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HIFU, Face Threadlift, Radiofrequency, Dermalift. A Comparison of Non-Invasive Face Lifts

HIFU, Face Threadlift, Radiofrequency & Dermalift what’s the difference?

We look at ourselves in the mirror and start to see signs of ageing.

Our laugh lines are deeper, mid cheek drooping, tear trough sunken and jowls starting to form.

What’s the best way to age gracefully without having to undergo the knife?

There are many modalities available to lift and treat sagging skin. The different treatment methods may also be associated with different degrees of face lifting, skin smoothing and downtime. Let’s start with HIFU

HIFU Face Lift – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound

How does it work?

This technology makes use of HIFU ( High intensity focused ultrasound) to create skin coagulation on the targeted layer of the skin. The micro thermal effect from the HIFU creates uniform dots within the skin which in turn stimulates collagen growth, face lifting and skin tightening within that area.

The main layer that’s being targeted in the HIFU Face Lift is the SMAS layer. The superficial muscular aponeurotic system (SMAS) layer is a layer of tissue deep within the skin that provides support for important structures for the face. A surgical face lift would target this layer in order to create a face lift. HIFU Face Lift at this layer lifts and rejuvenates, thereby reducing signs of aging.

Is the effect immediate?

Some may notice some immediate lifting, but that’s usually due to the very slight swelling just post treatment. It typically takes 3 months to see the full results of a HIFU treatment.

Does it hurt?

A slight prickly discomfort may be experienced during the treatment but that can be reduced with topical numbing cream or oral analgesics.

Any downtime?

Typically Zero downtime. There are no needles involved in this procedure and there will be no break in the skin barrier. Some patients may experience slight swelling or aching that may last up to a week or two. The type of swelling experienced is usually minimal and is not noticeable by others. Rarely, some may experience slight bruising. One will be able to resume normal activities immediately after treatment.

Will HIFU face lift be able to achieve the same effect as a surgical face lift?

No, a HIFU face lift will not be able to achieve the same effect as a surgical face lift.

There are HIFU face lift treatments available in beauty salons, are they the same?

HIFU is a medical grade treatment in Singapore. It is only meant to be carried out by trained medical doctors as wrong usage or treatments can lead to side effects such as burns, pigmentation and scarring which we would most definitely not want on our face. The intensity of the HIFU treatments received at beauty salons would also be weaker, resulting in little or no lifting,  hence money wasted.

How long does it last?

One HIFU face lift session typically lasts between 9-12 months. A touch up session at 6 months would help to prolong and maintain the effects of the original HIFU session.

Who is suitable for this treatment?

Basically anyone who is keen to have skin tightening and lifting but will not be able to afford the downtime.

Face Threadlift

What is it?

Face thread lift involves the placement of threads into the skin layer to tighten and lift the tissues. There are many designs of threads available currently.

We will elaborate more on the two most popular types

1. Korean PDO Cog threads

PDO(polydioxanone) is a type of material used to make threads and is fully biodegradable and absorbed over time. Cogs are small little tiny hooks on the threads that help to cling onto the soft tissue in order to give it tensile strength and maximal lifting. There are many different designs of cog threads available: unidirectional, bidirectional, spiral, etc. These have different uses and provide different degrees of lifting.

2. Silhouette soft

Silhouette Soft® is made of a Poly L-Lactic Acid monofilament with molded cones made of Lactide/ Glycolide. The suture acts as scaffolding under the skin and the cones hold the threads in place. This stimulates collagen growth to further enhance lifting.

Is the effect immediate?

Yes the result of the face thread lift should be immediate and may also improve with time.

Is it painful?

The face threadlift procedure is made more comfortable with topical and local anaesthesia. If required, oral analgesics can help further control unwanted discomfort.

Any downtime?

Some may experience slight needle marks, minor bruising or swelling post face threadlift, while others may not reveal any threadlift signs at all. For the next 2-4 weeks some may feel slight tightness in the face especially when moving facial muscles. Your normal activities can be resumed post face threadlift.

How long does it last?

The Korean PDO threads and Silhouette Soft are fully dissolvable with time. The effects of the face threadlift can last up to 1-2 years. Please note that effects vary from person to person.

Any side effects?

Some of the possible side effects include bruising, infection, swelling & skin dimpling which will resolve with time.

Radiofrequency ( RF) Skin Tightening/ Face Lift

How does RF help to tightening and lift my skin?

Radiofrequency energy creates uniform heating within the skin. This heating tightens existing collagen within the dermis and stimulates the production of new collagen in the treated areas. This usually results in textural improvement of the skin. Improvements in fine lines and wrinkles can be seen, superficial skin tightening and a slight lift in the facial appearance.

This treatment is extremely good in improving the textural quality of the skin, especially in smoothening out “crepey” skin. Besides just treating the face, Radiofrequency is also commonly used to treat sagging skin on the body such as the abdomen, thighs and arms, just to name a few. In this aspect, it can also help in body contouring when used alone or with other fat busting devices such as fat freeze or liposonix.

There are many different types of machines that perform RF Skin Tightening. I will touch on two popular and commonly used treatments.

Thermage Skin Tightening

A familiar name to many, the Thermage treatment has been around for quite a number of years now and have seen many happy customers.

Pros of Thermage

  • 1 treatment session can last you 1-2 years. Useful for busy individuals who cannot make time to head over to the clinic regularly
  • Quick treatment time. Typically under an hour

Cons of Thermage

  • Can be quite painful and hot for some individuals

Venus Legacy 

The Venus Legacy is well known amongst many and a popular choice of many celebrities and socialites. It can be used on both the face and the body to create skin tightening, textural improvement, lifting and body contouring.

Pros of Venus

  • Effective visible results
  • Comfortable procedure. Enjoyed by many like a warm deep tissue massage.
  • Budget friendly per session

Cons of Venus

  • Will need multiple sessions, typically 6-8 sessions to see results that last for 1-2 years. Can be considered a plus point for those who enjoy the treatment session.


How does it work?

Through small tiny injections of microbtx into the targeted superficial areas of the skin.

What does it do?

Dermalift with microbtx can help to reduce pore size, oil production and give the skin that slight lift.

Is it suitable for extremely saggy skin?

Probably not.

How long do the results last?

Typically 3-4 months

Is there any downtime?

As many small injections will be done on the treated area, one may expect wheals, occasional needle marks or bruising over the treated area.

Now. The most important question in the entire article. Which modality lifts best?

Best Non-Surgical Face Lifting modality ( in order of efficacy):

  1. Face Threadlift
  2. HIFU ( High intensity Focused Ultrasound)
  3. Radiofrequency ( Venus Legacy / Thermage)
  4. Dermalift

Are the treatments only done separately? Can they be combined? 

Yes! The treatments can most definitely be combined to give even better results. Different modalities target different layers of the skin and although they all produce some sort of lift, some are better at lifting the deeper structures within the skin while others are better at lifting the more superficial layers and improving textural quality.

For example, HIFU alone targets the SMAS layer while Radiofrequency (Venus/ Thermage) targets the more superficial to mid layer to improve the textural quality of the skin. They work best together to improve the overall skin quality and produce the desired lifting. These treatments will produce results over 3 months.

For an immediate and better lift, one might want to consider the face threadlift to improve the quality of the lift and achieve immediate face lifting results while waiting for the skin texture and face lift to further improve over 3 months after the HIFU or Radiofrequency ( Venus/ Thermage) treatment.

When is the best time to start? When early signs first appear or later when things are totally out of control?

It is never too early to start anti-aging treatments. A good age to start will be in the early 30s. Prevention is always better than cure. A younger person with early signs of aging will probably need to do less treatments in order to achieve the same results as compared to an older person who has never done any maintenance before.

For more information on face lifting, skin tightening or anti-aging treatments, contact Lux Medical Aesthetic Clinic at +65 6815 9922 or Whatsapp/SMS +65 8866 9922 or email us at [email protected] to book an appointment or to find out more!

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