Sofwave vs. Ultherapy: Understanding the Differences in Non-Invasive Skin Tightening & Lifting Treatments

When it comes to non-invasive skin-tightening treatments, Sofwave and Ultherapy stand out as two of the most popular options. Both harness the power of ultrasound technology to stimulate collagen production, but they do so in distinct ways. Here's a detailed comparison to help you understand the differences and determine which might be better suited for your needs.

Technology and Mechanism of Action


  • Technology: Utilizes Synchronous Ultrasound Parallel Beam Technology (SUPERB).
  • Mechanism: Delivers ultrasound energy at a depth of 1.5mm into the skin, focusing on the mid-dermis. This induces controlled thermal injury, promoting collagen production and skin tightening.


  • Technology: Employs micro-focused ultrasound (MFU) with visualization (MFU-V).
  • Mechanism: Reaches ALL layers of the skin with different probes, both superficial and deep, including the dermis and foundational layers typically addressed in cosmetic surgery, up to 4.5mm deep. It creates thermal coagulation points at various depths to stimulate collagen production and lift the skin.

Treatment Depth

  • Sofwave: Targets the mid-dermis at a consistent depth of 1.5mm.
  • Ultherapy: Penetrates deeper, targeting multiple layers up to 4.5mm.

Pain and Discomfort

  • Sofwave: Generally painful or uncomfortable due to its superficial treatment depth and cooling technology that protects the skin’s surface.
  • Ultherapy: Can be painful because of deeper penetration and intense energy delivery. Pain management options such as topical anesthetics, oral pain relievers, or nerve blocks are often recommended. The technique and expertise of the provider plays a big part in the comfort level of patients.


  • Sofwave: Primarily improves skin texture and mild to moderate skin laxity. Results are typically seen within a few weeks to a few months post-treatment.
  • Ultherapy: More effective for lifting and tightening, especially for significant skin laxity. Results can take 2-3 months to fully develop as collagen regeneration progresses.

Treatment Areas

  • Sofwave: Commonly used on the face, neck, and submental (under chin) area. It has also been used on the arms.
  • Ultherapy: Can be used on the face, neck, décolletage, and even the brow area for a non-surgical brow lift. It can even be used on the eyelid skin.

Session Duration and Downtime

  • Sofwave: Sessions are relatively short, usually around 30-45 minutes, with minimal to no downtime. Patients may need a series of treatments for optimal results.
  • Ultherapy: Sessions can take longer, around 60-90 minutes, with some potential for mild swelling or redness post-treatment. Only one treatment is necessary.

FDA Approval

Both Sofwave and Ultherapy are FDA-cleared for non-invasive skin tightening. However, their specific indications and the depth of treatment differ. Only Ultherapy is approved for tightening (Sofwave is only approved for lifting).


  • Sofwave: Typically less expensive than Ultherapy per session, due to the shorter treatment time and less intensive procedure, but more than 1 treatment is often needed.
  • Ultherapy: Generally more costly, reflecting the deeper, more comprehensive treatment and longer session times.

Why Ultherapy is the Better Choice

While both Sofwave and Ultherapy offer effective solutions for non-invasive skin tightening, Ultherapy emerges as the superior option for several reasons. Its ability to target deeper skin layers and multiple depths ensures more significant lifting and tightening results. The comprehensive benefits of Ultherapy make it the better choice for those seeking dramatic and long-lasting improvements in skin laxity and overall appearance. If you’re willing to invest in a more intensive procedure for outstanding results, Ultherapy is the way to go. 

If you're in the Santa Barbara, Los Angeles or Ventura County area, visit Rejuvalase Medical Spa for your Ultherapy treatment today!