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Image of a hand with magnifier representing focused ultrasound

Focused ultrasound – how does it work, and is it effective?

More and more people are choosing non-surgical alternatives to the traditional facelift, with this number rising by almost two-thirds between 2017 and 2021.

One such treatment is HIFU – or high-intensity focused ultrasound. But how does it work? And what can you expect in terms of results?

Find a clinic or practitioner near you and enjoy a risk-free booking process thanks to free in-clinic consultations and the option to pay in-clinic. Also, you can now split the cost of your treatment into four equal, interest-free instalments using Tabby.

Fast facts

  • Best results

    6 sessions

  • Duration of results

    1 year

  • Back to work

    Same Day

  • Full recovery time

    No recovery time

  • Price range

    2,000 AED to 4,000 AED

  • Treatment duration

    30 to 90 minutes

  • Comfort

    Potential mild pain afterwards

  • Treatment type


What is focused ultrasound?

A focused ultrasound facial – more commonly known as a ‘HIFU facial’ – can be used to lessen the visible effects of ageing on a person’s face. Researchers have found that it can be an effective way to:

  • Tighten skin on the face and neck.
  • Smooth and reduce wrinkles.
  • Improve droopy eyelids.

How does focused ultrasound work?

The science behind it

The technique works by exposing the skin on your face to high-energy ultrasound waves via a handheld device. By exposing skin cells deep beneath the outer surface to heat, the body is prompted to repair these cells.

This encourages it to produce more collagen – the protein that helps give your skin its firmness and springiness. Increased collagen, in turn, can mean fewer wrinkles and smoother skin.

Before the treatment

As a HIFU facial is non-surgical, preparations before the treatment are minimal. You should remove your make-up or avoid wearing any on the day – but the good news is there’s no need to shave or follow a specific diet, as with some treatments. Simply arrange it with the clinic and turn up at the agreed time and date.

During the treatment

You’ll be made comfortable while the practitioner explains the process.

  1. Your doctor will clean your face.
  2. They will apply a special gel.
  3. They then run the HIFU device over your skin.

The session will likely last no longer than one-and-a-half hours.

Though the treatment isn’t considered painful, it may be carried out under local anaesthetic to counter any discomfort or pain afterwards.

You can expect to see results three months after your procedure. Typically, people have a maximum of six sessions, depending on their aims. While your clinician will be able to advise you further, you’ll usually have to wait around eight weeks between each session.


There is unlikely to be any disruption to your daily life after a focused ultrasound facial, as there are no incisions or stitches to heal. With no recovery time as such, you can carry on working and socialising as usual. You will not have to replace dressings or see your doctor for follow-up appointments – aside from further sessions.

There are however a few potential side-effects to be aware of, including:

  • Swelling.
  • Numbness.
  • Bruising.
  • Redness.

You may also feel some pain after the treatment, but your doctor will likely advise on over-the-counter medication.

How much is focused ultrasound? Plus, other things you need to know

How much does focused ultrasound cost?

A typical facial costs between Dhs2,000 and Dhs4,000, but prices can vary from clinic to clinic.

Is focused ultrasound permanent?

No, the effects are not permanent. As a non-surgical alternative to a facelift, it lasts for significantly less time than a surgical procedure. The effect of the treatment should, however, last for at least one year.

How can I find treatments near me?

You can use selfologi to explore trusted clinics near you.

Alternative options

Other non-surgical alternatives for skin rejuvenation include microneedling, which pricks the skin with tiny needles to stimulate collagen growth. Chemical peels, meanwhile, can remove the top layers of skin through exfoliation, and are another potential option.

For those wanting long-term results, surgical facelifts are a consideration. Though they involve an invasive procedure and cost more, the impact can be seen for many years.

Focused ultrasound facts

  • HIFU was used solely in medical settings until the late 2000s, when it began to be considered for cosmetic treatments – and won FDA approval for brow lifts.
  • In a study on its effectiveness for improving skin, more than 90 per cent of participants reported an improvement within 12 weeks of treatment.


Use our clinic locator to book your treatment – and choose between paying online, paying in-clinic, or splitting payments into four equal instalments with Tabby.

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