Ultherapy for Chest Wrinkles: A Real Patient Tells All
“I have always like showing off my décolletage,” noted Alexis Drew as she showed me the line running down her cleavage area, much like the smile lines I have around my mouth. “My breasts are a full C cup and I have always liked rocking a V-neck, but lately I have noticed that when I wake up in the morning there are deep vertical wrinkles crossing my chest. As the day wears on they fade- but they never go away completely. I am a side sleeper and I think the wrinkles get worse as I sleep or even when I wear a sports bra.”
Since facial skin is very similar to the skin below our necks— this is no surprise. Treatments and products to combat the dreaded breast wrinkles of our 30s and beyond have been popping up ever since necklines started dipping lower, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down. But what really works? Will a cream meant for our under-eye area magically solve our chest wrinkles too? Probably not, suggests Ulysses Scarpidis, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in New York and New Jersey. His solution is more intense, but still not surgical.
“I regularly use Ultherapy to lift the skin on the brow, under the chin and on the neck and to smooth the wrinkles on the chest. Ultherapy is an ultrasound-based energy that is focused at different depths under the skin. At its deepest, Ultherapy targets the muscles of the face, creating tiny pinpoint wounds. As these tiny wounds heal and contract, the muscles tighten resulting in a lift that improves jowls and the jawline contour. This has revolutionized our ability to apply the same muscle lift we incorporate in a surgical facelift, without any scars, albeit to a lesser degree. When set at an intermediate depth, Ultherapy can target and melt fat under the chin and jowls which further improves the cosmetic result. At the most superficial depth, Ultherapy treatment stimulates cells in the skin to produce more collagen thus improving fine wrinkles and tightening the skin further.”
The wrinkles themselves are typically caused from side-sleeping. Cleavage wrinkles are deep and typically worsen dramatically over time because we usually don’t change our sleeping habits by adulthood. (In other words, once a side sleeper, always a side sleeper). Alexis headed in for her first chest Ultherapy treatment to help fight her signs of aging and prevent deepening of her existing chest wrinkles. She was excited to find that although the treatment left obvious signs of something having happened there, the pain and discomfort were minimal and she didn’t experience any downtime.
“The doctor put a topical anesthetic on my chest. I was texting and emailing on my phone during the whole procedure. My chest was red for a few hours after the treatment, but by the next morning it felt fine,” she explained. “I am keeping my chest well moisturized and staying out of the sun. The doctor also suggested I come back for IPL to get rid of some discoloration and dark spots I have and I plan to do that soon.”
Winter in the Northeast is perfect timing for a treatment like Ultherapy, too, because staying out of the sun for the several weeks following treatment is essential to its success. The results of Ultherapy also take several months to fully become obvious, meaning that if you are treated in January it could take ‘til June to see results, which is probably when you would find yourself out-and-about in skin-baring clothes and bathing suits.
“Since the procedure stimulates a person’s collagen production, how long the results last really depends on the individual,” shared Dr. Scarpidis. “The treatment produces new collagen on the inside, but the individual’s natural aging process will dictate how long that translates into visible results on the outside. Immediately after the procedure, patients can see early signs of fat destruction and mild tightening of the skin produced by the direct effects of the ultrasound energy. However, it takes time for the muscles to tighten and the collagen to be generated under the skin. The majority of the tightening and collagen remodeling begins around the three-month mark with maximum results achieved around 6 months. Most patients couple Ulthera with other procedures such as fillers that provide instantaneous results until the full results from Ulthera can be better appreciated.”
Ultherapy treatments range from $2,000 - $3,000 for the chest area at most plastic surgery offices. Results are said to be permanent improvement, but time, gravity, and aging are still factors. More than one treatment could be required and Ulthera treatments for chest wrinkles
are an off-label utilization of the device.