I'll admit it: I find in-office skin treatments intimidating. I know they're perfectly safe and effective (heck, I've made a living writing about how safe and effective they are, and still, I've never worked up the courage to try anything beyond Botox.
But as I cruise through my 30s, I'm considering being more proactive about preventative skin treatments, especially around my dark and baggy undereye area (a strong, hereditary Clark family trait). I recently interviewed New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Blair Murphy-Rose, M.D., about the newest treatments and devices for fine lines, and she specifically raved about the efficacy and next-level technology of a new device called Sofwave. The treatment the tool offers is marketed as a quick, 30-minute, no-downtime procedure that stimulates collagen to reduce the appearance of fine lines as well as tighten mild jowling and loose skin.
Honestly, it sounded too good to be true. Painless? No downtime? Preventative and corrective? Low to no risk? What is this unicorn of a treatment? I figured that if this device checks all these boxes then there could be no easier entry-point to skin treatments, so I booked an appointment.
What is Sofwave?
"Sofwave is a noninvasive tissue tightening and lifting ultrasound device that targets the dermis, which is a layer of the skin that is important for tissue tightening," says Philadelphia-based double-board certified facial plastic surgeon Jason Bloom, M.D. The treatment works to tighten skin as an immediate benefit, and it incites cellular activity to stimulate collagen production that continues long after your appointment ends.
"The ultrasound causes small injuries in the dermis and as the body repairs itself and heals those injuries, it produces new collagen and tightens the tissue," explains Dr. Bloom. "It's literally the exact same idea as radiofrequency and microneedling, but you are noninvasively going through the skin," explains Dr. Bloom.
Since fine lines and wrinkles are a result of the loss of collagen and elastin, this constant boost of new collagen continues to plump and firm skin for up to a year. Sofwave is primarily designed for the face and neck — which I opted for — but it can treat anywhere on the body, the most common areas being on top of the hands and above the knees.
The Test Run
During a visit with Dr. Murphy-Rose in her New York City office, she applied extra-strength numbing cream — a formulation she devised herself — to my face and neck while giving me a rundown of the treatment to come. I had heard varying opinions from friends on the level of pain Sofwave inflicts, so being the wimp that I am, I asked to sit with the numbing cream on for a little while longer so it could really soak in.