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Woman's face to represent Hifu

HIFU - what the treatment is, how 3D HIFU works, and user reviews

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sherif Mattar from Dr. Sherif Mattar Medical Center

Firmer skin, fewer wrinkles, youthful rejuvenation – HIFU skin tightening offers a non-invasive, surgery-free option for those interested in facelifts.

HIFU and other non-surgical facelift alternative treatments have boomed recently, increasing by nearly 65 per cent in the last five years.

It’s not just for the face either. The treatment can be used to refine wrinkles and body contouring on the abdomen, arms, and thighs.

But is it the best option for you – and without surgery, does it really work?

Fast facts

  • Best results

    1 to 6 sessions

  • Duration of results

    1 to 2 years

  • Back to work

    Same day

  • Full recovery time

    No recovery time

  • Price range

    1,530 SAR to 2,860 SAR

  • Treatment duration

    30 to 90 minutes

  • Comfort

    Pain relief unnecessary

  • Treatment type


What is HIFU?

High Intensity Focused Ultrasound – or HIFU – is a form of non-invasive treatment for skin tightening, lifting and body contouring.

The treatment can be used to:

  • Tighten skin.
  • Smooth out wrinkles.
  • Shrink pores.
  • Lift drooping eyelids or eyebrows.
  • Target the V line formation and jowl lines.
  • Improve skin tone, brightness, and elasticity.

How 3D HIFU works

The science behind HIFU

Focused ultrasound energy is aimed at the treatment area. This passes through the skin’s surface to the layers below, much deeper than laser or radio frequency energy.

Applied ultrasound energy causes the skin tissue cells to heat up quickly. At 60C, the ultrasound damages the cells and stimulates them to produce more collagen.

Collagen is a protein that improves the skin’s structure, so the skin in this area becomes tighter and firmer. As it all happens below the skin’s surface, there’s no damage to the top layers.

Before the treatment

At a consultation, a clinician can talk to you about the results you hope to achieve and assess your skin to determine whether HIFU treatment is the best option.

HIFU isn’t suitable for everyone. It can work best if you’re over 30 and have mild skin laxity. If you have looser or sun-damaged skin, you may need more treatment sessions. Those with an infection, severe acne or metal implants at the target area may not be suitable for treatment.

During the treatment

Many people only need one treatment session, which can last between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the target area. What can you expect during HIFU treatment?

  • The clinician will clean the area and might apply an anaesthetic cream.
  • They will apply an ultrasound gel to protect your skin surface.
  • A handheld HIFU device is placed against your skin.
  • It will be held there for an appropriate amount of time, delivering ultrasound energy in short pulses.
  • You might feel a tingling sensation and some warmth from the device.
  • The clinician will then remove device and clean off any gel.

After this, you’re free to go about your daily life – with no downtime required.


If you feel any discomfort afterwards, it’s safe to take over the counter painkillers. You might notice some mild redness and swelling, which should go down, but contact your doctor if it doesn’t.

HIFU: reviews, results and how it compares to other treatments

So, is this non-invasive treatment right for your needs? These treatment options, results and reviews can help you weigh up your options.

What are the HIFU reviews like?

The use of HIFU is continuing to grow among those seeking alternatives to more traditional surgery.

And HIFU reviews mostly seem positive. One study found nearly 95 per cent of people who underwent HIFU treatment reported an improvement in skin lifting three months after the procedure.

What results can I expect from HIFU treatment?

Within four weeks you might start to see some improvement in facial contouring and lines. However, normally it can take up to around 12 weeks before the final results are visible, as collagen continues to renew within the skin.

Find a treatment near you with our clinic locator.

Alternative treatments

HIFU isn’t the only option if you want to tackle the natural signs of ageing skin. You can make a few changes to your everyday lifestyle to keep your skin looking fresh for longer by stopping smoking, wearing SPF, and living a healthier lifestyle.

There are also a few other types of treatment that work to improve your skin’s appearance you can try, which can include:

  • Botox – smooth away any unwanted lines and wrinkles with Botox injections. As one of the most popular ways to fight the signs of ageing, Botox relaxes the muscles to help reduce the look of frown lines and wrinkles. The treatment needs to be topped up every three to six months to maintain results.
  • Chemical peels – get rid of any dead, dull skin cells and reveal the fresh, new skin underneath with a chemical peel. Effective at smoothing the appearance of scars, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, there are different depths of treatment available, and you may need a few sessions to see results.
  • Facelifts – having a facelift can help tighten up any loose skin around the face and neck area. It’s one of the most expensive treatment options, but results should be long lasting. It requires around four weeks recovery time.
  • Fillers – dermal fillers can be used to plump the skin and fill out any deeper lines. Like Botox, you’ll need top ups every three to six months to maintain the results.
  • Microdermabrasion – this facial treatment uses fine crystals to remove dead skin cells helping to stimulate collagen production. It’s one of the cheaper treatments available but you might need several sessions to see results.


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