How exactly does this revolutionary no downtime treatment work to youth-boost your skin? We put it to the test...
Thank god for industrial strength numbing cream. I mean, having skin with no feeling at all for a few hours isn’t the greatest, but when it comes to aesthetic treatments with bite, you'd be quite frankly crazy to turn it down.
This is not to say that Sofwave, the latest ultrasound treatment
on the block, is especially painful, but it does generate heat at 1.5mm within the mid-dermis so it’s not going to be a walk in the park, despite an inbuilt cooling mechanism and temperature monitoring that protects against burning.
Said to be transformative at lifting
the face, neck, submental (under the chin) and eyebrows, the ultrasound technology stimulates a healing response over a few months which increases and regenerates collagen in the skin. Studies have shown it also has the ability to lift the brow
I’m not new to ultrasound technology as I tried Ultherapy
six years ago – at the time, it had a bit of a rep as being one of the most painful aesthetic treatments on the market, and despite necking two strong painkillers, I remember feeling quite anxious beforehand and rather shaky afterwards.
The results were pretty good however, especially when I look at photos of myself around the time of the procedure. A few years and several more wrinkles later (especially on my neck
), I was keen to see how Sofwave measured up.
The treatment, as Practitioner Sophie Shotter said at the brand’s recent UK launch, is around a four on the pain scale, so definitely more comfortable than similar procedures such as Ultherapy and HIFU
. Of course, this is dependent on the individual’s personal pain threshold, but more on that later.
It can also be used on all skin types and skin colours, and is said to be faster than competitor treatments – again, more on that later.
But first, numbing cream. At Shotter’s London clinic, they apply two thick layers and I was in very good hands, with Dermatology Nurse Specialist Verity leaving it for a little while to do its work, and rubbing it in well both times. This stuff is strong and does what it says on the tin – even my eyelids were numb for hours, a most strange sensation.
As the device covers a larger area at one time, once the treatment begins it’s quite fast, but you need to factor in extra waiting time for the numbing cream to kick in – I was at the clinic for just over two hours.
Like all heat generating treatments
, there are certain spots which you will find more uncomfortable than others. For me it was the base of the neck and around the eyes – both normal apparently.
Verity carried out 172 shots in total on my neck and face, with each shot taking around eight seconds. For six of these I didn’t feel much at all, then, for a second or two, the heat builds and feels a bit like hot candle wax. This intense split-second sensation then drops off instantly.
I have quite a good pain tolerance and at its worst, I would describe the ouch factor at around a five. However it's perfectly tolerable as it's so brief, and Verity was able to turn the energy down when treating my more sensitive areas – she was also able to turn the integrated cooling to a cooler level to take away some of the heat sensation I was experiencing.
After half of my face had been treated, I was given a mirror to inspect the results; I could see a bit of a lift but nothing dramatic. Afterwards, I was expecting to be pretty red but was surprised to see that my normally reactive skin
didn't look too bad at all, in fact the numbing cream seemed to set my skin off more than the treatment itself.
The next day my skin looked even in tone and felt firmer; I swear that my neck already looked tighter and necklace lines
softer, too. While there's no downtime, side effects are possible (as with most heat generating aesthetic treatments), but I experienced no swelling, redness, warmth – nothing at all.
Of course, it’s too early to see the final results which will, with any luck, become apparent when all that lovely collagen
has been produced, but I’m looking forward to the outcome.
Would I have it done again? Ask me again in a few months, although right now I’m thinking hell, yes.