9 Frequently Asked Questions About High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU)

hifu treatment

The dermatology scene is always changing with innovations and discoveries to make better, smoother skin more accessible and affordable. With so many different procedures to explore, keeping track of the best ones can be a challenge in itself! One treatment you’ll want to keep your eye on is high-intensity focused ultrasound, also known as HIFU. 

HIFU is a non-invasive and painless cosmetic procedure often used in place of facelifts. Although usage was initially for treating tumours, it was used for aesthetic purposes in 2008, and subsequently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2009 for brow lifts. Five years later, in 2014, it received clearance to smoothen lines and wrinkles of the neckline and upper chest area. It’s also a quick procedure, as many refer to it as a lunchtime facelift!

With all the benefits of HIFU, you’ll probably want to know more about it. Here are nine frequently asked questions about the treatment and the answers to them:

1. How Does HIFU Work?

HIFU targets focused ultrasound energy on layers of skin beneath the surface, causing the tissues to heat up quickly. Once the targeted cells reach a specific temperature, they undergo cellular damage, which stimulates the cells to ramp up its production of collagen. With an increase in collagen, the skin will become tighter, smoother, and firmer, erasing wrinkles or any fine lines. 

The ultrasound beams contain a high-frequency and focus on a particular tissue site underneath the skin, so you won’t have to worry about any damage on the upper skin layers or any adjacent tissue. 

2. Is HIFU Better Than Face Lifts?

HIFU is a relatively new face laser treatment that’s proven to be effective at tightening skin in a non-invasive and painless way, making it a popular alternative to facelifts. Many clinical trials have found the procedure to be quick, safe, and useful for facelifts and wrinkle smoothening, with people enjoying results just a few months after treatment. As HIFU doesn’t require cutting open the skin, there is little no to recovery time, eliminating risks linked to invasive surgery. 

3. What is the Difference Between HIFU and Other Laser Procedures?

The primary difference between HIFU and other lasers is that HIFU utilises sound energy, while others use light energy. Thanks to ultrasound’s unique properties, HIFU can reach layers of skin beneath the surface without actually penetrating it. It then stimulates collagen production in the skin, leading to a significant tissue lift over the next few months.

Meanwhile, lasers use light energy, which cannot reach deeper skin layers without damaging the surface. As such, these popular laser treatments treat superficial skin. However, given the nature of these two technologies, they’re compatible when used to address various skin issues. 

4. How Does HIFU Improve Collagen Production?

During the procedure, the transducer—a device that converts energy into a different form—delivers and unloads focused ultrasound energy beneath the skin at an optimal temperature, setting it up for collagen regeneration. It then triggers the body’s natural process of producing new collagen without relying on foreign substances, fillers, or creams. You’ll enjoy natural and noticeable results in just a few months. 

5. How Long Does a HIFU Treatment Take? 

The length of a HIFU treatment depends heavily on the target area and your treatment plan. If you plan to treat just your chest area, then it will take around 30 minutes. However, if you want to do a face laser treatment and improve your neck’s appearance, then it will take approximately 90 minutes. 

Fortunately, there is no downtime associated with HIFU treatment. You can go back to work or resume your activities right after the procedure without having to worry about additional post-treatment routines. You can even visit the aesthetic clinic for treatment during your lunch break and return to your office right after!

6. How Many HIFU Treatments Do I Need to See Results? 

Most people require only one treatment, although it heavily depends on one’s skin laxity and their body’s response to ultrasound energy. It also depends on the efficiency of their body’s collagen production. With these factors in mind, some clients may need additional treatments to enjoy their desired results. However, as everyone’s skin ages over time, a touch-up treatment once in a while will be necessary to maintain a smooth appearance. 

7. Who Best Benefits From HIFU Treatment? 

HIFU is best for individuals more than 30 years old whose skin laxity ranges from mild to moderate. To determine if you’re an ideal candidate for HIFU treatment, check your skin and identify where it starts to look and feel less firm. Some examples to look out for are loose skin on your neck, saggy skin under your chin, or a lowered eyebrow line.

One thing to keep in mind is that people with very loose or photodamaged skin may need several more treatments before seeing concrete results. On the other hand, those with infections and open skin lesions, severe or cystic acne, or metal implants in the treatment site require the use of procedures other than HIFU.

8. What are HIFU’s Side Effects?

Another incredible benefit of HIFU is that it has very few side effects. You may experience flushed skin after treatment, but the redness should disappear after a few hours. Other clients have reported mild swelling or sensitive skin that feels tender to the touch, but they also subside after a few hours. 

9. When Will I See Results After a HIFU Treatment?

You may enjoy some immediate results after your treatment, but the full effects will manifest over two to three months as your body produces more collagen. Since the procedure relies on your body’s collagen production process, how long it takes for you to see results highly depends on you. 


HIFU treatment is an incredible treatment that can target many areas, such as the face, décolletage, the abdomen or stomach, legs, arms, and hips, and your buttocks. It can effectively tighten sagging skin on your neck and even smoothen out crow’s feet. With so many excellent benefits HIFU has to offer, the procedure is definitely a must-try! 

Cleo Clinic is an aesthetic clinic offering specialised treatments such as anti-ageing injectables, dermal fillers, microneedling, face laser treatment, and laser scar treatment. We also offer the famous and effective HIFU facelift, helping you restore confidence in your own skin. Contact us today to book your appointment!