Applications of ultrasound in cosmetics:

The first cosmetic uses of ultrasound followed after some interesting results were obtained in physical medicine. Patients were surprised when they saw that the skin in the areas that were treated with ultrasound (e.g. for muscle relaxation) had visibly improved. The skin was tighter and more elastic, and impurities had disappeared. When one considers the fundamental action of ultrasound frequencies, however, these observations make absolute sense. Subsequently, people started experimenting with various frequencies within the ultrasound spectrum and different specific doses. The first ultrasound device for cosmetic use was presented in Germany in 1989. At the time, it still took a lot of convincing to establish this previously unheard of method in cosmetic institutes. Nowadays, there are two different frequency systems used, 1 MHz and 3 MHz. 3 MHz systems only reach the epidermis (outer layer), while 1 MHz systems reach all layers of the skin, down to the connective tissue, and are still regarded as "state-of-the-art". Following countless trials and research studies, the optimal intensity of sound (measured in Watts per square centimeter, W/cm²) that is still safe has been calculated at 0.5–1 W/cm². Once the perfect combination of controlled penetration depth, optimal intensity and simple and safe use with no side-effects was found, home-use cosmetic ultrasound treatment was born. It was now possible to produce compact devices for daily home use. In 2003, MediConsult developed the first "SkinDream®", which immediately met with wide acceptance in cosmetics businesses and, above all, in homes. The SkinDream® TITANIUM was presented to the world in 2009. The first, and so far only, cosmetic ultrasound system for home use that features its own hand-made titanium sonic head.

 

Effective actions of cosmetic ultrasound on and in the skin.

Thermal action

Heating the skin tissue leads to improved blood circulation, and thereby an immediate increase in metabolic activities, accelerating cell regeneration.

Mechanical action

The frequency of the ultrasound employed stimulates the tissue into faster oscillations around its resting position. This leads to periodical compression and decompression in the tissue mass. At an optimal dosage (0.5–1 W/cm²) and at the right frequency (1 MHz), a so-called micro-massage effect begins to work on the applied tissue. This immediately promotes the detoxification process and lymph drainage within the skin layers, and accelerates the diffusion process in the tissue.

Combination of thermal and mechanical action

Given the combination of these two actions, the pH of the skin starts to shift towards a more alkaline level. This leads to a stimulation of collagen and elastin, improving resilience and revitalizing the skin.

Sonophoresis

This term describes the phenomenon of cosmetic ultrasound transporting micro-ingredients into the layers of the skin. Unlike iontophoresis (channeling drugs and medicines with the help of electrical currents/ionization), ultrasound does not directly push the micro-ingredients into the skin. The micro-massage merely induces a "door opening" and a cleaning of the interstitial spaces between cells in the skin, thereby improving the skin's permeability. Drugs then penetrate through these and into the deeper skin layers as a result of the normal metabolic processes. Biomolecules and non-ionized active ingredients can only be effectively transported into the skin using cosmetic ultrasound. Laser systems and devices based on the principle of iontophoresis (galvanic systems) are not able to guarantee this extremely important function for effective, lasting skin regeneration.