The Tweakment Tart: Ultherapy Is The Needle-Free, Surprisingly Effective Alternative To A Face Lift

Polly Vernon is convinced by the needle-free skin-tightening treatment.


by Polly Vernon |
Updated on

‘Do you want a Prozac before we start?’ asks Karolina, today’s designated aesthetician, within moments of us meeting for the very first time. ‘No!’ I say, ‘But really like your style.’

‘Some people can feel anxious in advance of a new treatment with a new clinician,’ she explains. ‘So I always offer. But… I think you’re going to be fine.’

‘Just start sticking needles in me and make me pretty!’ I say (I’m a sucker for flattery, and a terrible show off).

‘It’s Ultherapy,’ she tells me. ‘There are no needles.’

Ultherapy is the tweak all the best tweakers – along with their most devoted clientele – are whispering about currently. Celebrities too famous and litigious to mention are said to be fans – the ones who insist they never have ‘work’, an idea Ultherapy allows them to indulge, because it’s completely non-invasive. Like Karolina just told me, there are no needles with Ultherapy; no foreign substances are injected into the epidermis, nothing stiffens, nothing fills. All that happens is an ultrasound wand is applied to the parts of the face from which collagen is rapidly departing – the neck, jawline, cheeks and/or brow most commonly – and the resulting heat, produced by very targeted sonic waves, kickstarts lazy collagen into frenetic activity; this ultimately re-tightens and lifts the face. The gushier proponents of this particular tweakment call it the future of facelifts. Karolina, on the other hand, tells me: ‘It’s good, but it’s not a miracle’, adding: ‘I’m such a terrible saleswoman!’ – which isn’t actually true in my case; if my experience of tweakments has taught me anything at all, it’s that nothing is a miracle. Some things work jolly pleasingly, but this is all science, not magic: nothing will take 20 years off ya (fine by me. I have no interest in losing the last 20 years, they’ve served me well).

We begin: Karolina focuses on my neck, jaw and lower face, gliding, pressing and activating the wand over different sections, for an hour in all. I had been warned that it could be painful – some people, apparently, have sworn, wept, begged their clinicians to stop; or endured it once and loved the results, but found the prospect of doing it again, too scary (you know, like childbirth) – but, and I hate to brag _(_I don’t), Ultherapy doesn’t bother me physically at all. It is a weird sensation at times, a little pingy and twinge-y along the jaw line, something between a small elastic band flicked against me face, and the lightest of electric shocks, but nothing unbearable. Certainly nothing that makes me want to swear – and I love a swear!

Karolina finishes, and shows me my face, which shows no evidence of any clinical intervention – no redness, no swelling, nothing that counts as ‘downtime’ in the lexicon of tweaking – and definitely looks a little fresher and more lifted than it did when I came in.

‘Those results are temporary,’ Karolina warns me. ‘They’ll last a few days at best. It’ll take at least a month for the real results to start to show, four months for them to peak; but once they do, they’ll last for around two years.’ Cool! I say, skip off about my business, and sort of forget about it.

My glow intensifies, my jawline snaps into action in a way it hasn’t bothered to do, for a few years.

A month to the day exactly, people start asking what I’ve done to my face in the slightly naughty, judgey-jealous-curious way I’ve come to rather relish since I started my tweakment odyssey. ‘You are glowing,’ they say. ‘Why?’ Or (if they’re men, and don’t wish to know too much/risk offending me), ‘Whatever you’re doing to yourself, Polly, keep doing it.’ It takes me a little while to work out this is the Ultherapy kicking in - it’s only because I haven’t had anything else of note done in the intervening weeks, that I finally identify it.

Over the next weeks and months, the effects build and build and build some more, my glow intensifies, my jawline snaps into action in a way it hasn’t bothered to do, for a few years. I learn that other ultrasound treatments will intensify the benefits of that initial Ultherapy round, that the impacts are cumulative, so I pop in to see Dr Nyla – who uses a very good variation on Ultherapy to treat her patients (many of whom, she tells me, are overusing filler, when ultrasound alone could help them achieve similar, even better, results), and get my lower face treated again.

Now, four full months after Ultherapy: oh, but it is good! My face looks sharper yet softer, tighter and tauter. And the glow! The glow persists! Ultherapy performs in a number of ways I didn’t know tweaking could, ways that make me excited for however it develops from here, and what happens next. It’s one of those that makes me think: this is a really good time to be getting older.

Would I pay for it myself?

Officially, Ultherapy at the Cosmetic Skin Clinicstarts at £500 – though realistically, you’ll be in for a couple of grand. Which is a lot. But this is as good a tweakment as I’ve experienced, as surprisingly effective, with pay-offs I don’t predict, but keep noticing anyway. It might not be a miracle. But it is really, really good. So yeah. I would pay for it myself, and I will definitely be back for more, in a couple of years.

Read More: The Tweakment Tart: How To Get Perfect White American-Style Teeth

Read More: The Tweakment Tart: A Really Painful Facial, That Really, Really Works

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