Skin Tightening in San Francisco, CA

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About Skin Tightening

Nonsurgical skin tightening is an effective, safe, and natural looking alternative to a surgical facelift. Offering several methods to address sagging or loose areas of skin, our skin care professionals at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology in San Francisco will help you determine the best nonsurgical tightening treatment for your skin type and desired result. Our skin tightening procedures work by stimulating the body's natural collagen production, which leads to fresher, tighter, and more youthful looking skin. Nonsurgical skin tightening is an ideal solution for patients in the initial stages of loose or sagging skin, and it can be used on all skin tones and types. A consultation with one of our board-certified dermatologists will help determine the best treatment options based on your needs and goals.

See photos of nonsurgical skin tightening treatments here.

Type of Skin Tightening

We offer four options for nonsurgical skin tightening at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology, all of which have been brought into our clinic for their science-backed studies and visible results.


Solta Thermage utilizes radio frequency (RF) with varying levels of energy to target and heat the deeper layers of the skin while keeping the skin’s surface unharmed. We most commonly recommend Thermage for the delicate area around the eyes to reduce fine lines and tighten the upper lid.

The heat used in this RF treatment triggers the body’s wound healing process which increases collagen production, allowing for firmer, tighter, and more youthful looking skin. Our RF procedures feel hot but are otherwise quite comfortable. Depending on goals, more than one treatment may be necessary to see maximum results.


EMFACE simultaneously emits both RF and HIFES™ energies during a no downtime treatment. Synchronized RF remodels & smooths skin by heating the dermis and increasing the levels of collagen and elastin fibers. HIFES™ technology restores & elevates support facial tissues by selectively contracting muscles and increasing density & quality of muscle structure. Read more here.


We have two other nonsurgical tightening options: Ultherapy (also known as Ulthera) and Sofwaves.

Ultherapy is one of our patient’s top choices for tightening skin and creating new collagen. Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology has the exclusive designation of Ultra Premier Plus Partner with Ultherapy (reserved  for the top 10% of Ulthera practices in the nation).  All of our Ultherapy providers complete ongoing advanced training sessions to ensure our patients receive the most effective treatment.

During ultrasound tightening treatments, your natural collagen production is stimulated by delivering focused ultrasound energy deep into the layer of skin that plastic surgeons operate on when they perform a facelift. However, unlike plastic surgery, ultrasound tightens with no incisions, no anesthesia, and minimal to no downtime.

We use Ultherapy and Sofwaves to lift skin on the neck, under the chin, on the brow, and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles on the décolletage. The skin tightens and lifts over about four to six months following the procedure. Unlike RF treatments, we typically recommend a single ultrasound rather than a series. However, since you will continue to age following any procedure, you may choose to retreat in six months to a year to maintain results.

Most find ultrasound procedures less comfortable than RF treatment. We offer our patients several options to reduce discomfort, including an oral painkiller or ProNox (50-50 mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen).

Best Candidates

Collagen is a natural, connective tissue composed of protein that the body produces to aid in hydration, elasticity, and firmness. As the aging process ensues, the natural production of collagen in the body begins to diminish, causing the firmness and tightness in the skin to decrease and give way to looser skin.

The purpose of nonsurgical skin tightening is to boost your natural collagen production, restoring the firm quality of the skin associated with youthfulness and allowing the body to produce thicker, more healthy skin. Nonsurgical skin tightening is best for patients who have mild to moderate skin laxity or those who would prefer to avoid surgical options. 

During a consultation, a board-certified dermatologist will discuss treatments and if they feel a surgical option would better meet your goals, they will provide you with their best plastic surgeon referrals.

What to Expect

Prior to your nonsurgical skin tightening procedure, we require a consultation with one of our medical professionals to determine which procedure will best address your needs. During your consultation, we will review your treatment options and discuss your expected outcome.

On the day of treatment, you may be asked to arrive early so we can prepare you for your procedure.

Preparation includes “before” photos, review of informed consent, and an optional medications ensure your comfort. Please make sure you have a ride to take you home if you will be taking a sedative and/or narcotic medication.

Alternatively, we also offer PRO-Nox (nitrous oxide) which is self-administered during treatment and wears off quickly allowing you to get back to your day. Following your preparation, one of our registered nurses will perform your treatment. Procedure time ranges based on the device used and area treated. 

I have been going to Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology for the last ten years. I am continually impressed by both Dr Welsh and Dr Hui for their ability to listen to my needs and desires without judgement, address cosmetic issues artfully, and manage medical issues with great knowledge and expertise. Their ability to integrate both the art and science of dermatology is truly exceptional. Our entire family has been treated by the practice. My children for extreme acne and stubborn allergic skin reactions, my husband with his sensitive Asian skin for his sun spots and I have had multiple moles skillfully removed and biopsied, Ulthera, botox, fillers and even repaired earlobes, (torn from heavy earnings). Coming from a family of physicians, I have learned the importance of quality of care and true medical expertise. We have all been impressed by their responsiveness, depth of knowledge, attention to detail and overall quality of care. I have referred many to this practice and have heard nothing but stellar reviews.

LI Office Visit

I can’t say enough great things about BACD. I always have a great experience when I visit.  I recently went in for a Sofwave treatment administered by Stacey Baenen, who is a fantastic practitioner, both in terms of skill and "bedside manner". She always puts me at ease and gives great advice.  Dr. Austin also popped in for a few minutes to say hello and offer some advice - she always goes the extra mile, which shows how invested she is in her patients. I am really impressed with everyone at BACD - everyone is friendly, professional, and knowledgeable.  I highly recommend this practice.

M.T. Yelp

Dr Hui-Austin has made every person in my family better with her brilliant mind, out of the box approach to tough technical skin problems, anti-aging support and serious skin care. We left Stanford for her and never looked back. She is kind, gentle, supportive, inventive and compassionate. Me: 55, Ultherapy, skin cancer checks, Emsala for incontinence!!!!!! Daughter: 18, acne, skin checks, kybella for chin fat pocket inherited from father Son-21, cystic acne, terrible scarring on face and back Husband- skin tags and other issues We all love her! Thank you for everything!!

K.W. Yelp

…new to the clinic and all of the procedures and products…I felt very vulnerable coming, after being told by another doctor that my skin was too far gone in the aging process to do anything other than a facelift…I went to see Dr. Austin for a second opinion and she was certain she could help…my skin, appearance and confidence were boosted by my first treatment, and now I’m committed to on-going maintenance with her expertise guiding me…I need a fair amount of reassurance because the whole anti-aging process can be a slippery slope …Dr. Austin’s patient care is as important to me as treatment…

A.D. Google

There is no need to go anyplace else or see any other dermotologists.  Dr. Welsh knows what you need before you even ask for a particular treatment.  In many cases, her suggestions are not what you might intend, but better and more effective.  She is truly at the top of her field in cosmetic dermatology.  Dr. Hui is the best at treating and rectifying problem skin and preventative maintenance.  I will no longer see any other doctor for my skin concerns.  Their entire staff is deeply knowledgable in all areas of every treatment they offer.  I can't say enough about this practice.Treatments I have had: Coolsculpting, IPL, Accutane, Ulthera, V-beam, tattoo removal

J.G. Yelp


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Other considerations

Side effects following non surgical skin tightening include: temporary redness and swelling. With Ultherapy, bruising and temporary numbness is also possible. If possible to do so safely, we recommend that you discontinue any blood thinning medications for (1) week prior to Ultherapy to reduce the chance of bruising.

We ask patients monitor these symptoms and contact our office if these complications persist longer then one week after the procedure.

The collagen production process takes time to fully develop and produce noticeable and measurable results.Therefore, with any of our non surgical tightening treatments, patients should expect their skin to gradually increase in tightness for up to six months following their last treatment.  

Bring Firmness Back

If your skin has lost its natural elasticity, but you're not ready for a surgical facelift, consider nonsurgical skin tightening at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology. Our team of highly trained nurses has performed thousands of these treatments and can specialize your treatment to tighten your skin exactly where you need it. Using safe levels of heat from either radio frequency (RF) or ultrasound technologies, the skin's natural collagen production can be stimulated for long-term results of firmer, tighter skin. Non-Surgical skin tightening is best for patients with mild to moderate skin laxity. Schedule a consultation to learn if this option is right for you.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.