Dr. William McGillivray is an expert on the science of aesthetic medicine. A walk through his Project Skin MD skin-care centre, located in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood, highlights his passion for dermatology. “I just have to have the latest technology,” he laughs, pointing inside a treatment room. “See these two machines? I could have bought just one or the other, but I had to have both.”
McGillivray, a Fellow of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery, created Project Skin MD in 2012 as a centre for advanced skin care. “We gradually built our dream clinic space here,” he says with a smile. It’s stocked with what he considers to be the best in the industry, from equipment to product, including the first SkinCeuticals Professional Centre in North America. “SkinCeuticals has the studies to back up their claims,” he explains. “So many skin-care companies make promises, but unless they have the science to prove the results, I don’t buy it.”
This ethos informs all treatments at Project Skin MD, where the team is at the forefront of emerging cosmetic technology. One of their newest services is a non-invasive procedure called Ultherapy, which uses ultrasound technology and the body’s own natural healing process to lift and tighten skin around the eyebrows, on the neck, and under the chin. McGillivray heard about the procedure six years ago through his extensive network of colleagues. Prior to its introduction, there were ways of tightening the skin using radio frequency, but Ultherapy hones the process with focused ultrasound, stimulating the deep layers of the dermis—including those typically addressed in a surgical facelift—without disturbing the skin’s surface. Unlike lasers, which penetrate from the outside-in, Ultherapy bypasses the surface, specifically targeting the deep, structural tissues where collagen lives.
“The advantage of focused ultrasound is that it can go deeper. We use diagnostic imaging, like when you’re imaging infants in a womb, to show the actual skin layers and bone,” says McGillivray. “So we’re actually able to pick the level we’re treating, I really like the precision of that.” The procedure creates small wounds that cause tightening, lifting, and the production of new collagen as they heal. “We’re working on the same level they do with facelifts without actually opening the face. It’s not surgery. It’s best presented as a way of tightening or lifting the face for those who don’t yet need surgery, or who don’t like the idea of it.” The alternative procedure is both suitable for more mature skin and younger patients looking to take preventative anti-aging measures. While comfort levels during Ultherapy vary, it’s very low maintenance therapy—no prior preparation is required and patients can return to regular activity right away following the treatment.
Interestingly, Ultherapy is presented as a one-time procedure (though some patients prefer to get it every year or two). “That’s key,” says McGillivray. “People can get carried away, and you want to give them the right amount. You want to take the technology that is applicable to the patient, and you want to deliver it in the best possible way.” And deliver they do. The team at Project Skin MD has put great thought into patient care and discretion—an elevator from an underground parkade ensures privacy, and many procedures can be done over lunch hour, Ultherapy being one of them. “There’s very little interruption and virtually no downtime. It’s a very well tolerated procedure.”