As we age, our skin develops laxity as collagen and elastin dwindle. For some, the idea of surgery just isn’t an option and non-invasive treatments like Sofwave can provide them with moderate results with less downtime. But does the lack of downtime come at the cost of pain? Does Sofwave really hurt?
If you aren’t familiar with Sofwave, it’s an FDA approved treatment for lifting the face and neck that comes with no downtime. Sofwave targets 1.5mm deep in the skin with focused ultrasound energy to produce heat and stimulate new collagen formation. So, does Sofwave hurt? In short, somewhat. The extent of discomfort can depend on a few things. The area being treated and how you prep for the treatment are the two biggest influences on discomfort.
Sofwave can be used to treat the face and neck although many patients opt to treat smaller areas, like the brow, for a lift. Typically, the longer the treatment, the more discomfort. A quick 30-minute brow appointment will be a breeze compared to a 1.5 hour full face and neck. Treating areas directly over bone, like the jawline, tend to have more discomfort.
Sofwave delivers a 6-7 second pulse. The heat builds slowly, meaning it doesn’t hurt the entire time. Toward the end of the pulse, you will feel a warm sensation. When it begins to feel a bit uncomfortable, the pulse is over and the handpiece is moved to a new area.
At Aesthetic Solutions, we offer two different ways to prep for Sofwave. We start with a topical numbing agent, which stays on the skin for roughly 45 minutes. For most patients, the topical numbing agent allows for a comfortable treatment. For patients treating larger areas like their full face or neck, ProNox is another tool we can use to increase comfort. A mix of 50% oxygen and 50% nitrus oxide, this is similar to the laughing gas you would get at the dentist. It’s just enough to take the edge of, and the best part is you can drive yourself home after only 15 minutes!
Our providers have observed a few things when it comes to discomfort, although they have not been backed by any official clinical data. In general, patients who are either on, or within a few days of, their menstrual cycle tend to be more pain sensitive. If you have a low pain threshold, you may want to consider this when scheduling. Usually, patients who are more hydrated have an easier time during the treatment, so you may want to increase your water intake a couple days prior to treatment! Last, patients with thicker skin experience less discomfort than patients with thin skin. This is most easily observed in men, whose thick skin often makes treatment a breeze (plus, men love that their friends and family can’t tell they’ve had something done as results develop gradually)!
We asked a staff member, Kim Forster, “Does Sofwave hurt”. Here’s her response: Kind of. The pulses are long, so it maybe hurts for 1-2 seconds of a 6-7 second pulse. It’s manageable, and the best part is the lack of downtime. With laser resurfacing you’ll want to stay inside for about 5 days, and surgical options even longer. Sofwave lets me get a little lift and immediately go back to my routine. Swelling is normal, but not very noticeable by others. I like that results develop gradually over the course of many months as the new collagen forms so you’re constantly seeing improvement. I’ve done Sofwave, Halo Pro and Fraxel, Microneedling, pretty much everything here – and from a pain perspective, I actually prefer Sofwave! With lasers I feel slight discomfort throughout the entire treatment, with Sofwave it’s a quick second, and then we’re on to the next area.”
When weighing the benefits vs. the risks, it’s important to remember what Sofwave is doing. It is delivering heat to stimulate collagen at the deep, foundational layers of your skin, so it’s normal to feel a little pain. After all, no pain, no gain. Right? The good news is that the majority of patients experience little to no discomfort, and for those who do we have measures in place to make the experience as comfortable as possible. At Aesthetic Solutions, we believe the key to a successful outcome is having a treatment plan tailored to you. If you are in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, please call or request a consultation with our experienced team to find out if Sofwave can help.