Buvette Masthead

Beauty Roadtest: Thermage CPT™

Amanda Whitley

Described as the “non-surgical facelift”, this skin tightening treatment for face, eyes and body promises to deliver results that last for between two to four years.

It’s one of those inevitable effects of ageing, but lately I’ve been staring in the mirror and wishing there was a way I could get rid of the ‘jowls’ that have started to appear either side of my chin.

I’m no basset hound, but I would love for my skin to have the tautness it used to. However, there’s no way I’m prepared to ‘go under the knife’ to get rid of the sagging.

“Over time, we start to lose volume in certain areas of our face and the collagen and elastin in the skin,” explains Suzie Hoitink, Founder of Clear Complexions. “This leads to a domino effect of gradual sagging and less definition.”

Where once surgery was the only option to remove excess skin, there are now treatments available to stimulate deep collagen, tighten the skin and restore lost volume. Cue our latest beauty roadtest: Thermage CPT™.

What is Thermage®?

Thermage® is a clinically proven non-surgical radiofrequency treatment that can improve the appearance of sagging or loose skin1. It’s popular because it gets results in just one treatment with little to no downtime.

How does it work?

Using a handheld device, the Thermage CPT system heats the skin at a depth of around 3mm, in the deeper levels of the skin to kick-start the body’s own natural renewal processes2. This is where the structural collagen, or ‘scaffolding’, is produced.

“When we’re young, we have plenty of this type of collagen to provide support and strength for our skin. With age, and years of UV exposure, we lose this collagen and our skin becomes more lax and crepey, resulting in jowls, deep lines and thinner skin,” says Suzie.

By gently heating your skin, Thermage® tightens and contracts your existing collagen and stimulates the production of new collagen, resulting in more gradual tightening over a period of time.

What can it be used for?

“Thermage® is often used to treat the whole face and jaw line to tighten the skin on the cheeks, reduce the nasolabial folds (between the nose and the mouth), and to tighten and lift skin along the jaw line, define the lip and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” says Suzie.

It can also work well on other areas of the body like stomach, thighs, arms, knees and bum.

What happens during a treatment?

Thermage® is a fairly length procedure – you’ll need to put aside a couple of hours. Don’t worry, only about half of that is the actual treatment — the rest is getting you prepped and then cleaned up!

My treatment began with Suzie and my Clear Complexions’ nurse Poppy giving me a detailed rundown on the treatment – what to expect, risks, anticipated results — and then I had some ‘before’ photos taken, for comparison down the track.

From there, I lay on the table while Poppy applied ‘temporary tattoos’ to my face. No, it’s not a kids’ party – the tattoos are grids which Poppy used to guide her use of the Thermage® device to ensure my entire face is covered. She also drew on a number of ‘vectors’ which she would focused the device on to promote that ‘upward’ taut look.


Once I was prepped, Poppy applied a cooling gel to my skin (if you’ve ever had an ultrasound, pretty much the same stuff) and steadily covered my face with the Thermage® device.

Each pulse was just a few seconds in duration, the device also emitting a vibration at the same time to dull the sensation. The machine also made a whole lot of bloopy noises, which were to ensure Poppy was administering the treatment with the correct amount of pressure.

Poppy told me that I would feel a brief sensation of heat each time the Thermage was pulsed, and reassured me that if it became too much to handle she could dial it down a little. This didn’t happen very often — I found the whole experience really comfortable, and it was only on the sensitive skin of my lower neck and jawline where it felt a little ‘bitey’.

She went over one side of my face first, five times in total, and then concentrated on the ‘vectors’ she’d drawn in earlier. Then, it was the other side’s turn, and finally the forehead. Once all done, the temporary grid was removed, and moisturiser and sunscreen applied before I went out to face the world, looking much the same as when I went in (there’s no ‘down time’), but with tauter looking and feeling skin.

How long do the effects last?

As mentioned above, immediately after treatment your skin will be visibly tighter, as the collagen fibres contract.

“Over the following week it returns to normal, but the deep heat treatment is working to stimulate structural collagen synthesis,” says Suzie.

“After around three to six months, you’ll notice improved definition of contours and jawline, increased firmness, reduction of lines and improved hydration and vitality.”

Although the effects of Thermage® aren’t permanent, they last for two to four years—sometimes even longer.

Who is it recommended for?

If you’re aged between 35-65 years old and are noticing a loss of jawline and cheek definition and sagging skin, this is a fantastic way to turn back the clock. However, not everyone is suitable for this treatment – so a skin analysis with a nurse is an absolute must.

The author received one Thermage CPT session free of charge for review purposes. This article reflects her personal experience.  It complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online Reviews.

Information found on this web site cannot be used as a substitute for informed consent and/or advice from your skin practitioner. Results will vary from patient to patient. Read our disclaimer and Terms and Conditions for more information.

1. Dierickx, C. (2006). The Role of Deep Heating for Noninvasive Skin Rejuvenation. Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, 38: 799–807.
2. Sukal, S. et al. (2008). Thermage: the nonablative radiofrequency for rejuvenation. Clinics in Dermatology, 26: 602–607.

Amanda Whitley

Amanda Whitley is the founder and director of HerCanberra. In her 'spare time', she instructs zumba, loves to cook (and eat), and wrangles two gorgeous little girls. She's done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign and is passionate about connecting Canberra women. More about the Author

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