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Is Ultherapy™ safe for darker skin tones?

Posted: 11:54 a.m. Friday, Oct. 4, 2013

By Anita Mandal, M.D.
Question: I am a mix of Italian and African-American. I’ve heard lasers cause complications when used on dark skin. I’m interested in lifting my sagging neck and jowl area with Ultherapy™ because its noninvasive. Am I at increased risk due to my darker skin tone?

Answer: Unlike laser resurfacing and deeper chemical peels which are less suitable for darker skin tones due to the risk of complications, Ultherapy™ is commonly used on dark skin. Having performed many Ultherapy™ treatments on patients of Asian, African-American and East Indian descent, I have not yet found dark-skinned patients to be at greater risk than their light-skinned counterparts.

With laser resurfacing, the upper skin layers are stripped, a process that can cause problems in dark skin. On the other hand, Ultherapy™ works deep to the skin surface by stimulating collagen regeneration, thus bypassing the risks seen with other lasers.

Because of Ulthera’s non-invasive nature and minimal-to-no downtime, a higher volume of darker skinned patients are seeking treatment for sagging of the face and neck. The lower risk of keloid
formation and hypertrophic scarring that is more commonly seen in dark-skinned patients undergoing surgery is a key reason for choosing Ultherapy™ over a surgical facelift.

In addition to the treatment of sagging tissues of the face and neck in dark-skinned individuals, Ultherapy™ is more recently being used effectively to treat fine lines of the lips, cheeks and crows feet without the downtime or risks associated with traditional laser surfacing.

A thorough consultation with your Facial Plastic Surgeon should include evaluation of your particular skin type and skin color prior to establishing an individualized treatment plan.


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