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Skin Tightening With Thermage FLX Or HIFU: Which Is Better?

Skin Tightening With Thermage FLX Or HIFU: Which Is Better?

Growing old is inevitable – and all thanks to the skin’s natural aging process, the gradual loss of collagen causes our skin’s elasticity to decrease and sag, especially on the areas of the cheeks, brow and chin.

If deep laughter lines, a flattening of the cheeks, increased wrinkles and drooping eyelids sounds familiar, you are considered to be suffering from moderate facial sagging – a sign of aging and skin laxity.

And while there isn’t a magic spell to reverse time, there is a way to age more gracefully – with treatments such as Thermage FLX.

What is Thermage FLX?

Thermage FLX is the latest radiofrequency technology in Singapore that promises to tighten sagging skin without surgery. Previously, our clinic offered Thermage CPT (Comfort Pulsed Technology) – a similar, non-invasive treatment of a traditional facelift.

Rather than going under the knife, Thermage uses radiofrequency energy to stimulate the natural production of collagen in the skin – making it a popular choice amongst patients, including celebrities such as the beautiful Iron Woman, Gwyneth Paltrow.

Utilizing a “top-down” approach to heat the skin downwards from the surface; it is great for treating superficial skin problems, such as fine early wrinkles, enlarged pores, superficial scarring and even acne.

The treatment feels similar like having a hot stone massage on the face – the doctor uses a hand piece to deliver precise, radiofrequency energy directly into the deeper tissues of the skin. Treatment then ends with a final delivery of cryogen to cool the top layer of the skin and prevent burns.

Thermage FLX is the 4th generation of Thermage technology, and is an improved version of the CPT – allowing more heat energy to be delivered within a shorter time frame, resulting in faster treatment and greater client comfort.

As compared to Thermage CPT, Thermage FLX is able to provide deeper penetration into the skin, heating the dermal tissue down to the subcutaneous fat and tissue.

Working more as a preventative measure, rather than a solution for more advanced stages of aging – Thermage FLX in Singapore is set to become the go-to treatment for a more rejuvenated and youthful look.

How does Thermage FLX work?

The secret ingredients to the elixir of youth are collagen and elastin; both of which are found naturally in the skin. Unfortunately, we lose a great deal of it as we grow older, compounded by factors such as sun damage, smoking and exposure to pollution.

By working with your body’s natural collagen process, Thermage FLX is able to tighten your skin by jumpstarting neocollagenesis – the heat from the radiofrequency waves breaks down old collagen, replacing it with new, robust and beneficial collagen. In just a single session, Thermage works to encourage greater collagen production for months after, making results both gradual and natural-looking.

An FDA-approved treatment, Thermage has been used successfully to treat over a million patients, and is suitable for use across all skin types and tones – making it the gold-standard for safe and effective facial lifting.

What is HIFU (High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound)?

HIFU is another tried-and-tested treatment that aims to reverse the signs of ageing, including saggy skin and jowls, fine lines and droopy eyelids. It is one of the most popular skin tightening treatments in Singapore, and goes by several brands such as Ulthera.

At The Clifford Clinic, we offer HIFU Sygmalift – providing facial lifting results and overall rejuvenation to the skin in a non-invasive, painless and fast treatment.

In HIFU, beams of high energy are emitted via ultrasound lasers, heating up the target connective tissues and the dermis to stimulate collagen production. Due to the depth of its needle tip, it is able to reach the Superficial Muscular Aponeutotic (SMAS) layer ­– a fibromuscular layer that sits 4.5 mm deep inside the skin, and needs to be stimulated in order to produce collagen and kick start the anti-aging process.

The technology is not only able to tighten the skin, but can also be used to melt facial fats – resulting in that V-shaped face that is deemed attractive by most women in Asia. This is why HIFU is beneficial for both younger and older patients.

How does Thermage FLX differ from HIFU?

While both Thermage FLX and HIFU are both non-surgical and minimally-invasive treatments with the same goals; i.e., to stimulate collagen production in the skin – they do have their differences, as well as respective pros and cons.

Here is the comprehensive list of key differences:

Thermage HIFU
FDA-Approval Date 2002 2009
Type of Energy Radiofrequency High-Intensity Ultrasound
Heat Temperature 40 – 55°C 60 – 70°C
Level of Penetration Epidermis, lower dermis and certain parts of the subcutaneous fat layers.


Up to 3.0 mm deep into the skin

All layers of the skin – including the crucial SMAS layer.


1.5 mm, 3.0 mm and 4.5 mm deep into the skin.

Precision Bulk Heating with a wider coverage Precise and Fractional
Duration of Treatment 45 – 90 mins 30 – 60 mins
No. of Sessions Needed Dependent on a case-by-case basis Dependent on a case-by-case basis
Pain Levels More Painful Less Painful
Side Effects No downtime, some mild redness and soreness experienced that fades within 24 hours. No downtime, some mild swelling experienced that subsides quickly.
Ultrasound Imaging No Yes
Best For Wrinkles, fine lines, pores Saggy skin, jowls and excess fat
Suitable Candidate Less severe signs of aging, less facial fat, minimal facial volume loss More severe signs of aging and laxity, deep wrinkles
Price $2,800 to $6,000 HIFU Sygmalift: $260 to $800 (more sessions needed)
Results of the Treatment Effects are immediate, with continued, gradual improvements in the next 2 – 6 months.


Results last for 1 – 2 years.

It can take about 3 – 6 months to see results.


Results last for 6 months – 1 year.


While Thermage seeks to treat the outer skin and extend inwards, HIFU aims to treat it from the inside out. This is important to keep in mind when trying to choose the best treatment for you.

Do note that older people with more extensive signs of aging or serious skin laxity and sagging will experience the best results under surgery ­­– be sure to explore all your options by undergoing a consultation with our doctors.

Why Thermage FLX?

The 4th generation of radiofrequency technology – Thermage FLX is the latest and most advanced version of its predecessors, eliminating some of the cons mentioned above, and bringing it up to par with the benefits of HIFU.

Launched in early 2018, the new version promises to be a big game changer – with tips that are 33% larger for a wider coverage of treatment surface areas, we are able to speed up the treatment by up to 25%!

The newly designed tips (Total Tip 4.0) are capable of delivering 900 energy pulses as compared to 300 with the old machine, and together with the new AccuREP™ technology – our doctors are able to optimize and make real-time adjustments on a per-pulse basis for an even more precise and consistent treatment every time.

Previously, one of the biggest complaints that patients had with Thermage is the pain levels. With FLX, this is largely reduced due to multidirectional vibration elements for maximum comfort.

Now you can get results within 1 – 3 months, as opposed to the previous 3 – 6 months wait with the older machines – combined with the potential of even longer-lasting effects.

So, the correct question to ask is: “Which is the BEST non-surgical facelift FOR ME?

The Clifford Clinic now offers Thermage FLX, in addition to a plethora of other skin-aging solutions such as HIFU Sygmalift, INFINI, and Silhouette Threadlifts.

Safe and effective for both men and women, and all skin tones and skin types – get a powerful facelift with Thermage FLX, and supplement your treatment with our HIFU Sygmalift for a more comprehensive, outside-in and inside-out solution.