that is tailored just for you. The real-time visualization enables the aesthetic doctor to see deep within your skin for a personalized treatment.  

Do take note, however, that both treatments cannot replace a surgical facelift or duplicate its results. Both are a good choice if you are not ready or do not want to go under the knife. If you, however, have noticeably sagging skin, you’ll see more dramatic improvements from an invasive procedure. 

Schedule a consultation today 

Cutis Medical Laser Clinics has ultrasound energy- and laser-based skin tightening treatments. Contact our clinic today and schedule a consultation with our aesthetic doctor to learn more about Ultherapy and determine which procedure suits you best.