Ultherapy: Good, Bad or Beauty Fad?

Dr Michael, Hannah and Kerri at The Prager Clinic.

I was recently asked for my thoughts on Ultherapy and the bottom line is this – if I don’t use it, I don’t rate it as an anti-ageing treatment.

The fact is – and this goes for Ultherapy’s equally flawed cousins Morpheus8, Thermage and CoolSculpting – I don’t consider these skin-tightening, rejuvenating procedures to be safe enough for use on my patients.

It’s not a dinosaur reaction to new technology, my views stem from experience. I had my fingers burned many years ago using CoolSculpting, not excessively so, but enough to understand that the small risk for patients is too big a gamble to take to achieve results that can be done far more safely and effectively with a needle.

So, how do these procedures get so popular? Usually via small celebrity endorsements (hello Judy Murray and Karren Brady) and before-and-after shots using dubious lighting techniques. But the spotlight can also burn as in the case of Linda Evangelista who had a very traumatic experience with CoolSculpting. Trust me, messing up the face of one of the world’s top supermodels is about as disastrous as it can get for a company selling anti-ageing beauty via a machine. 


Let’s take a closer look at the current darlings of new-age, machine-driven beauty.


The promise: a non-invasive procedure employing focussed ultrasound waves that will lift the neck, chin and brow, and improve lines and wrinkles on the upper chest.

The problems: Redness, swelling, and tingling sensations. Serious problems are rare, but include:

  • nerve damage;
  • eye herniation;
  • muscle deterioration;
  • scarring;
  • fat atrophy leading to a sunken facial appearance;
  • vision loss.

The price: £3,500.

The pain: slight discomfort.

Results: in three to six months.


The promise: a radiofrequency treatment that stimulates collagen production of the underlying layers of the dermis reducing fine lines, scars and rejuvenating skin.

The problems: Serious problems are rare, but include:

  • abnormal scarring;
  • chronic inflammatory responses, presenting as pinpoint erythema;
  • extended blood vessels on the forehead and cheeks;
  • linear patterns of tram track scarring;
  • swelling of lymph nodes;
  • infection;
  • there is also evidence of herpes simplex infection when using vitamin C and vitamin A cream immediately following treatment.

The price: £1,500 per session (Judy Murray had four.)

The pain: tolerable, but considered more sensitive than other skin tightening treatments. 

Results: in three months.


The promise: a non-invasive radiofrequency treatment that softens lines around the mouth, eyes, and forehead and improves definition on the jawline and under the chin.

The problems: swelling, redness and tingling. Serious problems are rare, but include:

  • burning, blistering and scarring;
  • soreness, particularly around the jawline;
  • facial collapse.

The price: ranging between £1,990 and £3,290, depending on the area. 

The pain: uncomfortable.

Results: between three and six months.


When there is talk about tightening, it’s more accurate to talk about the creation of scar tissue. If you have saggy skin, you have lost collagen. Scar tissue is tight, less quality collagen, but it’s tough. So, you heat up the tissue to the point where you cause enough damage to cause scarring. Basically, you boil the skin like you would boil an egg, to the point where the protein is no longer clear, but white. You denature the protein. This causes fat cell disruption which then causes scarring, resulting in more collagen.

Tightening through scar tissue is fine to some degree, but go too deep and you reach the structural parts of the fat tissue, the part that shapes our face. We lose that as time goes on, but we still retain some and that’s what keeps the face nice. Lose that, and you’ve got a problem.


The Prager Clinic Rejuvenator Facial

The promise: no gimmicks, no small-town celebrity endorsements just a skin resurfacing treatment that will leave you looking naturally younger while remaining true to our values of skin care and skin kindness, thanks to human expertise and the purest, finest natural ingredients.

The problems: slight redness and tenderness with a maximum four-day downtime period and zero chance of severe or lasting side effects. The risk profile is very low and yet, after one procedure, we see very, very good results.

The price: £795 per treatment, which includes a full size bottle of the Prager Serum and Day Oil at your first treatment. A course of three treatments is recommended.

The pain: mild discomfort.

Results: in three weeks with continuous improvement up to six months.

But don’t simply take my word for it.

Meet Karen, a Prager Clinic client who very kindly allowed us to document her progress as we worked to achieve the smoother, clearer, younger-looking skin she yearned for.

We used Visia Analysis – not celebrity photoshoots – to reveal where our help was needed and where it was given.

Three weeks later, our pictures show a massive improvement in Karen’s skin tone, texture, fine lines and blemishes.

This is why we don’t go deep. This is why we don’t take risks. We can get the results our clients want with proven techniques that won’t compromise patient safety or cost you the earth. 

To book a consultation, call us today.