Skin Tightening: How Genius RF Microneedling Compares to Ultherapy and Thermage

Written by Avery Samuels, Reviewed by Dr. Justin Harper, MD

Genius RF Microneedling, a system using smart technology recently debuted at Juvly and soon after, wowed clients with its impressive results, faster onset of change, and shorter recovery time. It can treat many conditions on the face and body like fold and wrinkles, acne scars, uneven skin tone, and skin looseness – a condition that is frustrating not just for the more mature clientele, but also for those who’ve recently lost weight or had undergone CoolSculpting or Kybella.

Why do we have loose skin?

Truth is, we all age and as we do, collagen and elastin breakdown and aren’t produced fast enough to maintain the skin firmness, plumpness, and elasticity of youth. Varying factors can affect how fast we age. Genetics, sun exposure, quality of nutrition, pollutants, fluctuating weight, smoking, and drinking are some of the major factors that play a role in the struggle against gravity and oxidative stress. In the past, loose skin and jowls resulting from age-related descent of fat, bone resorption, and decreased skin support can only be corrected by surgery. Not anymore! Currently, non-surgical anti-aging treatments such as wrinkle relaxers, strategically placed fillers, and various skin tightening technologies produce natural-looking youthful lift with minimal downtime (if at all).

What are the ways to tighten loose skin?

Probably the most popular among the modalities of treatment used to treat skin laxity are Genius RF Microneedling, Ultherapy, and Thermage. These three procedures stimulate layers of the skin using radio frequency or ultrasound (sonic) wave and are limited by the treatment size that the skin can tolerate comfortably. The controlled damage initiates a healing cascade resulting in the generation of new collagen and increased blood supply. This literally repairs from within resulting in skin that is tighter and visibly refreshed.After being stimulated, the affected layer contracts beneath the surface and stretches over underlying structures resulting to increased tone without the risks and prolonged recovery associated with going under the knife.

For energy modalities to be truly effective in tightening, smoothing, and contouring skin, it is important to be able to:

– Target the correct subcutaneous depth
– Deliver energy consistently at the right depth
– Not damage too much surface skin

Why we like the Genius over Thermage and Ultherapy

At Juvly, we chose to offer Genius RF Microneedling by Lutronic over other energy devices like Ultherapy and Thermage with good reason, Though all these technologies similarly heat-up layers of skin, only Genius with its Intelligent RF delivery can reach this deeply, directly, and with great precision because the benefits are achieved by the combined action of microneedling and radiofrequency. RF Microneedling encompasses the treatment goals of both Ultherapy and Thermage. Ultherapy is FDA-approved for skin tightening while Thermage is FDA-approved for the treatment of wrinkles. RF Microneedling targets both of these skin concerns.

Photos courtesy of Susie Hamilton (Lutronic)

The skin is pierced by extra-fine, gold-plated needles pretty much the same way that standard microneedling does with some pretty huge differences – less trauma, shorter downtime, and better results achieved with less number of treatments! RF energy (radiofrequency waves) goes through the needles and reaches deeper skin layers at intensities appropriate for the skin’s condition – all the way to the subcutaneous space where tightening is most efficacious. This is what sets the Genius apart. With Ultherapy and Thermage, energy is transmitted without breaching the skin surface, making it less effective in reaching deeper layers where skin tightening action is at its best. Additionally, good-for-your-skin serum or PRP (platelet rich plasma) are absorbed directly through the microwounds. The Genius is also safe for all skin tones as effects are delivered deeply and not like to cause hyperpigmentation.

While regular microneedling is a proven treatment for many skin conditions, the addition of radiofrequency makes it more efficient in stimulating collagen formation and increasing blood supply. Smart technology makes feedback in real-time possible so that the Provider can readily adjust the controls and deliver energy consistently based on what is visible on the screen. Many variables can be changed such as needle depth, spacing of needles, frequency, and amount of energy depending on your skin condition, thickness of skin and other factors. Visbile results and skin tightening are definitely more dramatic!

Non-surgical treatments for significant skin tightening Genius RFUltherapy/UltheraThermage
What it is and how it worksMicroneedles pierce the skin then deliver RF energy resulting in collagen formation at the dermal level.

(deepest reach)

Ultrasound waves penetrate deeply deeply to the dermal level; up to the fat and Superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS)Radiofrequency waves  (RF) heat up skin superficially; cooling spray
Collagen inductionYesYesYes
FDA clearedYesYes Yes
Best Areas Treated
  • Brow
  • Upper face including the corners of the eyes
  • Eyelids
  • Lower face & jowls
  • Under the chin
  • Neck
  • Decolletage
  • Nasolabial & marionette lines
  • Upper lip
  • Body
  • Brow
  • Upper face including the corners of the eyes
  • Lower face & jowls
  • Under the chin
  • Neck
  • Decolletage
  • Body

The best candidates are those in their 30s with mild-moderate skin laxity.

  • Facial wrinkles
  • Undereye wrinkles
  • Body

Not recommended for those with a lot of fat or slack muscles. It is not advisable for those over 50 years old.

Expected results
  • Dramatic results
  • Extensive skin tightening
  • Long-term
  • Deepest penetration
  • Affects many layers; more focused
  • Significant skin tightening
  • Long-term results
  • Wider area reached
Comfort levelSome discomfort; May require topical anesthetic creams, nerve block etc.Less pain and discomfort; may use mild pain killersSome discomfort;May require topical anesthetic creams, nerve block etc.
Target & depthPrecise targetingTargeted; not as deep as Genius RFLess targeted and more widespread; not guided; not as deep as Ultherapy
Safety monitoringYes; with display monitor to show the depth being reached, the treatment area, the amount of energy delivered etc. Yes, with display monitorNo monitor
Downtime and adverse effectsThere may be redness and some swelling until 48 hours after the procedure. May go back to work on the same day.Tight feeling,tingling, redness, swelling, and discomfort lasting for a few hours upto 2 days. May go back to work immediately.Redness, swelling, blistering which goes away after 2-3 days. May go back to work on the same day.
Onset of visible resultsDepending on the condition of the skin, results may be seen shortly after the first treatment or after 3 months onwards.2-6 months2-6 months
Recommended number of sessionsThis would depend on your condition. It usually takes 1-5 sessions at least one month apart.1 or more treatments; maintenance1 or more treatments; maintenance
Duration of effectsLongest-lasting; may be longer than 4 yearsLong-lasting; 4 yearsShorter; 4 months-2 years
Non-invasive/Minimally invasiveMinimally invasiveNon-invasiveNon-invasive

The Genius RF Microneedling System offers other benefits apart from skin tightening like improvement in skin texture, acne control, diminished acne scars, reduction in skin discoloration, and stimulation of hair growth. At Juvly, how we choose technology is guided by results, longevity of results, comfort level of the procedure, and avoidance of unwanted side effects like hyperpigmentation. With the Genius,  effects can be seen even after just one treatment with pronounced improvement after additional ones. Results are long-lasting and dramatic, making it well-worth undergoing the procedure. To know whether the Genius RF Microneedling System is for you, call +1 800-254-0188 or book securely online.  

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