Beauty, Skin Care

Skin Care Procedure Spotlight: Russak Dermatology Sonic Lift



Last month, Helena (Brooklyn Blonde) and I went to Russak Dermatology Clinic for the Sonic Lift, an anti-aging skin care procedure that was new to both of us skin-obsessed gals. I don’t do designer shoes and handbags, but I never hesitate when it comes to investing in my skin. Great skin is my favorite accessory. That sounds a lot creepier and Buffalo Bill-ish than I intended. My point is, I don’t skimp on skin care, I get regular facials (more on that, later), peels (more on that, too) and I love learning about and experimenting with non-invasive anti-aging, skin-perfecting procedures. And I’m not talking about Botox and fillers — though I have been researching the former for TMJ and migraine relief, so please let me know if you have experience! — but the countless other options that are more about prevention, collagen production, texture, pigmentation. The list is never ending (IPL, PRP, chemical peels, Clear + Brilliant, radio frequency, Fraxel, etc.), and I want to know about them all. Which leads me to Dr. Russak’s Sonic Lift.

The Sonic Lift treatment combines NeoCell collagen supplementation and a light version of Ultherapy, which is a non-invasive treatment that lifts skin through the use of UltraSound technology. If you’ve ever seen before and after photos of Ultherapy, you know that the results can be pretty dramatic. This is a lighter version of that, focusing on the superficial layers, whereas regular Ultherapy goes deeper. That’s why it is best suited for younger patients (20s-30s) who are just starting to notice changes in their skin and want to take preventative anti-aging measures. Hi, that’s us!

The Sonic Lift tightens any targeted areas of concern — we went with the jaw / under the chin area, in hopes of more definition — and increases collagen production over time, which gives our skin its elasticity, firmness, and youthful magic (okay, maybe not magic). As we age, our collagen production decreases* by 1% every year after 20, which is why collagen stimulation was a particular intrigue for me. Please make sure to watch the video to get a behind the scenes look at the procedure, but here’s the breakdown:

  • “Before” photos are taken and numbing cream is applied
  • lines are drawn in the treatment area (see the white lines on our faces?)
  • Meredith, our medical esthetician, followed the lines she marked (as seen in the video, above). Each pulse felt like a quick little zap — I described it as a hot rubber band.
  • From start to the very finish, it was about an hour total, and the pain will vary from person to person. I didn’t find it to be too bad, but Helena had a different experience — I truly think it is because I have a fuller face!
  • The procedure is followed by antioxidant infused oxygen, which has a cooling, soothing effect, and NeoCell’s Blueberry Hyaluronic Acid cocktail.
  • There is technically no downtime, but I did have quite a bit of swelling on the second day — almost like I had my wisdom teeth removed. I had faint marks where the lines were placed, which weren’t very noticeable, but Helena had scratches (but didn’t seem to have the swelling I had). Most of the swelling went down the next day, though I still felt a little puffy for about a week. To give you an idea, these photos were taken a few days after. I didn’t experience any irritation or redness.
  • Results take 3 months (it’s about collagen production and skin tightening, after all), so anyone wanting instant gratification should look elsewhere. Helena said she already feels like her jawline has more definition, but I’m going to wait the full 3 months before I make any judgments for myself. I’ll update once the three months is up — I’ve been taking photos along the way!

Thank you to the wonderful ladies at Russak Dermatology Clinic for the excellent care and for checking up on us along the way. If you’re in NYC, I highly recommend paying them a visit. They’re incredibly knowledgeable and will give you advice that’s tailored to your needs and concerns.



*P.S. You know what else helps to prevent collagen loss? Protecting your skin from sun damage. This is your regular reminder to wear and reapply SPF.

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  1. Alexis says:

    I started getting botox at age 29 (I’m now 32) as a preventative measure for brow furrows. An unexpected, and WELCOME!, side effect was that my chronic tension headaches disappeared! Because those muscles are paralyzed, I’m literally unable to make my “stress face” that contributed to the headaches. I’ve thought about getting it for my teeth grinding too, but for some reason I’m more freaked out about getting botox injections in my jaw area than right next to my eyes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Keiko Lynn says:

      I get such intense migraines, and I’ve heard it’s great for preventing them. Ironically, I’m nervous about how it will affect my appearance! haha

  2. Alexis says:

    Start writing here.

  3. Alexis says:

    Hehe. My dermatologist told me before my first treatment that the trick is to not put so much that you can’t make any movement. You want to look refreshed, not plastic. I can still furrow my brow, I just can’t furrow completely it as much as I could before. She told me that she has some patients who don’t want to have any movement, but that’s not what any good doctor would do without the patient requesting it out right.

    I remember reading somewhere that with the injections for teeth grinding and migraines in the jaw that it can have a bigger effect on your face’s shape though. Something about the relaxation of the jaw muscles elongating and slimming the face? You can tell that I read this in passing. 🙂

    (My browser went pfft when I tried posting before!)

  4. Melissa says:

    I suffer from chronic migraines and have been lucky enough to be approved by my insurance to get Botox every three months for this. I love it, I have never been happier! I wouldn’t worry about the impact on your face too much, while there are 31 injections every three months only 7 of them are on the visible part of your face (the rest are placed in back of your head and shoulders). It really just prevents me from scowling :).

  5. dora says:

    Hi im curious if insurance covers any treatment