We Tried It: A $5,500 Facial Treatment

The high-tech Profound procedure claims to reduce wrinkles in 100 percent of its patients. Heather Dunhill gets the scoop firsthand.

By Heather Dunhill June 21, 2021

Image: Shutterstock

In Steel Magnolias, Dolly Parton’s character says, “Time marches on, and sooner or later you realize it is marching across your face.”

It happens to everyone, so I’m here to tell you about my recent experience with a skincare procedure that's aptly named Profound. It's the latest technology, out of Israel, and it claims to melt fat, remove cellulite and tighten skin—essentially turning back the clock.

Frankly, I would have been skeptical to try it unless it was championed by ultra-trustworthy skincare expert Donna Messenger at  Microjuvenate, which is the only clinic in Sarasota with the machine. 

Donna Messenger.


This is no small detail, because I've learned that results vary based on the experience of the Profound operator, who designs and sculpts your targeted areas and must know what they are doing to get meaningful long-term results. There’s no room for error. Even though the Profound machine's needles guarantee evenness, the precision of those needles are controlled by the person who holds its handpiece.

So, what is Profound?

First, a quick background on ageing. At about the age of 30, our collagen  and hyaluronic acid levels are reduced and our elastin production stops. All of these help our skin maintain that youthful flexibility—or the skin “snap-back.” And that’s how wrinkles show themselves.

Profound is a medical procedure, not a facial. It’s a one-and-done, non-surgical treatment that aims to naturally reproduce collagen and increases elastin and hyaluronic acid. The needles go in at a skin-changing depth of 3 millimeters, delivering pulses of radio frequency energy to the targeted areas. This is how the fat melts.

Remarkably, Profound claims that 100 percent of patients experience wrinkle reduction. But here’s the thing: This is not a quick fix, so patience is a must—results take time while the body repairs itself. I was told that I should see a change in two months, but that the real impact happens between 6-12 months.

Nothing is left to chance. In my consultation with Donna, she and I discussed my treatment goals—face and neck—after which she mapped out the procedure.

Before and after photos of Microjuvenate client Cheyenne Clark post Profound treatment

Before and after photos of Microjuvenate client Cheyenne Clark post Profound treatment

The Procedure

Before my treatment, I was escorted to a pristine and serene room with natural lighting, which felt like a spa. In a snap, I was surrounded by three kind women who made me feel like an old friend while I lounged in a recliner with a warm cuppa tea along with my music of choice.

I was fully prepped on what to expect—no surprises—and certified nurse practitioner Trish Moran thoroughly reviewed the medical history questionnaire I'd filled out. Afterward, my “before” photos were taken and a topical numbing cream was applied to my face and neck. This initial prep eases the lidocaine and epinephrine subcutaneous injections that follow, which numb and decrease bruising and bleeding so that you don't feel the Profound needles.

Surprisingly, the anesthetic process is longer than the actual procedure time, which was about 33 minutes for the face and neck. Donna told me that many people fall asleep during the procedure, and I can see why—afterward, I was incredibly relaxed on the warming bed where it's performed. Based on a client’s comfort level, if necessary, the team also creates distractions with everything from a foot massage to relaxing lavender oil.

Full disclosure: occasionally I did feel the warm, vibrating needles as they crept over the edge of a numbed area. And for the record, I have felt worse things for less benefit. My advice is to breathe through it, as it's over quickly.

Immediately after the procedure, Donna applies platelet rich plasma (PRP)—your own blood blended in a centrifuge with serum— to your face for an additional healing boost.

Throughout the whole process, there was a constant dialogue between Donna, Trish, the CNP, and Nicole, Donna's assistant, during the procedure. They check in to be certain all’s well during the process. At one point, Trish even tested my oxygen level and heart rate. From time to time, Donna would whisper in my ear about what to expect next. And they never leave a client alone in the room—there’s always a reassuring voice and presence.

Honestly, I didn’t want to leave. If they offered me a sleepover, I would have taken it.

The Staff

If you decide to engage Donna’s services, it’s worth mentioning that you will be in the company of women who love what they do. Frankly, I felt the love, too. When I called Microjuvenate for my appointment, I was greeted by the warm voice of Nicole, Donna’s assistant, who is well-versed in the procedure and could answer nearly all my questions. And Trish, the CNP, is equally as kind, as well as light-handed and swift with an injection. And this compliment comes from a woman who is not a fan of a needle.

Equally important to note is that this is a certified medical office, not a med spa. Dr. Anna Widmyer, Microjuvenate’s medical director, is also a plastic surgeon.

Last but certainly not least is the star of the whole operation, Donna. Her calming presence will put you at ease in moments, but her credentials will give you confidence in her ability. She’s a skincare pioneer who is frequently called on to perform treatments for her celebrity client list and lecture to the industry.

Donna spent decades working side-by-side with some of the most innovative skincare physicians and chemists in the industry and has extensive experience working with skin of all pigments—so women of color can feel comfortable that Donna knows how to treat their skin, as well. In fact, just last week, a few of the Real Housewives of Atlanta cast flew in to Sarasota for a weekend of treatments.

Donna Messenger and Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey.

What to Expect Post-Procedure

After the procedure, I was handed an ice pack while my blood was drawn for the PRP, which was applied while I relaxed in the recliner with snacks and another cuppa tea.

The recovery time varies from client to client. The norm is prolonged redness and mild to moderate bruising, which resolves in five  to 10 days. For me, this was all mild: I had redness and some nominal bruising after day two, but virtually no swelling. My skin was just tender to the touch. And on day two, I went out to dinner after applying Alastin Skincare’s Hydratint Pro Mineral sunscreen, which covered the bruising.

As I type this, it’s day seven and I have a few tiny bruises left under my chin where Profound targeted any possibilities of the dreaded turkey neck. Also, Donna sends you home with simple but detailed instructions, along with her personal cell phone number, which I did not have to use. But nice to know she was a phone call away if I needed her.

Finally, if you’re wondering, the cost for my procedure was $5,500; you can also add on a B-12 shot for a healing and hydrating boost and other services while there as well, at an additional cost.

Now, the healing begins as I patiently await my Benjamin Button moment and hope for time to reverse over the next few months to a year. I promise to be back in a couple months to give you an update, so stay tuned.

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