A high intensity focused ultrasound facial, or HIFU facial for short, is a noninvasive treatment for facial aging. This procedure is part of a growing trend for anti-aging treatments that provide some of the benefits of a facelift without the need for surgery.
A HIFU facial uses ultrasound to create heat at a deep level in the skin. This heat damages targeted skin cells, causing the body to try to repair them. To do this, the body produces collagen to aid in cell regrowth. Collagen is a substance in the skin that gives it structure and elasticity.
- tighten the skin on the neck
- reduce the appearance of jowls
- lift drooping eyelids or eyebrows
- smooth wrinkles on the face
- smooth and tighten chest skin
Doctors usually begin HIFU facial rejuvenation by cleaning the chosen area of the face and applying a gel. Then, they use a handheld device that emits the ultrasound waves in short bursts. Each session typically lasts 30–90 minutes.
Some people report mild discomfort during the treatment, and some have pain afterward. Doctors may apply a local anesthetic before the procedure to help prevent this pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil), may also help.
Unlike other cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal, HIFU facials do not require any preparation. When a session is over, there is also no recovery time, which means that people can get on with their daily activities after receiving HIFU treatment.
People may require between one and six sessions, depending on the results they want to achieve.
In general, the evidence suggests that a HIFU facial has few side effects, although some people may experience pain and discomfort right after the procedure.
The South Korean concluded that there were no serious side effects of the treatment, although some participants reported:
- a purple rash
In another study, researchers found that while some people who had HIFU treatment on their face or body reported pain right after the treatment, they reported no pain.
HIFU has many aesthetic benefits, including:
- wrinkle reduction
- tightening sagging skin on the neck (sometimes called turkey neck)
- lifting the cheeks, eyebrows, and eyelids
- enhancing jawline definition
- tightening of the décolletage
- smoothing the skin
You may experience slight discomfort during an HIFU procedure. Some people describe it as tiny electric pulses or a light prickly sensation.
If you’re worried about pain, your doctor may suggest taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen (Advil), prior to treatment.
Immediately after the treatment, you may experience mild redness or swelling, which will gradually recede over the next few hours.